Yikes that really leaves it quite open - with a challenge like that you could literally make anything you want - as long as you can spin the story right. So the question was do I try for the story first - or just come up with an outfit and then work backwards for the story.
The more I thought about it the more the idea of a big winter coat got stuck in my head. My good big winter coat seems to have shrunk (it couldn't be that I've put on weight - no I'm sure it's the coat that has shrunk) and I've been thinking for a while about making a new one. Maybe I should bite the bullet and use this as an excuse to make a new one......and I've always wanted to try a Doctor Strange big pointy collar.
So I decided to go for it and spent Friday afternoon and evening designing the coat I wanted then muslining the coat pattern to make sure it would fit and figuring out how to make the new collar that I wanted.
Then I had to sit down and think about what I was going to make to go with it. I knew I didn't want anything too hard - it was going to be hard enough finishing the big coat in the time frame. So I sat down and sketched out an outfit.
It took a couple of iterations but finally I came up with something that was 1. something I would actually wear (no costumes allowed per the rules) 2. Comfortable 3. relatively easy.
The pants were pretty easy. I've been wanting to make a pair of joggers for a while so I decided to go with that. I then added pin tucks diagonally across the front of the thighs from Start Lords costume.
I found a picture of The Ancient One from Doctor Strange with this really cool pleated effect on the front of her shirt and I decided I wanted to try that on my top.
I spent the next couple of days sewing without break before I finally managed to come up with a back story for my outfit.
From my entry:
As per usual the challenge for the sewing bee really made me stop and think...Superheros. What is it about superheros that appeals to me? After much consideration I realised that the superheros that I am most drawn to are not the ones who are all good, but rather the guys who started off bad but in the end have made the choice to do the right thing rather than just taking the easy way out.
Doctor Strange...When we first meet him he is an egotistical, arrogant man. Yes hes a great surgeon, but he's not really a great guy. It's only through his journey to find magic that he learns to think about others before himself. In the end he chooses to fight against the dark dimension allowing himself to be killed time and time again until finally Dormammu agrees to bargain.
Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy was raised by the ravagers - an interstellar crime syndicate comprising of thieves, smugglers, criminals, bandits, mercenaries, bounty hunters and pirates. But despite his "upbringing" he chooses to fight against Thanos in order to save others.
Black widow, was raised as an assassin, but chooses instead to fight with the avengers.
And that is when it hit me. Superheros are not always born good, they are often just regular guys who,when it counts, choose to do the right thing even when its not easy, even against all odds. And in the end that is what makes them superheros...the choices they make.
So how do I translate my idea of superheroes into an outfit for myself. If I work from the premise that superheros are born from the choices they make then that means that for me to be a superhero in my life, I have to make the right choices rather than the easy choices. A superhero will often choose to put others before themselves, think about the greater good. Have I ever done that? In general I've lead a pretty easy life, I've never really been tested, but one of the biggest choices I've had to make in my life was the choice to move my family from Australia to the north east of the US. Now I'm an Aussie girl through and through. I love the warmth, the sun, the beaches, the outback and I hate the cold. ...with a passion. So for me the idea of living in a place where it is cold at least 9 months of the year was hard.....but it was the right thing to do for my family! And so I made my choice. And now, for me, my superhero fight is against the thing that I hate the most...my own personal villian.....The Cold...
Everyday in winter I have to make the choice to get up and get the kids to school. I have to shovel out the driveway and battle the ice to get to the grocery store. In order to do that I need a superhero outfit and what is better in a fight against the cold than a full length winter coat.
Now a coat is not an outfit by itself so I also needed to make something to wear under my coat. Obviously it needed to be warm, but it also needed to be comfortable. I wanted my superhero outfit to be something that I was able to throw on in the morning without too much thought, something that I could wear no matter what was on the agenda - cleaning house - sure, teaching STEM - great, getting in some exercise - totally, delivering meals on wheels - no problem. So I decided to make a pair of pants and a long sleeve shirt - my standard winter wardrobe. Relatively simple, but made unique through the addition of some superhero design elements.
My superhero coat is based on the standard super hero cape. However I'm not making a costume here, I wanted wearable so I decided to make a full length coat instead. (That will also be warmer giving me better defence against "the cold"). To retain the swish factor of a cape I went with a full skirt, fit and flare style coat and chose the McCalls pattern 7478 as my starting point. I then wanted to include a big stand up collar like Doctor Strange's Cloak of Levitation. I also added shoulder epaulets inspired by the coat worn by Star Lord and used the same fabric to add a few more armour type details at the cuffs, hem, pockets and back.
When it came to designing the shirt knew I wanted a really strong detail at the front neckline to peak out of the coat and found a photo of The Ancient One in Doctor Strange wearing a shirt with a pleated V shape at the front. My shirt is self drafted from my sloper and then modified to include a center V panel of pleats . To balance out the strong design at the front I decided to add strapping to the sleeves as found on Doctor Strange's costume.
For the pants I wanted a relaxed fit and went with a basic jogger style pant to which I added pin tucks diagonally across the thigh similar to Star Lords pants in Guardians of the Galaxy. My pattern was again modified from my basic pants pattern which was originally based on the Old McCalls pattern 9517. For my superhero pants I removed the center back seam and tapered the legs in before finishing them off with a cuff. To make the pants and top cohesive I used the pleating detail from the top on the back of the pants pockets and added a stripe of the contrasting fabric down the outside of the pants.
The pants and top are made from coordinating fabrics so when worn together they give the impression of a jumpsuit like Black widow, or Gamora would wear when fighting bad guys.
The outer fabric of the coat is an upholstery fabric of unknown origin. I'm assuming its a poly of some sort, although it did press very well during construction so maybe there is some wool in there! The fabric is a brick red colour and has a basket weave pattern woven into the front side.
The coat is then interlined with fleece and then lined in a satin jacquard fabric in a rich blue colour with gold medallions woven into it.
The red fabric for the coat was chosen based on Doctor Strange's Coat of levitation and the blue lining was chosen as a nod to the typical superhero colour combination found in costumes of superheros such as Superman and Spiderman.
I then used a vinyl fabric with a basket weave texture in bronze and brown colours as an embellishment. I chose this as it have a very armor vibe to it.
The shirt is made from two different fabrics. The first is an active wear fabric in black with a faint grey diamond pattern on it, and the second a royal blue knit fabric, this has a crushed texture that has been created by lightly smocking the entire material (The material came that way I did not do any smocking this time). The sleeves are underlined in a blue cotton jersey for additional warmth.
The pants are made from the same royal blue fabric but with a black sweater fleece for the main parts.
To make the coat I started with McCalls 7478, view A.
I cut a size 14 around the shoulders, neckline and armhole grading out to a 22 in width for all pieces. During fitting I found that I had to take the coat in about 1/4" along the princess seams front and back from just below the shoulder to just after the waist. The center back seam was then taken in about an extra 1/4" at the waist. the overlap at the front of the coat was removed to add in the front zipper.
To get the collar that I wanted I added extra height to the collar flaring it out as much as I could at the free end and creating the sharp point at the front and then started playing around with the dart that shapes how the collar is attached to the body to make the collar stand up like I wanted. In the end I ended up eliminating this dart and instead added a seam that comes right around to the center front of the coat. The collar then starts right down at the center of the body, curves gently up to the ears and then creates a sharp point and wraps around the back of the head. I love this collar and it's dramatic effect, but should I not feel up to it I can wear the collar folded down against the shoulders.
The collar is lined with the same red fabric and a heavy weight interfacing was used on the outside layer of the collar. Horsehair braid was also added along the top edge and down the points to make sure the collar can stand up on it's own.
The sleeves - I eliminated the cuff that was specified and cut the sleeve off at the wrist. I then added some of the accent fabric to create a new cuff and lined the cuff with my red fabric.
I eliminated the pockets specified by the pattern and instead once the outside of the coat was finished I added welt pockets using the accent vinyl as the welt. The pocket bags are made from a cotton off cut.
The inside shoulders of the coat are finished with a sleeve head and a slight shoulder pad.
The epaulets are simple rectangles with rounded corners sewn to a backing of red fabric and then hand stitched in place over the shoulders.
A strip of the accent fabric has been used to decorate the back of the coat. This is hand sewn in place with two buttons.
The front of the coat is closed using a 24" separating zipper with a red tape and gold metal teeth. The zipper starts about halfway up the collar and extends down to about mid thigh.
The interlining of the coat is exactly the same pattern as the main coat but without the collar pieces.
The lining of the coat is exactly the same pattern as the main coat minus the collar, but with a 1" pleat added to the center back seam The lining and interlining attach to the collar and down the inside of the zipper and is understitched in place.
To finish the bottom of the coat a 4" wide strip of the red fabric (cut to fit the curve of the bottom of the coat) is sewn to the bottom of the lining fabric and finished with a simple machine sewn hem. The bottom of the main fabric is also turned under and stitched and then a 4" wide strip of the accent material (also cut to fit the curve of the bottom of the coat) is top stitched in place over the bottom edge of the coat.
To begin the creation of this shirt I used my basic moulage.
The pattern for the back is taken directly from my moulage but with a V neckline (to allow room for my head as the front neckline is quite high)
For the front I rotated all darts into side darts and then cut a V into the top of the front piece starting at the shoulder and ending just below my bust. This would be the pleated inset. The pleated inset was made by creating doubled over strips of my blue material and stitching them onto a backing piece overlapping at the center front. Once this was made I sewed it into the front piece, added my darts and sewed back to front. The sleeves are underlined with another blue jersey material and I used the same active wear material as for the front and back to create 3 straps that wrap around each arm. These were top stitched in place on the flat sleeve and the sleeve was sewn up and set into the shirt. The shirt is finished with a blue band around the bottom.
The neckline is finished with a small 3/8" facing of the black material that runs around the back neckline and around the backing fabric underneath all the pleats at the front.
Unfortunately something went wrong with my drafting somewhere and the front piece ended up with really strange wrinkles under my breasts. In order to eliminate these I had to take a dart up the center front of the shirt from the lower hem to the bottom of the V. This means the shirt has ended up tighter than I originally intended.
I started with the last iteration of my pants pattern. It began life as McCalls pattern 9517 but has been modified so many times now that I don't think anyone would recognise it. For this version I eliminated the back seam - which unfortunately eliminates the lovely shaping around the butt and now I have wrinkle butt again!
I also tapered the leg in significantly to create a slimline look to the pants. I then added a 2" stripe of the blue down the outside seam taking 1" off both the front and the back pattern pieces to accommodate the stripe.
To create the pocket I cut pocket bags out of the same plain blue jersey I used to underline the sleeve and then used the same technique as for the top to create pleats with one side running up and down the leg and the other parallel with the pocket opening. However here I stitched each of the pleats together as I didn't want my fingers getting caught in any pleats when I put my hands in my pockets. The pleating was sewn into the top corner of the pocket bag and a final pleat was added to the edge of the pocket to tie it all together.
To get the pin stripes on the thighs I drew parallel lines on the front pants pieces then folded carefully along those lines and stitched a 1/8" seam along each line. This shortened the length of the front pants piece by about 1" which I just took off the back leg length to match.
I added a blue waistband with 1.5" wide elastic at the waist and 3" wide blue cuffs to the bottom of each leg.
Overall I'm quite happy with the outfit - It does tend to come off a bit costumey, but certainly each piece separately is something that I will wear. The pants and the coat especially have already been worn numerous times - and I've only had them made for a week.
|With the Collar turned down|