A while ago I modified a cheap sweatshirt into an assassin jacket for fun. Immediately when I wore it I felt immersed in the world of Assassin's Creed, which I had been playing on a constant basis for about a month. It's hard not to feel like a bad-ass when you dress like Altair. I made the whole thing up as I went along, so I had no photos of the process to post, but I knew I wanted to share a full instructable eventually.
This time around I tried to make the process a bit more concrete and replicable. I put together a pattern and a process, but it could still use some tweaking. Despite a few hiccups I think it turned out pretty okay, and hopefully could benefit other fans who like to inject a little gaming into their reality.
Step 1: What You Need
- Hooded sweatshirt
- Matching sewing thread
- Hand sewing needle
- Sewing Machine (optional but recommended)
- Seam ripper
- Paper (large sheets)
- Scissors (for fabric and paper)
There's something important to look out for when you get yourself a hoodie. When selecting your sweatshirt make sure that the hood has two layers of fabric. Many hoods are made with a lining which is the same as the outside of the hood turned inward. This is where you will be getting the extra material to build the iconic eagle shape.
Step 2: Building the Pattern
Turn the hood inside out (so the seams stick out) and fold it in half. Set it down on a large sheet of paper and trace around the edges. This is the basic hood pattern we will modify. On your tracing, measure 9" up the back edge from the bottom and leave a mark. Go to the front edge and mark 12 1/2" up from the bottom. Connect these marks with a line that curves gently at the back end, and straightens out toward the front. Cut this shape out as the pattern for the sides of your assassin hood.
The next piece we'll look at is the panel that lies on top of the head. This panel follows the same curve you made on the previous piece of the pattern. Fold a piece of paper in half, and mark 2 1/2" away from the fold. Lay your previous template panel on top of this folded paper. Align the front top corner of this pattern to the mark you made on the folded sheet, two and a half inches up from the fold. At the same time, place the top back corner on the fold. Trace the curve you established earlier onto the folded paper. Cut the folded paper along this line and open it up to create a symmetrical shape.
Draw this panel along a straight edge of paper, at least 15" in length. Start with a width of 3" at one end and taper it down to the other end. If you are using a pullover hoodie, bring the width down to 1 1/2" at the other end (including the striped out area shown). Start the curve around 7" or 8" away from the thinner side. If you decided on a sweatshirt with a zipper, then taper the other end down to nothing, as shown with the line drawn (cut off the striped off area).
The pattern for the beak is just a right angle triangle, with one leg 3 1/4" long and the other 4 1/4".
Step 3: Cutting
Lay your side panel pattern down along the edge of the material, matching it to the shape of the hood it derived from. We will want a seam up the back edge of the hood anyway, so we can save ourselves some trouble and use the one already there. Secure the pattern down with pins, penetrating the paper and both layers of fabric. Use a lot of pins to make sure not an inch of material shifts while you're cutting. Push the heads of the pins in to make sure that no pins cross over the edge of the paper.
Start cutting the fabric following the edge of the paper with your scissors. Once the shape is free from the rest of the material, unpin the paper and you should have two layers of fabric in the shape of the pattern you mapped out.
The next largest pieces you will need are the front panels. Lay the pattern down close to the edge of the fabric, leaving your self as much room as much extra fabric as possible in one piece. Follow the same pinning and cutting steps as the last panel. You will need to do this twice, leaving you with four panels in this shape, half of them the mirror image of the other two (I messed this part up and had to improvise with leftover material). Again, as you are laying down these pieces try to leave the rest of your material in one large piece to cut the rest of your pattern pieces out of.
For this piece you only need one layer of fabric in this shape, so go ahead and use your seam ripper to separate the remaining seam on your material so you can cut only one panel of fabric. Pin down your top panel template and cut around it, still leaving as much extra material as possible to trace the next pieces.
Follow the same procedure of pinning and cutting with your paper triangle. The beak is made up of four of these triangular panels, two of them a mirror image of the other two. Only two of these will show, so if you have enough fabric left over you could cut out only two of these right triangles and one isosceles triangle panel that is the equivalent of two of the pattern triangles back to back.
Step 4: Stitching - Top Panel
Be sure to remove your pins once the stitching is complete.
Step 5: Stitching - Front Panels
Take two panels that are the reverse of each other and pin them together, good sides in, matching their outlines together. Stitch down the long, curved side of the panels 1/4" from the edge. Remove the pins and do this again with the remaining two panels. When you turn these right side out you should have a seam in the shape of the curve you mapped out, with the straight edges free.
Turn what you have of the hood so far (the sides and top panel) right side out, and pin the free straight edge of one of the front panels to the hood's side edges. They should be right sides in. Make sure the wide edge of the front panel is oriented at the top of the hood, and the thin end is at the bottom. Match the bottom edges together and leave any excess length of the front panel at the top of the hood. Stitch up the edge 1/4" away from the edge as you have been so far. Do the same on the other edge of the hood using your second front panel.
Take the free edge of your front panel and bring it inward, turning the seam in the middle right-side out. Fold in the free edge about 1/4" and pin the folded edge to the inside seam that attaches the front panel to the rest of the hood. Cover up any raw edges with this fold as you pin it down on top of the seam. To make sure this next stitch doesn't show up on the outside of the hood, pin the fold to the raw edge of the side panel so that the stitching of the seam is just visible. When you make this next stitch you are stitching the folded edge just outside of the stitches already there, so it does not poke through to the outside of the hood. Stitch this edge down using a slip stitch. Do the same for the panel on the other side.
A ladder stitch is a type of hand stitch that allows you to stitch from the outside of a seam without the stitching being too noticeable. Poke the needle in and back out along the folded edge of fabric. Then reach across the seam and poke the needle into the other piece of fabric, aligned with where the needle passed out of the folded edge. Bring the needle back out on the same side of the seam and reach back across to the folded edge and repeat, leaving the thread running parallel lines across the seam. Pull the thread tight to bring the to halves of the seam together before tying off.
You should now have the front panels attached to the hood without the raw edges showing on any seam. On the outside of the front panels, add a stitch running 1/4" inside the curved edge. This stitch is just for show.
Step 6: Stitching - the Beak
You should now have two larger triangles. Match up their edges to each other and pin them together, good sides in. Stitch down the sides but leave an opening on the long side for you to turn the beak right side out again.
Remove the pins and turn the shape inside out through the gap you left. Now you can seal up the opening with a slip stitch. Finally, run several stitches on the outside, following 1/4" away from every seam on the beak. These stitches are purely for aesthetics.
Pin the beak to the front of your hood, placing the long edge on the top panel and joining the sides of the triangle to the two front panels. Once you are happy with the shape and placement, stitch it down with a slip stitch.
Step 7: Stitching - Reunion
If you are following the pullover pattern for the front panels, you should be left with a split of rectangular fabric at the front of the neck. Use a slip stitch to join those together and form one strip swooping down across the neck and up the sides of the face.
Step 8: Revelation
Walk the streets for information. Stalk your target and blend with the crowd. Learn to strike from any direction with deadly force. Pursue your quarry like a bird of prey. Sit on benches looking really serious! You are an assassin. You work in the dark to serve the light.
Safety and peace.