When Octopath Traveler came out, I was beyond excited to dive into it and really see what it had to offer. With 8 main characters, it seemed tailor-made for our usual group plus a few of our usual add-on members, but I ended up struggling to figure out which character best suited me and that I liked. Glitz was a shoe-in for Cyrus but despite my appreciation of Therion, I realized halfway into making him that I just… wouldn’t look good. I wouldn’t look decent. It was going to be a hot mess, and it wouldn’t be fun for me as a result.
OPT was really fun and had a lot of really beautiful character designs, so it wasn’t hard to find secondary characters that appealed to me. I initially fell in love with Captain Leon, but alas! There’s no actual art of him, only his overworld sprite. That, coupled with the lack of a confirmed Tressa for our group, left me with the understanding that I would be the ‘can you move so I can get a picture of the Octopaths?’ guy if I were to commit to him.
My second choice went to Erhardt who had a lovely battle sprite and some concept art to base my costume decisions on. His outfit was also a pallette swap of Olberic’s default costume, so any further details I would be able to glean from the more detailed and varied artwork available for him.
The problem arose again: would anyone recognize me without an Olberic for context? Thankfully, after making Alfyn, Type09 decided that he wanted to do the Warmaster variant of Olberic, so I set out to finally make my own Octopath costume!
Since Erhardt is very medieval, a lot of his patterning is basic geometry full of straight lines. With this in mind, I decided to do a little drafting in Illustrator. The first step was to find a picture on my phone that was more-or-less straight on and full-body.
This photo was from this past Christmas, so I was considerably heavier than I am now (about 35lbs!) but since this costume isn’t particularly well-tailored, I can still base my rough pattern on it.
I created a document in Illustrator that was my height in inches, then dropped this photo into it. I scaled it up until I filled the space and locked the layer to prevent moving it around. With my ref of Erhardt nearby, I laid down the basic lines for each of the panels of the tabbard and battle skirt.
Now, why go to the trouble of setting up a document like this?
Easy, with everything properly scaled to my height, measuring out any part of the pattern is as easy as drawing a matching line and noting what the length was!
The battle skirt does follow the rough outline of my hip but because each panel will be tied together with laces, it doesn’t need to be perfectly shaped or fitted. This is the secret behind a lot of the medieval/renaissance patterns you’ll see at your local fair!
(You can also separate the pieces into their own documents once you’re done and print them out to use as direct patterns, but most of this isn’t worth that effort, just the measurements are good enough!)
With the basics blocked in, I could also ‘sketch’ the proper sized embellishments for later printing, such as the leather shoulder and tail caps. While these might need a little tweaking in the real world, it will at least give me the rough idea that I need when I start out.
Using a document like this is great for getting proportions down before committing to cutting any fabric, foam or worbla. Though it’s not totally usable from this flat pattern, I was still able to block out the wrist guard in a way that could be printed out and used as a guide to create a final pattern in foam.
That’s the real failing of using this type of pattern-making for any fitted or 3D things. Doing a pattern like this fails to account for the thickness of the body and material used, and the errors scale as the person does. For something like a tabbard and battle skirt, the shape of the garments is tied (ha!) to the pieces that keep them in place, a belt at the waist for the tabbard and a set of 4 laces for the battle skirt. It doesn’t need or expect proper fitting, as the shape comes from the cinching.
Even so, I still made adjustments to the back panel’s fit so that it hugged my sway back a bit more flatteringly. For that, I used an existing back pattern that I’d fit for something else and adjusted the center seam of the tabbard to follow the same lines. I sewed each shell down the center and cut the batting into the same shape minus the seam allowance, butting them up side-to-side before fusing them to the shell.
Since the pattern required little adjustment in the flesh, it was easy to do the battle skirt and tabbard in a couple evenings while we binged Sabrina. I tossed on the Elliott wig as a stand-in, the Miguel shirt as a possible substitution and belted everything in place for a couple of quick test photos.
All that there is left for these pieces is to finish binding the edges with matching bias tape, make the final laces for the battle skirt and make the leather caps for the shoulders and tails. I liked the way the Miguel shirt looked under everything and though his sprite shows an extremely fitted sleeve, Olberic has puffy sleeves that tuck into his gloves, so I’m going to follow that path instead. Miguel was the first time I’d worked in linen, so it matches the tabbard and battle skirt perfectly in weight and texture!
Next time, we’ll take a look at how I made my first multi-part 3D print and drafted out Erhardt’s sword!