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.
First, BEHOLD IT IN ITS FINISHED GLORY!
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.
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.