Hello everyone! Thank goodness for the extension to this challenge as I’ve just completed my RTW copycat. I must say that I’ve never tried copying an outfit before and I’ve had sooo much fun with this. I don’t really follow fashion at all so goodness knows what I was doing looking at Topshop’s website searching for RTW inspiration. I don’t think that I’ve shopped at Topshop since I was a student over 20 years ago. However, I found this…
The skirt is real leather and the top is silk. For your information if you want to buy this outfit for yourself you will have to part with £394 (£249 for the skirt and £145 for the blouse).
I particularly liked the eyelet and lace up detail on the front and thought that that would be easily copied.
On the back I liked the exposed metal zip. That would be something new for me to try!
The blouse is quite over-sized creating a blouson effect when tucked into a waistband. I also liked the mandarin collar, the fact that it doesn’t button all the way down (popover), the dropped shoulders and the cuffs and cuff plackets. All of which I have managed to copy.
If you look closely you can see that the blouse has cut-outs just below the shoulders (very trendy but think of the tan lines!). I wasn’t so bothered about this so I ignored that feature.
So the challenge was on. Could I make myself a copycat leather skirt and silk blouse for a fraction of the price of the originals? Of course I could! As soon as I decided to make a leather skirt I prepared myself for a long and arduous shopping trip trying to find leather. By pure luck I found this in my local charity shop – the very first shop I looked at!
A very large, man’s jacket made of plenty of leather! Perfect, and at £10 a bit of a bargain! The silk wasn’t so difficult as I had some in my stash. How handy! I made the leather skirt first as I thought that would take the longest (how right I was!).
The patterns: For the skirt I chose the only eligible pattern I had – the By Hand London Charlotte Skirt. It had to be a simple, straight skirt pattern so this was perfect really. For the blouse I splashed out on a pattern that has been on my wish list for some time now – the Archer shirt by Grainline Studios. I got the popover variation whilst I was at it!
Fabric and notions: Obviously black leather was needed for the skirt but I also had to get a metal zip and some leather cord to tie up at the front. I had the eyelets already left over from a previous project. I also had to buy special leather needles for my sewing machine.
For the blouse I used up some lovely Liberty silk that I had in my stash. I only had a metre and a half of it though but it turned out this was plenty to get the Archer out of it as long as I folded the selvedges to the middle. I’ve even got a bit left over! I also needed some buttons but I miraculously found some perfect ones in my teeny-tiny button stash.
Alterations/design changes: Where do I start? Obviously I had a leather jacket to start with rather than a lovely flat piece of fabric. My first task was to unpick enough seams to get flat fabric. However, because every needle hole is left behind in the leather I wanted to keep the unpicking to a minimum. This meant that there was plenty of seam lines that I had to work around. I tried to make this work to my advantage and I think I’ve done a reasonable job of it. My fabric was not large enough for the pattern so a lot of piecing went on (inevitably) but I made sure that everything was symmetrical and deliberate looking.
The front skirt was made from the jacket back and the skirt back was made of the jacket sleeves. I changed the order of construction (in fact, I ignored the instructions completely) and made up the front skirt and then the back (zip included) and then sewed it all together.
I was going add a facing to the top of the skirt but it didn’t look right so I added a waistband instead and it looks so much better. I cut and pieced the waistband from the collar and lapels.
Anyway, here’s the final skirt…
The pattern was already adapted to fit my strange body shape. A size 16 around the waist grading down to a size 12 for the hips (thanks for my thick waist kiddywinks!) and I’m really pleased with the fit, although the skirt does need to be wriggled in to!
I could actually bang on about my skirt for ages as I took loads of construction photos and I’m quite excited about it (it was a jacket you know!!!) but I’ll write about it in more detail on my own blog in the very near future.
For the blouse I cut a straight size 10 with no alterations and the fit is just what I wanted! It is certainly oversized but it’s supposed to be. As already mentioned, I sewed up the Popover variation of the Archer. I definitely need more placket practice as I have small puckers on all of them (front and sleeves) but I think I’ll be the only one to notice. One change I did make was to omit the yoke completely because my inspiration piece also had no yoke. I incorporated the yoke pattern with the back pattern, allowing for seam allowances and that back pleat.
I also omitted the collar and just kept the collar stand to make it resemble the inspiration photo!
My final comparison! Ha ha – I’m no model am I? I hope that you can see what I’ve been trying to do though.
Well, all this sewing has left me exhausted. I’m going to put my sewing machine away for a bit a reacquaint myself with my family. Thanks Monthly Stitch – I’ve loved participating in IPM for the very first time.