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DIY Generic Jedi Costume for Rebel Legion (A Head to Toe Guide)

I’ve had some questions about how I put together my Jedi costume, which is not of any particular character that appeared in the Star Wars universe, but follows the guideline of what a Jedi would have worn in the Old Republic. This kind of costume is called a “generic Jedi” in the Rebel Legion organization, of which I am a member. I made my costume according to the Rebel Legion Jedi Costume Standards, which is a useful reference even if you want a costume for fun and not for RL approval. (Please note, I am not a RL judge and this post reflects my own experience making my costume and is not an official guide of any sort).

Miss Vivien_s Con-Ex-4

Photo by Ribidib

Miss Vivien_s Con-Ex-1

Photo by Ribidib

The fun thing about doing a generic Jedi is you get to put a lot of your personality into it. You can choose your own colors and there are different kinds of shapes that are allowed. I’ll discuss some of the options available to you in each section.

The basic parts you need for a Jedi costume are:

  • Outer tunic (the beige part of my outfit)
  • Tabards (the blue parts that go over my shoulders and down the front)
  • Obi (the blue sash around my waist)
  • Pants or skirt
  • Belt
  • Boots
  • Lightsaber
  • Lightsaber clip on belt

For RL approval you need at least 3 out of these 4 items:

  • Inner tunic (the white part of my outfit)
  • Two or more (leather or resin) pouches
  • Food capsules (the colored things on my belt)
  • Hooded robe

I didn’t want to hang too many things on my belt so I opted to have only one pouch and fulfilled my requirements by having the other items. (If you are petite you may have trouble fitting two pouches and eight food capsules onto the sides of the belt and have to opt for one pouch and four food capsules).hoodfront.JPG

My inner and outer tunics, pants, and robe are made of linen. The obi and tabards are wool. These materials were personal preferences due to breathability and durability but natural materials are not required if you are on a budget.

The RL Costume Guide linked above has suggested colors; Jedi tend to be earth-tones so you’ll see a lot of brown, black, gray, beige, etc. but other colors are approvable. My blue ensemble is not particularly common but still allowed.

OUTER TUNIC:

The outer tunic is similar to a kimono in concept in that one side folds over the other side and there are big sleeves. IMG_0407

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You can see the opening on the right side here.IMG_0408

There are lots of tutorials and free patterns online for Jedi robes and tunics, so I will not reproduce them here. However, most of those are meant for male or unisex figures. They assume you have a boxy tunic that will be fitted to you with the belt, but creates some extra bulk at the waist. I opted to have a tunic with curved princess seams in the front and back to be more figure flattering. If you are not female-bodied or you want to save time by not worrying about extra seams, the free online Jedi tunic patterns are great. Otherwise, I would modify a wrap dress pattern for your Jedi.

I already had this McCalls M6940 Game of Thrones pattern (affiliate link) for a cosplay project so I modified it:68385897_722415068187496_2174166372844568576_n

  • Start with View A (the picture on the right).
  • Tape the skirt hip gore (yellow part with the lion) pattern piece to the skirt hip (red part above it) pattern piece so that you can use it as one big pattern piece. You should not have that extra horizontal seam at your hip on your Jedi tunic.
  • Shorten the skirt. My preference is above knee-level but you can make yours shorter or longer. (For RL approval it will need to cover your butt at least). You can also have a “hi-lo” tunic where the back is longer than the front.
  • Make a wide band (about 2 inches wide) for your collar instead of the narrower one in the pattern.
  • Use different sleeves. The Jedi sleeves are big cone shapes like wizard robes. I already had Simplicity 8723 Harry Potter robe pattern (affiliate link) so I borrowed the sleeves from that pattern, but made them longer. (For RL approval your sleeve should be knuckle-length).68369096_2548470338771719_1778429370386350080_n.jpg
  • Closures: instead of visible ties as shown on the McCall’s pattern, you want to have hidden closures on your Jedi tunic. I put hooks and bars on the right side of my tunic, and then a hidden ribbon tie on the inside left for extra security.IMG_0405IMG_0404

Unless your fabric is thick I recommend lining your tunic to give it better drape. A thin, flimsy tunic is going to look a little off if you want to look like an Old Republic Jedi or get RL approval. (If you are doing this as a casual Halloween costume then by all means do what’s quick and easy if you prefer!) I used two layers of “blanched almond” 100% linen from Fabricmart for mine. I have not used it myself but I have heard that Joann Fabrics has a “linen look” linen-rayon blend that is pretty good if you don’t have the budget for full linen. Crinkle cotton gauze is also a popular choice. You may be able to find a good polyester/cotton blend but it may be hot to wear.

INNER TUNIC: 

Although not required I highly recommend having one. It’s a layer that you can launder without having to wash your whole costume each time. You can either make a full shirt or just a dickey (false shirt with just a collar and a bit of a front and back). The important part is that the collar shows.  Mine is a full wrap shirt with a band collar about 2 inches wide. IMG_0402

As you can see it is a very simple shape, with just a snap closure, because you won’t be seeing most of it while the costume is worn. My pattern is self-drafted but you can modify any basic shirt pattern. The easiest thing would be finding a wrap blouse pattern  with a V neck to start with, but if you have some basic sewing skills you can extend one “flap” of the shirt pattern over and cut out the neckline to be a V shape.IMG_0403

Mine is made out of linen because it wicks moisture. Wearing lots of Jedi layers can get warm!

TABARDS:

When worn, tabards look like two pieces that go over your shoulders and down the front and back of your outer tunic.  They are NOT straight rectangles because they need to be angled to sit right. You can cut them out as Y-shapes but I preferred to have pieces where the seam was hidden by the obi because it saved fabric. Here is an in progress shot to show you what I mean.  The top pieces need to be long enough to cover the front and back; there is NO shoulder seam for Jedi tabards.IMG_8962.JPG

The exact dimensions are going to depend on your height and how broad your shoulders are. They should be wide enough to extend past your shoulders slightly. Mine are 5″ wide  but I am not a very large person. For the upper pieces cutting out rectangles about 6″ x 36″ wide was a good starting point for me. I am 5’6″ tall and that was enough fabric to have 0.5″ seam allowances and a lot extra to trim off when angling the ends. (The tabards are double thickness so cut 4 identical rectangles out).

The bottom half of the tabard is where you have a lot of chances to show off your personal preferences.

  • The ends can be squared off, pointed, or rounded. Mine are pointed and curved on one side.
  • The length can vary but must be at least as long as your outer tunic (for RL approval).
  • You can have the tabards meet and become one piece hanging in the front.
  • The back tabards can cross or not.
  • They can be fabric or leather.
  • You can put decorative symbols on them with paint or embroidery.IMG_8928.JPG

For the lower tabards I started with 4 rectangles that were 6″ x 28″, which like the upper tabards were enough for seam allowance and extra for trimming. My curve starts about 6 inches from the end.

I constructed the tabards by sewing the right sides together, turning them right side out, and top-stitching. They are the same on the front and back.

OBI:

The obi is the wide sash around your waist. The RL standards say that the obi should be the same width as your tabards or about the 3 times the width of your belt. I did the first option so my obi is 5″ wide, but yours should be proportional to your height and shoulder width. The length will depend on your waist measurement. You’ll want to have add at least several inches for overlap in the back, plus more for seam allowance.

The easiest obi is just a long rectangle, but a lot of people like to add texture and visual interest. Mostly this means pleating or scrunching up the top layer horizontally. I put in a series of diagonal tucks. I have not seen anyone else do this so I want to note that even though I got approved, if you are going for RL submission your judge’s opinion may vary. IMG_8956.JPG

The obi cannot have any visible closures. You can use velcro, hooks and eyes, or snaps but they must be hidden in the back overlap. (I used 2 large snaps). Some people also do not add closures and rely on the belt to keep the obi closed, but that makes it a little harder to get dressed.

I recommend sewing your tabards to your obi. (Then you put it on like a backwards vest, with the obi closure in the back).  This will keep them from shifting while you are wearing them and they will hang symmetrically without having to adjust  them each time. If you are clever about it, when you sew the tabards to the obi you will form small pockets between the tabards and obi for your credit cards and cash, or stickers and trading cards to pass out to kids.

BELT:

Leather and pleather belts are both approvable, but I chose a leather belt for durability since I plan to wear this costume a lot. My belt was custom-made for me by Mag Mel Creations on Etsy.  David does really great work and has wonderful customer service; I highly recommend his shop.

The classic Jedi belt consists of a wide belt with a skinny belt down the middle, with a buckle and studs holding the skinny belt in place.  My belt is dark brown leather and 2.5 inches wide but the width can vary depending on your height. There are different buckle types you can get but mine is the “Obi-wan” style. The buckle in front is not actually the main closure for the belt. Jedi belts overlap in the back and closes with studs (mine), Velcro, or snaps that are then hidden by a loop of leather that slides over the opening. IMG_8522.JPG

Your belt can be brown or black but should match your boots.

BOOTS:

Like the belt, your boots can be brown or black but need to coordinate with the belt. If you are following RL standards:

  • They should be tall but not extend over the knee.
  • Boots should be low-heeled.
  • Laces are not allowed.
  • Zippers are ok but need to be facing the inside of your leg.
  • Decorative buckles are ok but not if they are overly numerous.
  • I have an elastic gusset down the back of my boots, which are considered ok if they are discreet and blend in.

Like the belt, boots can be leather or pleather, but if you are going to be trooping a lot or marching in parades get some good quality leather boots to be kind to your feet!

I have very narrow calves so my options are limited, but I was able to get “Gabi” boots from Slimcalfboot.com during a sale. They also have a sister company called Wideshaftboot.com.Screen Shot 2019-05-24 at 1.39.46 PM

PANTS:

Getting pants are the easiest part of the ensemble! Only a little bit between the bottom of your tunic and top of your boots show, so there’s a lot of leeway to choose pants. You may even already have some in your closet that work.

  • Pants should be plain and in a solid color.
  • If there are pockets they should be hidden by your tunic. (No cargo pants with pockets down the side of your leg).
  • Whether they close with elastic, drawstrings, or buttons doesn’t matter because it won’t show. (Your outer tunic is supposed to be long enough to cover your butt).
  • Skirts are also allowed by RL instead of pants but they are supposed to be long enough to not expose any skin.

I made my own pants to match my robe, but many people buy nursing scrubs or use khakis. My pattern is self-drafted but you can use a pajama pants pattern and then taper the legs a bit.IMG_0398.JPG

I added 2 pockets to the back big enough for a phone and a wallet. My waistband is elastic because that’s a lot faster than putting in a zipper and placket. IMG_0400.JPG

ROBE:

The robe is an optional item but fun! Jedi robes are very oversized with really large hoods and sleeves. I used the aforementioned Simplicity 8723 Harry Potter robe pattern (affiliate link) but made a few adjustments:

  • Wizard hoods are pointed. Jedi hoods are rounded. You’ll want to cut off the pointy tip and round out the back of your hood pattern piece.
  • You’ll need to cut your hood bigger by extending the pattern pieces in all directions. Jedi hoods are HUGE. Did I emphasize they are SUPER BIG? They are so large that when you wear them the sides of the hood cover your shoulders. hoodfront
  • When the hood is down, the back of it almost touches your butt. To get all that fabric into your neckline you’ll need to do big pleats. (Your hood does not need to be lined, but I did because I wanted all the seams and edges to be very neatly finished. I’ve seen Jedi with serged one-layered hoods get approved so it’s not necessary).robeback.JPG
  • The sleeves are humongous and long enough to cover your hands. If you are using the Harry Potter robe pattern you’ll need to extend the length of the sleeves.
  • The robe should be close to floor-length.  (The RL standard is no more than 2 inches off the floor). The HP robe pattern only goes to about knee length so you’ll want to lengthen the robe. Please note, if you plan to run, drop the robe!68369096_2548470338771719_1778429370386350080_n

POUCHES:

Jedi have leather pouches attached to their belts. (If you want to use it as a RL minimum extra you’ll need 2). The pouches are allowed to be pleather or resin. There is a lot of leeway to the pouches as long as they match the look of your belt. A lot of people use military surplus ammo pouches because they are easy to find and inexpensive. You may prefer to find a pouch large enough to hold a phone or wallet. I opted for a small pouch due to my proportions, and because I already put pockets in my pants.

My pouch is a military surplus leather slingshot pellet holder (affiliate link) that I darkened with a few layers of shoe polish and wax.

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Some Jedi belt makers will also make you a custom matching pouch if you ask.

LIGHTSABER:

Lightsabers are a very personal item with lots of possibilities. As a generic Jedi and not a specific character you can pick a design that appeals to you instead of looking for screen accuracy.  If you want a fun costume you can pick up a plastic lightsaber at a toy shop. If you want a nicer one with a metal hilt the cost varies wildly depending on design, if it has a sound board, if it can do multiple sound effects, if it can change colors, if you had a saber smith do custom engraving, etc. I’ve seen lightsabers cost anywhere between $50-$1000 or more. There are a number of companies out there making lightsabers so make Google your friend. IMG_9995

However, if you are interested in mine, it is a YDD from Amazon (affiliate link), which was recommended to me as being good for small hands. At about $80 with sound effects it is a great deal. I like the smooth look because it’s comfortable to hold. As far as I can tell it is the same as the Kyojin Tiny Giant from Pach Store, but I have not purchased from that company myself.Screen Shot 2020-01-15 at 9.06.25 PM

LIGHTSABER CLIP:

There are two main ways to attach your lightsaber hilt to your belt depending on your lightsaber. If your hilt has a D ring then you will need a “hook” type of attachment and if your hilt has a Covertec wheel then you will need a Covertec-style belt clip (affiliate link).

I have a hook attachment for my belt. You can buy “Jedi lightsaber clips” but a really cost-effective way to get the look and function is to buy an archery quiver clip (which is used to hold the quiver of arrows to your belt) from a sporting goods store. Mine is a “Neet chrome belt clip” (affiliate link). One end hooks onto your belt and the other end is a hook for your D ring.

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FOOD CAPSULES:

Clipped to the belt are also little metallic pieces called “food capsules.” If you are going for RL approval you will need at least a set of 4; some people have 8. I bought my Jedi food capsules on Amazon (affiliate link), and they come in a set of 8 but I only use 4 of them.IMG_0017.JPG

HOW MUCH FABRIC DO I NEED?

The amount of fabric you use will depend on your size of course, but to give you a rough idea this is how much I used (as a 5’6″ tall slender person):

All fabric was wide widths (about 54″).

HOW MUCH WILL THIS COST?

The cost of your Jedi costume will vary widely depending on what sort of materials you use, how fancy your lightsaber is, and whether your goal is to be Rebel Legion approvable or have a quick Halloween costume. I plan to wear this costume multiple times a year for many years and need to be comfortable during long hours so I invested in nice fabrics (all linen and wool) and high quality genuine leather boots and belt. Including my lightsaber (which was on the low end of the price range) I spent about $500. DON’T PANIC.  If you use cotton or polyester fabric and pleather boots and belt I think you could put together a Jedi for $200, or even maybe $100 if you get creative at the thrift store. If you are on a budget I’d recommend going to a thrift store and looking for used boots there, and seeing what curtains and sheets you could use to make your garments instead of buying new fabric. If you have a bit of skill you can try your hand at making your own belt as well. (If you are not looking for RL approval you have a lot more flexibility in terms of faking the look with a store-bought belt). If you skip the robe, which takes up a lot of fabric, that will bring your costs down as well.

I wrote this guide with Rebel Legion approval in mind, but if you are not interested in that you can simplify or skip items. Also please keep in mind that your goals are your goals. Don’t let anyone make you feel embarrassed if you have a low budget, like unusual color combinations, or want a costume for fun and not for official approval.

Good luck and May the Force Be With You!Miss Vivien_s Con-Ex-1

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My Rebel Legion trading card, graphics by Colin Adams (OddViking)

HEY WHAT’S UP WITH ALL THESE “AFFILIATE LINKS”?

I am required to disclose that if you buy something through the Amazon link I get a small percentage of the sale that goes towards my domain registration fees and other costs associated with hosting the many photos on this website. (I don’t generate a profit on this blog; I just hope to break even). If you feel extra generous you can buy me a “coffee.” Thank you for reading!

An 18th Century Weekend at Wagner House

This past September there was an 18th century themed weekend at Wagner House (Lakewold Gardens) in Lakewood, Washington, hosted by Vanessa of @pinksewing. The weekend consisted of a picnic and a dinner, plus a day of workshops. Jenny of Jennylafleur taught a historical hair class and Denise of Romantic Recollections taught fly fringe. Additionally, photoshoots were provided by Gloria and Mike of In the Long Run Designs and there were trunk shows from Redthreaded and Dames a la Mode.

Here is a photo of the attendees of the picnic, taken by In the Long Run Designs.wagner-house_48828852158_o

And the following are the beautifully attired dinner guests, photo also by In the Long Run Designs.48844032341_9d21e5cf42_o.jpg

Wagner House is not huge but very elegant. The rooms of the house have been converted to conference/meeting rooms. Downstairs there’s a dining room, solarium, bathroom, marbled foyer, library, and kitchen. We were not allowed upstairs but could take photos at the bottom of the stairs during dinner. In my opinion though, my favorite parts were the gardens and the beautiful woods surrounding the property! IMG_2735IMG_2731IMG_2717

I am in love with this library!IMG_2740IMG_2737IMG_2742IMG_2743

Wagner House is not set up for overnight stays so most of us stayed in a nearby hotel or Airbnb and drove to Lakewold Gardens for the events. Some guests were local to Washington state.

In the first group photo I am wearing my 18th century shepherdess costume, and you can read more about it in my previous post.(Photo by In the Long Run Designs).48867872061_9edf6e25a0_o

In the second group photo I am wearing a mauve silk Italian gown that I previously wore to the Casanova exhibit at the Legion of Honor, but added additional trim to for this event. (Photo by In the Long Run Designs).wagner-house_48829563677_o

I normally wear this dress with a large split bum pad, but it would have taken up half the space in my suitcase, so I opted for a smaller half-moon bum pad and a petticoat. More petticoats would have created a fluffier look, but sometimes we have to make allowances for travel!

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And here are photos of some of the beautiful guests! I enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones.

Here is Beth in her beautiful candy stripes.IMG_2922

Ginger is so fluffy!IMG_2934

Laina and Cathyn made a striking couple.IMG_2952

The colors that Denise and her husband wore were luminous in person.IMG_2951

Lindsey looked so pretty in pink, and I loved her hair!IMG_2946

Sacque gowns are fantastic from the back!IMG_2944

A shot of Ginger from the picnic.IMG_2904IMG_2801

Taylor and Jenny in stripes during the daytime event.IMG_2796

Guests were milling about before dinner.IMG_2966IMG_2965 2

Dinner was delightful! Vanessa took care of every detail, including limiting the number of seats at each table to fit all our giant dresses. There was also a pianist and bartender! 😉  I’m afraid my camera wasn’t good enough to do the food justice under the lighting conditions, so I’ll just provide the menu here so I can reminisce fondly:

Appetizers:
Bacon Wrapped Chili Chicken Bites
Cranberry Brie Bites
Herbed Mushroom Puffs

Dinner:
Mixed Greens Salad w/Apples, Goat Cheese, w/Balsamic Viniagrette
Tuscan Chicken
Beef Bourguignon
Garlic Parmesan Pasta
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Herb Zucchini
Foccacia Bread

Dessert:
Rose & Lemon Macarons
Black Forest Trifles
Vanilla Cream Puffs

As a parting gift we all received an engraved fan as a memento of the weekend, as well as a champagne and macarons enamel pin by Aimee Steinberger.

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Thank you Vanessa for a magical weekend!48844032341_9d21e5cf42_o

18th Century Shepherdess Costume

Earlier this year I got to spend a magical 18th century-themed weekend at Wagner House in Lakewood, Washington. I’ll share pictures of the event activities and the gorgeously attired attendees in my next post, but in this one I’m sharing the “18th century shepherdess” costume I put together for the picnic. It is historically inspired but not historically accurate, but was still delightful to wear!

Portraits in this post are by Gloria and Mike of In the Long Run Designs. I was lucky to have a photoshoot with them inside and outside Wagner House.48867872061_9edf6e25a0_o

Since I had to fly to the event, to be efficient with suitcase space I decided to wear an outfit where I could reuse the undergarments (stays, shift, bum pad, under petticoat) for my evening look. I already owned most of the items needed for my outfit except for the moire petticoat and embroidered apron I made.48867352163_323dd5c8f8_o.jpg

A number of small, women-owned businesses made this outfit possible! My beautiful embroidered silk stays were custom made by Redthreaded. My delightful bergere hat is a concoction by Atelier Mela. And of course, as always, American Duchess was the source of my shoes (Dunmores) and clocked stockings. I carried a little stuffed sheep that was named Sarah, at the suggestion (insistence) of Sarah of La Dauphine Costuming.48867872956_9ffc34cd0a_o

I made my petticoat in an 18th century style with front and back ties and side slits for my pockets. There are tutorials online that you can find to make your own and also one in the American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking (affiliate link).  It is a simple design with one front and one back panel pleated into the waistbands. I used a vintage moire fabric I purchased from Elizabeth Emerson Designs and “rococo” ribbon trim from Mokuba.JEDE5176

I added a pleated decorative “ruffle” to the bottom of my petticoat. Due to the thickness of the cotton rayon moire the pleats don’t iron down as crisply as taffeta pleats, but the ribbon trim across the top helped!IMG_2304

I have some of this fabric left and I am thinking of making a matching jacket at some point.

For the apron I used a scrap of embroidered netting that I got from a friend. The length of the apron was determined by the size of the remnant I had. (Some of you may recognize this as a “shabby chic” curtain that is used by many cosplayers who make Queen Padme Amidala’s picnic dress!)IMG_2301

The apron is attached to a simple waistband with organza ribbon ties. The raw edges of the netting were hidden by some lace I had in the stash that were just the right color!IMG_2306.JPG

My linen shift is not actually a historically correct 18th century one, but has a drawstring neckline and sleeves so that I can adjust it for different outfits. I originally made it for my 1660s outfit, and you can find instructions for it in the post about my Cavalier dress.

My hair consisted of a wig I styled myself using tips from the American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Beauty (affiliate link) and 18th Century Hair and Wig Styling by Kendra van Cleave.IMG_2912 copyIMG_2901

Wagner House was quite beautiful and I’ll share some pictures of the rest of the weekend in my next post!48868069312_3170d2cb39_o

1890s Bicycling Sweater Tutorial and Sewing Pattern

If, like me, you’ve long admired the 1890s bicycling or sporting sweaters but did not know how to knit, this sewing tutorial and pattern is for you, no knitting required!WCIH9664

I wore this sweater to the Reno Tweed Ride, along with a wool skirt and witch hat I made. (A tutorial for the Professor McGonagall-inspired deerstalker hat is in my previous blog post).IMG_3336

This lovely example is from the Met Museum. It features a heavy knit, giant upper sleeves, fitted lower sleeves, a turtle neck collar, and buttons.The Met Museum.jpg

I have made a simplified version with a similar silhouette using 2 yards of 59″ wide  “Telio cable knit” fabric from Amazon (affiliate link). It also comes in pink, gray, and blue. It’s not a real yarn sweater knit but it is inexpensive because of its wide width, easy to get, and most importantly it is chunky and not thin. If you want a more authentic look you can look for a real cable knit fabric in cotton or wool, but it will be more pricey because those come in smaller widths. (If you end up using a “real” knit it will be stretchier so cut a slightly smaller size of pattern).

This tutorial assumes some basic pattern drafting skills and also that you have a serger. (This will keep the knit fabric from fraying and also keep the seams stretchy).

The pattern pieces were drafted to fit a woman with a 34″ bust and 28″ waist (or slightly larger because of the stretch). If you are busty or have a soft belly I have an alternative pattern piece for the front that will fit at least a 36″ bust and 30″ waist, with some extra stretch for slightly larger measurements. (If you don’t fit these measurements I will explain what to do below as well).

All pieces include a 1/2″ seam allowance.

BODICE PATTERNIMG_4296

The pattern pieces for the front (red lines) and back (purple lines) of the sweater resemble a sleeveless top. They are mostly the same except the front piece is a little wider and the neckline is cut a little lower. If you are flat-chested or like a tighter fit use two of the back pattern pieces (and cut the neckline lower on one piece to make it a front). If you use two back pieces this will fit a 34″ bust/28″ waist. If you use the front and back this will fit a 36″ bust/30″ waist. This will fit larger sizes depending on how stretchy your fabric is.

For each piece FOLD YOUR FABRIC IN HALF and put the pattern piece on top, with the folded edge on the right. When you cut through 2 layers of fabric and open them you will have a complete pattern piece. Do not cut the fold!

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If you are slightly larger than the measurements you can scoot the pattern piece towards the left and add extra inches to the folded size.

If you are very different from the measurements you can make your own pattern by taking a sweater that fits you and tracing the main body as a guide. Remember to add seam allowances! IMG_5443

BODICE CONSTRUCTION

After you have your front and back, sew them (right sides) together at the sides using your serger. Repeat by sewing the shoulders together. (Note: on the extant sweaters the shoulders are not sewn together but fastened by buttons. If you prefer that look then you’ll want to not sew your shoulders closed at this part. You’ll also want to extend the top shoulder area of your front bodice piece to ensure an overlap, and serge the raw edges. I opted to sew my shoulders closed because my fabric is stretchy enough that the neck opening was sufficient).

For an extra fitted look (or if you’re wearing a corset) I recommend putting it on inside out, pinching out any excess on the side, marking it with chalk, and sewing and trimming the excess. Do this before you put on the sleeves or collar!

To keep the raw edges from fraying, also serge along the edges of your armholes, neck opening, and bottom hem. Turn up the excess length on the bottom hem and stitch down with your preferred technique (with your serger, zig-zag stitch on sewing machine, or straight stitch if you don’t mind losing horizontal stretch).

You should now have a sleeveless top.

UPPER AND LOWER SLEEVE PATTERN

Each sleeve consists of two parts: a large puffed upper sleeve and a fitted tube-like lower sleeve.IMG_4302IMG_4303IMG_4290

As you can see, the upper sleeve is huge. (The sleeves are the main reason I chose a wide width knitted fabric). If you are uncomfortable drafting a curved sleeve head based on the diagram above you can start with an existing large puffed sleeve pattern from your collection. Perhaps you have a Regency or Victorian dress pattern in your stash? Trace that puffed sleeve, then slice it down the vertical center. Pull the two halves apart. Further. Keep going. Yes, they really are that big. Then fill in the missing middle by tracing your new pattern on another (really large) piece of paper. If the sleeve isn’t tall enough to match the measurements given, you can also slice it horizontally and extend.

The lower sleeve is mostly a tube that tapers below the elbow. I have long slender arms; you may have to widen this part of the pattern if you have a more athletic build.

SLEEVE CONSTRUCTION

Sew the long edges of the lower sleeve (right sides) together to make a tube. (Again, use your serger for the sleeve construction to avoid fraying).

Sew the straight edges of the upper sleeve (right sides) together to make a giant um, thing. Serge all edges of your sleeve openings now because it may be too thick to put through your serger once it is gathered/pleated.

Gather the bottom opening of the upper sleeve so that it fits into the top part of the lower sleeve and sew the two parts together. You should now have something resembling a chicken drumstick. IMG_5459

When worn, you will push part of the lower sleeve up so that the bottom of the upper sleeve hangs over it, like the next photo:IMG_3032

Pleat the top part of the upper sleeve to fit into the armhole of your top. The direction of your pleats is a matter of personal preference, but just make sure you mirror them on the other sleeve. IMG_3298

Put on the sweater, push the lower sleeve to the desired location as described above, and mark where you want your sleeve to end (at the wrist).

Fold up the excess at the end of the sleeve and stitch down to have a finished edge in the same way you did the bodice hem.

COLLAR PATTERN

The turtleneck collar is based on trapezoids. Fold your fabric in half and put the shorter edge of the trapezoid against the fold and cut out your shape, ending up with sort of a hourglass drum. Do this twice.

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COLLAR CONSTRUCTION

For each piece you are going to fold it down the center horizontally, right sides together (so that it is inside out). Sew the side seams and then flip it right side out. The top doesn’t need to be sewn because it was on the fold. Serge the bottom (long edge) shut.

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Pin the collar pieces to the neck opening of your bodice. The front and back collar pieces are going to overlap on the sides where you put your closures. You will want the front to overlap the back on the outside. Sew the collar pieces to the neck opening, right sides together so that the serged seams are hidden inside when worn.IMG_5494

For closures you will add buttons on each side of the collar. The number will vary depending on the size of your buttons. IMG_3361

I put hidden snaps on my collar because my knit was too thick to put through the buttonholer on my sewing machine, and I was not about to make buttonholes by hand! If you’re not as lazy as me or you have a thinner knit you can certainly make buttonholes for your buttons.IMG_3037

Now you are done and your 1890s sweater is ready for a Tweed ride, historical costume event, or even everyday wear as history bounding!

PROJECT COSTS:

I paid $23.06 including shipping and tax for 2 yards of “Telio cable knit” fabric from Amazon (affiliate link). The buttons, snaps, and thread were items previously purchased cheaply and/or in bulk so my total cost was about ~$25 for this project. Obviously, your costs will differ depending on what kind of fabric and buttons you buy, but this is to demonstrate that a historical sweater doesn’t need to be expensive!

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I hope this tutorial was an understandable and accessible way for people who cannot knit (or don’t have the time) to make an 1890s sweater. If you make one with my tutorial please comment below or send me a message on Instagram @freshfrippery and let me know!

For those of you brave souls who actually want to knit your own, there is a knitting pattern for an 1890s sweater by Kelsey Patton on Ravelry. 

For now I am wearing my sweater with a wool skirt but I have plans to make some bicycling pants in the future.

Have fun and go on splendid adventures with your sweater!

I am happy to provide all patterns and tutorials for for free on my blog. It is absolutely optional, but if you would like to donate towards my domain registration and the data costs of hosting the many photos on my site, consider buying me a “coffee”: https://ko-fi.com/freshfrippery.  Thank you!Screen Shot 2019-11-27 at 9.28.46 PM

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Professor McGonagall-inspired Deerstalker Witch Hat Pattern and Instructions

Professor McGonagall is my favorite character in the Harry Potter books/movies, and I love her tartan hat with the little ear flaps. I recently made my own and got some requests to share the pattern so here you go!IMG_3350

The hat has flaps on the ears that you can wear down or tied up. My hat is made from wool left over from a matching skirt that I made. The nice thing about this project is that it doesn’t require a lot of fabric and can be made from scraps.

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This hat sits on top of the head (and the pieces are sized for my 22″ head). If you want the hat crown big enough to cover your head you’ll need to resize the pieces a bit.

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This is the movie hat for reference.

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PATTERN PIECES AND MATERIALS

The hat uses several simple shapes and in the sections below I’ll describe how to draft and assemble them. I apologize in advance that I have a lot of pictures of the pattern pieces and finished item, but not the construction process since I made this at night right before a trip. However, construction is pretty straightforward! The pattern pieces include a 3/8″ seam allowance.

Materials:

  • Tartan/plaid print fabric (wool or cotton flannel)
  • Fusible foam interfacing
  • Regular fabric interfacing or stiff cotton organdy
  • Lining fabric
  • Ribbon or twill tape for ties and inner binding
  • Small comb
  • Thread, etc.IMG_3438

THE CROWN

The pattern:

The shape is a big cone. The center of the cone (which will be the front of the hat) is a little longer than the edges (which will be the back of the hat) since the crown tilts backwards a bit. To draft this shape you can draw a giant circle with a 19″ diameter, and then cut out about 1/3 of it as a starter shape, then use the measurements in the diagram below to help you get close to the final shape. The other option is to draw a triangle with 8.5″x8.5″x16″ triangle and then add the rounded part on the bottom. IMG_3439

Assembly:

Cut 1 fashion fabric, 1 lining, and 1 interfacing. For the lining I used a scrap of nylon (but any thin fabric is fine). For the interfacing I used single sided foam stabilizer which gives your crown some stiffness and structure. I use Bosal brand (Amazon affiliate link) In-R-Form, which is designed for purses but makes nice hats.IMG_3046

Iron lining to foam interfacing first; I’ll refer to it as “lining” from now on because it’s become one piece. Sew the back seams of the lining together (right sides together) to make a cone shape and trim excess bulk from the seam area. Sew fabric into cone shape the same way and flip right side out. Put fabric cone over lining cone and stitch bottom edges together to create your crown.

THE BRIM

The pattern:

The shape is a modified circle with a hole in the middle. To draft it draw a 12″ wide circle (or trace a large plate). In the center draw a 5.25″ wide circle (or trace a bowl). Cut out and discard the inner circle. Draw a curve on the sides like a butternut squash; this is to allow you to pull up your earflaps later. (Fold the pattern in half and cut both sides at the same time to keep it symmetrical).IMG_3442

Assembly:

Cut out 2 brims from fashion fabric and 1 brim from interfacing. You’ll want the brim to be thin and a little floppy so do not use the foam you used for the crown. I used some stiff cotton organdy because I had that available, but you can use other kinds of fabric interfacing.

The goal is to end up with a donut with the interfacing inside, so layer your pieces in this order: fabric, fabric, interfacing (with fabric right sides together).

Stitch the outer edge of all the pieces together, then flip inside out from the center hole in order to have the fabric facing out and the interfacing sandwiched in. Then topstitch the outer edges (for neat finished look) and topstitch the inner edges (to keep the layers together for the next step).

Sew the bottom edge of the crown to the inner edge of the brim, making sure the raw edges of both pieces face into the hat. Trim extra bulk from the foam if needed.

THE EAR FLAPS

The pattern:

The ear flap is a tongue shape. You can draft this piece by making a 4.5″ x 5.75″ rectangle and curving one end. (Fold the rectangle in half length-wise and cut off a rounded corner to make sure it’s symmetrical). The straight edge is the side that will be sewn to the hat.IMG_3443

Assembly:

For each flap cut 2 fabric and 1 interfacing (4 fabric and 2 interfacing total). The ear flaps should be soft so use a very thin and light interfacing, such as the lining to your hat. The assembly for each flap is just like the brim. Summary: put the fabric right sides together with the interfacing on top, sew together on the outer edges, flip right side out, topstitch all edges.

Stitch one flap to each side of the hat underneath the brim. This should be along the area where the brim curves in. I recommend pinning the pieces to the hat and trying it on to make sure the flaps cover your ears before sewing down. Sorry I forgot to take a picture before I sewed in the binding.IMG_3447

To cover up the raw edges inside the hat, hand-stitch in a ribbon, twill tape, or bias tape. I used a 1-inch wide music print twill tape because it was cute, but actually this is too wide and will cause ripples like my hat. If you want a smoother appearance a 1/2 inch ribbon is preferred.

Since this hat sits on top of your head, for security I sewed a small comb in the front.IMG_3448

THE HATBAND AND TIES

The pattern:

The hatband is just a long finished strip. Cut a long rectangle 22 inches long x 2 inches wide.IMG_3449

Assembly:

Sew down the long edges, right sides together, making a tube. Turn right side out and topstitch both long edges. Sew the small ends together to make a big circle. Put the band on the base of the crown and tack down in several places next to the brim to keep it from falling off.

Here’s a top view to show that the top of the band is not stitched down, just the bottom.IMG_3446

For the ties cut 2 pieces of ribbon or twill tape and stitch to the ends of each earflap. I plan to mostly wear my flaps up so the the tape is stitched to the side of the flap that will not show. For an extra neat appearance you can sandwich the ties into the flaps during construction, but if they are sewn to the outside you can switch them later.

My ties are 18 inches long each so that they can also be tied under the chin. If you don’t plan to have the extra versatility you can make them shorter. I used a linen twill tape I had in the stash because it matched my wool, but a wide ribbon would look cute too!

IMG_3351The flaps can be worn tied up but do not meet in the back.

Your hat is now done! Go forth and have witchy adventures in the woods!IMG_3293

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Do you like this sweater? I’ll be posting a tutorial for it too, no knitting experience required! Please subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram @freshfrippery to make sure you get notified when the tutorial is posted!

All patterns and tutorials are provided free on my blog. I don’t charge for them but if you would like to donate towards my domain registration and data costs of hosting the many photos on my site, consider buying me a “coffee”: https://ko-fi.com/freshfrippery

Thank you!Screen Shot 2019-11-27 at 9.28.46 PM

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Linen 1930s Beach Pajamas and a Vintage Robe for a Miss Fisher Tea Party

A group of friends and I had a Miss Fisher tea party at Pardee House, a historical home in Oakland, CA. We dressed in 1920s and 1930s clothing (or later decades if one preferred), and booked a tour of the home and a delicious tea afterwards. It was a lovely experience and I highly recommend Pardee for anyone in the area.

I wore a newly made set of linen beach pajamas using the “1930s Last Resort Beach PJs” pattern from Decades of Style, paired with a true vintage 1930s rayon robe. (Thank you Sara for all the outfit photos).IMG_2109

My green glass necklace is also vintage. My shoes are from Royal Vintage Shoes and my hat is from eBay.IMG_2110

I’ve used this pattern before and really liked it. (You can see my previous set of PJs and pattern review here).IMG_2113

I made the garment from some peach-colored linen that I had left over from another project. The trim on the neckline, back, hem and ties are orange “rococo” trim. There is a zipper in the lower back and two large pockets in the front.IMG_2115IMG_2020IMG_2025

I faked having short hair with this little clippy tool. You put your hair through the flexible center, roll it up, and then secure with the clips.TDJT1497.JPG

I felt like Miss Fisher exploring a mystery in this photo!69457657_421578011804782_4825319839214075904_o

The food at the Pardee tea was so good and plentiful, and beautifully presented with all sorts of floral garnishes. RETO9820.JPG

Here are a few of the beautifully dressed ladies who were there with me: Natalie, Kelsey, Mena, Sara, and Jessica!69853869_421578128471437_8476538088061927424_o.jpgIMG_2107

Pardee Home is quite charming; I highly recommend a visit!69368379_421579175137999_5823233556041695232_o

Beach PJs project costs:

  • 5 yards trim: $6.60 from eBay (part of a larger order including shipping)
  • Pattern: $0 (used before)
  • 2.5 yards linen fabric: $25.50 from fabricmart.com (part of a larger order including shipping)
  • Zipper: $0 (salvaged from another item)
  • Thread: ~$1 from stash

Total: ~$33.10 (cool, comfortable, chic, and cheap!)

 

His and Hers Roman Costumes

My local costume guild had an event called “Nectar and Nectar and Ambrosia: Day with Dionysus on Mount Olympus” at a winery where Roman and Greek costumes (both fantasy and historically accurate) were encouraged. I challenged myself to make costumes for both myself and my husband in the span of a week, with materials I already had at home. In the end, the outfits really only took a few hours each (with the use of a serger) and a lot of the materials I used were leftovers from other projects or unwanted items people were giving away for free (so this was a budget and eco-friendly endeavor!)IMG_1198.JPG

Please note, these are historically-inspired, but ultimately fantasy costumes. They were good enough for the party I went to, but this is a costume tutorial, not a scholarly article. =) IMG_1236

Roman Women’s Outfit 

Roman tunics can be rather simple. I got this diagram from a friend and made a short-sleeved version of the bottom figure. As you can see, it is basically a giant tube sewn at the sides. At the top there are areas where you stitch together to make neck and arm openings.IMG_0308

You then add a belt to create the shape at the waist.IMG_1398

I stitched together parts of the top to allow room for my head, and used some decorative gold buttons I got from a friend. IMG_1400

I was gifted a beautiful embroidered silk sari by a friend who was moving and destashing. The sari had a number of snags and holes that I was perfectly fine with for a fantasy party outfit. Maybe it wouldn’t have worked for a ballgown, but hidden in lots of folds it was fine! The sari also had some areas of sheer netting and beaded flowers which are not historically correct for the Roman era, but good enough for me!IMG_1409

My sari was 6 yards long, but not wide enough to cover the full length of my body. IMG_1422For the simplest sewing, get a very wide fabric (55″ or so) or a solid (so you can use it lengthwise) so you don’t have to have a waist seam or worry about pattern-matching. Since my sari was only 44″ wide and most of the nice embroidery was on the long edge, I had to piece together mine with a waist seam hidden by a belt.IMG_1424

The final width of my top (measured across the embroidery) is 25″ plus seam allowances but of course this will depend on your measurements and how long you want your “sleeves.” (I also have narrow shoulders and limited fabric so I didn’t have a lot of gathering in the front).

So if you have very wide fabric and are not super tall, 1 yard each of fabric for the front and back of your tunic is plenty for many people. Add a few more yards for your palla and you are Roman!IMG_1408IMG_1411.JPG

I didn’t have a lot of left over fabric after cutting the tunica, so my “palla” is too short to be fully wrapped around me properly, so I tucked one corner into my belt, then draped it over my opposite shoulder and arm. For reference, mine ended up 76″ x 44″ but I recommend a longer one if you want a fuller look.IMG_1370.JPG

I think the ripples look quite nice when they hang just right.IMG_1244

My belt was made from some soft woven ribbon from a gift box. I sewed some gimp braid down the center. The braid was left over from another project. For those of you keeping track, that means so far everything was free!IMG_1410

For accessories I wore pieces from an Indian bridal jewelry set I already owned. I wore the necklace on my head with some large earrings and bangles.IMG_1280

I put my hair up and also made a false braided bun with leaf pins that I already owned.TMPR6435.JPG

Underneath the dress I wore a full-length slip (that I actually got from a swap party and mended), plus some Roman-looking sandals from Target.

Roman Men’s Outfit 

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My husband’s tunic is constructed similarly to mine, except it is shorter and has longer sleeves. He also doesn’t have peekaboo shoulders because the sleeve seam is sewn shut, but the neck hole is made the same way. Originally his was 1 yard wide, but he ended up wanting even longer sleeves so I had to add some rectangles of fabric at the top sides like a t-shirt. His is made from white cotton I had leftover from my Gibson Girl petticoat project. I sewed trim across the sleeve  and shoulder seams and neckline before hemming the sleeves. Extra trim was tied around his waist like a belt. IMG_1791.JPG

For the first time my husband’s outfit cost more than mine! (Although still it was only about $10 of materials).

I had originally planned to drape some colored fabric around him with a brooch, but he declined the extra layer of fabric since it was a warm day. He also wore sandals from Target. It took us a while to find the largest pair they had in the women’s section. =)

It was a fun event with creative costumes on a beautiful day with friends like Natalie and Kelsey.IMG_1181

Kelsey and Todd as Caesar.IMG_1187

Adrienne and Elizabeth as Artemis and Diana.IMG_1209

I’m tempted to make more Roman outfits now. This was easy and comfortable, and rather flattering for just wrapping fabric!VMOB9427.JPG