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

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