Sunday, 6 September 2015

Becoming Mary Poppins

Last weekend, I went to the Hen Party of a good friend who is getting married at the end of this month. We went camping at a beer festival in Frocester, Gloucestershire. We've been a number of times before and it is always a great weekend but this was the first time we had gone without the boys. It was also the first time that fancy dress was needed. The theme was any Disney character, except the princesses. So many options! I eventually settled on Mary Poppins. Given that I had less than two weeks between my holiday and the hen party, I originally thought about buying my costume but they were so expensive! £60 for a full Mary Poppins costume that weren't a good likeness. 

Mary Poppins

I was certain that I could make one for less. A quick mental search of my sewing patterns, a scan of the Minerva website, and within an hour I had a plan for a costume at half the price. I would pair the Bellatrix Blazer from Papercut with a the skirt of the Betty dress by Sew Over It. Minerva got this blue polyester bi stretch suiting to me in record time. I chose to pre wash it as I didn't want any potential shrinking in the rain at the festival, and also because there was a chance I would use the jacket in the future. As time was short, I left out any additional details and every seam is finished on the overlocker. Handstitching was kept to a minimum. 

Mary Poppins skirt


The skirt was incredibly simple and quick to make. I also took a number of shortcuts as I knew I wouldn't be wearing this as a normal skirt. I lengthened the Betty skirt by 15cm so it finished mid calf. Now the slightly embarrassing bit: I didn't add a waistband, opting for a bias binding finish and quickly put the zip in off centre as it turns out. Given that I would be wearing the blazer on top and no one would see it, I left it. Thankfully it all stayed in place and survived the evening. 

Mary Poppins skirt inside


I spent a lot more time on the blazer. No changes were made to the size of my first version. I forgot how much interfacing was needed for this pattern. I used a fairly tightly woven fusible one as I'm beginning to run low on interfacing. It isn't my favourite interfacing to use as it makes everything stiff and rustles as you move. However, it worked very well with the poly and was easy to work with. It gives the blazer a structured look and it feels that way when wearing it. I used some white poly from my stash to line the blazer. It was smooth to work with and gives the inside a nice finish. I added three buttons to each sleeve as Mary Poppins has but will remove them for future wears. 

Mary Poppins jacket

Finding a hat was the most stressful part as I had left it too late to get a straw hat to spray paint black and decorate. eBay came to the rescue when I found this shop which seems to specialise in Mary Poppins related items. I'm very thankful to Charlie060249 who fast tracked this made to measure felt hat so I would have it in time. It was the perfect addition for the outfit. 


Mary Poppins hat

The red bow made from some red cotton in my stash. It is two rectangles turned right sides out and fused together and held in place with a safety pin. I borrowed an umbrella and a bag the shape of a carpet bag from a friend and wore my red shoes to finish the outfit. When I tried on the outfit at home I felt so self-conscious as this outfit is so completely out of my comfort zone. I anticipated that this would fade at the beer festival as I would be part of a group that included the Queen of Hearts, Tinkerbell, Olaf and others. I was right - it was great fun to dress up for the evening. 

Have you stitched a fancy dress costume before? If so, what did you make? 

14 comments:

  1. You did a great job on your outfit--you're instantly recognizable as Mary Poppins. I've made several costumes for festivals and parties. I sewed a Renaissance man's and woman's clothes for consecutive years of a local festival. I also dashed off an Alice in Wonderland dress for a Halloween party (without a pattern; the fit was...interesting). Fancy dress is one of my favorite things to sew. It's so much fun, even if it is terribly impractical!

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    1. Thanks, Caitlyn. I can see why fancy dress is one of your favourite things to make - I liked the break away from normality.

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  2. Your outfit is amazing! I've made loads of fancy dress costumes over the years, but none recently. I think my favourite was a flapper dress made of yards and yards of fringing sewn to a very basic slip dress. The last time I went to a fancy dress party I went as a punk, but my outfit was put together from bits and pieces I already owned... I'm not sure what that says about my wardrobe!

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    1. Thanks, Sam. I'm impressed you stuck with the yards and yards of fringing. I'm not sure I would have!

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  3. I love this outfit! It's amazing you did manage to make it in such a short time. I love the idea of a hen party at a beer festival. I wish we were going to do something half as fun at the hen's I'm attending in a couple of weeks...

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    1. The beer festival made a refreshing change from the other hen parties I've been on. We had such a relaxed but fun filled weekend.

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  4. that's brilliant! i have made a few costumes for the small person - silky the fairy for world book day and a pumpkin and also a hermione cloak. i'm not a massive lover of fancy dress but i did make a dorothy costume (before i sewed or had a machine, i borrowed my Mother in law's machine which i couldn't work at all and ended up sewing it by hand. obviously i didn't use a pattern either!)

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    1. Wow, I guess Dorothy took a long to stitch without using a machine! Your small person is lucky that you can create costumes.

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  5. It's a really great costume, and it looks like you had a lot of fun wearing it! I haven't made any costumes- nobody I know seems to have fancy dress parties any more, which is a shame!

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    1. Thanks, Ruth. It was the first time I had needed fancy dress in many years. Hopefully you'll get to a make a costume soon.

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  6. Wowsers! What a brilliant costume!

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    1. Thanks, Lynne! It was great fun to wear.

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  7. Your costume looks amazing! I'm so astonished you managed to make all these parts in so little time. I especially like that picture of Mary Poppins with the beer glass in her hand, haha. And no I haven't made any fancy dress and I'm not sure I would want to. Just because of the time it takes me to sew clothes and then only to be able to wear them once? Saying that, does a Wedding Dress qualify as a fancy dress, hihi?

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    1. I'm not sure that a wedding dress is in the same category! I only made this outfit because of the cost - pressure sewing isn't always fun and I had to take a large number of short cuts. I would rather not do that, but sometimes it is worth it.

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