I’m continuing my series on this year’s sewing projects by writing about something I made last year. I know it doesn’t make sense, but I’d like to cover this project anyway.
(If you found this while searching for a Jedi costume tutorial, then I hope this helps you with your own costume. May the Force be with you!)
In 2011, my husband asked me to make a Star Wars Jedi costume for him. I started the project in September of that year so he would have it for Halloween. He helped me with the project, making a joint effort that combined our appreciation of Star Wars with his geeky research and my sewing skills. He purchased a prop lightsaber, replica belt, replica boots, khaki pants, and a plain long-sleeved knit shirt. I made the rest.
In the Star Wars canon, there is some freedom with Jedi clothing as far as color, fabric, and certain embellishments, but generally, the garb is rather simple with Far East influences. While planning the costume, we looked at photos from the movies, browsed Star Wars fan forums and cosplay websites, and looked over a few tutorials. I also looked into purchasing a commercial pattern, but the best ones were out of print and demanding high prices on ebay.
I ended up purchasing Simplicity 5840, an adult costume pattern set that could make a robe, a tunic, and an obi. View D is suitable for a Jedi with some minor adjustments. Obviously, the pattern isn’t totally accurate officially licensed Star Wars merchandise, and as a Simplicity pattern, it’s guaranteed to have at least one error and/or at least one really weird design decision. Spoiler alert: it has both. My advice on adding extra length to facings applies to the tunic, and the obi ties should be shortened and fastened in the back (see photos below). Other than that, it’s an excellent basic Jedi tunic and there’s some room for artistic license.
Unfortunately, the robe is all wrong for a Jedi. The hood is very pointy and wizard-like, and it fits too snug around the head. It works if you are going to a Ren faire, I suppose. I thought I could alter the robe, but I realized that it would be too much trouble. I decided to draft a custom Jedi robe pattern using an online tutorial. The two best tutorials that I found are from Ani-Chay Pinn of the Jedi Assembly and WiliQueen at RebelLegion.com. We followed WiliQueen’s tutorial and drafted the pattern on our living room floor. We taped pieces of paper together and then drew the outline for the robe based on my husband’s measurements. I should note that while WiliQueen’s tutorial is excellent and I cannot recommend it enough — it even includes pleats in the robe for an authentic look straight from the films — my version ended up being too long and a little broad. We had to cut it down a bit. As with any pattern or tutorial, fit will vary from person to person.
Now, for the fabric selection. Fabrics such as linen, wool, and cotton are acceptable; in fact, some ascetic Jedi prefer scratchy woolens. For this costume, we selected polyester blends that are washable, durable, and somewhat wrinkle-resistant — not entirely accurate, but passable. I made the tunic in a linen-look fabric that had a good weight. For the robe, I used a polyester blend that sort of resembled worsted wool; it has a good weight and an easy cape-like drape. I wanted a costume that could stand up to years of wear during Halloween parties and sci-fi conventions without sacrificing too much authenticity.
Keep in mind that this costume is for a man and it looks much better on a real person, but I had to use Joan as a model. Therefore, it doesn’t fit her curvy figure very well. It should still give you a good idea of what the costume looks like.
Here’s the front view, complete with belt and lightsaber hilt. The fabric ended up being a little see-through, but since my husband wears a shirt underneath, it doesn’t matter.
Side view with extended sleeve. Note the drape of the fabric and the notch at the side hem.
Here’s how the belt and obi work. I shortened the ties and made them overlap and fasten with velcro. Then I put 5-6″ strips of velcro on the outside of the obi and the inside of the belt. This keeps the belt in place over the obi — no slippage!
Once the obi is secure, the belt just folds closed and the flaps close around the narrow strips on the back of the obi. Everything stays secure and in place!
One quick look inside the tunic. I placed velcro at strategic locations (indicated by the black circles) to hold the front of the tunic in place. Velcro really is your best friend. After all, no one wants to see a droopy tunic.
Now for the robe. On my husband, the hem is just above the floor. It doesn’t drag the ground.
Up close view of the front of the robe. I made sure that all the seams in the robe were neat, clean, and finished because they are exposed. I covered the hood/main body seam with bias, then blind hemmed the front all around.
View of the sleeve. Note its shape and the drape of the fabric.
Front view of hood. Joan doesn’t have a head so I used a folded sweatshirt as a head. Just imagine it’s Ewan McGregor’s face instead. I hear that helps some people.
Side view of hood. Note the rounded (not pointy!) shape.
Back view of hood. The inside of the robe has French seams.
Overall, I’m pleased with the costume even though it has tiny flaws that most people won’t notice. My husband loves it and he gets lots of compliments on it. When we visited the Star Wars Identities exposition in Montreal this summer, I was able to see costumes from the films in person. Though our version isn’t exactly like the ones from the films, it’s close enough to pass.
Now that I’ve made a Star Wars costume for my husband, I’m a little tempted to make one for myself. I won’t be a Jedi though. While my husband has the patient, quiet, and even-tempered personality of a Jedi, I tend to be hot-headed, opinionated, and snarky. In other words, I just might have to be a smuggler. I’ve always had a crush on Han Solo!