Jedi Transformation

I was playing around with my Jedi Consular costume today to see what I could change. I really wanted to try a longer, darker tunic underneath my sleeveless white one to give more layers and add some depth to the look. The original costume is what I think of as my Jedi’s battle outfit. The shorter hem, sleeveless, no hood design allows for good movement and there’s no flowy robes to get in the way of any “aggressive negotiations” I might need to conduct.

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Ready for battle. Or pictures.

I wanted the longer tunic to go underneath my white one so that all the work I did to hand-embroider the symbol of the Old Republic Jedi on the back would still be visible. I had an idea to go with something floor-length with bell-type sleeves. Less practical, but befitting a Consular who spends her time healing and studying artifacts in the Jedi Temple archives. I debated colour, originally thinking to make it out of the same fabric as the white tunic since I still had lots of leftover fabric from it. Then I thought about making it a different colour, perhaps some shade of brown to match the leather belt and bracers and make the white pop out a bit more. With this in mind, I dove into my fabric stash to see what I had. I really didn’t want to go buy more fabric and was determined to use something I already had on hand.

I found nothing that fit the picture in my head. I flopped on the couch in defeat to ponder my predicament. Then I remembered that I had made a robe to wear over top of my Jedi costume when it was cold. I suffer from the tiny-girl ailment of always freezing, so I made the robe to offset my sleeveless battle outfit.

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White tunic and ginormous robe!

Alas, another tiny-girl problem is that when a pattern says it makes a size small, it is usually still too big on me. This robe drowned me in its folds and also hid my lovely embroidery work. Because of this, I did not wear the cumbersome robe with my costume very often. On top of that, I had made it out of a lovely brown-coloured bed sheet that was exactly the sort of fabric I had searched for to make my other tunic out of. Sigh. Such wasted potential.

Or was it? What if the robe was cinched in with a belt? That would make its over-sized volume more manageable. And what if I wore it under my white tunic so that the embroidery was still visible? It even had large bell sleeves! I pulled out the robe and realized it was just a really large tunic with a hood. Getting excited, I decided to test my theory. I put on the robe, crossed it over in the front to overlap and close it, then put on the white tunic, then the green tabard, then the belt and bracers. The robe certainly added bulk and it was a little challenging to get everything on over it by myself.

Here’s a cosplay secret: Costumes often require another person or even a whole team of people to get into them. Sometimes I feel like putting on a costume takes just as long as it did to make the whole thing. It doesn’t, but it can certainly seem like it sometimes.

Once I had everything layered on, I took a look in the mirror and saw a totally different Jedi. Rather than battle-ready and mobile, this Consular was more regal and patient. I certainly believed that the Jedi in the mirror spent more time inhaling dust than dueling Dark-siders. I was very pleased with the overall effect, and spent some time swooshing around the house in it. For scientific reasons, of course.

This story showcases one of the things I love about creating costumes. There is no such thing as a final product. There is “acceptable to wear in public” and “I probably won’t get arrested for this” and even “I’m kinda proud of this one” but there is always something to fix, improve, or re-design. I find this way of thinking very freeing. I tend toward perfectionism in the things I make and it is very difficult for me to deem something ‘perfect” or “finished”. Instead, I look at each incarnation of my costumes as one form it  can take, among many possibilities. Keeping this fluidity in mind is what allows me to proudly wear an outfit to a con or event knowing it may not meet my definition of “Final form”, but it is a form that is worth showing off.

 

 

 

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The Force is strong…in my own imagination.

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My Jedi cosplay so far!

My dad introduced me to the wonder of Sci-fi when I was a child and I’ve never grown out of it. I remember watching episode five for the first time and being unable to see it all the way through because the Cloud City Han-in-carbonate scene was too scary. I went back and watched the whole thing when I was a little older, and the opening scene in Episode Six suddenly made a lot more sense. It was after watching Star Wars that I realized the true potential of automatic doors. I added in a little imagination, and suddenly using the Force was real as I swiped my hand in front of me and bent those doors to my will.

I’m not a child anymore although, according to a kid I met this summer, you’re not an adult unless you have kids of your own, so there. I’m some weird, in-between humanoid with a lightsaber, my very own from Ultrasabers. The best part about owning a saber is knowing how to use it! I am part of a real-life lightsaber combat group right here in Winnipeg called River City Jedi. What’s awesome about this group is that it’s a bunch of Star Wars nerds swinging around giant shiny glow-sticks.

There is a new Star Wars movie coming out and I can’t wait. Whether it’s everything a fan could wish for or it’s worse than the prequels, it will still be Star Wars and that gives me (a new) hope. It also gives me the motivation to have my Jedi costume finished before the December opening night. Then there’s Comic-Con in October, because why make a costume to only wear it once? This puts the pressure on me to finish it sooner, rather than later, and in addition to all my other comic-con cosplays. (Three days! You can’t wear just one. I might be addicted.)12030865_10156044816950517_1002482376_n Here’s some progress pics on my Jedi so far.

Featured here is my tunic, a modified version of McCall’s 6940 version A. I left out the sleeves and shortened the hem. I also added a band around the neckline to make it look more like a tunic and only used one set of ties because I did not want them to be seen in the final product. The fabric I used started out as 100% cotton curtains purchased from Value Village. It is super soft, breathable, and comfortable. When I first put it on, I wore it for the rest of the night!

The next two photos are of my first attempt to hand-embroider on my own. I’ve dabbled in cross-stitch kits but I’ve never made my own design. The style of thi12048921_10156044936705517_596093677_ns costume is modeled after, and inspired by, the Jedi of the Old Republic in the era of the video games by the same name. Therefore, it will not look like your typical Obi-wan Kenobi set-up. I wanted to have a way to identify myself as being from the Old Republic era and decided that the labour-intensive idea of hand-embroidering the Old Republic Jedi symbol on the back of my tunic was the way to go.

I found some green floss lying around and added a strand of gold thread to make it shiny and stand out a bit more. I ironed some interfacing on 12020630_10156044817200517_422950409_othe back to add some structure before I started stitching. Here you can see I’ve finished the one side and my tracing is on the other side.  I’m rather proud of the result so far!

12032525_10156044817220517_501171912_nThe green tabard is an exact rendering of McCall’s 6941 in green mystery fabric from Value Village, which turned out to be more complicated to make than I expected. Although the result was pretty stunning, if I do say so myself. I want to embroider something on the ends of the front and back hanging pieces, but I haven’t decided what yet. It will go on my “would be nice, but not essential” list.

The final pieces I have yet to construct are a pair of bracers, a belt, and belt pouches, all from Butterick’s 5371. I might make a giant robe to go over everything in December, when I’ll certainly appreciate its warmth. That’s it for today. I’m off to boldly go sew. May the Force be with you.