Monday, April 28, 2014

Femme Steampunk Darkwing Duck: Coat and Cape Mock-ups

So I've been very busy working on this costume.  As a reminder, you can see my previous posts on the subject here.

I've has a good idea of what I wanted for the coat for a while.  I wanted something vaguely similar to the Simplicity 2172 coat, with the underbust closure, but I wanted something more menswear styled with a double-breasted vest look.

So I did actually start with the 2172 pattern, leaving off the front pieces, and shortening it all around.  I added the double-breasted vest front.  I also added a lot more curve to the pattern because I am wearing it over a very curvy corset, after all.  I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do for the collar/top.  I am going to have a cravat with this outfit, so I felt like I needed something to hold the cravat in place.  I decided to try making the top meet above the bust.  I also changed the sleeves, adding more Victorian puffed sleeves.

My original mock--up was made from flowered sheets and I put this together by just basting bits and pieces of fabric together until I got something I thought might be workable.  I don't have pictures of it because it's SO ugly and it's now in pieces anyway.

The complete wearable mock-up.
I decided to make a wearable mock-up to test my new pattern.  I made it with some sheets I had lying around, but which would be actually wearable.  I also decided to test a somewhat unorthodox construction method I took from this article in Threads Magazine.  It was similar to the folded seam method I use to make corsets and I thought, "Hey, this will be a fast way to sew the outer fabric and lining at the same time!

Yeah, not so much.  I included topstitching, per the article, which means I sewed 3 lines of stitching for every seam, versus the two I would have if I'd sewn the lining and fabric seperately.  Plus the article makes no mention of how to finish the edges.  So instead of just stitching the two layers together around the edge and flipping it, I had to painstakingly hem all the edges.  It did NOT save time.
But ok, that's what experiments are for.  I learned what NOT to do.  I also learned that I need to interface the vest portion (DUH).  There are some changes that need to be made to the fit as well.  The shoulders are too tight for me to actually move in, and the band across the chest is too high and presses into my throat.

I'm also planning to add cuffs and collar to the final coat.  In truth the final coat is almost entirely constructed, but I'm on hold a bit until I decide exactly what I want the length to be.  The issue has to do with the cape.


I thought the cape would be the easiest part of the costume.  Make a cape...end of story.  Yeah, until I started looking into different ways to make a cape.  Half-circle, full-circle, triangles, trapezoids, shaped shoulders....

Since I dislike reinventing the wheel I decided to try out the free pattern from Fleece Fun for a Red Riding Hood Cape.  I liked the shoulder shaping on the pattern.  I printed the pattern and added 14" to make it longer.  This is what I got when I made it from from ugly garage sale sheets.

So there's actually a HUGE amount of fabric in this cape.  The pattern pieces are so wide at this point, that I can't make them any wider and still get them cut from my fabric.  I really like the fullness of this cape, but is it too short?  It's difficult to judge.  I don't want a full-length cape, but does it look silly to have a cape shorter than my coat?  The original Darkwing Duck cape is very billowy and distinctive, but I don't want something too big to handle and pose with for photos.  This cape feels very good, but does it look wrong?

So I appreciate thoughts on this.  


  1. I think that while it can work, it would look better (somehow more ..authentic? believable? These aren't the right words.) longer. Can you lengthen your mockup by adding an edge? 6" to a foot? (Or a foot and then shorten it for science.)

  2. While I don't think the length looks bad, I think a bit longer would be better. Maybe make pattern pieces a bit narrower so you can go just a bit longer than the jacket?

  3. I am always impressed by those who can make their own patterns! The waistcoat looks great, although I find it hard to imagine the floral cape mock up the right colour, ha ha. It's like his backup-backup-backup cape when all his others got ruined.

  4. Honestly, I think you have a lot of shoulder going on there. In comparing what you have to what the DD photo has, yours is more designed to hang over the shoulders while his looks more swept back - it doesn't look to me like his would have as much volume in the front, and I feel like the front volume wrecks the effect of the coat underneath - it's much harder to see.

    Poking around, I found this:
    Check this image -

    Obviously, you should do what you feel is right (and you don't know me from Adam, so it feels a little weird to be all "Hey! Do this!") but it looks more rectangle-y in that picture. It looks like a rectangle with a very exaggerated neck edge, which would give it the lay over the shoulders but keep it back off the body more. It's not as obvious in the pic you posted because it's supposed to be all dramatic and billowy, which is totally why I hate trying to costume for other people from anime or cartoon images; drawn things don't have to make sense. So it would suck to lose all the billow, but this still shot you've posted just looks totally like spectators won't really see the rest of the costume, which would be a shame. Even if you don't go straight-up rectangle, you might want to cut away some of the front volume and give it a more angled front opening, to show more of the underneath costume. How does it work in action shots?

    (Apologies if this comes through multiple times; it didn't look like anything was happening.)

  5. I think the finished coat is going to look really great - showing lots of detail and skill - and I wonder whether you could dispense with the cape altogether - basically its a drapey sheet and it will hide all the detail of your coat. What about instead incorporating elements of it (like the hot pink lining!) into the skirt of the coat? I'm not sure how well a cape will sit over those lovely sleeves or how you'll manage the neckline of the coat (high collar?) under the neckline of the cape (wide, shallow?). Good luck with the rest of your project!