Working On a New Jerkin

A place for pics and tutorials on making Soft Kit (clothing and accessories like buckles and cloak pins).

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Manveruon
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Working On a New Jerkin

Postby Manveruon » Sun May 24, 2020 11:33 pm

I posted about this over on the Facebook group, but I wanted to put it up here too so the forum regulars who don’t frequent FB can have a look.

I decided to make myself a new Jerkin, and so far the project is coming along nicely! The bulk of the construction is nearly done - I just have to add binding to the sides and arm holes, then the hand-braided leather ties on the front (including some extra patches to reinforce the attachment points), and finally lacing on the sides and mid-back.
The design, overall, is based on Aragorn’s jerkin from the New Line movies, but I decided to embellish it a bit and make it my own (especially since I already made a very faithful replica of that one a few years back). The idea here was to try and craft a garment that was very utilitarian in its design, but also looked like it had been made with great care, and decorated in some small, simple ways. And just in general, I wanted something that had a bit more detailing than the very plain one Viggo wore.

With that in mind, I decided to include a contrasting yoke on the shoulder section (inspired loosely by some of the costumes in Vikings) because I liked that it broke up the visual silhouette slightly, and it also adds a little extra strength. I also decided to piece the whole thing together from slightly smaller sections than I had done on my Aragorn replica. Partially I did this for aesthetic value, but breaking up the main pattern pieces a bit also helped me lay the pattern out a little more economically on the piece of leather. After sewing the main sections together with extra-fine two-ply waxed linen thread (saddle-stitched, for strength), I glued the seam allowances down, and added some semi-decorative top-stitching to reinforce the seams, with a 4-strand heavy waxed linen thread in a contrasting color. This served to reinforce the seams quite a lot and also added a subtle stylistic embellishment. When I first posted about my intentions to split up the jerkin into smaller panels and add this “ladder” stitching (not the correct term, but I can’t seem to find what it’s actually called) over the top, I know Taurinor and a few others raised some debate as to its functionality, vs. just looking cool - but after deliberating on it for quite some time I decided to go forward with my original plan, and in the end I’m quite happy with how it’s turning out. There was some concern that this type of top-stitching would make the garment look too “Hollywood Fantasy,” and while some probably still feel this way, after doing the work on it I feel I can defend its practicality, because it really does reinforce the garment a great deal. Also, I deliberately kept my stitching extremely even and relatively small to avoid that “messy stitching” look that’s so common in modern fantasy.

On top of these details, I also decided to get a little creative with my thread work in other ways. For instance, I decided to add a braided trim made from three strands of contrasting waxed linen thread along the edge of all the binding. This was... probably a poor decision in retrospect (mostly due to the fact that it is EXTREMELY time-consuming), but I’m very fond of the finished look it gives all the edges. I also added some more reinforcement stitching in an X pattern along the edge of the yoke, which I feel gives that whole section a nicely finished look and also prevents the edge from peeling up even a little. Then I used a simple running stitch to tack down the yoke in a few strategic places, so it doesn’t bubble up (I may add some more in a few spots, but we’ll see), and finally, I decided to use two different colors of thread for the saddle-stitch I’m using to attach the binding to the garment itself, which I think just adds a final little visual detail that brings the whole thing together.

After construction is finished, I’m going to coat the whole thing liberally in a dubbin compound (in actual fact I‘ll probably use Aussie Wax from Tandy, even though it’s petroleum based, because it’s inexpensive, plentiful, and should do just as good a job of weeatherproofing the leather as natural dubbin), and probably do just a bit of artificial weathering to make the garment feel lived-in. I know there are many varied opinions regarding artificially weathering/distressing garments for use doing “Ranger stuff,” but my reasoning here is that I simply don’t wear my kit often enough and abuse it hard enough for it to naturally become as worn as an authentic garment of this type would be, so it feels more authentic if it’s deliberately broken down at least a little. I won’t be tattering and destroying it quite as much as I did with my movie replica Strider costume (the screen-used original was aged pretty excessively itself, in order to be seen on screen, naturally), but I just think a little natural-looking wear and tear will give it a more authentic feel, and aid in my own immersion.

Anyway, that about covers it! I’ll be sure to add another update in a little while here, probably when the actual construction is totally finished.

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Last edited by Manveruon on Mon May 25, 2020 9:41 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Manveruon
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Re: Working On a New Jerkin

Postby Manveruon » Sun May 24, 2020 11:36 pm

Incidentally, I apologize if not everyone can see the photos - I copied the URLS for them directly from the Facebook group, and I’m not sure what the privacy settings there are like. I was hoping to post more, and to upload all of them directly to the forum, but no matter how small I made the images, it kept telling me the files were too large to use as attachments. If anyone can help me get past this little technical snafu, I’ll post the other progress shots.
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Re: Working On a New Jerkin

Postby Elleth » Mon May 25, 2020 1:19 am

WOW!

That is just exquisite work! (I especially like the effect of using two colors of thread along the front seam - I'd not have thought of that. :) )

I'm curious what's going on with the sides - I don't think I can quite make out what you've done there.


Looks great!
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Manveruon
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Re: Working On a New Jerkin

Postby Manveruon » Mon May 25, 2020 1:31 am

Elleth wrote:WOW!

That is just exquisite work! (I especially like the effect of using two colors of thread along the front seam - I'd not have thought of that. :) )

I'm curious what's going on with the sides - I don't think I can quite make out what you've done there.


Looks great!



Thank you!!

The two-tone saddle stitching came about mainly because I was thinking how I really liked the look of a plain running stitch, as it has a very distinctive dashed-line pattern that can be seen from a distance and screams “hand-stitching,” but I didn’t like the fact that it’s ultimately rather fragile. Saddle-stitching is much more robust, and I realized that I could get the same dashed-line look by using a combo of dark brown and natural threads, so I just kinda ran with it. Really happy I did. To be honest, a lot of what I’ve tried to do on this project has been directly or indirectly influenced by your various projects, as well as a couple other folks on here who have tried to bring a sense of cultural identity into their kits. I wanted to do something that had a little bit of flair and embellishment to it, but that was still ultimately a practical garment made for practical use. I had considered maybe adding some Numenoreanesque motifs inspired by some of the discussions around here over the last couple years, but I couldn’t think of anything specific other than maybe embroidery or burned designs, and ultimately I thought that seemed too ostentatious, so I went with the simplistic decorative stitching, because that seems to be something you see a lot in early Medieval reenactment (Particularly Viking and Anglo-Saxon). I may still try to work some little details in with the ties though. I’m going to be putting small reinforcement patches where the ties are attached, and I was thinking of possibly using a Numenoreanesque/Dunedain design of some kind for their shape, I just hadn’t decided on the specifics yet. I’m certainly open to ideas!

As for the sides, that part isn’t done just yet. I’ll be adding binding like I have on the front to all the edges (except the split in the back which I simply finished by folding over and top-stitching before I decided to do the braid on everything else). What you’re seeing under the armholes currently is the sections I’ve reinforced by sewing a heavier piece of leather to the inside. This is because I’ll be lacing the sides closed like Strider’s movie jerkin, so I reinforced that area to make sure the lacing doesn’t tear trough with use.
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Re: Working On a New Jerkin

Postby Iodo » Mon May 25, 2020 8:04 am

This is amazing :P

Manveruon wrote:With that in mind, I decided to include a contrasting yoke on the shoulder section (inspired loosely by some of the costumes in Vikings) because I liked that it broke up the visual silhouette slightly

that's a very good point about the visual silhouette, that's something I've learnt with making my kit, before I joined this forum I thought the best way to be hidden in the woods was to wear an army camouflage shirt and pants but don't get me wrong, that's still better than most average clothes, now I know that even with the mottled leafy effect, the overall shape of the human figure (that's instantly recognizable in the woods) is still clearly visible because overall the color shades are quite even all over. Where as if I wear layers of clothing that are distinctly different plain colors I can be seen less easily because it interrupts the silhouette

a few weeks ago I made short sleeved wool coat with an open front, loosely based on what Kili wears in TH and I've been amazed by how well hidden I am (even when wearing it over modern clothing), just because short sleeves break up the human shape
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Re: Working On a New Jerkin

Postby theowl » Mon May 25, 2020 6:57 pm

Awesome! any plans for closures?
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Re: Working On a New Jerkin

Postby theowl » Mon May 25, 2020 8:02 pm

theowl wrote:Awesome! any plans for closures?

Front closure*
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Re: Working On a New Jerkin

Postby Ghostsoldier » Mon May 25, 2020 9:15 pm

Michael, the photos look even better here in the forums than they do on Facebook....it's exquisite! :P

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Manveruon
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Re: Working On a New Jerkin

Postby Manveruon » Mon May 25, 2020 10:05 pm

Thanks again, everybody!

theowl wrote:Awesome! any plans for closures?


So for that, I’ll be using braided Ties to close the front, just like Aragorn’s vest in the New Line movies. I find it’s a really practical method of closure that doesn’t rely on complicated lacing, or anachronistic looking buttons, or toggles or buckles, etc. etc. Overall, the ties just feel *right* to me for a Ranger garment. This time around, I even braided all my ties by hand (because I am a crazy person)! I used a 4-strand round “bolo” style braid:

Image

In the end, the whole garment should look roughly like this (a quick edit I did a while back of a photo of me wearing my Aragorn jerkin):

Image

The thing I’m trying to decide on now is how to do the reinforcement patches on the front where the ties attach. I want to use a contrasting color leather (probably the Same leather I used for the yoke), and I want to make them in some shape that feels appropriate to the culture. I had considered making them diamond shapes, for example, and then either stitching or burning a “Dunedain star” motif into them, but I thought that might be a little on-the-nose. I also thought about maybe using the Numenoreanesque arrowhead/pine-tree design that Elleth created a while back. But yeah, still undecided on that one.
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Re: Working On a New Jerkin

Postby theowl » Tue May 26, 2020 12:52 am

I love the braided leather ties. I used them on my jerkin as well. Though mine is linen, because southern California.

I think the leaf/ arrowhead design would fit great. Maybe stitch the vein design in?
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Re: Working On a New Jerkin

Postby celegon » Tue May 26, 2020 1:18 am

man that's so cool! jealous of it :wink: . you did an amazing job

speaking of the "Vikings" influence on it,Ive got a lot of smaller pieces of leather that is really nice, but they are small and random enough that im not sure how to start assembling it, I guess just lay them all out on paper and mark them somehow so I know how to put the puzzle together into a single piece of clothing. a jerkin or whatever looks so cool made up of little parts, I just don't know how to go about getting it together
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Re: Working On a New Jerkin

Postby Cimrandir » Tue May 26, 2020 2:49 am

I saw these on Facebook but I agree that the pictures on the forum give a much better look at the jerkin! And what a look it is! You should be very proud because that jerkin is awesome. It looks very sharp and perfect for colder days in Eriador. I also agree that the stitching really sets it apart and screams hand-made, which it is!
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Re: Working On a New Jerkin

Postby Eofor » Tue May 26, 2020 6:40 am

It really is some of the nicest work I've seen. I know that the extra work seems arduous but the memory of it will fade long before your jerkin does, and that level of craftsmanship adds a level of authenticity to your gear that you can't get without the hours.
For seven days without eating or sleeping the new king sat, until he stood and cried "This cannot be borne!"!
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Re: Working On a New Jerkin

Postby RangerofAngmar » Tue May 26, 2020 9:26 am

Looks pretty schmick there buddy.

thats top tier right there
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Re: Working On a New Jerkin

Postby BrianGrubbs » Tue May 26, 2020 4:47 pm

Holy cow, that is gorgeous! Nice work!

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