I made two Jedi costumes before Christmas-time, as Christmas presents for my cousin’s kids. I also made a couple of books of secrets that also serve as journals for the older children. I thought it was a nice division, between silly costume stuff and serious secret stuff. It should have been a nice division, right?
Turns out, one of the kids that got a book, wanted a Jedi knight costume too.
So, I spent today with my patterns out, and some white fabric, making another Jedi tunic in a size XXS, and working up another djellaba-style cloak to go with it, both out of fairly simple cotton fabric. Easy.
The Jedi Tunic is part of the costume pattern set that comes with Simplicity 5840. They don’t call it A Jedi tunic, but from the way that the characters stand, and the accessories (shoulder armor, cloaks), it’s kind of clear that they’re supposed to be Jedi without violating trademarks and copyrights.
This is not a particularly difficult pattern to make. The ‘front’ is two panels, the back is one panel, each sleeve is one piece. And then there’s a band around the neck and front and back that is two slips of fabric sewn into one long strip, and then double-folded. None of the sewing is anything more complicated than straight-seam sewing. Even the hemming is not difficult with a sewing machine.
The belt is five pieces, including a strip of interfacing. I added some decorative stitching to the front panel of the belt.
The cloak pattern with Simplicity 5840 is fabric-heavy, though. Takes seven to eight yards to assemble properly. That’s a lot of fabric to ask a kid to haul around for playtime. And it winds up being expensive, too. So I made some adjustments.
The first adjustment I made was to switch from a European cloak pattern to a more-Middle Eastern pattern which in some forms is called a djellaba. My grandfather came back from a business trip to Saudi in the 1950s or early 1960s wearing a djellaba, which I now own — a bit of ancestor work every time I put it on.
The djellaba is either a very wide piece of fabric with both ends folded into the center, and sewn along one edge; or folding the fabric end to end, cutting a hole in the middle for the neck and head, slicing down the middle of one side to create the open front, and sewing the selvages shut except for wrist holes. Which is what I did here — it uses less fabric, it’s less weighty and elaborate than a full-circle European cloak with sleeves, and it’s probably more useful for playtime for kids.