Part 4 of the Construction behind my Shannan, the Daughter of Allon costume.
This was undoubtedly the most unique and hardest part of the whole costume. I searched high and low through my references to find something that would work against the stereotypical female doublet grain. I knew I wanted the bottom to be longer and the top more simplistic, but things were starting to look hopeless as I racked my brain trying to come up with something. My beginner skills at costume design were starting to show. During a google image search I happened across an illustration that became my design focal point
Sadly I cannot find the the artist who did this piece so I can give proper credit (if you know who did this, please leave me a comment so I can credit them!). I’ll admit that I copied down the jerkin almost exactly, mainly because I was trying to figure out how the artist designed it in the first place.
I had an intention to change the shape once I figured out the final design, but the more I worked with it, the more I thought it fit Shannan’s design. In the end, I kept the shape of the illustration’s jerkin, but changed quite a few other things. The changes made were:
- The lacing was replaced with D-rings and straps
- The jerkin’s bottom were cut into side flaps only to protect the hips rather than a full skirt
- Top was raised higher to protect the collarbones
- Different colour and fabric
The pattern, on the other hand, turned out to be a headache. It was nigh impossible to find a pattern anywhere near my sketch. We scowered through every pattern book we could find as well as online. I even bought a dress at Forever 21 that I thought might work, but ended up not being the right cut (sadly, I couldn’t exchange it back for cash to put towards the costume). After a couple weeks of searching we returned to Goodwill and found a long dress that had some close seam lines. It wasn’t completely ideal, but it was the closest we could find.
Using me as a mannequin, Mrs. Elrod drew the lines on the bottom of the jerkin that we would use to cut out the final piece.
Mrs. Elrod then cut out the silken lining from inside the suede jacket and cut off the arms. When I returned the next day, we went to work on adjusting the coat to fit me. We also discovered that the coat pockets were cut shallow. We weren’t sure what to do with them, so put them on the Do-Later list and continued on with the adjustments.
Mrs. Elrod then penciled in where the middle trim would run for the straps to be attached to.
We adjusted the front middle and back middle seams to overlap (as stated before, the jacket is entirely too big for me). The sides were also taken in lest the dreaded ‘tent’ form under my arms. The jacket was to fit snugly, but not form-fitting. In the beginning of the book, Shannan is still hiding in the woods and attempting to hide herself from prying eyes. This includes hiding her shape to a point to disguise her feminine nature. Now, this was a bit troublesome for me as I am 21 years old and Shannan is 15. As such some of my curves were going to be harder to hide than others.
We put the pink pattern over the coat (along with the costume pants and boots, which I’ll be discussing in another post).A few weeks later Mrs. Elrod had transformed the cut up Hening coat into the final jerkin, complete with trim, D-rings, straps, shoulder pads (yep,…shoulder pads. Apparently my shoulders are a littletoo feminine for a strong archer like Shannan! ), and a bum-flap. I hadn’t drawn one in the design, but when we actually looked at it on me, the pattern just didn’t feel right. I’m rather partial to the bum-flap now. It, plus the flaps on each side make the jerkin feel like it has a bit more of a nature-inspired leaf pattern.