Clara Oswald,  Cold War,  Costume,  Doctor Who,  My Blog,  Sewing

Clara’s Cold War Dress- Second Version Part 1

A few years ago, I made my own version of Clara Oswald’s dress in the Doctor Who episode, Cold War. While I made it, I hated how it was turning out and, after completing it, I hated the way it looked even more. I always wanted to remake it, but it wasn’t until 2016 I was able to do it. Because I made and finished the dress in 2016, I don’t remember a lot about the dress itself or how I constructed it, but I wanted to talk about it before it becomes a costume that gets lost in my closet and is forgotten before I can talk about it on my blog.

While doing research into the dress, I found Mariah’s Cosplay Site has a page dedicated to the costume and even has an idea what kind of dress was used in the episode, the Vivienne Westwood Metallic Pannier Dress. After reading it, I decided to make my dress have a similar neckline to the Vivienne Westwood dress, but modify it to accommodate my recent and future weight loss. šŸ™‚

Although I mentioned this before, I’ve experimented with making my clothes and costumes weight loss friendly. My favorite way of fitting the dress after weight loss is to make dresses with rows of elastic in the back, called shirring. When I made this dress, it took me months of experimenting to figure out how to create shirring and add it to the back of dresses, but I’m at the point when I’m having more success than failures in creating shirring backed dresses. I still don’t think I’m very good at it (That might be because I’m my own worst critic) but the more I work with shirring the better I am at it.

When I decided to remake Clara’s Cold War dress, I decided to add a shirring panel in the back of the dress. That way I can wear it after weight loss and growth spurts without swimming in the dress. It would also help keep the bodice’s fit tight without making it uncomfortable.

The pattern I decided to use for the bodice of the dress was Simplicity’s 1728…

simplicity 1728

I used this pattern for my Snow White dress from Mirror Mirror and Miku Hatsune’s Cantarella dress bodice, but I always had plans to use this pattern for other costumes. Or dresses. Or anything I can think of using this pattern for because I love it so much. XD Although I love the pattern very much and had a similar neckline to the Vivienne Westwood dress, it’s not a 100% match to the dress’ bodice. Despite this, I decided to use it because I’m very familiar with it and needed to work with a pattern I’m familiar with so I can figure out how to add shirring to the back of the dress easier.

The fabric I used was blue poly satin. I normally like to use poly satin with the wrong side as the right side because the right side is very shinny. This time, I used the shinny, right side as the right side because it was the look I wanted for the dress.

After experimenting with the pattern a little bit, I decided to make the bodice pattern as-is but without the back panels so I can fit the shirring panel in the back. The bodice without the shirring panel looked like this from the front…

The side…

And from the back…

I think you can see the bodice fits the dress form fairly well. This will cause problems with the fit of the bodice. I’ll talk about them later.

I made the shirring panel the same way I made the panel for my Elsa Frozen Fever dress, which you can read about here. I used the same poly satin fabric as the rest of the dress to make the panel, but, instead of making laces out of the same fabric as the rest of the dress, I made the laces out of satin ribbon in a matching color. The finished shirring panel with the skirt sewn to it looked like this…

After I finished sewing the bodice together, I worked on the skirt. The skirt was rectangles, sewn onto the bodice and then trimmed to be an even length. I added a zipper to the left side of the dress, but I added a pocket on the right side of the dress. It was the first time I put a pocket in a dress like this, but I’m very happy with it and want to add pockets to dresses in the future.

After I finished hemming the skirt, the dress was finished! Here’s what the front of the dress looks like…

The right side of the dress…

A close up of the pocket…

The left side of the dress…

A close up of the zipper…

The back of the dress…

And here is a close up of the shirring…

Since it’s been a few years since I finished the costume, I don’t remember any more details of how I made the dress. Even though I don’t remember a lot about the costume, I’m very happy with the way it turned out, except for one big problem: The bodice does not fit me.

When I made the bodice, I made it so it could fit the dress form. I won’t go into details, but I’m not built like my dress form (Mostly because I have more curves and my torso is longer than my dress form) which causes fitting problems when I sew myself dresses or tops. This dress is an example of this.

Even though the bodice cannot fit me, I don’t want to give up hope for this dress. I have a few ideas to fix the fit of the bodice, but I’m not sure if it will work. If they don’t, I’ll just remake the bodice with a better fit and sew the shirring and skirt to the new bodice. I plan on working on this next year. šŸ™‚

That’s all for now! Thank you for reading!

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