So I recently fell in love with Persona 4 (the anime; I sadly don't have time to play the game. This is the price of vet school). Chie and Kanji are probably my favourite characters. I decided that it would be fun to make Chie's costume. A lot of my costumes are quite elaborate, and I wanted a simple, comfy costume in my collection.
I also decided to try to use recycled materials where possible.
To this end, I went to several thrift shops to look for ideal materials to make Chie's jacket. I settled on a men's sweater, and these two t-shirts. The sweater forms the base of the jacket, and the t-shirts are for trim and other little details.
I thought I'd share my process with you, so here we go!
1) Planning: Before you pick up your scissors, study the objects you've bought, and see how you can piece them together to make your costume. I had a plan in mind before I bought my materials, but it's good to adjust your plan once you actually buy your materials. The sweater I bought had a v-neck, and was very loose, so I knew that I'd need to take it in and remove the v-neck. I also knew that I would need to remove the sleeves to add the stripes and change the cuffs.
2) Deconstruction: Once you've had a good think and decided on your plan of action, you can start deconstructing your pieces as needed. I cut off the sleeves, and removed the cuffs. I put the sweater on a dress for (though if you have a friend to help you, you probably don't need a dress form), and took in the sweater, pinching and pinning the excess fabric. I measured and checked that my line was even, and I slowly cut away the extra material.
3) I decided to use the extra material to make the collar. In hindsight, I should have waited until I had more extra material, because my collar was a little short.
i. Take you excess material (cut from the front of the sweater in my case) and lay it out
ii. Cut out strips of material. I made mine 2.5cm wide (+seam allowance).
iii. Sew them together. I used a sewing machine and used a small zigzag stitch. Sew lots of these pieces together: it's better to have too many and to cut the collar to size later.
iv. Once you've got a nice big piece, measure and cut another piece of material that is the same width and length as your sewn-together strip. I used the green t-shirt material: it will be hidden when the jacket is done so it doesn't matter too much.
v. Turn your tube of material right side out: you now have the basic collar done.
4) Before I attached the collar, I decided to create the light green design on the front of the jacket. I used masking tape and chalk to map out the position of the patch. Once it looked right, I carefully peeled off the masking tape and stuck it to some paper to make a template. I added seam allowance and copied it on to my fabric. I also drew the template on to the jacket and cut out that material (leave seam allowances!). I used my overlock machine to sew on the light green fabric, but a sewing machine would work just as well.
5) The Collar: I pinned on the collar and sewed it on. You can use a zigzag stitch or an overlock for this part.
6) Time for bias tape. To make this, I drew lines at 45 degree on the yellow t-shirt fabric. I cut long strips. Make them a little bit wide, just in case. Then I fold over the edges and ironed them over. Ta da, bias tape!
8) Sewing the bias tape on to the sleeves was a little more difficult. If I had to do this again, I would get hold of some hem tape or good fabric glue and stick the tape down first to stop it from sliding about. Firstly, I found the centre of the sleeves, and marked out where I wanted to put the yellow stripes, using chalk and a long rules. I then pinned the stripes in places and carefully sewed along the edges of each stripe. Once the stripes were sewn on, I sewed on the cuffs.
Congrats, you've finished your jacket.