“John Bull under a drainpipe”

In between school holidays, work and getting on with my upcycle project, I’ve managed to forget to give the blog plate a spin of late. So here is a quick sneaky peak update on my Spring outfit. (I’ll do a Winter one asap) They have to be ready for 9/10 September so this will probably be the last update on each until the “big reveal” on 23/24 September at the Festival of Thrift in Kirkleatham (are you going?).


So to recap – my idea here is to take the traditional John Bull image and imagine he’d been stood under a drain pipe for a century or so and life had then grown over him. I have been slightly inspired by watching Moana with the kids it would appear (mountain becomes lady becomes mountain) It works in my head at least!

I started with a tweedy ladies jacket in a size 16 and a detachable train from a long since separated dress. This coupled with two supermarket sweep style dashes round Oxfam Darlington for supplies and a lot of imagination.

I  took the jacket away with me on our 2-week holiday to France. We were staying with my mother in law who is an amazing dress maker and artist. She ad to avert her eyes at the “botch job” adjustments I have made to the size 16 jacket to bring it down to fit a size 10/12 model. I had to keep reassuring her that it isn’t to be actually worn, just for the catwalk show. I am going to do another Jacket re-fashion soon just to prove I can do it properly (well I think I can – we’ll see).

I’ve added patchwork pieces of tweed, cord and linen in various shades of green. Then added embellishment with wool and buttons. This is supposed to represent the heather clad moors (which I am lucky enough to spy from my desk) filtering down to farmland lower down.

I’ve then added pieces of blues and flashes of silver to represent a river running down from the shoulder. I think I need to bring the features out a bit more with some paint and maybe a bit more embellishment here or there – what do you think?

The rest of the outfit is almost there too. I’ve sized down a size 20 pair of wool trousers to a 10/12 pair of breeks. There is then a waistcoat (again sized down) and shirt (with added frills). Finally a hat with some type of cloud arrangement (Still with me?) I’m not going to show you these as need to leave something for the big reveal!

I’ll be back soon to share a quick Winter update.

Lucy x




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