Tutorial: The Basic Seifuku

If you watch anime then you are for sure familiar with the Seifuku, other wise known as the Sailor Uniform or School Outfit.
Generally they consist of a simple pleated skirt, an unfitted top, and a sailor collar. This tutorial will teach you how to make a basic Seifuku.

Sailor Moon Seifukus

Sailor Moon Seifukus

Please note: All patterns included are references only and are not proportionately correct.

The first think you will need to make is the bodice, these vary from uniform to uniform. First I will teach you how to make a loose fitting bodice as seen in Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Lucky Star and more! This is the easiest type of bodice to make as there are no fitting seams, meaning it is literally just 4 stitches!  Here is a pattern for this. The important thing to remember when making a bodice like this is to leave room for the bust. However if you follow that pattern you should have no problem!

Now for those interested here is the math behind the pattern and detailed instructions on how to make your own. Let’s say that your Bust is 40 inches, your underbust is 33, your waist is 32, and your shoulder to shoulder is 19.
First you want to take your shoulder measurement and decide by 2, since this pattern will be made on the fold.

Shoulder to Shoulder/2 = Shoulder Line
19/2 = 8 Inches

At the top of your page use a ruler and make this line – this will now be called the shoulder line.

Now measure from the top of your shoulder/collar bone down your body to the point of your bust. For me this is around 7 inches. On your paper mark from your shoulder line down 7″ (Or however long your shoulder to bust measurement is). This is now where your bust line will go.  Now since our boobs are not spread equally around our body we must to some math to figure out how large line will be for the front piece. To do this we take our bust measurement and subtract our underbust. Then we divide our underbust by 2 and add the number we got before. We then divide this by 2.

Bust – Underbust = X. Underbust/2= Back.Back + X = Front. Front/2= Bust Line
40-33 = 7 Inches.             33/2= 16.5 Inches.       16.5+7 = 23.5 Inches.      23.5/2= 11.75 Inches

At the dot we marked for Bust Line from the edge of your paper mark this line.

Awesome! We are almost done!! Now measure from your bust point to how long your want your shirt to be (this generally goes to the waist or a few inches bellow. From the Bust Line measure down and mark this as the Hem Line. Now all you need to do is bring the end of your Bust Line down to the hem line. It will look like this:

If you wanted to you could add a curve to your bodice, making it a bit closer to your body, or you could leave it as is. All that’s left is adding a neck line and arms eyes. These are things that there are really no mathematics equations for. These are things that you can either take from a pre-existing pattern, use french curves to create or just eyeball it. Either way it takes practice to get it just right.  I suggest starting with as small of a hole as possible then increasing it after you try it on and can mark where you want it to be.

Making your pattern for the back is exactly the same. HOWEVER, the bust line is no longer that super long equation. It is now simply Underbust/2. Here is the back pattern.

Lucky Star Seifuku

Lucky Star Seifuku

Now we’ve completed the bodice of our seifuku next is the sleeves!

While there are many types of sleeves for a seifuku the most popular is the baggy sleeve as seen on the Lucky Star cast above. This sleeve is more formally known as a bishop or peasant sleeve. If you want to know more about sleeve types take a look at this page. This is a very simple type of sleeve which fits into the arms eye and is gathered into a cuff. Here’s a pattern for this sleeve. And here’s the math behind it.

First measure your shoulder to wrist measurement. This becomes length of sleeve and the beginning and end of this should be marked on the edge of your paper. Next measure your bicep. Mine is around 13. Divide this by 2. This becomes the size of your sleeve.

Bicep/2 = Size of sleeve.
13/2= 11.5 Inches.

Mark this at the top of your length of sleeve line then continue it all the way down. Create an arms eye swoop at the top of your sleeve using a pre-existing pattern, french curve or eyeing it. You are now ready to attach your sleeve to the arms eye and gather it into the cuff. Always remember to check your sleeve length on your arm before adding the cuff.

Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Seifuku

Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Seifuku

In Mermaid Melody we see that the bodice type is a bit more complex then what I have shown you so far. However what I want you to notice is the sleeve type. This type of sleeve is called a puff sleeve and is found on many spring and summer uniforms.  This sleeve is created the same way as the sleeve above. There are only a few differences, these are the length of the sleeve and the gathered arms eye.

To make a puff sleeve for your uniform follow the steps above, however rather than measuring to your wrist for length of sleeve measure however long you want your sleeve to be. Also notice that the sleeve is gathered at the bicep so when measuring your bicep add 2-3 inches for the gather. Also, when making the arms eye curve make the cure less sharp, this allows for the sleeve to gather at the arms eye. Here is what a pattern for this would look like.

Haruhi Suzumiya Seifuku

Haruhi Suzumiya Seifuku

The final part of the Seifuku is the sailor collar. The shape and size of sailor collars can vary. Generally the back is like a square with one or two stripes. However sometimes they can be in triangles like the uniforms of Carcaptor Sakura (Bellow). Creating a sailor collar is alot less math a much more estimating then the other parts of the uniform. First you estimate the size and shape of your neck hole (though if your pattern has an accurate neck hole shape to your final garment you can simply trace that shape. Then you estimate how long you want it to be then finish it in a square or triangles or whatever shape you choose.

Cadcaptor Sakura Seifuku

Cadcaptor Sakura Seifuku

When making your collar I suggest cutting 2, adding the bias tape to one of them then bag lining. This will give you clean edges. Here are a few more detailed tutorials on how to make a sailor collar. [1] [2]

Last but not least I suggest you use a broadcloth to make your seifuku. It creates crisp lines and is sturdy and is what a real seifuku would be made of.

Chibi Mirai Costume. Made of Broad Cloth

Chibi Mirai Costume. Made of Broad Cloth

I hope this helped in all your Seifuku making needs! Feel free to ask if you have any questions! Also if you have any suggestions on future tutorials and such be sure to let me know!

<3 Eli

Comments

  1. Lydia Craddock says:

    I believe your bust line measurement for the back is wrong. Shouldn’t it be more like underbust/2=x, x/2=bustline

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