Cosplay: Becoming Sera From Dragon Age: Inquisition (Part 2)

So I promised a part 2 to my adventures in sewing and crafting to create my Sera from Dragon Age: Inquisition costume, so here it is. Things got a lot trickier after I finished the base shirt and leggings. Have you seen the detail on Sera’s jacket? It’s INSANE:

Sera

And I had to figure out how to do that! Fortunately, I found a tutorial that got me through the front of hte jacket just fine. Basically, I wrapped my dress form in plastic wrap and then wrapped that in masking tape. Then I drew the front pattern onto that and then cut it down the sides (to make a front and back) and then cut out the individual pieces. I used those plastic/masking tape patterns plus 5/8″ seam allowance to sketch out the pattern on my fabric and then cut it out.

But then, I had no idea how to actually sew the thing together. I found a tutorial that walked me through how to sew the pieces together, but I can’t find it now (I think maybe the site has gone away – boo). However, it did take me a few tries because I realized my topstitching is horrible (and in the end, I decided to go with black thread, rather than white), so it’s really a trial and error piece. Anyway, the key is to figuring out in what order to sew each piece. And unfortunately, I don’t remember that order. But basically, you sew the pieces together as you would any other pattern and then use top-stitching on the outer edges. I used a great sort of stretchy pleather fabric I found at JoAnn‘s, but be sure you have the right needle for that.

Sera vest

The tutorial, though, skipped right through the back, which is much more difficult. In the end, I sketched it out on the plastic/masking tape pattern, then I traced those pieces on cardstock plus a 5/8″ seam allowance and figured out the order in which they had to be sewn. However, the smart thing I did was create a back to sew the pieces onto, which saved me some time and effort. Here’s the work in progress:

Sera Vest

It came out really well, though, and surprisingly, I didn’t have to pull a single stitch and start over on the back:

Sera Jacket

Once done, I cut the vest down so that it was the right length (just under the boobs) and hemmed it. I also carefully measured out and did the strips that make up the armholes.Next

Next up, were the frog closures on the front. I looked around for closures that were close to what Sera’s looked like (with two circles on each side), but I couldn’t find anything that was remotely close. So I said, “How hard could it be to make frog closures?” Because I’m crazy. So I bought some thin cord and figured out how to make the closures look the way I want. Basically, you create each side, by twisting the cord and sewing it in place, and voila! Frog closures! Just google “frog closures” if you need to see specifics. I then sewed those onto the vest.

Sera vest

Sera

That left the strap that hangs from the bottom of the vest. Now, I’m not even sure what the purpose of that strap is, and I quickly discovered that in the reference images, that thing defies gravity. I “think” it has something to do with the quiver, but as I later learned, there was no way that would actually work in real life.

The straps were easy to sew, and I added another homemade frog closure to them. But to get them to sit up higher on the shirt, I had to defy gravity by safety pinning them to the shirt from the inside. In fact, that’s pretty much my answer to everything: safety pins!

Sera

The final piece to the vest puzzle are the shoulder tabs. Those were problematic for me because I was using such a lightweight material that studs you would normally use on leather wouldn’t work well. I also had a problem actually finding studs. In the end, the only thing that look best were snaps. I didn’t use the complete snap, but just the shiny heads, and the cool thing is that you can get a kit with a little plastic tool that makes putting them on really easy. So I cut long rectangles out for the shoulder tabs, sewed all but one end together, shoved a small piece of craft foam inside to give it more shape and then sewed the loose ends on to the vest’s collar.

Sera vest

So that’s the vest, and probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done with a sewing machine. But the details in that are something people have commented on, so the work (and tears – there were many tears when I started on the front of it) and cost of extra material (I underestimated how much pleather that tiny little vest required), was totally worth it.

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