Designing the Assassin (Ezio Costume Series Part 2)

Once I had identified the components of Ezio Auditore’s costume, it was time to develop the patterns.

At the time I began my work on Ezio I did not know how to draft my own patterns from scratch. Thankfully, I already owned a couple of Renaissance and Fantasy themed sewing patterns (Simplicity Patterns #4059 and #9887), which formed the basis of the Ezio costume. (UPDATE: Simplicity Patterns has change their numbering and 9887 is now #1582)

Simplicity 4059
Simplicity 9887

The following descriptions are in need of illustrations, but without a scanner I am unable to share my sketches and pattern alterations. I hope to add these down the road.

I traced all pattern pieces onto plastic sheeting (the kind you use to insulate your windows in the wintertime). You can use any kind of paper for patterns. But I really like the transparency and the durability of the plastic. I did a lot of retracing, recutting, folding, and taping. Tissue paper would have torn.

Sewing Tip! Sew a dummy garment, also known as a muslin to check that the pattern fits. If not, adjust. I took an old bedsheet and sewed a quick version of the tunic and the doublet. This helped me get the right shape and size for Greg.

Undertunic

[UPDATE: for an illustration of how I modified the tunic pattern, look here.]

The Undertunic = A (modified) sleeveless tunic (9887) + sleeves of a puffy renaissance shrt (Simplicty 4059)

To modify the sleeveless tunic pattern I did 3 things:

  1. I extended and curved the hem to match the Ezio screen caps. The front and back center points of the hem extend to mid-calf/shin, but the sides of the tunic hem only extend as far down as his knees.
  2. I opened up the front. Normally the front and back pattern pieces are cut “on the fold.” For Ezio, I cut the back piece on the fold (normal) but for the front piece I added a seam allowance (for a center hem) and cut out 2 front halves. Now, Ezio can don his tunic like a button up shirt. (See Post 3 for details on the buttons.)
  3. I made it skinnier. The width of a “small” (34-36 chest) tunic is 58 inches…not circumference, width. This width ensures that the original tunic can be taken on and off (over the head) easily. As you can see in the image above, the tunic looks fine, if it has a belt. I interpreted Ezio’s tunic as a long button-up shirt. As such it required a slimmer fit, which also helped it fit under the doublet.

Trial and Error was the name of the game when I attempted to add sleeves to the tunic. I took the sleeve pattern from Simplicity 4059 and reduced its width so it would not be outrageously puffy. Even though the tunic armhole and the sleeve were not a perfect match in terms of circumference, I simply gathered the extra fabric on the sleeve when I sewed it in place. This resulted in a “puffy” sleeve that is consistent with the Renaissance era of Assassins Creed 2: Brotherhood.

Cape

The Cape = HALF (one front and one back piece) of a short cape pattern (Simplicity 9887)

This was the easiest “adjustment” in the entire costume. I took the short cape (seen in the lower right of the 9887 pattern image) and only cut out one set of front and back pieces in the main fabric and the red lining. TA-DA! A half cape.  Although this cape does not have the same drape and flow that Ezio’s cape does, I am satisfied with it.

Be aware of “right” and “wrong” sides of fabric when you are only cutting out half of a pattern. I accidentally cut out a right front and a left back because I had not place the patterns on the fabric correctly. If it helps, cut out one side at a time.  This was a variation on the “measure twice, cut once” lesson.

Doublet

[UPDATE: For a illustration of how I modified the doublet pattern, go here.]

Ezio’s doublet was built on the bones of the Renaissance doublet I already made in summer of 2011 (Simplicity 4059). The first doublet ended up being too loose, so I used a smaller size to imitate the snug fit of Ezio’s doublet.

Once I had the doublet outline, I drew the sections to imitate the screen cap. I then traced over these lines and added a ½ inch seam allowance for each individual piece. The doublet ultimately included a dozen pattern pieces including the bodice, the collar, the shoulder flanges, and the hem.

(You might consider drafting the pattern to allow for pin tucks and then sew the pintucks down as if they were separate pieces. I am not sure sewing-wise this saves you any time. BUT it might save time cutting fabric, AND it might save you from the error of accidently sewing the seam allowance too much or too little and having the shape change because the size has changed.)

Ezio has a pretty large and flared-open doublet collar. The existing neckline of the Simplicity 4059 doublet needed some extra umph. Following instructions in a pattern design book, I cut out a rectangle that matched in length the circumference of the existing pattern neckline. Now I had a stand-up collar to work with.

If you have a background in sewing, I recommend picking up a book on pattern adjustments and design. I currently own and use: How to Use, Adapt, and Design Sewing Patterns by Lee Hollahan. When it came to adding the sleeves for the tunic and the collar for the doublet I referred to these books a lot. Admittedly this book is focused on women’s patterns, but many of the core techniques are the same for men’s garments.

Flaps

Based on where these fall on Ezio (brushing the knees) I estimated that the white and red ribbon flaps were 4 inches by 2 feet, and 6 inches by 2.5 or 3 feet, respectively. I used grid paper to draw these geometric patterns. I ultimately attached these to the interior doublet lining with large snaps.

Flaps, cape, and incomplete undertunic

The hood…

There is a hood pattern in the Simplicity pattern 9887 but it is a very loose hood with a pointy end. If you curve this, it makes the hood more fitted. I used a variation of Mueldex’s hood design. But rather than just sewing the lines, I made the front section from separate pieces. For this, I turned to forcebewitya to see the shape he used for his hood.

Ezio’s costume has a lot of curved pattern pieces, including the double hem and hood. Sewing curves requires a lot of pins to hold the pieces in place and patience. It might seem like the piece don’t fit, but trust yourself. I had to pause sewing to rotate the fabric and adjust the top fabric to keep from puckering.

Pinned hood, ready to sew

Check back soon for Part 3: Constructing the Assassin (fabrics, sewing techniques, and details).

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