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Firefly: Captain Malcolm Reynolds’ Browncoat

May 24, 2016

This month’s Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post is something a little different – not a novelty print dress for myself, but instead a vintage-style western men’s frock coat for my husband, who is off to Comic Con in Manchester this month.

Captain Malcolm Reynolds

Captain Malcolm Reynolds

My husband is a lecturer in Film and Television Studies, and one of his areas of interest is the works of Joss WhedonFirefly, directed by Whedon, is the television series my husband taught first when he started working at the University of Hull, and we have fond memories of watching it on a laptop balanced on a high chair in an otherwise empty room when we first moved here.  Firefly is most succinctly described as a western set in space.  The lead character is Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Mal), who is captain of Serenity (a spaceship).  Mal was formerly a soldier fighting for independence from The Alliance, and these soldiers wore a uniform which included a simple knee length brown duster-style coat. Mal wears his ‘Browncoat’ throughout the series, and the term is now not only used to refer to the garment itself, but to the crew aboard Serenity and even the fans of the show.


Simplicity 2895

The pattern I used to make Mal’s coat is a Simplicity costume pattern – Simplicity 2895 – a pattern designed in conjunction with a company called Buckaroo Bobbins, who make historically accurate Old West clothing and sewing patterns.  The design wasn’t 100% perfect for Mal, but it was easily tweaked.  You can read more about the alterations I made to the pattern here on Minerva’s blog if you want to know more about the sewing details.



The Browncoat is obviously the main part of the outfit – but there are lots of other parts that I want to show you here.  Firstly, my husband is wearing a red shirt, just like Mal in many Firefly episodes.  This shirt is one I made for him in February 2015 (also a Minerva make!), using Burda 6931.  I am really pleased that the shirt he is wearing under the coat is also made by me!

Burda 6931 shirt

Burda 6931 shirt

The trousers and boots he already had, but I have now modified the trousers to look make them look more like Mal’s.  I sewed a brown stripe down the side of each outside leg – just some ribbon I picked up in Boyes.  They aren’t quite as wide as Mal’s stripes, but they’re ok.  I also added buttons to the waistband for the braces I bought for this outfit.  Mal wears braces which attach by buttons, so I had to get some for the costume!  I used different buttons at the front and back because unfortunately I didn’t have six of my favourite ones.  I know this is just a costume, but I really like the way these look.

Braces - back view

Braces – back view

I also bought a gun holster!  There is no me-made element to this, but doesn’t it look awesome?!  Unfortunately I didn’t manage to find the right type of toy gun – I ran out of time to look – and money to spend, in all honesty!!

Gun holster!

Gun holster!

I’m pleased with how the costume as a whole looks, and my husband really likes it, and hopefully any fellow Browncoats at Comic Con will instantly recognise their hero, Captain Malcolm Reynolds!  My husband joked that this is the only fancy dress outfit he will ever need now for the rest of his life, except he wasn’t even joking….haha!  That’s certainly a compliment, anyway!

Now, quick, get me back to sewing novelty print dresses!!!

  1. May 24, 2016 5:38 pm

    We love firefly in our house and you have done a great job on this. People will think the real Nathan Fillion has walked in!! Hope your husband has a fab time x

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      May 24, 2016 5:46 pm

      He did have a good time and he received lots of compliments! 😊

  2. Hazelnutthread permalink
    May 24, 2016 5:42 pm

    I think holsters should make a come back. Perfect for biros and post it notes.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      May 24, 2016 5:48 pm

      Hahaha. They do look pretty cool!

  3. Mypinkteacup permalink
    May 24, 2016 7:29 pm

    Love the show and love the costume. Great job! I have a photo with Nathan Fillion from a con two years ago and one with Adam Baldwin at DragonCon Atlanta, Georgia. Made my first knit hat with the Jayne Hat pattern. I could watch that show over and over and never get tired of it.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      May 25, 2016 7:01 pm

      Cool! Very jealous. It’s a great show 🙂

  4. May 25, 2016 5:17 pm

    This is flipping brilliant!!!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      May 25, 2016 7:01 pm

      Thanks my dear! I’m pleased with it!

  5. May 25, 2016 9:15 pm

    Just down right awesome!

  6. permalink
    May 27, 2016 1:14 pm

    Excellent – love the cuffs!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      May 27, 2016 1:35 pm

      I do, too. Took me a while to figure out how to do them!

  7. December 22, 2016 9:43 am

    This is AWESOME!!! I just binged Firefly on a friend’s recommendation, so sad that it was only one season but looking forward to renting the movie. This costume came out GREAT, I am a fabric designer who wants to become a sewist, so this would be on my “someday” project list! Reminds me of the line, “It was on sale.” 😉

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      December 22, 2016 10:35 am

      Hahaha! Glad you enjoyed watching it! Good luck learning to sew 😊

  8. Michele permalink
    May 10, 2018 5:38 am

    Planning this costume for my husband this Halloween, you did an amazing job. thank you for posting how you made the brown coat and all the tips!

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