Introduction: Assassin's Creed - Jacob Frye Costume
This year my son wanted to be Jacob Frye from Assassin's Creed Syndicate. While there are commercial costumes of that character out there, frankly, they suck. Besides then I wouldn't have a halloween project this year!
The majority of this year's costume was designing and sewing. A couple parts were purchased (cane, belt buckle and hat). I don't have a lot of in process photos so I will try to describe my process the best I can. Enjoy!
Step 1: Gauntlet
The gauntlet was constructed out of EVA foam: 6mm and 2mm craft foam. All the parts of the gauntlet were glued with Barge Cement (ventilation very important). Make sure your knife is sharp when working with foam. I use an adjustable utility knife and sharpen often and replace the blade about once per project. To shape the foam I use a heat gun, a dremel and sanding sticks. Sanding sticks are made out of paint stirrers with sandpaper glued to them (tip from Evil Ted from YouTube). I have 400, 220, 120 and 60 grit.
I started with 6mm foam sheets and cut the main shape of gauntlet (the picture of my pattern piece is that vaguely upside-down U-shaped paper). The pointy side of the top is the thumb side (this gauntlet is for the left hand). The piece was then heat moulded by heating it up with a heat gun and shaping it by hand.
I used 1/2" fake leather belts for the straps also glued on with Barge. I punched some holes with my leather punch and added the 1/2" buckles to them. I added a 6mm piece of foam in the open part of the base piece of the gauntlet (the U-shaped part). There is a 2mm piece on top of the 6mm piece (the part painted gold). Most of these pieces were done free-hand so I don't have pattern pieces for them. A lot of the belt pieces on the sides have little triangle shaped pieces of 2mm foam on the ends. Each of these has a "rivet" made of a googly eye! To keep the googly eye from rattling I injected some clear school glue (white would work as well) with a syringe and needle. (Before anyone asks - I had them from having to inject a pet with fluids years ago, there is also a diabetic in the household). You could also let them rattle if you don't have a syringe, but it bugged me.
The other side has strips of foam to look like metal bracing. They also have a bunch of eye rivets. Same process.
The dart gun on the top was carved out of a couple of sheets of 6mm foam glued together. I used the dremel, but mainly the knife and sanding sticks. The base was formed with 6mm foam pieces in a box-like shape, but cut on an angle (look at the picture, I know that's confusing). The outside of I added pieces of 2mm foam with a cut out long oval shape to add green puffy paint to (for the poision, I guess). Two more eye rivets on the sides of the gun and a piece of a clothes hanger sticks out of the end bent in a circle. Use pliers for this - two pairs - and gloves. I added a small piece of foam about 1.5x2" inside under the gun to raise up the back of the gauntlet.
The base piece of the gauntlet was attached together on the bottom with pieces of elastic. Leave long tails of the elastic to glue on the foam and sand the surface of the foam where you are going to apply the glue.
The brass knuckle part was one piece of 6mm foam for the base, 4 ovals of 2mm foam, and 4 tear-drop shaped pieces of 6mm foam shaped and carved with the dremel and sanding sticks. Use the sanding sticks from lowest number grit (roughest) to highest number grit (smoothest). The more sanding the smoother they'll get. They will look fuzzy after sanding. To get rid of that use the heat gun or a torch briefly to melt the fuzz and seal the surface.
Once the foam is sealed with the heat gun or torch, I use Creature Cast - Neoprene casting rubber to seal it again. After using this you could use spray paint on the foam without it dissolving. I didn't, but you could. I prefer creature cast to latex because it's thinner and leaves more detail intact. You can also just apply it with a brush instead of spraying. The only thing is it doesn't really accept multiple coats. I then painted the whole piece with acrylic craft paint for the black and brown parts and liquid metal for the gold and silver parts. The green part as mentioned before is puffy paint.
All around the edges is a design made of puffy paint. I used black puffy paint and painted over it with black craft paint to take out the shine. I then dry brushed silver liquid metal paint onto the raised design.
The hidden blade was a project in itself, but it was actually completed two years ago. I used an instructable and another tutorial that I can't find anymore (or I'd reference it). It's based on a drawer slide. I modified the tutorial/instructable to have a plastic letter opener instead of a metal one since it was for a (then) 9 year old. This year I upgraded that piece with a foam shell, some eye rivets (small ones) and a new coat of paint. The back of the drawer slide has a layer of polar fleece glued to it because the original use was against the arm directly. I used this to sew on the d-rings to the back side of the hidden blade. I then attached velcro strapping to the gauntlet to attach the hidden blade with the d-rings. This made it way more successful than the previous life of the hidden blade. The whole thing was painted with gold and silver liquid metal paint.
Step 2: The Jacket
The jacket was complicated. I couldn't find a pattern that was the right shape for the coat (in kids sizes). I started with a pirates coat without a collar (Simplicity 3644, out of print pattern found on ebay). That gave me the shape of the coat. I drafted a collar from scratch using a couple of tutorials online (http://www.burdastyle.com/blog/learn-how-to-draft-a-notched-collar). I used another patterns instructions (https://shwinandshwin.com/2014/12/boys-blazer-pattern-day-1.html) for the order of the steps in sewing the collar. The collar had to have a matelasse stich (essentially quilting). I put two layers of iron on fleece inbetween the collar and the facing and sewed lines through all the layers right side out both directions giving me the diamond shapes. I did this on all of the collar and the edges of the coat in the back around the split. Then I ironed on two pieces of fleece to the back of the jacket on the inside and added another piece of pleather to cover it. I added the matelasse stich to this as well. For the rest of the jacket (besides the finishing touches) I followed the instructions in the pattern. On the back I added three strips of thicker pleather to the top right hand side of the matelasse panel. I used rivets to attach the strips through all layers. I then added a belt to the jacket. We purchased a cheap black fake leather belt for this. I used the thicker pleather to make belt loops. I cheated and glued these on with barge cement - worked like a charm. I adjusted the size of the belt to fit the jacket and not hang too much. It's not supposed to be buckled, just to hang there. I riveted the belt to the jacket through the back two belt loops. The other belt loops got rivets, but they didn't go through the belt. These are real metal rivets rather than googly eyes! To attach the rivets you must punch a hole through the fabric/pleather. I used a leather punch that is spring loaded but there are also ones you use with a hammer. There is also a kind you can use with belts that's shaped like pliers, but that won't work for the middle of the back of the jacket. Once the holes are made you attach the two part rivet to itself and then use the rivet tool to hammer it to compress it. Not sure I'm using the right terminology for that, hopefully you get the idea.
Step 3: Waistcoat
For the waistcoat we special ordered fabric from Darayacrafts on Etsy. It matches the fabric worn by the actual character. It was the most expensive fabric purchased, but it looks great. Alternatively you could use a green brocade, I suppose. I hand-made silver piping with satin fabric and piping cord. (There are plenty of tutorials out there that teach this so I'm not going to go into the details). The waistcoat was made with pattern Simplicity 8023, except I drafted my own collar again and added a REAL welt pocket rather than a fake one. I took the welt pocket instructions from the same pattern as the collar instructions (https://shwinandshwin.com/2014/12/boys-blazer-pattern-day-1.html). I also made the waistcoat a little longer than it called for so it would show out the bottom of the belt (which is large). I sewed on three silver buttons at the end and we added an Assassin's Creed pocketwatch to the pocket and wrapped the chain around the top button.
Step 4: Shirt, Ascot, Top Hat
This one is pretty simple. I used http://www.peekaboopatternshop.com/classic-oxford-button-up/ for the shirt. It's made of tissue linen, i believe. It may have been better to use a thicker linen, but this felt softer and that's important to my son. I exaggerated the collar slightly since it needed to stick up. The collar and facings, collar stand, etc have iron-on interfacing. This is my 2nd dress shirt I've made, but this one was fancier. I felt it needed the details of the collar stand, etc.
I used pattern Simplicity 8023 for the ascot. I made 2 actually. The first one was too stiff (raw silk). It needs to be silky fabric to lay right. The second one was a blend and slightly stretchy, but I forget it's makeup. As a note: Jacob Frye doesn't wear it "correctly." His is loosened and lower.
The purchased top hat came with a black ribbon band around it. I covered it up with the red fabric I used for the ascot. Purposely wrinkled and wrapped around - I hot glued the fabric to itself and added a folded piece over the raw edges. The hat was also too big for my son (it was the smallest real top hat we could find. I didn't want a "prop" one). We added a strip of 2mm foam on the inside of the hat brim so it would sit on his head right.
Step 5: Herringbone Pants
The pants are a herringbone pattern material. I used this pattern to make the pants: https://www.craftsy.com/sewing/patterns/classic-pants-for-boys-sizes-2-to-11-years-/507047. I added a fabric covered button to finish them off. This is the first time I've done a pair of pants with a zipper and pockets, but I felt those details were necessary for this outfit. It would've looked weird with an elastic waist all the way around instead of just in the back.
Step 6: The Belt
The belt assembly is mounted to a 2" strap and plastic buckle so it stays the same each time and you doing have to buckle a bunch of buckles. The red fabric from the ascot and hat band were a little thin (because they needed to be silky) so I added a layer of iron on fleece to the fabric to stiffen it up. The belts are riveted to the fabric and strap in a couple of places. The buckles are not actually attached properly because the leather straps I purchased were too thick to bend around the buckles. So the buckles go through the hole in the leather and are sewed onto the red fabric. The other strap is riveted under the buckle to look attached. The extra parts of the leather strap are glued to the strap underneath with barge.
We purchased the fancy belt buckle from XiaShop from Etsy. I didn't have the time to learn casting resin on top of all this designing and sewing. I attached it to leather straps using barge and rivets. Had a hard time keeping the leather bent around the buckle without the rivets. Real rivets not googly eyes!
All the belt buckles were sewn in place to keep from sagging. I tried to connect the fabric with velcro but it wasn't strong enough to withstand my son bending and stretching. So I added elastic to clamps (like used in mitten clamps or size adjusting straps) and clamped it to each end of the belts. This way it connected the fabric and belts but it gives when he moves and bends. He said this belt was much more comfortable than the Ezio belt from a few years ago (which was huge).
Step 7: Necklace
Jacob Frye wears a necklace made of an 1844 Shilling. We purchased an 1844 shilling from ebay. I used a metal drill bit and machine oil (to cool the bit). The bit was a DeWalt DWA1204 1/16" Pilot Point Industrial Cobalt Drill Bit. I did not have a drill press so I taped the shilling to a board and clamped the board to a table. I used a hand power drill (DeWalt!). Squirt some machine oil and make sure the drill bit is running at full speed when you start drilling. It goes way faster than everything I read led me to believe. It was pretty easy. Once the hole is done I used a jump ring to attach the shilling to a leather cord then tied the leather cord with white string to make it look like Jacob's necklace. I tied the leather cord to itself in a way that makes the necklace adjustable.
Step 8: Boots
We bought a pair of used boots from ebay for him to wear, but they needed to be taller and have buttons running down the side. I had to cut off the buckles on the boots and then I made the boot tops to add to them. They consisted of heavier pleather (not as thin as the jacket and not stretchy). I made two rectangles and made them taper a little so the bottom part is slightly smaller than the top. I sewed them right sides together, flipped them right sides out and sewed up the holes (actually I cheated and barge cemented the holes because it works so well with leather and pleather). I then made 12 pleather covered buttons. I bought a button covering kit. You cut a circle of pleather (this was the thinner pleather from the jacket) put it on top of the little flexible cup, push the button into it, wrap the fabric around the button and put the back on using the little plastic pusher. It's way easier than I imagined. Then comes the hard part of sewing on 12 buttons by hand (UGH) all down the edge of the boot cover. After that I sewed on one side of the velcro and used barge to attach the other side. This was under the buttons so I couldn't sew it on at that point, but I didn't want to see the lines of stitching on the front anyway, worked really well this way and held better than I thought (Barge never disappoints!).
Step 9: Hood
The hood is made out of the same herringbone material the pants are made out of. It has ribbon sewn around the edges. I attempted to make bias tape, but the fabric I picked wouldn't crease. So I resorted to black satin ribbon for the trim. I used this pattern: https://rosslrp.deviantart.com/art/Jacob-Frye-Hood-Pattern-PDF-Click-for-more-587273790 for the hood.
Step 10: Kukri!
Last, but not least, is the Kukri knife! This we made entirely from scratch. It's constructed of EVA Foam. The handle is 4 layers of 6mm foam and the blade is 2 layers of 6mm foam. They were constructed in two halves with a fiberglass rod inbetween from the handle to the curve in the blade. In the pictures it's received some "love" already as the paint is chipping in a couple places. I did not have a chance to test out clear coats before it started being played with! It's between clear plasti-dip or a varnish of some sort - research is being done. I will update when I decide on one and test it out. As you can see in the pictures, the handle and the blade were each made in two pieces that would fit together with some overlap for stability. The pictures are showing the gluing stage right before inserting the fiberglass rod and gluing the halves together. The halves have a groove sanded out of the middle where the rod is going to be placed. I use a blade and a dremel with a sanding drum for that. Once glued together I continued to carve and shape the handle and blade. Make sure to use a sharp knife for carving or it will look like it got chewed up. Then use a dremel sanding drum or set of sanding sticks to smooth and shape. Use them in numerical order (60 grit, 120 grit, 220 grit, 400 grit). 400 is the smoothest of my sticks. Same for the blade - I used the utility knife and the sanding sticks to make it look like it has a sharp edge. Any seams that aren't as smooth as desired you can use kwik seal on. I used it on the end of the handle and around the top of the handle. It takes awhile to dry. I added a couple strips of foam to the handle and a couple of googly eye rivets. I use clear school glue in a syringe to stop the rattling of the eyes. I carefully cut out two Assassin's Creed logos from 2mm craft foam for the sides of the handle. Use an exacto knife with a new blade for this. It's better at detail than the utility knife. To make the blood groove (I think) in the blade make a shallow cut in the foam and then heat it with a heat gun slightly. It will broaden the cut. I added a half oval to each side of the blade by the handle and cut two notches out of the blade.
Heat the surface of the kukri slightly to seal the surface. Then I coated the whole thing in Creature Cast - Neoprene Casting Rubber. (Spray paint safe now, but I didn't use that). The handle of the kukri was painted with several shades of brown and black acrylic craft paint to look like wood. The strips on the handle, the end and the logo and rivet eye are painted with liquid metal gold paint. The blade is painted in liquid metal silver paint. Then I did a light black wash over the whole knife and wiped it off (it remained in the crevices and details like the blood groove, around the notches and logo). Helps to make it look aged.
Step 11: The Rest
The cane was purchased. If I could do it over (maybe someday) I'd build it myself. We had to purchase 4 (returned 3). They would break if you looked at them. Some arrived broken. It was a mess. The last one was checked for functionality and then it remained in the box until Halloween night.
The gloves were a pair of vintage leather women's gloves (so they almost fit my son). We cut the fingers off of one glove and left them on the other. I added a piece of elastic to the wrist to hold them on better.
There's an extra belt around his leg. I believe this is to hold the Kukri perhaps? I used a ready made belt we owned already, but I believe it came from old navy originally.
We purchased an Assassin's Creed pocket watch for him to use and wear in his pocket of his waistcoat.
The makeup: We created the scars on the cheek and eyebrow with liquid latex and a thin brush. I added a little mac concealer to match his skin tone (fortunately we have similar skin tones). We used a dark brown shadow first and then we used a mascara brush and dark brown eyebrow color to make the beard. You basically try to color any facial hair that is naturally there, but I also did some stippling (dotting) with the brush to make it look like a stronger 5 o'clock shadow than a small 11 year-old typically has! I strengthened the eyebrows and the sideburns with the eyebrow color as well.
The hair: His hair was colored with Fanciful rinse-in color in Black Rage and Manic Panic Dye-Hard Black styling gel. His hair was slicked back with a little bit over the ears. It got everywhere. I think next time we'll go for semi/demi-permanent color and then strip it out with stripping shampoo afterwards.