This was supposed to have been a prototype for my winter Matrix coat, for fit. However, I got what I wanted out of it part way through, fitting the top properly, so I improvised some design to it rather than the all black Matrix coat. Next thing I knew, I got a coat I couldn’t let go and ended up with what I call my vampire hunting jacket for its strategically placed silver highlights, by which vampires would be repelled.
Besides fit, this jacket served to test my idea of a cheap, triple layer, light winter coat. The outside would be windproof and at least water repellent, if not resistant. The lining was going to be anti-static and ultra-smooth Bemberg lining, for beautiful feel but also to guard against electrocution from the ugly Arctic fleece that was going to be sewn on to it. Ugly fleece because it wasn’t going to be seen and was going to be cheap given nobody in their right mind would buy it to wear it visibly. I got it for like $4 per metre. It all worked very well, this triple layering technique with the Bemberg only approaching the Bemberg edges so that seams did not include the fleece to remain a manageable thickness. It’s just too bad that for the prototype, I went with cheap black denim I found that wasn’t all that water repellent. But maybe there’s hope with some spray. I’ll definitely look into it soon!
I serged most of this jacket, rather than sewed most of it, by serging and turning most pieces inside out before closing the hole on a natural seam that also got serged. However, I did most of that at the very end after the thought and design were created.
The first design deviation from the all black Matrix coat was to put some highlights on it. White was the obvious choice to contrast, as I like contrast in my highlights. However, on a coat, I figured it’d get dirty too easily. After flipping through the colour rainbow, I went out of the box and thought of silver. I knew I had silver fabric, but dreaded the thought of having to make a long strip of highlight as you see on my jacket. Just as a crazy notion, I searched to see if there were silver bias tape, the exact thing I needed. Sure enough, there was, and a girl name Pika at Atlantic Fabrics worked hard to find me some since it was buried away and lost somewhere. I had never been so excited to have found a sewing item, let me tell you!
The triple layer of the jacket meant the coat edges all got serged. So with the silver, I figured I’d cover the entire edge with silver trim. Think of it as all around protection if vampires were repelled by silver.
As for protection, there are certain areas where you have large veins with lots of blood that vampires would go for. They are your jugular on your neck and your wrists. You know, the places you’d slit to die fastest. In these places, I decided to put more silver there. Silver buttons were the obvious thought, but I didn’t like the flat buttons with holes so I had to resort to buttons with shanks on them. Unfortunately, they wobble if you just sewed them on as they’re supposed to be used, so I had to get creative. I punched a small hole through the sleeve where the shanks would be pushed through, to keep the buttons flat against the fabric, and in place. Then I used jump rings through the button shank on the under side of the sleeve to hold the buttons there, and hand sewing the jump rings flat to the Bemberg and fleece.
As for the three buttons, one kind of gave the impression that it was functional. It also wasn’t much silver and wasn’t all that impressive looking. That’s why I went for three. Not just a mystical number, but also visually appealing to convey something like rank. I thought about arranging them in a triangle for symbolism, but that would not have worked on the neck, nor signify rank. You might know that Star Trek: The Next Generation uniforms have pips on the neck for ranks the way I have my silver buttons.
The jacket had to seal, and I didn’t want to see a stitch in the front, so silver buttons were the way to go. I was going to just make button holes for those buttons. However, I found the look of the holes trivialized the sleek looking jacket upon testing so I went with snaps. The silver buttons you see are just there for decoration, to hide the threads holding the snaps to the front overlap.
Somewhere, I had to find a place to put my Asymmetrix logo and brand name, so I chose the arms. I put it on one. On the other, I put a map of Viet Nam, my country of origin, instead of my log, just for a different detail. Besides, the logo was already on the front left so the left sleeve didn’t need another copy. I embroidered all these things with silver thread, which is going to be awesome for use with my future garments. I love silver embroidery!
I then made the jacket short, or rather medium. In the Matrix, they might have fought with long coats, but that wasn’t terribly practical. That’s why I made a medium jacket that’s plenty good to run hard, scale walls, jump obstacles and do kung fu in without tripping over oneself, while getting as much body coverage as possible.
The cut to shorten the jacket had to be interesting because it was going to look dead and “recently old-fashioned” otherwise. I was looking for something to hunt the dead, with almost an ancient timeless look, not “recently old” that just went out of style. My inspiration there were angles on a stealth fighter. The cut came to a pointed tip at the back because that’s the sort of stuff men who do wicked deeds wear!
So that’s my vampire hunting jacket! It’s August as I write this and we’re in the middle of a heat wave. For once, I cannot wait till it gets cooler so I will be able to wear this jacket around. I’m going to be outside a lot this winter just to parade around in clothes I make like this! I’ll also be skating a lot on the Skating Oval in Halifax this winter, wearing black skates with silver blades, of course! 😉
Let the vampire hunting begin!
I generally loved how this jacket turned out, except that I made the tail too long. I didn’t imagine it to come out as long in my head. So for that, I’m taking it down from what would otherwise have been a gold rating. Too bad for me.