Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sir Topham Hatt, The Fat Controller - Sewing a costume for Book Day

Preschool had book day a few weeks ago where kids dress up as a book character, theoretically their favorite book character. My boys missed it as they had chicken pox. Sprog was very disappointed and he was not the only one. A repeat day for the 15 kids who missed is happening this Friday. Sprog will be Paddington Bear, with an heirloom coat and a Mummy-made Hat. Widget's favourite books are the Thomas the Tank Engine series, so he's going to be Sir Topham Hatt, the Fat Controller.

I started the costume from scratch, making the Hat, a vest, the trousers, and tail coat. Since it's a one-off, or maybe two time costume I didn't want to spend too much on the fabric and bought everything from the clearance table for only a few dollars. For the patterns I used the Little Gentleman Pants and Vest, and modified the Little Gentleman Suit Jacket, from Peekaboo Patterns.

For the hat I modified the Reversible Bucket Hat from Oliver+S and made it from Black Felt. In hindsight I would probably try going from scratch as it may be less work than the modification. I cut the brim at the Small size, and the crown from the Large size. I used the side pieces of each to draw the top and bottom of the side pieces and added an inch or two between the lines and joined them up. I did the two layers to increase the stiffness, then stitched the two together around the brim.

The clothes started with the vest. The Fat Controller has a yellow vest with black buttons. I found a yellow and black striped satin. I cut both the lining of the jacket and most of the vest from the yellow satin. I ran out, so the inside fronts were made from some calico that I had leftover from something else. I finished with black snaps which blend into the stripes.

The trousers were meant to be grey, but I went with a pale blue pinstripe as it was the most suitable on the clearance table. The pants have an elastic back waistband, and a flat front. They are super quick.

The biggest challenge was the jacket for two reasons. It is a more complicated pattern, but it is also the biggest adaptation I have made to a pattern.

I started by tracing the correct sizes onto baking paper, but making sure to leave a length extending past the bottom of the back piece. I trimmed the top and sides of the back piece, and all of the front piece, then overlapped them by the seam allowance. Once overlapped I consulted my fat controller picture and shaped the front of the jacket and drew in the tails, stood back and checked, then cut them out. The last step was to extend the lining pieces as well, by superimposing the lining piece on the back piece and extending the tail.


Then it was sew, sew, sew. Even with the tails I pretty much just followed the instructions through.

The final product looked pretty cute.

Today was dress up day. The vest and pants stayed on all day. The hat was so tall it fell off pretty quick, and the jacket got too warm so it came off. He was the cutest little fat controller around. This costume will come out again in a few weeks for his Thomas Themed birthday.