Choosing the next patch:

The fabric I have chosen was used for Long John Silver’s waistcoat in our recent production of Treasure Island.

The fabric is a lightweight cotton, block printed and Indian in style if not in origin. 

This fabric was actually in my fabric stash at home but was a perfect match for James Perkins' design (and there is plenty left for me to make something else.

Long John Silver design by James Perkins

Treasure Island was one of my favourite Octagon Christmas productions – we had a lot of fun sourcing and making the costumes. 

Long John Silver was a real mixture – his undershirt (originally used for Robin Hood, with added trim) and linen shirt were from our costume store, his trousers were made in house by our Wardrobe Assistant and his waistcoat by a freelancer, working in Harrogate and coming to Bolton for fittings.  His coat came from Devon (with added trim), his hat from Cornwall and his boots from Germany.

Treasure Island behind-the-scenes fun fact:

Treasure Island was a busy show backstage for our Wardrobe Assistant, who was responsible for setting all the costumes and achieving all the quick changes. 

All the actors, apart from Ami Okumura who played Jim Hawkins, played at least two if not more characters, and so had many costume changes. 

The change from Blind Pew to the Squire was definitely the quickest, and the change of practically the entire company for Ben Gunn’s cheese song was the biggest and most demanding. 

During one performance, just before Jack Lord's change from Pub Man to Long John Silver, he realised his belt was missing and would not be able to wear his sword.  The journey from backstage to the dressing room took at least five minutes in the best of circumstances but on this day the lift was broken, which meant lots of stairs and running for our Wardrobe Assistant, however the belt was retrieved and the change happened on time – the magic of theatre!

Adding your next patch:

Once you have chosen the fabric for your next patch (and cut it to your desired size if required), choose where you want to position it, in relation to patch one.

Pin into place with the right side (more interesting side) facing down.

Stitch, using backstitch* with approximately a ¼ inch (just over half a centimetre) seam allowance. See Pic 1.

*Not sure how to do a back stitch? Find out in the guide below.

Pic 1

Once you have finished stitching your seam, fold back the fabric and press flat. (See Pic 2). Now you are ready for the next patch.

Pic 2

*What is a back stitch?

A back stitch is used as a fixing stitch and can also be used for outlines or writing.  See the YouTube link below for a demonstration.

Up next: Choose your next fabric

See the rest of the blogs in the series so far