Costume,  Doctor Who,  Emmor Hunter,  My Blog,  Rose Tyler,  Sewing,  The Idiot's Lantern

Changes to the Idiot’s Lantern Dress

When I decided to make a new, as accurate as possible version of dress Rose Tyler wore in the Doctor Who episode The Idiot’s Lantern, I thought everything would work out well and by this time I’d be almost finished sewing sequins onto the bodice. Boy, have things changed!

Since my last post about the dress, I cut out the pieces to make the dress from Contessa satin. After doing this, I pinned all the bodice pieces together to see if they’d fit over my bust. They didn’t. By this time I ran out of fabric so I had to go to the store and purchase some more. After working with the pattern I was using to make the dress some more, I determined the pattern is very weird and I shouldn’t use it. That meant I’d need to by even more fabric to make my dress because the other pieces could possibly not fit the bodice of a new pattern. The problem with the old dress pieces is the length of the skirt. If a bodice is longer, it will make the length of the skirt too long.

By this time I was very frustrated with the dress so I set it aside to think about what to do next. This ended up lasting a few months and now, I came to a decision on what to do with the dress and any Rose Tyler dress I make for my Etsy store.

First off, I’m not going to use Contessa satin for my dress anymore. I do plan on making a dress out of the already cut out Contessa satin and putting it up for sale. Right now the dress is still in pieces and, since my normal job has become busy, I don’t have the time to finish it in time for the end of the Etsy store vacation in March. I didn’t get the chance to dye the fabric and, since this dress is no longer a Rose Tyler dress, I don’t plan on dying it at all. My tentative plan for the dress is to turn it into a wedding dress, but I’m still thinking about if I should make a tulle underskirt, what trims to sew on the dress, if the dress should be a lace up dress, and so on.

The new fabric I plan on using for my dress is casa satin from Joann’s. Casa satin is not as thick as Duchess or Contessa satin, but since it’s already dyed the color I wanted it to be, I don’t need to dye the satin. Dying polyester fabrics requires boiling the fabric in the dye bath and, after many rainy days in Arizona I decided not to do it. I have about 6 yards (Maybe 5. I can’t remember right now.) of fabric to work with. It usually takes less than a yard to make the bodice, but it will take far more than that to make the really full, pleated skirt. The color of the fabric is called, ironically, rose and is as close to the dye color suggested by Bad Wolf Closet I’ve been able to find in stores near where I live.

I’ve worked with this fabric before for another Rose Tyler dress, but this one is meant for sale on Etsy…


My dress will be different than this dress because my will not have a chiffon overlay and big, circular sequins sewn onto the bodice. Instead, mine will have sequins hand sewn onto it in layers, making the bodice look like its covered in sequin scales. I did this to my original Rose Tyler dress and, even though it wasn’t accurate to the dress in the episode, I loved how it turned out and am still proud of the work I did on it. Because of this, I decided to do it again to this new dress.

As for a pattern for the dress, I narrowed it down to two patterns, Simplicity’s 3878 and 1194…

rosetylerdresspattern rosetylerdresspattern2

Since The Idiot’s Lantern takes place in the 1950’s, 1194 is the most accurate to the time period. Although it’s a very cute dress and the neckline is the way I want it to be (A straight neckline with straps) The trouble I can see is that the bodice does not have princess seams. Instead, it has darts in the front and the back. I like the darts in the dress because it’s easier to assemble, but I’m not convinced. According to Bad Wolf’s Closet, the costume designer, Louise Page, wanted a side zipper in the dress. The pattern’s placement of the zipper is on the side, accurate to Ms. Page’s description of the dress. Yet, like to put my zippers in the back. I do this mostly because it’s easier to create the skirt pleats. By having an end point in the back of the dress, I can create a center of the pleats in the front of the dress and pleat them in the direction I wanted them to be until I reached the back zipper. It makes the pleats look nicer like this and I didn’t need to figure out how to pleat around the skirt with a break in the middle of the pleats and hide it. I could always move the placement of the zipper to the back of the dress (Not that difficult to do) but I’d need to look at the pattern more before I’ll know for sure.

As for 3878, the bodice is created, not by darts, but using princess seams. View B looks like it’s the right length for the dress, but I’m not that sure about this dress either. When I made my first dress, I used the panels in the princess seamed bodice to give me sections to sew sequins in. It helped me keep track of my sequin sewing progress, which helped me keep sewing the sequins onto the bodice. Yet, I’m not that wild about the princess seams. I’ve recently overcome my fear of using darts so I’d like to use darts more than princess seams for my dress. I also like the idea of making the dress using a 1950’s pattern.

To be honest, both patterns would be good for the dress and, despite picking both of them apart, it will come down to which pattern has the most accurate measurements.

As for the dresses I made for sale at my Etsy store, I do not plan on listing the customizable size version of the dresses until I figure out what I’m doing with my own dress. I like to use my personal dresses and costumes as a way of practicing my sewing so I won’t make those same mistakes on dresses for sale. I do plan on keeping the two dresses I made for sale for sale, but I don’t think I want to make any more for sale until I figure out what I’m going to do with my dress.

In other news about the dresses I made for my Etsy store, I found some sequin fabric I could use as an overlay for the bodice! I considered buying a yard and using it for my dress to test it out, but I cannot get over sewing sequins onto the bodice of the dress. I really want a dress with hand sewn sequins all over it. Anyway, the fabric does peak my interest because it could help speed up sewing the dresses if I create a listing for a custom size version of the dress. It could also reduce the cost of the dresses because I no longer need to sew the sequins onto the bodice by hand. Great for anyone wanting to buy the dress and great for me because my hand won’t cramp so much!

I think that’s all I have to say about the dress for now. Gosh, the end of my March “vacation” coming closer than I thought it would. I’m not ready! I haven’t finished everything I wanted to sew for the shop! Oh well. I can always list them later, right? ^_^

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