Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Aren't you a little tall for a Jawa?

501st Approved
Rebel Legion Canon/Approved

This was my first 501st costume.

I'm always making adjustments to this costume, so this is really just a list of what I have done up to today.

The website I followed throughout the whole process was removed right as i was putting the finishing touches on the mask so hopefully I remember how I did everything.

Monk's cloth is the best fabric to use for this costume.  It is expensive, heavy, and unravels easily - but it is the best look you will find.  Find it on sale at JoAnn Fabrics. 

Chances are you will need to dye the fabric also which is much easier to do now thanks to RIT liquid dyes.  You will probably need two bottles and follow the directions on the bottle closely.  Dye the fabric before you cut anything out because the fabric will shrink in the dryer.  On that same note, be sure to buy more fabric than you need and sew the loose edges before you dye it (it will unravel and you will end up with a tangled mess and less fabric.)

You will also need a dark black fabric that will absorb light.  The best is a slightly patterned black crushed velvet (get the fake velvet, it's cheaper.)  This will be used inside the hood and on the mask.  Velvet is very dark and the pattern will make it harder for people to see a mask and instead will just see black - which is cool and creepy at the same time.

I used McCall pattern M5550 as a starting point.  This is actually a pattern for a Santa costume but I liked how big it was.  I created more of an overlap in the front.  This way there would be a seam at the side and both the underlap and overlap would be attached to both shoulders.  This keep everything in place and makes it less likely for someone to see inside your robe.  I added a belt around my robe because it actually hid my bodies curves better.  I highly recommend creating a pattern out of muslin before you cut the Monk's cloth.  Muslin can be as cheap at .99 a yard which is a lot cheaper than 14.99 a yard.

When sewing the bottom and sleeve edges don't sew a clean edge.  Instead sew a line about 1-inch in and fray the edges.  That line will keep you costume from fraying completely.

First you should line the hood with the black velvet material.  This will make it darker in the hood but make it look natural.  The hood should be sewn closed in the back and open in the front and bottom.  The hood should be long so it creates a nice point in the back.  The bottom of the hood is frayed so that if any of it shows, it still looks distressed.  The hood opening is created by sewing over the edge twice and creating a hem for a peice of wire to be threaded through.  Be sure to bend the edge of the wire around so you don't get stabbed in the neck with sharp wire ends.  I have extra wire in my hood so I have more control over the opening and how it sits.

The hood closes with velco that I have sewn onto the front.  I think I am going to change this to snaps but first I have to figure out how I will make the Monk's cloth more stable because it is too loose to hold a snap without it shifting awkwardly.

This peice will either make or break the costume.  It should be known that I am no electrician and just barely understand the difference between the AC and the DC.  Because of this, I made the simplest mask I could.  It is awkward to wear, but not unformfortable and it looks great.

I started with a very generic theater mask from JoAnn Fabrics.  I drilled (and by drilled I mean use an exacto knife because I don't own any elextric tools) small holes below the actualy eyes.  This will be where the Jawa eyes will be.  Next I painted the entire think black, both sides and all edges.  Craft paint works well because it is flat and not glossy.

For the outside part of the eyes I used rubber washers and orange flower vase stones.  Glue 2-3 washers on top of each Jawa eye hole.  Hot glue works quite well.  Then glue the stone at the top.  You need to stack the washers high enough so you will have room for the light bulb to sit in there.  The dried glue will diffuse most of the light that comes through but you can also paint around it to trap all the light.

Next I cut strips of black of velvet to glue on the mask.  The fabric will conceal the mask and the strips will break it up and make it look more like a wrapping if anyone does get a close up of the mask.  Make sure the strips are long enough so you have extra fabric on both sides - you want to make sure you can cover the side of your head as well.  Cut holes in the fabric when going over your mouth and eye holes and the Jawa eyes.  I then cut a hole at each end of one of the middle strips and I use this to thread a shoelace through to hold the mask.  This is another thing I hope to improve upon someday.

Now that the outside is done, we move inside.

To cover the mouth and eye holes use shelf contact liner - the kind with the holes in it.  You will be able to see easily but it will distort it enough from the outside to hide your eyes.  Try to find black or you can paint it.  Glue this on the inside.

For the glowing eyes I used LED votive candles.  You can pop the cover up and then remove the fake flame.  The ones I use have a slight flicker to them which I didn't like at first but I think it makes them more lifelike.  You can stick the bulb into the hole and then I used Gaffer tape to secure the tea light in place.  This is where you see how my inexperience with electrics hinders me.  I'm sure there is more you can take apart to make this more comfortable but I don't know how.  And since this works, I don't worry too much about it.

If you want to make your own just follow this website (it's amazing):  When you make it, be sure to get a thicker material.  I used a cheap pleather and even when I lined it, it still wasn't stiff enough.

I keep watching antique stores for an original bandolier but I have not found one.  Every once in a while they pop up on Ebay but they're kind of expensive.  I might just make a new one out of real leather because that would be awesome.

you know those cheap woven gloves you can buy for $1?  They are perfect!  I wear those over a pair of elbow high dress gloves I wore for prom to cover the rest of my arm.  The combo is perfect.  If you can find black gardening gloves, those would be even better.  If you find black gardening gloves, get me a pair too.

My boots are generic brand uggs.  The are brown suede and show no buckles or laces.  For the 501st, they are perfect.  For the Rebel Legion, they are not.  The Rebel Legion requires you to wrap them, preferably like you would for a Tusken Raider.

I usually wear a black turtleneck and black leggings.  I try to make sure that if you ever see under or into the costume, all you will see is black.  It is a perfect Autumn costume.

Let's Get Dirty
This is still a work in progress.  The best way to get this dirty so far has been to just use spraypaint and lots of it.  Use a light color for the sand but also use a darker brown to add dimension and make it less flat.

Ion Blaster
My Ion Blaster is made of resin and I got it from  I got the blaster really quick and the person was very easy to work with.  For now I have only painted my plaster.  I used dark silver enamel spraypaint for the metal (I would recommend doing an undercoat with craft paint first) and a few layers of brown craft paint for the wood.  The resin cast already has dent and scrapes in it so even when you paint it a flat color, it still has depth.

I will be making a holster for it soon and will probably follow this tutorial:

Jawa Happenings
Pottery Barn Kids Promotion
Star Wars night with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field
Anoka Halloween Parade
Star Wars: Episode I 3D Midnight Relsease at AMC Southdale
Star Wars: Episode I 3D Promotion on 93x

Jocasta Nu: Jedi Librarian

Jocasta Nu: Jedi Librarian
Rebel Legion Approved/Canon

This was my first approved Star Wars costume.

Any linen or linen type fabric works well for a Jedi.  The most important thing for me was to get a khaki color for the tunic, and not yellow like many people use - it looks too fake.

When making this costume I learned the very important lesson of BUY EXTRA FABRIC!  The reason the band, sleeves and obi seem to be differntly colored than the body and tabards is because they are.  I made the tabards first and when I started cutting out for the tunic I soon realized my mistake.  I should have just made the rest from the extra fabric I found, but for some reason I didn't.

For the tunic I used McCall pattern M2940 which is one of my favorite patterns for a Jedi costume.  In this case you will need to shorten it a little because it is with a skirt and not pants.

I used a old brown long sleeve shirt.  I wear it backwards to get the high neckline.  Since sleeves also need to show from the under tunic, this was easier than making a dicky.

Tabards & Obi
When I cut my tabbards and obi I just cut straight lines, but many women add a curve to the tabards to make it look better on a curvy body.  Padawan's Guide has a great tutorial if you want to try that out.

I drew the pattern on the tabards and obi by hand, in sections, with a pencil.  I then traced over with black sharpie, and then brown sharpie.  Doubling up on the sharpies gave it a deeper look and made the lines more "squiggly."  If you looks closely in the movie images the lines are not perfect, but if you try to draw imperfect lines it is going to look overdone.  I just let the imperfection happen naturally ;)

You will also notice that the tabards and obi do not have the seem at the edge like most clothes.  The backing is slightly larger than the front so there is a small border along the edge of the tabards and obi.  To get everything to lay flat, I used hem tape on the inside edges.  This keeps the border flat and in it's place.  It also makes everything lay really well when I'm wearing it.

Just about any skirt pattern will work in this case, there isn't anything too special going on.  I originally wanted to make the skirt a dark green, but in order to get it approved it needed to be black.  So I did a black top skirt and a dark green underskirt to add some dimension.  I believe I used McCall pattern M4090 for both skirts.  I liked this pattern because it makes the skirt look very full.

Something else I thought of later would be to make the under tunic and under skirt a dress instead.  McCall pattern M4490 would be perfect for this.

Any boot type shoes will do since they don't really show.  make sure no shoe laces or buckles show.

Librarian Tools
This was the really fun part.  I wandered around town until I found stuff that looked random enough to work.
- The longer tools are from some sort of toilet fixture. 
- The shorter rod is from a curtain bracket, I think.  The bulb is a cleaned out glitter glue bottle which turned out to be just the right shape.
- The bag is made of suede with leather string.
All of these are attached to a belt I wear under the obi - which also helps to keep the tabbards in place.

I braid my hair and then put it in a bun - the braids make the hairsticks stay in place better.  I have not found hairsticks I really like, so until then I use premium LeeAnn Chin's Disposable Chopstick.  It also gives me a good excuse to get some Cream Cheese Puffs before every troop ;)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Princess Leia: Ewok Dress

Princess Leia: Ewok Dress

This was made at the last minute when I decided that I needed a costume to wear to Star Wars in Concert.

I used McCall pattern M4491 for the dress and added sleeves to the inside and cut the bottom in a wavy pattern.  The dress is a knock-off suede and the sleeves are made from some random fabric I had laying around.


Atris (from Knights of the Old Republic II)

I made this especially for the Episode III midnight showing.  It was the first complicated costume I made, but I didn't go through with getting it approved.  (She is required to have white tabbards but I made them blue, because it looked better.)

This costume is pretty similar to Jocasta Nu.  The biggest difference is that there is no band on the tunic.

Interviewed by Channel 5 while waiting in line.  Our group was the second in line at 8:00 am.
Without the skirt and tabards.  It's cute how cheap that lightsaber is.

Tusken Raider

Tusken Raider
501st Approval Pending

This costume was made for my Brother.

Tutorial coming soon.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Food Truck Summer

 This was my first summer working in Minneapolis and I am lucky enough to work right on Nicollet Mall where most of the Food Trucks in the Twin Cities spend their lunch.  Thanks to Twitter it is easy to follow and find trucks when you need to get outside for lunch.  I tried a variety of trucks and all were amazing and unique.

Turkey to Go
Twitter: TurkeyToGo
Find them at: Nicollet Mall and 6th or 8th
Favorite Food: Turkey Sandwich (plain)

Turkey to Go was the first food truck I tried out since they are actually open all year long, spending the winter in the NorthStar building food court.  The turkey sandwich is absolutely amazing and jucier than anything you will ever try anywhere else!  In the winter they also have Turkey Wild Rice Soup which is so creamy and delicious.  The food here is simple and straightforward.  You won't find weird names or food that you can only guess what on earth it is.  It is true Minnesota comfort food - proof of which comes from the fact that they are the turkey guys from the Minnesota State Fair.

Dandelion Kitchen
Twitter: dandelionktchn
Find them at: Nicollet Mall between 8th and 7th in front of the IDS Center
Favorite Food: Grilled Ham & Brie

I call their food "fancy comfort food."  They take something like a ham and cheese sandwich and substitute brie for the cheddar, add a plum spread and homemade dijon mustard and that is about the time I start drooling.  All their food is a great combination of new and old flavors.  Every day they have a soda which takes a old flavor like lime and add a new flavor like mint and BOOM you have an amazing soda.  The truck usually has a long line so make sure you get out there early!

Chef Shack
Twitter: chefshack1 and shackattacks
Find them at: always moving, check twitter
Favorite Food: Mini Donuts

The Chef Shack has two trucks, Big Red (chefshack1) and the Donut Truck (shackattacks) which is usually the one close to me.  I am going to go ahead and just say it, their donuts are better than State Fair donuts.  No lie.  These mini donuts have indian spices and must be made from whole wheat flour because they are dark and delicious!  While you're there you have to try the Arnie Palmer (in a cup!) because they make that from scratch and it is fantastic.  I must admit though that I have never tried any of their other food.  The other food is stuff like "beef tongue tacos."  They do have a Bison burgers but it always seems to be sold out when I get there.  I have heard all their menu items are amazing, I just need to get the courage to try it.

Smack Shack
Twitter: Smack_Shack
Find them at: moving along Marquette
Favorite: Classic French Fries

The Smack Shack is the biggest truck I've seen!  They have 5 people working in the truck and two taking money out front.  They specialize in seafood - mostly lobster - which is why I haven't treid any of their main dishes.  I have heard though that the lobster rolls there are the best.  Someday when I bring Patrick there I can give you more info on the food.

Twitter: CupcakeOnTheGo
Find them at: Nicollet Mall and 10th
Favorite: Everything!

This truck is the greatest thing to happen to Nicollet Mall since Target.  Seriously, every cupcake they serve is amazing!  The flavors are always changing and the combinations are wonderful.  The people working are always super nice.  They also serve shots of frosting - which is awesomesauce.  If you follow Twitter closely you'll know when they are giving out free shots if you mention twitter.

Food Trucks on a Thursday when they are displaced by the Nicollet Mall Farmer's Market

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Disney Costume Challenge - Belle - Victorian

This is the first one I would change the era of the dress, but I think it would work really well!  Beauty and the Beast has been done in every century of fashion.  I chose Civil War Victorian because I think that big bows, big hoops, and off the shoulder corsets would really work well.  I also have wanted to make a Civil War dress since the first time I saw Gone With the Wind.

I even have the pattern for this one already!  I'll have to make a few changes of course.  I'll also have to lose quite a few pounds since I bought this when I was a size 4 and they don't make the pattern any more!  Oh well, that's a good kick in the pants I say! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Disney Costume Challenge - Jane - Victorian

This is another one that is really easy to figure out, so it will probably be one of the first ones done.  I also really like Tarzan and have always loved Jane's character.  "I was saved by a flying wild man in a loincloth!"

Thanks to my handy dandy duo of the Historical Fashion guide and Google, I've determined this is an 1885 Victorian Dress.  Mostly.  The best part about this dress is that even Disney couldn't exaggerate the butt to traditional size! 

I love big butts.