Jedi Robe with Clone Trooper Helmet – “Hey there, how yah doing?”
So it’s that time of the year again when the weather cools down and the leaves start to turn warm shades of Autumn and one starts thinking about the holiday season that starts with Halloween. Ah the joy of putting together the perfect costume for a night of pretending to be something else, or perhaps something that is more like our true selves inside. Either way, it means costuming. So I thought I would give my two cents worth this year and try and make something using an alternative material. And since I am still in a hardcore Star Wars mode, (I am working on a Star Wars novel that I hope to get published and okayed by the people at Lucasfilm and Disney), I choose to make a Jedi Robe. You know that traditional iconic covering that Jedi wear that is necessary to pulling off a truly authentic looking character from the Star Wars Universe. So often I see these robes done in what I call the bed sheet Jedi costumes. Most of the store bought costumes are of such materials, but if you truly take a close look at the actors from the movie, the robes are not made of thin cotton weave.
Take a look at the picture above. We have three Jedi dressed in their traditional garments and neither of them look like their garments are made of thin cotton bed sheet like material. The robes, vests, and undershirt garments all have a richness in texture and color. Anakin’s is partially out of leather while Mace’s appears to have a heavy linen quality. And all three of them appear to have their robes made out of wool. So why are there so many people making Jedi robes out of thin cotton? Cost and availability. Wool can be very expensive and depending upon where one lives, the variety of the types of wool available may be limited. So what can one do about this? Try and find other types of material that may work. I actually made the vest piece for my own costume out of upholstery fabric, but it is heavy, somewhat cumbersome, and generally not washable. It also doesn’t flow well so it would make a poor Jedi Robe.
So one day while in IKEA, I spotted these blankets. There was a variety of choices of texture and color that were perfect for a Jedi’s Robe. I started to wonder if it was even possible to make a Jedi Robe out of these blankets. Would it be cost effective? Was there enough fabric? Well, now I can answer those questions – it was about $50.00 to make this Jedi Robe. It was also not enough material to make a tall or large person’s robe. It would be more ideal for a child or small adult. Three of these blanket rolls are required and this is a project not for the impatient sort of person. The blankets like to fray or unravel since they are loosely woven. And after this experience I have made a list of ideal things you may wish to have access to before trying this.
- Serger or Babylock machine to keep the edges from coming apart.
- A sewing machine is a must.
- Thread and sewing needle for hand sewing certain parts
- Pins with long needles and really big heads like the ones that quilters use. Small pins will disappear into the blanket fabric and possibly slip out.
- Large clean flat space to lay the blanket out
- A measuring tape and long straight edge ruler or yard stick. Meter sticks for those in country’s not still in the dark ages.
- Sharp Scissor for cutting fabric.
- A Vacuum to clean up the mess you will make.
- A simple pattern that does not require too many cuts into the blanket. I used a pattern I found on the Internet and unfortunately I do not know the name of the designer of this very practical and useful pattern, but here it is for those who may wish to use it. It links back to this page – http://www.forum.rebellegion.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=36267
This is an awesome pattern that can be altered to any individual’s size if you do the math correctly. Sorry no Common Core – this needs to be accurate if you want good results. I have used this pattern to make two different sizes of wool Jedi Robes and I have been pleased with the results. And I will make another one in the future.
Here are a series of photos taken during the making of the Jedi “IKEA” Robe that will hopefully make this process less stressful or perhaps you may simply rethink the idea of actually doing this. I know I would want a serger to use and more space to lay out the blanket. I also would not make it for a large person either as I had originally done.
Some basic tools needed for this project. Ignore the dog that wanted to be in the photo. :)
I laid one piece on top of the other to make sure both sides would be symmetrical. Please note the second blanket was bigger than the first one, which does cause some engineering problems later.
My Mom has a special ruler that is good for the neck shape part of the pattern, but other patterns or a t-shirt might help in getting the right shape figured out. Remember that this is half of the neck area.
I used a Sharpie pen to mark the area to cut and then pinned it so that the fabric would not shift.
Sew along the cut edges of the blanket so that it will not fray so quickly and fall apart.
Start sewing together the pieces carefully. As you can see from the photo that the edges are starting to really fray. Dog is trying to supervise the project without much luck.
Cut out the hood part. Try and make good use of any already hemmed or selvage edges that will not require any extra work. I used the hemmed part of the blanket for the front opening of the hood.
Hand sewing will be necessary to make the garment look nice. Don’t be afraid to put a little extra work into making it look good. It will pay off. There were some places where hand sewing was necessary and not possible with a sewing machine. Make sure you make the knots secure or else the thread make slip loose.
I had to add length to the robe to make it big enough for an adult male. This required me to do some odd stuff. It is not a perfect looking garment, but it has a rustic and almost used quality about it that is very much like the Star Wars Universe of characters.
Some sections along the hemline looked awful, and I had to do things to make it work.
Here’s how it looks from the front. Note this Jedi likes to wear Hawaiian prints for his under garments. ;)
This really has the potential to be a nice textured looking Jedi Robe. The IKEA blanket would lend itself to making a more rustic care worn looking garment. This could be done by leaving the exposed fraying edges to look as if damage had happened due to age or combat. One could also leave the robe shorter if they were to take this approach as if something had happened to lose the original length of the garment.
In the end I am glad that I tried this project. It had interesting results and I learned to be patient and cautious with the loose weave fabric. Hope you have good results on your Star Wars Halloween or Cosplay projects.
Gretchen Winkler ©2015