Purple Jumper: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

I needed to make a few more costumes for the chorus to wear to the Fun Fair, and so I searched images on the internet looking for turn-of-the-century fashion for inspiration.  I found several pictures that showed a jumper look:

The nice thing about these looks, especially the one on the far right, is that it doesn’t require matching fabric for the sleeves.   These pictures are a little later than my target look, but I thought I could adapt the look.

I found this dress to use as the base:

I liked this dress because of the color, and also the pleated detailing at the waist.  I began by removing the zipper from the back of the dress and taking out the lining.

lining removed from dress

Then I cut the skirt off the dress and turned the top under to finish the edge.  I left the boning in place to help support the wide waistband.

I replaced the zipper, making the waist as large as I could.  This is not gorgeous sewing.  You can see I was able to get several more inches for the waist size.

really messy back zipper

I lengthened the skirt using a purple ruffled bedskirt, and embellished it with lace and ribbon.

Next I decided to work on the blouse.  I had liked the blouse pattern I used for the burgundy dress, but I wanted to tweak it a bit to make it easier and faster.  I also wanted to make larger sleeves.

I began by using the existing pattern as a base and tracing a new pattern on to paper.  I used the large puffy sleeves from a different pattern, and made the lower arm section a bit wider since they were a bit tight.  (The same sleeve pattern I used for the Pink and green costume and the Baroness dress).

sleeve from a different pattern

I  used the bodice front and the waistband to create a new front piece with a lengthened side seam.  I also  lengthened the front length to compensate for the missing waistband.

Making the center back wider for more sizing flexibility, and creating the back length using the waistband and back pattern pieces.



I also cut out a long strip to bind the bottom edge, and a collar.

I found an old sheet and used the edge with the wide hem for the ends of the sleeves, and then decorated the ends of the sleeves with lace.


I decorated the collar with rows of crochet lace.

The blouse was constructed by stitching the side seams and running gathering threads along the neck edge and gathering it to the collar.

The sleeves were inserted, and the blouse was gathered to the band at the bottom to the desired waist measurement.  (The original pattern called for a sleeve header to help shape the sleeve.  I am guessing I make one out of petticoat net, but I can’t remember).

band at the bottom of the blouse

The back was sized to fit and the center back folds were marked.  Hook and loop tape was used to close the neck, and a separating zipper was used in the back.

Overall I was happy with this blouse.  It went together quite quickly.  The gathered front gives this a very flexible fit.  The shoulders are maybe a little wide and I might try making them a little narrower another time.

skirt and blouse

I measured the top for the straps, and then cut some shapes out of interfacing.

I ironed the interfacing on to the lining fabric from the dress, cut around the shapes leaving enough extra to turn under the edges.


I pinned them to the skirt and moved on to trying to use the rest of the bedskirt to decorate the straps.

back of jumper and blouse

Trial and error:

Finally I decided to just  make a bow out of a bit of the bedskirt.

tie details

And . . my dress was done.

My sister is actually going to use this dress for the Head Cook  in the Candy Shop  The dress goes remarkably well with the Toot Sweet dresses.  I liked this dress on the dress form, but I really like how it looks in “real life”.

purple dress with Toot Sweet Dress

Cost:  purple dress $3 (possibly $6, I can’t remember if it was 50% off or not).  Bedskirt $1, plus infacing, lace, old sheet, zipper, hook & loop tape.

I am excited about this blouse look, and will (hopefully) play around with the pattern and change out the sleeve and try using it to make some other costumes, like maybe a pioneer dress.



4 thoughts on “Purple Jumper: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

  1. The original blouse pattern had a band around the waist, and I think many period garments were made that way and had hooks to keep the blouse and the skirt connected. The band also helps to keep the front gathers even and keeps it from being pulled down too tight so you get more of that blouse-y (pigeon-breast) look in the front. The option to wear it over a skirt, instead of tucked in, might be desired if the skirt had, ie, an elastic waistband (but that could also lend to a middle-section gap). You could certainly cut the front and back pieces longer and just tuck them in, and in this case, where I ended up using it under a jumper, that would have been a very reasonable option. This would also give more flexibility with torso length. As far as choreography–I could see that the banded bottom might pull up more, but it would also come back down and sit as it originally was, whereas blouses tend to “untuck” with a lot of arm raising (I’ve seen guys shirts sewn to boxers for swing choir costumes to help with this problem). The question of what might be preferable with dancing is a good one–and I don’t know. When we did “Beauty and the Beast” we made one Silly Girl outfit in one piece (skirt, overskirt, corset top and blouse) because she had a fast change from the prologue. The other girls we made in separate pieces, thinking they would be more useful that way down the line. However, the one piece dress always looked more put-together than the multiple pieces–and the waist area was the culprit. The tendency (at least for high school girls) to want to wear skirts lower than the natural waist is a problem tp consider. (I’ve solved that to a certain extent by moving to the apron-waisted skirts, and waistband/elastic combo when I can instead of just elastic or just a drawstring–that and a lot of physically pulling the skirts up to where they belong, lol). So . . to answer the question, probably because the original pattern had one 🙂


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