The cut of the coat may look pretty standard, but it is to an old fashioned pattern, so try as you might you won’t find a match on any typical high street anytime soon.
Don’t get me started on the fabric used, as you really won’t find anything that comes close to matching its weave and look.
That said a number of canny cosplayers have found three-quarter length smart coats which block out the shape and style of the Frock Coat pretty well. They aren’t 100% right, but once worn with a bow tie and waistcoat and brandishing a sonic - the effect comes together!
A good friend of mine has sent me one such coat and has asked me to revamp the collar with some appropriately coloured corduroy fabric I have left over from making my own screen accurate coat.
Applying this is actually very easy - so long as you know what you’re doing.
Here is how I did it, pulling in some of my hand tailoring skills to give it a professional finish but using surprisingly simple techniques.
All it involves is CUTTING, a bit of MACHINE STITCHING and then a little HAND STITCHING to finish it off.
First we need to work out how much cloth to cut.
Lay the collar out flat and measure the length, adding 2 inches for either end.
Then measure the height, adding an inch above and a good 2 inches below.
Next I lay the corduroy right sides up and position the collar right sides up also with the edge of the collar close to the edge of the fabric.
A coat collar often has a gentle curve to the edge. Don’t worry about this - just lay the collar flat.
I pin the collar points, and the space between. Notice the pins are at right-angles to the collar edge.
I start on the corduroy, catch the collar, then overshoot and finish on the corduroy the other end. This helps anchor the stitching and will not show.
With the pins at the angle they were, I was able to sew without removing them and avoided the machine needle breaking if it were to hit the pins.
I then return to my cutting mat and trim the excess corduroy along the length of the collar. It’s best to leave as much fabric beyond the collar points for now. it can always be trimmed later.
Next I need to press the fabric around the collar to bind the edge.
First with the collar right side up, I flap the corduroy underneath away form the collar, pulling it tight along the stitched edge and firmly press. I am pressing from this side so the pile of the fabric doesn’t get crushed.
I am going to use this to my distinct advantage as you will see later, but first I must establish the edge of the gorge - the join between the collar and lapel leading away from the notch.
I do this at both ends and pin along the machined roll line, keeping the fabric flat and tight form the already sewn edge of the collar.
That’s the last of the machine stitching needed to do the collar, and what you should have is the corduory bound around the long edge of the collar; the fabric attached along the machined roll line; the edges folded under along the gorge and caught by the machine roll line stitch; and rough fabric along the bottom edge with two points at the collar ends.
All of the rest of the collar is now hand stitched, but it is really simple to do.
This is were sewing the roll line pays off.
The public face of the collar has already been secured top and bottom and I am now only tethering the one inch or so along the neckline.
This is the most time consuming part of the job - but once you get going it doesn’t take too long really. You don’t need to make the stitches too close together, say around 3-5mm apart is fine.
The corduroy can be quite forgiving and you should find your stitches disappear into the pile of the fabric.
With the collar face down, fold the excess which forms a sort of tab around the front edge of the collar and press very firmly.
Cut away the tab, leaving a 1 inch flap.
Inside the tab trim away any excess of folding to stop bulking.
Then carefully stitch the tab down to the under collar (usually a felt fabric) making sure you do not come through to the front.
One final press of the whole collar FROM THE REVERSE SIDE - don’t go pressing the corduroy or you could ruin it - and you are all done!
Compared to how it looked before, it makes all the difference to cheap coat for the budget cosplayer.
Just so you can see, here is before and after.
If you gave this a go I’d love to hear how you got on and see your end result.
Drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
to share your experiences.