Thrifty Customising, Bewitching Designs...

Back in 1987, three gorgeous women were seduced by a charming man with an alarming agenda... Who knows why the women didn't realise their potential gorgeousness without his help, but then again, we wouldn't have the visually exciting Witches of Eastwick without that premise..!

In my last post I promised I would share 'The Makings of..,' my Witches of Eastwick outfit, made for the Burda Style Baby Lock Halloween Costume Competition - so read on for all the background info. A quick heads up, this includes;

  • altering the length of a long-sleeved t-shirt (to make it shorter)
  • making a net petticoat (for adults), and
  • customising ankle socks into a frilly version!


I thought a Cher track would make for good listening for today's post... and why not?! I fully understand if you get side-tracked by her outfits in the music video, filmed around the same time as the movie, they're spell-binding..! So maybe watch it once, then play again as the soundtrack to reading this...

When I made the decision to make an outfit from The Witches of Eastwick, I was faced with SO MANY INCREDIBLE outfits, that I decided to choose something that corresponded with my personal 'likes'. They include thrifting, customising, and designing, whilst at the same time creating an outfit that will be worn again. So whilst there are some very glamorous dresses in that movie, I was concerned making one of those would only tick one of my boxes (designing). I loved the look of this outfit, 
taken from a scene in a supermarket... but when you look at it in full length, there's one dress to copy, a bit of styling with sunglasses... and not much else... SO! I finally settled upon a costume that involved various pieces, a top, a skirt, and even socks (if I wanted to go that far)... 

SEW... in no particular order...

The Top...

When you start looking in charity shops, the strangest thing happens... stripy tops appear everywhere! Honestly, go in any charity shop and I guarantee you'll find at least one donated stripy top in there. FACT. 
(but don't quote me on that if you find differently...)
Given that I envisaged a bit of a journey ahead with the skirt, I figured I'd cut myself some slack with the top; so having bought a donated Dorothy Perkins top, I set about taking it up to the right length. You'll notice Susan Sarandon's version has a much deeper scooped neck - but she's not as 'filled out' as I am, so I made a decision to keep the original neckline for modesty's sake... there was little point in hazarding a guess at the length I wanted, so (having washed and ironed it) I put the t-shirt on, pinned it up to the right length, cut off the excess material, turned it up, and hemmed it. 


You see how one of those pics is of the orginal hem? I like to analyse how a garment's made before setting about customising it, chances are I'll pick up tips on the tension of the thread needed to sew the lycra material (for example) - which means I won't sew something so tight, it has no room for movement when I'm putting it on... I don't own an overlocker (the machine that gives most shop-bought hems their criss-cross looking edge, seen above) - but as far as this t-shirt is concerned, a simple turned up narrow hem, secured with a straight stitch, was sufficient.


The Skirt... 

A little more complicated... I've never worked with netting before, much less set about making (what I thought was called) a tutu, so I started on Youtube for inspiration! You can imagine how many tutorials there are on how to make a tutu - but it was from watching these that I realised that WASN'T what I wanted to make! I wanted a petticoat! The thing these two items of clothing have in common is the lack of online tutelage of how to make an ADULT version, ha ha! In fact, let me share a little anecdote with you that makes me smile when I remember it...

There's a softly-spoken respectful Sikh gentleman who owns a material shop in Hounslow I often frequent for my swag. Normally I'm in a rush (with my car on a meter), running around grabbing various rolls of fabric, holding bits of fringing up to myself, being sidetracked by the new tactile addictions to the shop floor; this gentleman averts his gaze, busying himself with stock taking, only stopping to look at me when I'm ready to pay. On this occasion I ran over to him, took my mobile phone from my pocket, and breathlessly said "There's something I'm going to show you on my phone, it's adult fancy dress, I'm hoping we'll be able to work together to make the same kind of thing for me - just less see-through...". His eyes widened like a frightened horse, you'd think I'd said "I'm going to show you my pants now, and I want you to tell me what you think of them!". I honestly heard him breathe a sigh of relief as I showed him a tame picture of Susan Sarandon's outfit... poor fella! He gratefully lead me to the netting, we both agreed it was hard to make 'opaque', and I decided there and then I'd also have to add an underskirt to the petticoat, again for modesty purposes. Suffice to say, when I tell you I only bought three metres of fabric, the truth is I could have added layer upon layer of netting, ad infinitum - but the challenge would have always been hiding my pants. (I said I was honest..!)

Also, if you look closely at the movie version, there's a rather wide waistband the netting stems from; I realised I had a Colette pattern in my stash that had the perfect waistband for this project... I also rooted around and found some lycra material, the kind leotards are made from, and cut the fabric to size.


From the net, I made the waist measurement two times my true measurement (to achieve a full skirt, and movement) - and cut the length to match that in the movie, from waist to mid calf. I then sewed a straight stitch through the waist area of each skirt panel, and gathered the net - before attaching to the waistband... the first thread was then removed. 


To achieve the dark trim at the net's edge, I took a few metres of black, very wide satin bias binding and carefully halved it with my crafting knife - leaving two thin strips of fabric which encased the net hem. I then sewed that on...



Oh! I nearly forgot - the red spots were glued on (don't ask, sewing was too 'obvious' to the eye...) - made from a thin satin lining material... cutting those dots out probably took longer than anything else!

and then, all there was left, was...


The Socks...

I bought a pair of white socks, some white lace trim, and made sure the trim was 'ruched' as I attached it to the top of the sock. It turns out I needn't have worried about pinning the trim on - as the action of stretching the sock onto the machine itself was enough to widen the area whilst sewing the lace on... To be clear, if you don't widen that area when you're sewing the lace on, you won't be able to pull the socks on without breaking the stitching - there has to be some give in it, to allow the elasticity of the sock top to work... It's the same premise I applied to stitching the net onto the stretchy waistband of the skirt earlier, there has to be 'give'.
Oh, and I found the shoes on sale in TK Maxx for £12, funny that - you'd think open-toed shoes would be popular in late October...


And that's IT!

I'd like to thank everyone who voted for me in the competition, especially the readers who made a point of posting my entry on their Facebook timelines - SO lovely of you!! There were some incredible outfits entered, goodness knows some of them are FAR superior to mine, in terms of creativity and skill - it was just wonderful to enter, and to know that I'd met my own target... these things are gratifying!







There will, in general, always be more than one way to do something - so please comment at the bottom of this blog if you see a way of getting a more professional finish, or saving time or money in making any of the above; it won't be a wasted effort, we'll all benefit! 

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In other news...
  • Just wanted to share with you, how THRILLED I am about how many hits this Blog is getting - I'm astounded! Since my first ever post back in April (this year, 2013) Sequins and Slippers has received precisely 11,180 hits!! And, if you're reading this sentence, that means that number has now gone up by one! I'm honestly flabbergasted, and to be honest, a little sceptical too - I mean, WHY? And WHO? Granted, I have stats at my disposal - but they still don't explain why... At any rate, I am surprised, and grateful! For that reason, I hope to make my writing more inclusive as time goes by, interviewing seamstresses and Persons of Interest (!), and crafting and customising for readers... that would make me very happy, and I think, be interesting to share... SEW! Wish me luck!



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