Mar 14 2019



Well done Colette for being awarded our latest Ministry Makes Winner! Colette was VERY excited to show us the outfit she made for her son for World Book Day: he went dressed as "The Tiger who came to tea". Thank you for sharing the below pictures and information with us and to Thomas too for being such a wonderful model….

In the past few years I have attended a number of courses with the Ministry of Craft including A line skirt in a day, understanding commercial patterns, alterations, overlocking, bodice fitting, curtain and blind making, as well as knitting.

Unfortunately for me, between a full time job, a 2-hour daily commute, 2 small children and a huge fruit and vegetable garden to tend, I struggle to find time to put my sewing skills into practice.

With my eldest son Thomas in Reception this year, I had to come up with a dressing up outfit for "World book day" on 1st March, and I didn't feel like buying a standard super hero outfit from the supermarket.

Thomas wanted to go as The Tiger Who Came to Tea, so I went off to Leon's in Chorlton and bought a sizeable piece of tiger faux fur fabric. I only had a vague idea of what I was going to do with it, and I had no pattern. BUT I had a weird sense of confidence born from skill and understanding of patterns gained from attending Ministry of Craft courses!

So I went home and grabbed a roll of plain yellow paper I had in the attic, put a pair of Thomas's PJ bottoms onto it, and started tracing the half front piece onto the paper, then the half back piece. I used these tracings to cut out 2 half fronts and 2 half backs on calico, to make a trial pair of trousers. I stitched it all up and miraculously ended up with trousers that exactly fitted Thomas. When I say exactly: they were exactly the size of the PJ's I'd used as a template, except they were not stretchy... So, like we did in the bodice fitting workshop, I altered my pattern pieces, adding 1 cm at the waist on each piece, giving me 4 cm overall on the waist line. I then used these adjusted pattern pieces to cut out 4 pieces of the tiger fabric, taking care to cut out "mirror" pieces to end up with the fur facing the correct way.

As it was a thick fabric I found it easier to stitch it with a zigzag stitch, as you can see on the pictures. The fabric was great as it didn't fray and it was quite easy to work with despite the thickness of the pile.

The tiger trousers fitted very well, and I had odd oblong cut out bits left which gave me the idea to craft little over-shoe tiger paws. I even made little claws stitched to the end of the feet, out of shiny mock leather fabric (also from Leon's).

I attached the paws inside the bottom of the trouser legs, with a safety pin so they could be readjusted later if necessary.

With a spare band of fur, I made a simple tube for the tail which I stitched to the back of the trousers.

On another night (I have to do all this after 9pm when the boys are asleep!), I used one of Thomas's simple fleece tops to make a top pattern. This time I didn't feel like I needed to make trial on calico. I just cut out the front and the back pieces, with a V neck to make it easy to pass the head through once sewn up. That worked a treat. Lastly, I had to make sleeves, and I used the fleece top again to trace and cut out 2 sleeves. I carefully pinned them around the armhole and stitched them up.

I then finished up the trousers waist by folding it inwards and stitching it down, passing a piece of elastic in the channel created to synch it to size.

The next morning was D-Day, the 1st March, I tried it all on Thomas and he looked like a glorious Tiger! A perfect outfit for a snowy World Book Day!

I am so proud of what I've managed to do, starting out without a pattern, and I wanted to share it with you.

You are the ones who gave me the skills and confidence to have a go and make this, I am ever so grateful, thank you!!!

Well done Colette, you are a worthy winner. We look forward to seeing you again soon, I feel inspired, maybe we need a new ‘costume workshop’ for these occasions?

A six-month subscription to Love Sewing Magazine is on the way to Colette.