The Art of Darkness

Coat of Many Skulls

April 2nd, 2009 by Cobwebs

Skull SzurThe Skull-a-Day site recently featured this lovely item by Shay Hall: A felt coat covered with applique skulls.

The artist says that the pattern was based on a Hungarian coat. It’s probably the Szur, a traditional coat decorated with intricate felt cutwork. You can get a pattern for a Szur at Folkwear. (Bonus points for style: The coat was worn as far back as the Middle Ages by the Magyars, so there’s probably a vampire tie-in somewhere.)

The skulls and femurs are simple felt cut-outs. You can do a search for skull clip art, use one of the designs available at places like Urban Threads (I particularly like their Cameo Mori design), freehand your own, or blow up the photo of the original and use the big skull and crossbones on the back as your pattern (I did a quickie extraction of those elements: Skull | Bone, but you can probably get cleaner-looking ones with a little effort).

I’ve covered applique techniques previously, but you can also do a search on “applique tutorial” and turn up more information than you can shake a Web server at. Felt applique is particularly nice because the edges don’t fray, allowing you to get away with larger, easier stitches.

Obviously, if you don’t want to run up a whole new coat you can use the skull design motifs to accent all sorts of clothing. I really like the look of the massed skulls and sprinkling of bones; it’d be a lovely design for a jacket or dress bodice.

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