Friday, October 31, 2014

DIY Jedi and Padowan Halloween Costumes

Tuesday I shared how I made our lightsabers, Wednesday I shared our Star Wars Family at the race, and yesterday I shared River and Mr M's Yoda and Luke Skywalker costumes. Today I'm sharing my Jedi Knight and Sunshine's Padowan costumes.

I made all the parts of Sunshine's costume except her boots :) A lot of the materials were items I had on hand or found at the thrift store, which kept the costs down. So, starting at the top left and working counter-clockwise, here's what makes up her costume:

1. tan tunic
I made the tunic out of part of a drop cloth (same one I used for River's Yoda robe). Before I did that, though, I made a mock-up out of muslin from my stash. This allowed me to alter things and decide where I wanted the seams and such- you can see in the pic below the dark stitching of some of the original seams before I changed things up.
After the making the mock-up I cut a lining out of more muslin and a corresponding piece out of a drop cloth. The drop cloth tunic is fully lined with the muslin. I sewed some twill tape from my stash to the corners of the tunic flaps and made a buttonhole under one armpit for one of the tapes to go through. The tapes then wrap completely around Sunshine's body and before being tied and holding the tunic in place. I'm happy with how the tunic turned out, except it's shorter than I planned. I'm not sure why, since I tried it on her as I went, but perhaps she had a long t-shirt on and I miscalculated where her waist is?

2. utility pouch
I bought about a yard of leather-look pleather to make the fake boot shoe covers that Sunshine and I wore during the race on Saturday, but there was some left over, so I decided to use it to make utility pouches for our belts. The pleather is quite thin, so I sewed one layer of the canvas duck I used for Mr M's gaiters to the pleather after I cut out matching pieces. If you look closely at the diagram I drew, you can {maybe} see how I figured out the measurements to use. I made the small pouch for Sunshine and the large pouch for me. Once the edges were basted together, I sewed lines at each "fold" and then sewed the belt loops to the back panel. I then sewed the flap hem and sewed the velcro pieces to the flap and front panel. The final steps were to sew the side seams and hem the sides of the flap. 
3. sash
This was just a simple belt-shaped rectangle a few inches wide cut to fit Sunshine's waist. I cut two pieces: one of drop cloth and a lining of muslin. I sewed three sides together, then turned it right side out and sewed velcro to the ends.
4. brown shirt
I sewed a simple long sleeve shirt of the same brown knit I used for River's onesie. I gave the neckline a bit of a mock-turtleneck look. Since knit doesn't fray, I didn't bother hemming the bottom edge or sleeves. I actually intended for the bottom edge of the shirt to not show, but since the tunic ended up on the short side, it shows.
5. brown pants
I bought a pair of plus-size brown pants (more fabric in them) at Goodwill and used one of the legs to make a pair of pants for Sunshine. They ended up quite snug, so I should have used both legs, but Sunshine wants me to use the other leg to make her a skirt :) The pants have a simple elastic waistband to keep them up.
6. brown boots
The boots are ones Sunshine's been wearing for the last year.
7. lightsaber loop
I sewed a rectangle of pleather to wrap around the belt. It stays in place with velcro and keeps the tail of the belt in place. I also doubled up a small strip of pleather and sewed a d-ring to it before sewing the ends of the strip to the rectangle.

8. belt
I took a trip to Goodwill and searched through the belts for ones with interesting buckles. I had to cut this one down to fit Sunshine better, and I punched a new hole for the tongue. The lightsaber loop keeps the extra belt length from hanging loose.
9. lightsaber
Go here for the details on how I made the lightsabers.
Overall, I'm pleased with how Sunshine's costume came together. I do wish the tunic was longer, but there's nothing I can do to easily fix it, so I'm leaving it as-is and not worrying about it. I think it still looks good, and Sunshine loves it.

Sunshine had fun posing for these last pictures- she picked the poses :)

I really like this picture, but I'm bummed that Sunshine's face is blurry. Isn't she so cute?

She insisted on doing this "Ahsoka" pose. Apparently Ahsoka does this in the Clone Wars cartoon series?

While I was able to use materials I had or repurpose other materials for Sunshine's costume, that wasn't quite the case for mine, unfortunately. Because of the multiple layers in my costume I opted to buy a linen blend fabric which is thinner than the drop cloth fabric I used for Sunshine's and River's costumes. And I didn't have enough muslin for the lining, so I purchased a flat sheet to use as the lining material. The linen blend fabric and the sheet drove up the cost of my costume. This one was a bit more involved and had less room for error, so I used an actual pattern: Simplicity 5840 (it's out of print, but found on ebay) for the shirt, tunic, and shoulder armor. There's another pattern (Simplicity 4450) that's supposed to be a bit more accurate, but it's also out of print and super hard to find. I've seen it listed on ebay for $100! Too rich for our budget...

1. brown shirt
The brown shirt is based on the dickie pattern included in the pattern. I made the dickie out of a double layer of brown crinkly fabric (crepe, maybe? I can't remember the name right off, but it's thin and crinkly), then sewed it to an old white t-shirt. I did this so it would stay in place better while running, and it used less fabric that had to be purchased. I also sewed some sleeves (basically just tubes) and sewed them to the existing sleeves of the t-shirt. The pattern didn't call for sleeves, but why would you have a shirt underneath without the sleeves to go with it?
2. shoulder armor
I used the same linen blend fabric for the shoulder armor that I used on the tunic. I lined the upper part with pieces cut from the flat sheet. I lined the pieces below the belt with the linen blend because I thought they might flip up as I walked and I like the look of the linen blend better. Honestly, I don't think that was necessary, they don't move that much as far as I can tell. I mostly followed the pattern on the shoulder armor, but I added the pieces that extend below the belt, since that seems to be more of an authentic Jedi knight look. Not all have it, but it's more common to have it than not. If/when I make another version of this costume, I think I'll make them a bit thinner at the shoulders. I just don't have the height to carry off a wider look. I feel like I look like I'm wearing football pads.
One thing I didn't do but should have, was to attach the shoulder armor to the shoulders of the tunic. The first couple steps of the 5k showed me that was a mistake and I hurriedly undid the bottom pins from my race number and used them to pin the armor to the tunic at the shoulders. That kept the armor from sliding down to my elbows and bugging the crap out of me. 

3. lightsaber loop
I followed the same steps as for Sunshine's lightsaber loop. Mine also keeps the belts lined up properly.
4. belt
I layered a thinner Goodwill belt with an interesting buckle over a thicker Goodwill belt to achieve the layered look the Jedis wear. I thought about hot gluing the thinner belt to the thicker belt, but it would have made it difficult to adjust everything, so I didn't. I just relied on the lightsaber loop and the utility pouch to keep everything lined up. They shifted a bit while I was running, but weren't a problem when I was just walking around.
5. lightsaber
Go here for the details on how I made the lightsabers. I was surprised that it didn't bounce around while hanging from my belt. Or at least not that I noticed, and I would have noticed. 
6. brown pants
I made my pants out of another thrifted plus-size pair of pants. There was enough fabric that I could cut out the zipper and make a new center seam. I also narrowed the legs and inserted an elastic waistband that was at a proper height for my waist (i.e., no saggy crotch or barely covering my bum). It's so hard to find pants that fit just right, but this pair is actually quite comfortable now :)
7. brown boots
I wore some Keen boots I've had for a couple years.
8. utility pouch
I followed the same steps as for Sunshine's utility pouch, but made mine a little bigger. It ended up being just the right size for my cellphone. Though I didn't run the race with it in the pouch because I was afraid of it bouncing around too much. I hate things bouncing around when I run.
9. sash
I made the sash out of a rectangle of drop cloth and a corresponding piece of sheet, sewn on three sides and then turned right side out. I inserted a piece of stiff Pellon to help it keep it's shape (I didn't want it getting lots of creases and not laying flat) and sewed velcro on the ends.
10. tunic
Like I mentioned earlier, I did use a pattern for the tunic, and it actually went pretty well, which is not always my experience when sewing with patterns (most patterns- and clothes in general- are not made for short stocky people with a very short torso). I cut each piece from the linen blend and the sheet and sewed everything together so it would be fully lined.
I'm quite pleased with how my costume turned out. I can see myself wearing this costume in future years, making adjustments and adding details. I want to make my own belt (rather than jury-rig some thrifted belts), make food capsules and a communicator to attach to the belt (I've found some tutorials to use), make a metal lightsaber, make 1 or 2 utility pouches out of real leather, make the shoulder armor narrower, and make a cloak. So I've got enough things to do to keep changing things up for a year or two.

I tried a couple poses, but it didn't come as naturally to me as it did to Sunshine. Here it looks like I'm not sure what I'm holding. I was feeling very self-conscious :)

Slightly better, but I should probably not be smiling if I'm about to get in a fight...

How about a couple more pictures of Sunshine? She's much more photogenic :)

This picture cracks me up. She's got such a deceptive expression going on. I managed to catch her looking uncertainly at her lightsaber like she's not sure if she likes it or something. In reality,  she loves it and thinks it's the coolest thing ever.

Though she manages to look slightly bored in this one. Maybe this says something about my photography skills, or definite lack thereof. Though I am making progress with figuring out how to use our fancy-pants camera. Probably she was just ready for me to be done taking pictures.

Materials purchased for the costumes:

  • pleather- I purchased 1 yard for $8, I think, but used just a small piece for the utility pouch and lightsaber belt. We'll say $1 worth.
  • brown knit- I purchased 1 yard and used half for River's onesie, so about $4 for Sunshine's half.
  • brown pants- $3 from the thrift store
  • belt- $1 from the thrift store
  • D-ring- $1 from JoAnn's
  • lightsaber- about $8 (though actually less, since I averaged the costs across all three lightsabers and Sunshine's used cheaper parts)   
total: about $18

Jedi Knight
  • linen blend fabric- 3 yards, on sale, about $21
  • sheet- full size flat sheet, about $10
  • pleather- I purchased 1 yard for $8, I think, but used just a small piece for the utility pouch and lightsaber belt. We'll say $1 worth.
  • brown crepe (I think that's what it's called)- 1 yard, about $6
  • brown pants- $3 from the thrift store
  • belt- 3 for $3 from the thrift store
  • D-ring- $1 from JoAnn's
  • lightsaber - about $8
total: about $53

So our costumes (mine specifically) weren't as cheap as Mr M and River's, but I still did a good job of keeping the costs down as much as possible. I think $73 for four hand-made costumes is a good deal. And I will admit, I do like the comments we get when people see the detail and realize I made them. A little ego-stroking is nice once in awhile, though I won't let it go to my head :)


  1. Awesome costumes, very inspiring. My son wants us all to dress up to see episode 7, if i start now....

  2. Thanks! Sunshine wants me to make her an Ahsoka costume for this year, but I'm not sure if that will happen :) I'll need to think a lot about how to do it right while staying on budget.