How to make a Skull Kid cosplay tabard!

Alright, let's make a tabard! But what is a tabard?

The tabard is what I call the green fabric draped over Skull Kid's shoulders. If you look it up, you'll see it described as a sleeveless coat consisting of fabric layers for the front and back, possibly long. Think of a knight's fabric robe and you're there.

(Other names you might think of are things like 'mantle' or 'smock' or 'green thing that Skull Kid wears on top of his tunic'.)

Skull Kid's tabard is worn on the neck and shoulders. It's made of a vivid green material, almost certainly the same colour and material as the shorts. It extends downwards towards the waist in a set of long almost rectangular fingers of material. Despite being free to flop around, it doesn't look particularly torn or ragged.

The front and back are almost identical, though you hardly ever see Skull Kid from the back in illustrations!

You don't get to see where the tabard meets the neck in almost any illustration of Skull Kid. It could finish in a crew neck, like a T-shirt, or it could hug the neck a little tighter, like a polo neck. From the look of the various Nintendo figures, I'd go with a polo neck. And I did!

I couldn't find much useful information about making a tabard online so I just winged it all.

First, you need to measure yourself!

Oh, no, wait! Something even better than measuring yourself: a confusing diagram!

What you're going to sew together is the green area: a big bib that extends way beyond the size you need for Skull Kid's tabard. Once you've got that, you can cut it down towards the blue ellipse to get the correct shape.

EXCEPT, depending on the material you're using, you're going to have a heck of a time putting on the tabard if the neck hold is exactly the size of your neck. I'm making my tabard out of non-stretching polyester, so I need to bear this in mind!

This material isn't very substantial. A slight gust is going to send the fingers flapping all over the place. There wasn't much that I could think to stop that, so I decided to make the tabard so both the front and the back consisted of two layers.

The measurements you need to take are the diagonal length of the shoulder, the length to your crotch and the circumference of your neck.

From these measurements you should be able to draft up something like this:

Note that the 'collar height' needs to include any hem you want to do. In my case, I've decided to roll down the neck on the inside for the full length, creating a hem that's the full length of the collar. The decorative three-step zig-zag stitch you see around the collar is my interior hem.

The simplest thing to do (i.e. what I did!) is to take four rectangular pieces of the fabric, pin them together, then do the stitching along the sides of the neck and top of the shoulders first. Once those stitches are in place, you can cut out the four-sided shapes in the corners.

After that, you can hem the collar however you've planned it.

I decided to add on a whole chunk of inches to my neck size and sew my very first proper buttonhole!

This button hole is designed to be used twice (in one hole out the other) to give a snug, neat fit. When it's worn, the tightness of the neck combined with the looseness of the shoulders gives the tabard a natural tendency to expand outwards down its length, which is exactly as I want!

I suppose it could also be worn using only a single hole for a different fit too!

You can't see Skull Kid's neck in any illustration of him, so it doesn't really matter what I put here. You could have velcro shoulders or a back zip if you preferred. I picked a large spare blue-green button I found in my mum's sewing box, so it matches in case anybody does see it.

So you've got a double-layered bib. Now you've got to cut it to the right size. This means very light pencil or faint chalk markings all over the place, lots of trying on and measuring.

When cutting, I tend to pin the two layers making up the side together (or I should have done at least) so the cuts I make are identical. If you don't do this, then you'll have overlapping fingers and instead of looking like very distinct rectangular shapes, you'll have a quilt-like weave and it'll look bad.

And if you mess up, it didn't take you that long to get to this point, did it? (Took me long enough... I always get tense as hell when I have to cut stuff, even when it's simple like this.)

First, get the ellipses down. These start from the shoulders and go down to the lowermost extreme of the tabard as it nears Skull Kid's belt. On the back, it's about half the length of the front, though nobody's checking. You'll have to use your judgement as to whether it crosses the belt or not. I've cut it so it just overlaps by an inch. Most depictions of Skull Kid don't have it overlapping typically. This is also because I tend to wear the belt a little higher than I originally intended. Messing with small details like that alters your perceived proportions, so I can try to look like a 'big' Skull Kid instead of a tall guy version of Skull Kid.

You'll have to keep trying on the costume pieces together and refine them as pieces of a whole.

When you've got the ellipses cut, you have to figure out how you're going to make them into fingers.

I visualised a second ellipse about half the size of the first: the starts of the fingers emerge from this ellipse.

Cut straight lines before you think about cutting wedge-shapes out of the material: you might not need to lose that much material. Take care to keep the layers together.

Don't forget to handle the shoulders too.

Once you're happy with the length and fit and hang of the fingers, you can distress the tips of the fingers. This damage is similar to the shorts, but less pronounced: straight line cuts upwards, with some fraying.

And that's it! All you need to keep in mind now is which side is which. I've got a little pencil mark inside mine to tell me!

You can see the duplicate layers of tabard fingers in these pictures clearly.

Written by Matt Carr! nonsense.

Questions? E-mail 'em to me,!

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