Get ready for this one, it's a bit long. Here I've taken a sweatshirt and used it to create the pattern for Mokoto's jacket from Ghost in the Shell. I was able to complete this jacket in 20 hours. I'm not excellent at sewing and didn't have instructions, so hopefully you can do better! Be sure to glance at the notes below before you begin.
Materials you'll need:
- 5 yards dark olive ripstop nylon
- 5 yards orange or yellow ripstop nylon
- 3 yards brown or dark green rib-knit fabric
- black thread
Tools you'll need:
- heavy duty sewing machine recommended (it will be very tough to sew the collar, cuffs, and waistband without a heavy duty or better)
- seam ripper (trust me, you'll be doing some ripping)
- I highly recommend a rotary cutting tool and cutting mat
- Iron and ironing board
1. I found that a wash and dry of my jacket caused some torn seams. My plan to fix this is to over stitch the seams with a nice zig-zag. I was planning on doing that from the start anyway. You may not like the visible stitching, so using some interfacing between the layers at the seams will help. Also, using zig-zag stitch everywhere will help.
2. Sleeves suck, just try to ignore any imperfections there.
3. You'll notice that I added an extra pocket to the outside of one sleeve. It can be as simple as a square of fabric (edges hemmed) sewn onto the sleeve.
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Step 1: Make Your Pattern
I didn't capture many pictures of this, but there are lots of instructions on the web about how to make a pattern from a shirt. I used a sweater that fit well and had the approximate shape I wanted the jacket to have. The basics are:
1. Turn the sleeves inside out
2. Trace around the front of the sweater
3. Add a 1" seam allowance around what you traced
4. Cut out half of what you traced on the seam allowance line (only use half so that both sides of your fabric come out symmetric). You don't need seam allowance down the middle of the pattern since you won't be putting a seam there.
5. If your front and back of the sweater are different then flip it over and repeat steps 2 - 4
6. Untuck the sleeves and trace them. Add a 1" seam allowance where the sleeve attaches to the jacket and along 1 edge of the sleeve. You'll be doubling up your fabric, so you only need seam allowance on 1 side. You don't need allowance on the cuff because we will be creating some extra long cuffs for this design.
- I couldn't find pattern paper, so I used packing paper. Just don't get anything too thick or too thin. Slightly more flexible than printer paper is what you're looking for
- My pattern had the shoulder seam in front of the actual top of my shoulder. I suggest you don't bother with patterns like that, just put the seam at the top of the shoulder.
- If you can make your front and back pattern the same, then you only need to trace once and only have 1 body piece pattern to deal with
Step 2: Cut Your Fabric
Since we created 1/2 patterns for everything our fabric always needs to be double to get a whole piece at the end. Cutting out the fabric is easy:
1. Fold the fabric in half so it makes a piece that your pattern fits on nicely. You can cut your bulk fabric down to roughly that size to make it easier to handle
2. Iron the fabric flat, especially the folded over edge
3. Line up the center edge of your pattern with the folded over edge as shown in the picture. If you don't do this then the fabric will come out in two separate pieces, and that defeats the purpose of this method. If you do it right, your piece will come out as 1 symmetric piece that looks like the front of the sweater you traced.
4. Pin the pattern piece to the fabric carefully, making sure there aren't any wrinkles
5. Cut out the fabric
You'll have to do this for front/back/sleeves of the inner and outer shells. In my jacket you can see the outer shell is all dark olive green and the inner is yellow.
Step 3: Sew Some Fabric Pieces
This is one of the easiest steps, enjoy it while it lasts. Be sure to use some fabric scraps to test out your thread tension before you work on the real piece.
1. Pin the front and back fabric pieces together from the waistline up to the armpit on both sides (see "Pockets" below if this is an outer shell piece)
2. Use a straight stitch, "edge of the foot, edge of the fabric" as my home-ec teacher always said. Sew both sides.
3. Pin the front and back shoulder seams from the collar to the arm hole
4. Straight stitch them up
Do this for the inner and outer shells.
The sleeves need to be sewed up along the long edge (obviously you're not sewing the cuff or arm hole part shut). Use a straight stitch the same as the body pieces. Repeat for all 4 sleeve pieces.
If you want pockets in your jacket, then you'll need to make some rectangular pouches. I'm not making specific instructions because this is pretty straight forward. Measure across the widest part of your hand to make sure your pocket opening is at least that large. With two pouches made, turn them right side out and position them along the outer body shell seam where you think is appropriate. One side of the pocket pouch gets pinned to the front of the body and the other side gets pinned to the back. When you sew, sew the body pieces together on either side of the pocket first, then come back and sew the pocket to the front and back of the shell. Add some reinforced stitching to the seam just above and below the pocket for strength and to seal up any holes that might still be there.
Step 4: Attach the Sleeves to the Body
Pay close attention to which side of the fabric is facing out from here on.
1. With the body piece wrong side out and the sleeve right side out, feed the sleeve through the arm hole of the body. Make sure the sleeve's seam is facing toward the waist of the body piece
2. Roughly arrange the sleeve so that the bottom lines up with the bottom of the arm hole of the body. The top of the sleeve probably doesn't fit exactly with the top of the arm hole, and that's ok. Keep moving the top of the sleeve further toward the collar until it fits well. If it never seems to fit, then you may need to rip some of the seam down on the bottom of the arm hole, or re-evaluate your sleeve pattern.
3. With the sleeve where you want it, pin the top and bottom temporarily and trim off the excess fabric.
4. Pin the front of the body to the front layer of the sleeve and the back of the body to the back of the sleeve. Double check that you aren't going to sew the arm hole shut.
5. Straight stitch around the arm hole. There will be places that the fabric seems to bunch up. My only tip for this is to unpin it and let the fabric move a bit to where it likes. That helps prevent wavy looking seams on the arm.
Repeat this for all 4 sleeve pieces.
Step 5: Create and Attach the Collar
Creating a nice fitting collar may take a few attempts. You want a collar with a smaller diameter at the top and larger at the bottom, so it hugs your neck when zipped up. That's easier to do than expected:
Create the Collar Piece
1. Measure your neck about where the top of the collar will sit by wrapping a measuring tape around. You may be tempted to tie a noose at this point, but resist the urge. We are almost done, I promise.
2. Lay out your rib-knit fabric to cut a rectangle that is 2 inches larger than the measurement from your neck. The other dimension depends on the thickness of your fabric and how tall you want the collar. My fabric needed to be folded over into 4 layers to feel the right thickness. I wanted a minimum 2 inch tall collar. So, the formula is: 2" collar height * 4 layers = 8", but you need seam allowance of 1"....8 + 1 = 9". For my collar I wanted a 14 inch neck opening at the top. That made my final dimensions 16" x 9" for the fabric piece.
3. Fold over your fabric piece to make a rectangle in a way that the top edge is just 1 nice continuous fold (you don't want to see a seam at the top of your collar). Iron it down flat so it is easy to pin and sew up the short ends.
4. This is the step where we make the top of the collar smaller than the bottom. If we sew the seam in the rectangle straight up the short ends, then we just get a rectangle. To make it trapezoidal in shape, just measure 1" from the edge on the top side (the side with the nice folded edge). You will sew the seam from that 1" point to the corner on the bottom. I recommend using a zig-zag stitch for extra strength and to allow some stretch, too. Do this for both of the short edges of the rectangle
5. Cut off the extra fabric on the seams that were just sewn. Leave 1/8" minimum next to the seam so it doesn't tear out.
If you did it right you end up with a trapezoid with the long side open and the other 3 sides closed.
Attach the Collar
There are two ways to attach the collar, the way I'm showing here hides the seam completely so it won't be scratchy on the neck. It's much easier to just use a standard method of attaching, though. If you want to do the easy way check out how the cuffs are attached later in the instructable and just do it that way.
1. With the collar right side out, mark the 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 points along the bottom edge of the collar.
2. With the inner shell wrong side out and the collar right side out, pin half of the collar layers at the start of the collar to the center line of the front of the inner shell on the inside of the shell fabric. That's a lot of words, have a look at the picture for help.
3. Pin the collar's 1/4 point to the shoulder line on the shell (this should be where the seam is). Be sure you're pinning only half of the collar's layers and the same layers you pinned at the start of the collar.
4. You'll notice that the collar is shorter than the shell fabric, which is great because your collar will make a nice snug fit on your neck. Pick up the fabric at the first pin with one hand and the 1/4 way pin with the other hand. Stretch the shell fabric until the collar is tight to the shell. Use some free fingers to grab the center point between the two pins. You can let go of everything except that center point, and then add a new pin to the center point (remember only half of the collar layers get pinned).
5. Repeat this process around the rest of the collar using the 1/2 and 3/4 marks you made earlier. I found it easier to pin 1/4 of the fabric at a time and sew just that much.
6. Once you have half of the collar's layers sewn to the inner shell, the outer shell must be inserted inside the inner shell (outer shell is right side out, this is like having the jacket inside out and the layers on inside out as well).
7. Pull the outer shell through the collar enough that it can be "easily" worked with. It's going to be bunched up so it isn't that easy. Start pinning the free layers of the collar to the outer shell in the same way as you did for the inner shell.
8. Sew the layers as you go or all at once, up to you. Be sure to stretch the fabric tight as you sew, all the fabric should lay nice and flat as it goes through the needle.
9. Once the collar is sewn all the way around invert all of the fabric layers to end up with a pull-over style jacket with no cuffs or waistband. Go ahead and try it on, I definitely did at this point.
Step 6: Cuff Him Dan-O
The cuff length on this design is extra long. No matter the length of your cuffs, the process is the same.
Make the Cuffs
1. Try to close up your palm as much as possible (try pulling the first knuckles of your thumb and pinky together), then measure around your hand. This will get you roughly the shortest length your cuff needs to be in order to fit over your hand. If you have a really large watch, you may want to measure around the watch instead.
2. Lay out the rib-knit fabric to cut. Remember here that you will need to fold over the fabric some number of times to make it feel thick enough. It should be the same number as the collar. I had to use 4 layers. The cuffs in my design are 6" long, but the fabric needs to be 6 * 4 = 24" for the 4 layers. My hand measurement was 7" and we need to add 1" for seam allowance (consider not adding seam allowance if you like very tight cuffs). That makes the final fabric 8" x 24". Cut out two pieces this size.
3. To get 4 layers just fold the fabric over twice in the long direction to end up with a 6" x 8" piece. There should be one 8" edge that is a single folded edge like the collar (that will be the outside edge of your cuff). Iron everything flat.
4. Fold the fabric in half on the 8" length to end with a 6" x 4" piece.
5. Pin the 6" side with all the open ends and sew it. Optionally use a zig-zag stitch for strength. You should end up with a cuff that has two nicely folded edges, one long edge sewn, and one short edge of open layers.
6. Repeat for the other cuff.
Attach the Cuffs
1. Make sure your jacket is assembled with the inner shell inside the outer shell and the sleeves pulled through so that there are no twists. Everything should be right side out as if you were going to wear the jacket.
2. With the cuff wrong side out, slide it over the jacket sleeve. The open layers of the jacket and the cuff should come together and the seam of the cuff and jacket sleeve should be on the same side.
3. Pin all of the cuff and jacket layers at the seam, then stretch all of the fabric so it is flat to determine where the top of the sleeve and cuff are. Pin at that top point. Stretch and pin as many other times as you feel comfortable with.
4. Sew around the cuff. I found it easier to see what I was doing by sewing from inside the sleeve as shown in the picture. Be sure to stretch the fabric tight so it lays flat as it passes under the needle. Optionally use a zig-zag stitch for strength.
5. Repeat for the other cuff.
Step 7: Add a Pocket Support Stitch (optional)
In some jackets the pockets are loose inside the layers. You'll see that when you wash the jacket the pocket comes inside out or gets twisted up inside. To prevent that, just put a small tack stitch between the inner layer of the jacket and the top corner of the pocket. Make sure you lay the jacket nice and flat, stretch out the pocket and smooth the inner layer, then pin the pocket. A short back-and-forth with the sewing machine is all that's needed.
Step 8: Waistband
This one is short and just like making a really long cuff. You're an expert at this by now.
1. Put the jacket on.
2. Figure out where you want the waistband and mark that on the jacket. It may be at the bottom of the fabric or it may be higher. If it's higher, then just trim off the extra fabric after you're done with the next step.
3. Measure around your waist at the point you have decided the waistband will be.
4. Take the jacket off, or don't....you will have to when it comes to attaching the waistband, but live it up while you can.
5. Measure out your rib-knit fabric (I want 2" waistband and 4 layers thick): 2 * 4 = 8, 8 + 1 seam allowance = 9". My waistband required 27" x 9". You may want to take an inch or two from the waist measurement if you like the waist to be tight.
6. Fold the fabric over so the long edge is one continuous fold and sew up the short ends. Don't forget to iron it flat before pinning and/or sewing.
7. With the waistband right side out, mark the 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 points just like the collar
8. With the jacket right side out and the waistband right side out, pin the start of the waistband to the center line of the jacket as shown in the picture. All of the loose layers of the waistband and bottom of the jacket should be lined up with the waistband laying over the jacket.
9. Pin the 1/4 mark of the waist band to the seam at the side of the jacket.
10. Start stretching the fabric and pinning like you did for the collar and cuffs.
11. Sew as you go or pin and sew the whole thing at once. Be sure to stretch the fabric tight so it lays flat as it passes under the needle.
Step 9: Hidden Pocket and Zipper Guard (optional)
Both of these pieces are individually optional. I'm going to give instructions on how to do it together, but I trust you can figure out what to do without one or the other.
Create the Zipper Guard
I measured from the top of the waistband to the bottom of the collar for the length of my zipper guard. It can really be any length you want, but it doesn't make sense for it to be under the collar where it will annoy your neck. Make it rectangular, trapezoidal, or rounded however you want. Mine is roughly 24" long, 2.5" wide, 4 layers thick, with 1 layer of interfacing at the middle (so really 5 layers). I added a diamond stitch pattern by marking every 2 inches and sewing diagonally to every other mark.
Create the Hidden Pocket
The hidden pocket can be any size you want. In this design, the pocket is meant to hold a legal size envelope vertically, with half of the height sewn up so nothing falls out of the bottom. Make the pocket by cutting out twice the length of fabric, folding it over, and sewing two ends closed.
Step 10: Put the Zipper In
This can be a really simple step if you are not doing the zipper guard or hidden pocket. In that case, just pin the zipper to all the front layers (as shown in the picture), cut the front of the jacket apart between the zipper halves, and sew it. If you want the extra fancy stuff then see below:
1. Pin the zipper halves back-to-back on the front layers of the jacket. Pay attention to which half of the zipper is on what side of the jacket. When it's finished the zipper halves will fold in, so you can do a little imagining how it will look when finished to figure out which way makes sense for the zippers.
2. Cut the front layers of the jacket apart. It should be very obvious where the center of the jacket is as the waistband and the collar have splits in them at that point. Feel free to try on the jacket again at this point to make sure everything looks like you wanted...not that you can do anything about it unless you really like seam ripping.
3. Pick a side for your zipper guard and pocket (I'm going to show you how to do them on the same side but they don't have to be). Pick a place for your pocket. Unpin the zipper at that point and pin one layer of the pocket to the zipper and outer shell layers only. The pocket will be facing the opposite way as the zipper with most of the pocket hanging out into space. You should also place pins through the zipper and outer shell layer just above and below the pocket to keep everything together while you work.
4. Sew the pocket layer, zipper, and outer shell together. Zig-zag stitch for sure since this is a zipper.
5. Lay the zipper guard over the zipper, over the jacket layers not hanging out into space, and pin it into place. Remove the existing zipper pins as you go. When you're done there will be a stack of zipper guard, zipper, outer shell, and inner shell (from top to bottom). One section will have the pocket hanging out into free space, too.
6. Sew the zipper guard and zipper to all of the front layers of the jacket, but DO NOT SEW WHERE THE POCKET IS. Nobody you know accidentally sewed this pocket shut....never happened...
7. This is a bit tricky, so keep a close eye on the pictures. Tuck the pocket inside the jacket layers. Fold open the zipper guard to better see what's happening and pin the zipper guard, jacket inner layer, and loose pocket layer. You want the seam hidden on the inside of the jacket, there will be a visible seam just inside the pocket though.
8. Sew up the layers you just pinned
9. Pin the zipper, outer shell, zipper guard, pocket, and inner layer as far as you'd like it to be closed and sew it all together. This should be done with the zipper and zipper guard folded over the jacket the same way as when you sewed the zipper guard the first time.
10. Zig-zag stitch the other side of the zipper to the front layers of the jacket.
Step 11: Only Twenty More Steps
Put on your jacket and a silly face, you're done! Nice job!