It’s not like I’m completely done with my Bioshock Infinite costume or anything. But I have made significant progress this week. For me, it feels like things have started coming together pretty quickly. As a reminder, here is what I am making.
I thought some folks might be interested in the How Tos of pattern making, so I’m gonna write down my process. It does come with the following disclaimer: I have no formal pattern making training. This is only my second pattern (I drafted a couple Halloween costumes a while back, and the corset pattern with instructions). I go very much by gut instinct and common sense.
To make your very own Elizabeth (from Bioshock Infinite) costume:
1) Measure the following distances with your tape measure:
- Shoulder (at the armhole seam) to wrist
- Wrist circumference
- Forearm circumference (*also mark how far from your wrist you took this measurement)
- Above elbow circumference (*also mark how far from your wrist you took this measurement)
- Upper arm circumference (*also mark how far from your wrist you took this measurement)
- Armhole circumference (shoulder to armpit and around)
- Wrist to desired cuff end
- Back width
- Neck to shoulder seam
- Desired length of collar piece (around the back of the neck) – Can be done in two parts, the back of neck, and the front neckline pieces for either side of the jacket should add up to the total length.
- Side seam to desired front jacket opening
- Shoulder to desired front jacket length
- Back of neck to desired back jacket length (should be trying to match the front and back lengths appropriately)
- Waist circumference
- Skirt length
2) Used my cutting mat, drafting curve, and L-square to help me place lines on my tracing paper. Keep things as symmetrical as possible, but freehand where necessary. I draft each piece keeping in mind similar pattern pieces I have seen over time – such as the general bell curve shape at the top of a sleeve.
3) Remember to add seam allowances!!! 1/2 inch to all edges! More would not be amiss, as it is so much better for things to be too large rather than too small.
4) When you are done drafting, you should have the following pieces:
- Jacket front (half)
- Jacket back
- Skirt (1 piece along the fold)
- Waistband (1 piece along the fold)
5) Cut fabric for all of these pieces:
- 2 sleeves
- 4 jacket fronts (2 optional for lining)
- 2 jacket backs (1 optional for lining)
- 4 cuffs
- 2 collars
- 2 skirt pieces
- 2 waistband pieces.
- You’ll need interfacing for cuffs (2 pieces) and the collar (1 piece). I used extra firm interfacing, and a total of three pieces.
This is Part I of the saga. I’m already done with Part 2, and almost done with Part 3. I discovered a few other things I needed during the sewing process. I cut a piece for the bottom of the skirt edge out of the same fabric as the cuffs. I used the bottom edge of the skirt pattern piece to measure it, along a fold of the fabric. I cut two pieces, one for each side of the skirt. Then I marked two inch spaces along each piece, and scalloped the edges, like so.
If you haven’t already figured it out, I intend to use elastic for the waist of the skirt. So you’ll need to cut a piece of elastic for yourself as well. I’m using 2″ wide elastic, but any size you are comfortable with will work.
Next up … sewing!