Costume Diary: Captain Jack, part One

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Well, most of last weekend was spent in the creation of Captain Jack Sparrow's vest and shirt. I am only semi-happy with the results.

I found a lot of wonderful information about how to make Jack's costume from this site: How To Make A Captain Jack Sparrow Costume. When I was doing the original research for this costume two years ago, I also saved some really terrific photos of the original garments used in the film. I had originally intended to use a modern pattern and alter it to 18th-century cuts with my limited knowledge base, helped out by these photos and one pattern illustration of a man's coat that I found on the internet. (I don't know where all this stuff is now--I didn't bookmark any of it.)

However, when I was pattern-shopping a couple of weeks ago, I found Simplicity Pattern 4923--a passable replication of Jack Sparrow's garb. With a few alterations, it would be perfect. And score! It was only $1.99!

The vest turned out looking much more Will Turner than Captain Jack. I should have altered the neckline on the vest some. Also, if I remember correctly, the original film-used vest was unlined, but since the fabric I chose was fairly thin, I chose to line it anyway.

I purchased all this fabric in Peace River, and our selection up there was pretty limited, so the colours are not 100% on, either. I substituted the dark blue front of the vest for a lighter blue, and the brown-striped back of the vest for a gray-striped. In other words, the waistcoat--while looking fairly 18th-century--does not look much like Jack Sparrow's. Sigh.

For the shirt, I used the really amazing and authentic pattern found at Esoteric Creations. I find it laughable now that I thought that the pattern must be easy-peasy because it was created completely from squares and rectangles. Hah!

In truth, the pattern is not that difficult, but there are a few words of caution I would add to anyone trying it:

  • Remember to add seam allowances over and above what the measurements given are. This only became a problem for me on the cuffs, fortunately. Even more fortunately, Jack Sparrow usually leaves one or both cuffs unbuttoned, so this time around, it is not a big deal.
  • If you have never flat-felled a seam before, perhaps you should try making a swatch for practice first, instead of having to rip out your seams over, and over, and over...
  • Some parts, like the neck gussets, are actually easier to apply with hand-sewing.
  • Don't be watching really engrossing movies during it's creation, such as Pirates of the Caribbean 3, or you will have to rip out your seams and start over, and over, and over...
  • Try not to sew later than your normal bedtime. The later you stay up after that, the more mistakes you are likely to make.
Despite all that, the shirt was finished, and although made from broadcloth instead of linen, works well enough for costuming purposes. In fact, it looks comfy enough to be my night-shirt! (Ahem.)

To be continued...

Captain Jack, Part Two

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  1. Hey there Talena! Despite the fact that you are only "semi-happy" with the end result of the Jack Sparrow costume, I think it's a win-win. Let me explain. Your costume is to be Elizabeth Swann - or a similarity to it. Will Turner was Miss Swann's true love, if Jason wants to play Jack sparrow now and Will Turner "later" it's all good. :)

  2. Amanda - You make me laugh. :-D That's a good thing. In fact, every time I think about this, I chuckle again. Thanks!

  3. That's looking pretty spiffy there Talena! Love the buttons.

  4. I remember that sewing stuff...vaguely. I wish though, that we had digital cameras back when I was sewing for my lil fartheads. So many fun things they could have visual momentos of!

    Miss you! As usual. ; )


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