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Make Star Wars Jedi play costumes

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Make Star Wars Jedi play costumes
Make Star Wars Jedi play costumes for kids! This is an easy sewing project with shortcuts to make a simple dress-up outfit.

Make Star Wars Jedi play costumes for kids! This is an easy sewing project with shortcuts to make a simple dress-up outfit.

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.

Jedi Anakin Skywalker (who becomes Darth Vader) and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Both very nice to look at and amazing with a lightsaber.

Jedi Anakin Skywalker (who becomes Darth Vader), Hayden Christensen, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ewan McGregor. Both very nice to look at and amazing with a lightsaber. I would watch them even if I were not making Jedi costumes

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.

Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (a volunteer re-enactor from the Florida Garrison that was present for the parade and other activities) with young padawans in Jedi costumes

Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (a volunteer re-enactor from the Florida Garrison that was present for the parade and other activities) with young padawans in Jedi costumes

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.

Jedi Training Academy - looking like real Jedi padawans in costume!

Jedi Training Academy - looking like real Jedi padawans in costume at Hollywood Studios!

Fighting Darth Vader at Jedi Training Academy and looking like a real Jedi in costume

Fighting Darth Vader at Jedi Training Academy and looking like a real Jedi in costume, at Hollywood Studios

So for the Jedi costume, I started with a women’s T-shirt for the tunic, and cut it shorter.

Trim T-shirt to make a Jedi tunic

Trim T-shirt to make a Jedi tunic

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.

Take excess T-shirt fabric to make strips that create a faux wrap line on the Jedi tunic

Take excess T-shirt fabric to make strips that create a faux wrap line on the Jedi tunic

Pin, then sew a strip of fabric on the tunic to create the look that it's wrapped

Pin, then sew a strip of fabric on the tunic to create the look that it's wrapped

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.”

Trace the neckline of the T-shirt for the Jedi tunic undershirt

Trace the neckline of the T-shirt for the Jedi tunic undershirt

Make a wrap "dickey" pattern for the tunic

Make a wrap "dickey" pattern for the tunic

Cut out the tunic dickey pieces

Cut out the tunic dickey pieces

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.

Add a Jedi tunic scarf, called a tabard

Add a Jedi tunic scarf, called a tabard

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.

Cut fabric for the Jedi belt

Cut fabric for the Jedi belt -- 2.5 or 3 inches should be enough for a child

Pin the belt to the Jedi tunic

Pin the belt to the Jedi tunic

Sew the belt in place

Sew the belt in place, top and bottom of the belt

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.

After you trace a pair of knit pajama pants, cut out the pieces

After you trace a pair of knit pajama pants, cut out the pieces

Sew the inner and outer seams of each leg.

Sew the pants seams

Sew the pants seams

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 middle seam (crotch) of the pants

Sew the middle seam (crotch) of the pants

Sew the side seams of the “boots” you cut out.

Make the appearance of boots with leg bottoms in a different color

Make the appearance of boots with leg bottoms in a different color

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.

Sew the "boot" bottom of the pants to the top, main part of the pants

Sew the "boot" bottom of the pants to the top, main part of the pants

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.

Create a casing for the waistband of the pants by turning under the top of the pants to the inside, then stitching and sewing in place. Leave a hole to put your elastic or drawstring through!

Create a casing for the waistband of the pants by turning under the top of the pants to the inside, then stitching and sewing in place. Leave a hole to put your elastic or drawstring through!

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.”

Hand sew findings to the Jedi tunic belt and "boots"

Hand sew findings to the Jedi tunic belt and "boots"

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!

Finished Jedi play costume -- may the Force be with you!

Finished Jedi play costume -- may the Force be with you!

  1. So cute, and it looks great!

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