Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tristan Thorne

Character: Tristan Thorne
From: Stardust
Made: 2008

Tristan is the hero of Stardust, a Neil Gaiman novella that was made into a movie in 2007, and which sadly flew a bit under the radar. It's an utterly fantastic movie, and not nearly enough people have seen it. If you liked The Princess Bride (and is there anyone out there who doesn't?), then you'll love Stardust. It's a fantasy movie for grownups (you can't say "adult" because that means something entirely different!) with humor and sarcasm and a smidge of ridiculousness, and also Robert De Niro as a cross-dressing sky pirate. How can you say no to that?

Anyway, in the course of the movie, Tristan gets a snazzy new outfit (courtesy of the above-mentioned De Niro) with a long, cream-colored coat. We hadn't even left the theater when my husband said, "I WANT THAT COAT." Since I'd been coveting the blue dress worn by Yvaine, the heroine, I was happy to oblige! This costume was debuted at Dragon*Con 2008. I hadn't yet finished my Yvaine costume, but my friend Kimmerie saved the day-- she'd won an auction for a screen-worn costume for the character of Una, which she very kindly allowed me to wear. I finished my Yvaine costume the following year.

Dragon*Con 2009
(pics by Maggie & Kathy)

WonderCon 2009
(pics by Corli)

Dragon*Con 2008
(pics by Maggie and Kathy)


This costume was on display at the FIDM Museum in LA during their 2008 "Art of Motion Picture Design" exhibit, so I got to examine it fairly closely (no touching, though, and I couldn't see the back). I took pretty extensive notes, and hopefully I can upload them at some point.


I'm pretty sure Tristan's coat is made out of linen, and even though it looks white or cream on the film, it's actually the natural, undyed stuff. (I held up swatches to the real thing at FIDM.) I bought IL-14 5.9 oz linen from fabrics-store.com, which is my favorite place for linen on the internets. They no longer carry that exact weight or product number, however. I think my linen was somewhat of a looser weave than the real thing, as well as a bit slubbier, but overall I really liked the fabric. It eased really nicely, which always endears a fabric to me. The lining is a gold-tan silk charmeuse from Fabrics & Fabrics in the LA garment district. At FIDM, the coat lining looked weirdly greenish, almost chartreuse, so I just decided to pick a color that I thought was pretty. The upper collar is chocolate brown cotton velveteen from a local store.

Since I had such a good experience with Burda 2459 when I used it for Londo's coat, I used it again for Tristan's coat. This time, I added a waist seam all the way around, added princess seams to the back, and drafted a big wide lapel and pointed collar, all using flat patternmaking techniques. I also narrowed the sleeves slightly and then belled them at the bottom, and I turned the bottom of the sleeve into a cuff, as on the original. The skirt of the coat is split up to the waist on center back, and I added three knife pleats on either side, for added hem fullness so the coat looks cooler when it blows in the wind. The real coat has some serious fooferaw along the center back of the skirt, but I couldn't get a clear enough look to see what it was. Oh, how I wish I'd been able to see the back of the coat at FIDM!

As with the Londo coat, I used machine tailoring techniques to make this coat, following my Singer Tailoring Guide. Tailoring supplies came from Sew True. The jacket is fully lined with silk charmeuse; to conserve my (expensive!) gold charmeuse, I used white for the sleeves. For the buttons, I backed the linen with a thin but strong iron-on interfacing and hand-embroidered the star pattern with embroidery floss. Then I covered my metal button blanks with the linen.


Tristan wears a short vest, squared off at the waist, made of orangey-brown leather in the front and greyish-tan striped fabric in the back. I got the leather from my friend Avien, who had it in her stash. There was exactly enough to make the vest! I found a tan cotton at Jo-Ann that had a narrow woven stripe; not an exact match, but close enough. And he'll probably never wear the vest without the coat, at least not when he's wearing it for Tristan, so the back won't be seen anyhow. I found the buttons at International Silks and Woolens in LA. They also aren't an exact match, but again, close enough. Rogue distressed them slightly with watered-down black paint, so they look aged.

I once again used Burda 2459 for the pattern (can you sense a theme here?). Alterations to the pattern were easy; I just shortened it and changed the shape of the neck slightly. The leather front is lined in the same tan cotton as the back; for the buttonholes, I made machine buttonholes in the cotton and just cut slits in the leather. From what we could tell at FIDM, the vest was lined in some sort of slubby multicolor fabric, but I couldn't see enough of it to tell exactly what it was.


The shirt is made from a very thin cotton, almost voile-y, that I found in the LA garment district. I used McCall's 2258 for the shirt; I made the collar bigger, the sleeves less wide, and the cuffs longer and belled. I then tea-dyed the shirt so it wouldn't look so stark white against the coat. I made ties out of cotton twill tape to keep the wrists and neck closed.

Pants, Boots, & Sword

Tristan's actual pants are black, or at least very dark, with a very, very thin woven stripe, such that I thought they were corduroy the first time I saw them. I bought fabric to make the pants at Michael Levine in LA, but I haven't made them yet. He just wore regular black slacks at D*C 2008. The boots are his Han Solo boots; Tristan's got totally awesome boots, but they'll have to wait for another day. The sword is the licensed replica from Strongblade.

No comments:

Post a Comment