Coat Pattern and Fabric Selection

The first step of coat construction is to select a good pattern and fabric to match the character. Although this is a remake of an existing costume, I'm going to cover the logic that went into the pattern selection for the first coat. I will also cover the fabric selection process with insight into both the first and second pattern selection.

Pattern Selection

The first problem encountered in the construction of a jacket is the selection of a pattern. Because of the limited amount of men's patterns available, you will most likely need to modify an existing pattern slightly to fit the look you are going for with your costume. As an example, this is Rei Ryugazaki from Free! the character whose jacket I am making.

My first step in picking a pattern is to review the line art drawings for the available patterns and try to select a pattern that has an appearance as close to the original pattern as possible. I am looking for the seam locations, number of seams, and the general fit of the jacket to match the reference art as close as possible. I am less concerned with matching the shape of the bottom corners, lapel shape and sleeve finishes as these are easier changes than trying to add/remove or move a seam. The pattern I settled on is Burda 7046. As you can see the seam locations look to be the same as on the reference art and as an added bonus the lapels look to be roughly the same. I will have to change the bottom edge of the jacket to be square instead of rounded but this is a simple fix. The only other change is to alter the pockets to be welt pockets instead of the flap pockets included on the pattern. This is simply a case of using a different technique when making the pockets but the change to the coat itself is minor.

Fabric Selection

The next step is to select an appropriate fabric to use in constructing the jacket. The first place I start with this is by reading the back of the envelope for the suggested fabrics for the pattern. This will at least give me a starting point. The pattern recommends fabrics such as linen blends and lightweight wools. However, because this was a school uniform (and this was meant to be a quick, cheap costume) we decided to use a polyester blend suiting fabric. This seemed an even better choice as it matched the material that is used to make a lot of school uniforms. However, I found that it was very difficult to work with and really wanted to try making another jacket out of a material I liked better.

Due to the nature of the costume (it was supposed to be a school uniform after all) I decided to still stay away from the expensive wool fabrics and go with a cotton twill. This isn't the first choice for traditional tailoring methods, but provided me a low-cost fabric to try out some of the techniques on. After this jacket, I plan on making another one out of wool fabric.