Attack on Cosplay – Jacket Potato (Sasha wishes…)

That Attack on Titan cosplay I hinted at in my last post is done.  Done and worn and everything. Though, if you know me on like any other form of social media you’ll already be sick of it, so if that’s you, I’m not going to be offended if you sit this one out.

If that’s not you (or if that’s you but you want to know how I made it/feel some weird obligation to read everything I thoughtlessly spew forth like some kind of projectile-vomiting random word generator), strap yourselves in.  It’s probably going to be a several-post ride.



Double the Hange = Double the chance Eren’s getting dissected today.

Now onto the iconic jacket, before I totally forget how I did it.  I didn’t take loads of photos because for once I really got into the flow of it and who has time for photos when they’re in the zone.  Eye of the tiger.

Stage The First: Draft It.  Draft It Good.

Step one (which probably isn’t all that helpful for anyone who’s not into this sort of technical crap) was go to my copy of Natalie Bray and nut out a jacket block from my standard bodice block pattern.  This took me longer than anticipated because my standard block is a helluva lot snugger than the one Natalie recommends, partly because it’s not 1968 and partly because I make a lot of dresses that need a no ease/negative ease block.  But it still didn’t take as long as I’d anticipated, so win.


Then I found a picture of someone in a jacket standing nice and still in a well-lit place.

armin jacket

Extra helpful because Armin’s build is me without the hips, so I can see how the jacket should sit.

 Thanks, Armin, you’re a gem.  None of this lurking in the shadows business like other people we know but love anyway.


“Shut up.  Sun-safety is almost as important as cleanliness.”

Then I wrote a giant sticky note of all the design elements and how they would relate to my pattern draft.   I stuck with a pretty simple pattern in the end – no shaping except a tiny bit at the side seams to stop it kicking out at the back, and a yoke seam to tidily hide a little shaping at the front.  It was mostly going to be hidden under the patch pockets anyhow, so I didn’t worry about the fact that no yoke seams are apparent in the anime or manga.  The sleeves are a slightly widened version of the sleeve from my shirt pattern, as I find it almost impossible to draft a sleeve based on my top-arm measurement (thanks, broad bony shoulders and skinny arms, so helpful).  The collar went through a couple of revisions, because in the first toile (yes, I know, I made one for a change), it was ridiculously small.  This was what I ended up with:



I’ve lost the toile and I didn’t take any pictures because I’m scatty like that.  It basically looked like the finished jacket, only without sleeves, and in some ghastly aqua poly-pop.

Step The Second: Hunt A Fabric

Fabric-wise, I originally wanted a lightweight wool because I thought it would a) be nice and b) be warm, but the Fabric Store had nada (they did have a nice brown pleather though, more on that later), the internet had zip and Spotlight had cotton duck in as close as I was ever going to find to the right colour.  If I ever, ever find wool in the right weight and colour, I would totally re-make the jacket because I think it would look damn spiffy in wool.  But alas, cotton it was.  In a slightly more burnt shade of caramel brown than what was required.

Step The Third: Sew For A Bit

So I set to work cutting it up and sewing the body of the jacket together, cut out the collar,  prepared the collar, and starched the hell out of the collar (seriously, starch is my favourite thing.  I went so overboard on the starch).  With the collar, because the cotton duck is heavy, I fiddled around with what’s called ‘turn of cloth allowance’ or ‘roll allowance’ (the blogger at that link also does an excellent collar-drafting tutorial, and pretty fabulous tutorials in general).

Step Four: Get Distracted (But Productively, I Swear)

Then I got sidetracked making patches.  Because I was being silly frugal, I went with fabric scraps I had to hand.  I had some cotton jersey in a good blue-grey colour (from the sailor pants) so I underlined it with the cotton duck and then for the three smaller patches I just machine-zig-zagged the wings on in a vague, haphazard manner that makes them look more like the scribby ones from the manga as opposed to the neat tidy ones in the anime.  Still better than the muddy faded ones in the movie.


Flügel der Ungleichmäßigkeit

For the larger back patch I appliqued on pieces of navy and white fabric.  I tried to find some offcuts from the Junketsu for the white bits, but failed, and used white cotton moleskin instead because it was there in the scrap-box, which in retrospect was a mistake because fluffies were everywhere.  The fluffies seem to come off after a while though, so maybe it’s not the end of the world.


Then, dear readers, I made a classic rookie error.  I should have sewed all the patches and the epaulettes on now.  While the pocket and sleeves were still not sewn on to the jacket.  You see where I’m going.   But no, I was in the zone and getting ahead of myself and I was too excited researching how to line the damn thing about practical stuff like that.

Stage Five: Have Soprano Tantrum

The other reason that sewing the patches on the sleeves before attaching them would have helped is that it would have stopped me having the terrible time I had the night I ended up sewing on both sleeves on inside out and/or back to front.  Multiple times.  Having the patches as an obvious visual marker to say THIS IS THE RIGHT SIDE would have been amazeballs. Just goes to show, always make sure you have the right notches matched up, and don’t overthink what way is right-side-to-right-side.  The Road of Overthinking leads through the Vale of Eternal Stuffups.  On the way to the Gorge of Angry Soprano-Harpies.  I ended up putting it away and watching almost all of Glitch (HEARTILY RECOMMEND) to calm down, and then got the jacket back out of the Naughty Corner the next day and unpicking and re-sewing the sleeves.  I may have cried when I got them right.

Stage Six: Collar That Puppy

The collar went together exactly like a shirt collar.  Some people struggle with shirt collars, I hear.  I found the tutorial antidote to shirt collar struggles many moons ago at Male Pattern Boldness, as Peter is a gun at shirt collars.  This post and the couple that come after it show what good collar sewing is all about.  I’m too lazy to bother with interfacing, however, and just starched the crap out of my collar instead.

Then I sewed up my pocket flaps and attached them and the patch pockets, adding the buttons from my stash and buttonholes too.  And the epaulettes because I’d forgotten them earlier.  There was much weeping and palming of faces.  I’ve noticed that I also tend to forget the epaulettes whenever I draw cartoons involving AoT characters too, so I guess I’m just a little epaulette-blind.  If they’re not enormous and dripping with gold fringe, what’s the point of noticing them, right?


Stage Seven: The Lining of the Beast

Then I dug some old navy acetate out of the stash, cut a facing from the brown duck and sewed up and added a lining.  I’m not even going to try to explain this.  It was my first go at lining a jacket anyhow.  So have a link to a tutorial.  This is the one I found most useful, but if you’re in the same situation I was for the love of Dog read the whole thing first before you go step-by-step.  I ended up having to rip out the most perfect bloody slip-stitches because I got ahead of myself.  This series of illustrations was also helpful.

Stage Eight: Glory in Thy Achievement

Put on Blue Steel like you’re God’s gift to the Survey Corps.


Admire the way the uniform flatters your butt jacket hangs perfectly at the back.


Give the salute with a cheezy expression of hope and determination.


And stay tuned for the next instalment, Scheherazade and the Thousand and One VMD Harness Straps.

Kill la Time

I knew that if I started cosplaying it would open a can of worms.  There is sooooo much I need to post about.  I think I remember last time I promised I’d do a post on the Junketsu skirt, and now I’ve got the epaulettes to add to that, and I’ve also started an Attack on Titan costume which desperately needs a post because I levelled up and made a fully-lined jacket.  Every button buttons, every pocket, er, pocketses, and there was a grand total of zero cheating involved anywhere.

How has all this been accomplished around work and singing practice?  Well Victorian noise restrictions prohibit musical instruments after 10pm on weeknights, but seeing I’m technically not an instrument and I’m louder than most power tools (not even kidding a tiny bit there, I cruise at 95-100db and max out just over 110db), and the regulations on those say 8pm, I try my darndest not to sing after 8:30.  That’s when the sewing machine goes on instead.

It also might seem overwhelming because I’ve got a hell of a lot faster.  Partly because I’m actually doing things more efficiently.  Adding seam allowances to pattern pieces, for example.   I think not having to design is helping too.  I just look at someone else’s picture and work out how to make it.  As much as I love designing, from a sewing perspective this really helps because when I know I need 2.5m of caramel cotton duck/twill/light wool because based on the pictures that’s what a Survey Corps jacket requires, I can just get it and leave and then I’m not wandering around the Fabric Store for three hours patting things and dribbling and making no decisions.

So that Junketsu progress!  I’ll save the Attack on Titan jacket for another post.

With the skirt, remember how I said I was adding the side panels in last so that I could retain the clean line through the front pleats?  Well that was… interesting.



I went with my traditional by-the-seat-of-one’s-pants/visual-measuring method with pleating, after I wasted an hour measuring them out only to find they looked dorky.  It also gave me a chance to line up the edges as perfectly as I could and fernangle them in at the back and front where they attach to the existing pleats that had been cut in one with the bodice panels.  I can’t remember for the life of me how I did it now, but it resulted in a small extra pleat that pops out of the back pleats like so:



I lapped and topstitched it because I’m lazy and didn’t want to rearrange it once I’d got my pleats just so, and also to avoid any nasty puckery surprises that method may have thrown my way.  The topstitching also looks purdy and helps keep the seam allowances flat and out of the way.



Well, except where the princess seam is, but bear in mind that this photo is of a tiny tiny area, and this may or may not have been the light level I was working in (shut up.  I know it’s bad for my eyes, I swear I don’t do it deliberately, it just happens.)



In short, it was a frustrating process but the results were pretty good.  It even left me with lovely convenient little pockets to stick the ends of the gold bias binding in.  You may recall me saying I just pinned it all on there and went for it:


Behold the evidence.   Pro tip though, use small pins.  Preferably not the kind that are mysteriously blunt when confronted with more than one layer of fabric, but like freaking mini-scalpels when you accidentally get yourself.  Inevitable when you have that many pins in a heavy, bulky, curvaceous garment that you need to turn around six million different ways under the needle. The ends of my fingers look like Deadpool’s face right now.

And lastly the epaulettes.  I used a pair of my dad’s old boards that I had lying around (I think he gave them to me for a costume party in highschool), as a template and then rounded them out a heap at the ends.  I cut a heavy cardboard layer, and for the first one I sewed fabric covers on (the second one I got lazy and bought glue), and then painted them gold.  Then I got cheap piping cord and glued that on, also painting it gold so everything would match.  Buttons from a nasty old cardigan were added and painted too.


Then I hauled my butt out to Spotlight (it’s only like a twenty minute drive, I shouldn’t whinge), and got gold fringe (and now I’m wishing that I’d bought a roller foot for my machine at the same time, because I’m doing this right now instead of going to Spotlight.  Also because there are gas works going on in my street today and I’m not even sure I can get the car out).  Fortunately I’ve got a good colour memory so the colours are a perfect match.  Is colour memory like pitch memory, do you think?  I don’t need a tuning fork.  I am the tuning fork.  Can produce A 440 on demand so long as the demander is polite.  Anyway. I used a double layer of fringe on each one because one layer seemed kind of stingy and a double layer looked thick and luxuriant. I got a metre all up and had only 5cm left over, so it worked out well.  Neither am I regretting going to town on the length of the fringe.  I had my doubts in the fluorescent-light-bathed aisles of the Maribyrnong Spotlight, but if there is one thing that Kill la Kill cosplay should not be, it is underwhelming.


Then more glue and a mug-plus-gaffa-tape contrivance to allow it to dry.  And I’ve got to add, I have an ancient tube of this stuff called ‘Fray-Block’ which claims to ‘secure serged threads’.  I have no idea from whence it came, but it is magical stuff and it works a treat on say, cut edges of fringe and cord without resorting to the unsightly bulk of a big ol’ glob of glue.

DSC_1143Full credit to my lovely baroque flute friend for the epic tea-cozy.  She doesn’t just flute, she knits and sews and shoots arrows like a boss too (not even kidding, she shoots actual arrows).   And here is the Junketsu in its current state, just waiting for some finishing touches and an enormous pair of boots.  (You thought I was going to say something different there, admit it.)


Oh look!  You can even see a tiny bit of a certain jacket in the corner… I wonder what that could be for…  *sticks hands in pockets and walks away whistling in a manner both knowing and irritating*