Monday, August 8, 2011

More Detail Than You Ever Needed

Here are some construction notes on the Anders costume, for anyone who's interested. I think this is the most complicated character I've ever done.

The Top Coat

Or whatever you want to call this. The bolero? Anders' bolero is made of a single layer cotton bottomweight twill from Joann Fabrics, because I wanted it to breath. I used black twill, and then I used color remover to bring it down to a worn charcoal gray. I started with the same pattern as my Gaius Baltar coat (Butterick 3927), except I lengthened the collar, shortened the coat, and skipped the lining.

I made the piping myself, using some gold lining fabric from my stash, and this piping twine (size 1). I have no idea how one is officially supposed to make piping, I don't really understand how one makes corners, but I used a zipper foot on my sewing machine and... whatever you call the stitch where the needle is over to the right instead of in the middle.

Since the Renegade Coat is closed, I added a jacket zipper to the middle (it's hidden under the piping). Then I put in interfacing and sewed in the edge detail using a very short wide zigzag stitch (eg, the poor man's satin stitch).

And his collar. Oy. I know there are supposed to be two rows of pips on his collar. I tried to make two rows of pips on his collar, but those little pips were a bear and after a lot of frustration I had to give in and accept one row of pips. They are made out of the same satin as the piping, turned into applique using some iron-on interfacing, and then sewed down for security with a satin stitch.

There might have been an easier way to do this. I think gold fabric paint stenciled on with freezer paper might have looked great, for example. But this is how I did it, and so I only have one row of pips. I think they look pretty okay anyway.

That snap there is to keep the feathers in place (more on that later).

The Long Coat

Or, the under coat. This was made out of black upholstery-weight ultrasuede, also from Joann Fabrics. Upholstery fabrics go on sale for half price all the time there, don't ever pay full price. This required about a yard and a half.

I made the pattern myself using some cheap fabric I had lying around, just a basic robe out of three pieces, and then when the coat was made, I topstitched a grid pattern using gold thread. Anders' coat in the game actually has a more complicated square pattern... but I wanted to finish this in this lifetime.

I also didn't want to spend a million years putting rivets in this thing, so I cheated and used mini brass brads from the scrapbooking section of Michaels instead of rivets on this part. They can snag but it took me 20 minutes instead of hours. I used real rivets on the tabs on the front (rapid rivets from Tandy Leather).

And the gold strip in the front is the same gold lining material as the piping.

The Belt

I used the same ultra suede material for the belt, reinforced with heavy interfacing and topstitched with gold thread. The brass rings are from a leather supplier on ebay, here. I used the 2.5" size for the belt (one in front and one in the back) and the 2" size for the little dangling rings near the boots. I used black buttons to hold it together, because that's what I had around.

You can also see here the other side of the brads... yeah they are really brads!

The fabric in the middle is a lightweight quilting cotton. I tie-dyed it using black RIT to give it a faded look, and I don't think it was entirely successful but it looks interesting.

Armbands and Other Details

Although you could definitely just tie fabric around your arms and hope for the best, my experience is that tends to fall off, so I sewed these together to look tied. The fabric was white muslin, tinted off-white with strong coffee so that it wouldn't glow on camera. I spent a lot of time dying fabric on this costume, actually...

The leatherette for the guard is Cordoba Brown, which I also used for my Mission Vao boots and I love. It's goes right through the sewing machine and is super cheap. I used the same vinyl for the canteen and the belt pouch.

The Feathers

The feathers look really impressive, but this was probably the easiest part of the costume. They are just two layers of black hackle feather trim (two yards total), sewn onto a piece of black fabric. The gold chain is just a basic chain from Michaels jewelry section. I hid a snap under the chain to keep the feathers where I wanted them on his shoulders.

Sorry about the camera strap in the picture, there...

The Boots

The boots were the last thing I did and I love them. I spent a lot of time looking at military boots, and I almost bought some really expensive goth boots until I found these, cheapy cheap ultra suede boots. I bought the biggest size, which fit Geoff fine.

I cut the boots free from the lining, so that they weren't slouchy any more. Then I cut a slit down the front, hemmed the edges, and sewed in a tongue (that I made from that same ultra suede above). Then I added eyelets (the large gold ones from Joann Fabrics), and connected them with wide elastic bands.

I sewed the elastic down, just to secure the eyelets (those buggers always pop out). Geoff added some inserts for extra arch support, and then the boots were actually really comfy.

...and I think that covers it for the clothes. I'm impressed you read this whole thing!


i wish i had a penguin friend said...

you inspire me! How do you find the time to make all this cool stuff?!?!

Donna said...

I'm working on a cosplay for my daughter that involves knee high lace up boots, thank you for the great tutorial on modifying an existing pair!

Anonymous said...

Seven years later, just wanted to say this is super useful and thank you for all the details!