Make Star Wars Jedi play costumes
My family went to one of Walt Disney World’s Star Wars Weekends in Hollywood Studios last weekend, and my kids wanted to wear a Jedi costume for our visit. I knew I’d be making their costumes (and one for a friend), so we started watching the Star Wars movies. I got sucked into the story and characters all over again, just as I did as a kid when my brother and I pretended we were Luke and Leia. My boys’ favorite character is Obi-Wan Kenobi, so I sketched out a simplified version of his clothing for their costume.
At the Star Wars Weekend, the kids even got to meet Obi-Wan. I don’t know if you can tell, but it really made their day.
Now a Star Wars purist might say my kids would be the age of a Jedi youngling, which wears a different outfit altogether. It’s more like a hi-low dress with pants underneath. My kids weren’t interested in that. They wanted Obi-Wan all the way. Besides, because I knew these costumes would be worn walking around a theme park in June and would likely take lots of little-boy
abuse play, I couldn’t get too serious with this costume. I wouldn’t enter it in a costume contest, but my kids have enjoyed wearing and playing in their Jedi outfits.
They also looked pretty darn authentic when they got to Hollywood Studio’s Jedi Training Academy and fought His Supreme Badness himself, Darth Vader. All padawans get a cloak to wear for the event.
So for the Jedi costume, I started with a women’s T-shirt for the tunic, and cut it shorter.
If I were doing it over again, I would have gotten a larger kid-sized T-shirt, because the shoulders and neckline were really off. Keep reading and see what I did to try to work with this.
I wanted to create the look of a wrap tunic, so I took the T-shirt material I cut off and cut it into strips. Then I sewed them into one long strip that became the faux wrap.
I didn’t do the wrap look for our friend’s Jedi tunic, because I didn’t think you could really see it after the costume was complete. So you don’t have to do this step.
As I mentioned, the neck and shoulders were huge, so this gave me the perfect opportunity to add the wrap undershirt you see if you look closely at the Jedi. I traced the neckline and made my own pattern for this, a sewn-in “dickey.”
When you have your “dickey” pieces cut out of T-shirt material, pin and sew them in place. I also hand-stitched the front dickey piece to the back dickey piece so there wouldn’t be a gap.
Now, over the tunic, a Jedi wears a tabard. I believe this is two strips, or sashes, that go over each shoulder and under the belt, or obi. However, considering I was trying to simplify this costume for little-boy play and walking around a theme park all day, I made this one piece of fabric that wraps around the back of the neck. Either way you want to make it is fine.
I took 1/8th yard of fabric for the tabard and sewed the ends together to make it long enough. Then pin and sew in place.
Jedi need a belt. This goes directly on the waist. I was concerned one of my boys wouldn’t like a true obi at the waist — too tight for his sensory issues — so I decided to sew the belt right onto the tunic. It really just makes the appearance of a belt. It also means the belt can’t come off or end up in the theme park Lost and Found, or be a nuisance that he would have been tugging at all day.
Now your Jedi top should be done!
For the pants, I used stretchy knit fabric in two colors: One for the pants, and another for the appearance of boots. For ease of wear and play, the look of boots are better than having real boots. For one, knee-high boots for boys are hard to find, and they outgrow footwear so quickly. I could have made shoe coverings in addition to the pants, but from past experience, I knew the boys probably wouldn’t keep them on — or all the walking around the theme park would wear out the shoe covers. Again, my aim was just to make a simple outfit for play, not for a true costume.
So I made my own pants pattern from their favorite pajama bottoms. Fold the bottoms in half so one leg is on top of the other. Place this on the knit fabric, and trace around it. Give it an extra half-inch at the sides and and extra couple of inches at the waistband, then cut. You’re going to cut them just below the knee, then move the pants to the boot fabric and trace and cut the bottom of the leg for the boots, again adding a half-inch to the sides. You will end up with four leg pieces and four boot pieces.
Sew the inner and outer seams of each leg.
Then turn one leg right-side-out, and slip this inside the other leg that is still inside-out. Match up the middle seam (the crotch seam), and sew in place. I always give the very middle an extra seam for extra reinforcement in the rear.
Sew the side seams of the “boots” you cut out.
Then sew them onto the bottom of the pants, right sides together, matching the seams. The top part of the boots, probably the widest end, will adjoin the bottom part of the pants. This gives the tapered look of a boot. If your kid’s pajama pants aren’t tapered like this, you can trim down the fabric to a taper to create this effect before you sew.
Now you have a pair of pants with boots! Almost. The pants need a waistband. Create a casing at the top of the pants through which you can thread a piece of elastic or a drawstring. Measure your child’s waist for the right length of elastic or drawstring.
I do the old trick of using a safety pin attached to the elastic to push through the casing so I don’t lose the elastic. Just keep your grip on the pin from the outside of the casing.
Next you can trim up any raw edges if you like. I left mine all undone. Knit fabric doesn’t really unravel, and I liked the raw look for the Jedi.
I made some little pouches out of leftover fabric and sewed them onto each boy’s belt. I also added little findings I got in a grab bag at a sewing store to give the belt and boots “buckles.”
I spent less than $25 for each costume. I know I could have bought a Jedi costume for less, probably, but I was able to make each boy’s play outfit unique and comfortable for walking around and playing in.
I am sure the Jedi costumes will get lots of play this summer and beyond!