Monday, December 3, 2007

Hoth Jacket Tutorial

How to create a jacket as seen on the rebel soldiers in the battlefield of the planet Hoth from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back:

You will need to get a jacket pattern and alter it, or you can get a copy of the pattern I made which is roughly a women's size 14 (email me for details). After you have the pattern, calculate how much fabric you will need. You will need a natural color cotton fabric, soft & flexible enough to be comfortable, but heavy enough to be a jacket. You will also need about 1-2 yards of tan pre-quilted cotton material, a 20"-22" ecru invisible zipper, thin poly batting, and matching thread for the natural color cotton (tan thread is optional). You will need red, blue, and silver or grey fabric paint. I used Sharpie paint pens. This jacket is lined in the shoulders and sleeves, so you will need extra fabric for that. I used the same material as the jacket for my lining material.

Once you've assembled all your materials, pre-wash your fabric. Pre-washing will shrink the fabric before you cut it out and sew it into your jacket. If you don't pre-wash, the cotton will shrink and your jacket won't fit. MAKE SURE YOU PRE-WASH your fabric! After the fabric is washed and dried, lay it out and cut out your pattern pieces. (See instructions below for details on cutting out the sleeves.)

You will need to paint the colored blocks on the grid for the right arm patch before sewing it to the sleeve. This way, if you mess up, you can just re-cut a new piece and you won't have to worry about picking the stitching out or ruining your whole sleeve. The picture below shows what the colored blocks and the grid look like.

Once you have the blocks painted, set aside to dry.

(For pocket dimensions & details on the color blocks, see here.)

Baste the quilted upper front and upper back pieces to the upper front and upper back lining pieces.

Sew upper front pieces to lower front pieces. Sew invisible zipper to combined front pieces using an invisible zipper foot. Finish center front seam below zipper. Sew upper back to lower back. Sew back to front at shoulders.

If you have the pattern I created, the pattern for the sleeve has markings on it that show you where to cut for the lower quilted portion of the sleeves and the upper unquilted portion of the sleeves. Fold the pattern forward along the line marked for the lower sleeve cutting line. Cut two, on fold, of the natural colored cotton material. Cut two, on fold, of the poly batting.

For the upper sleeve, fold the pattern backward along the line marked for the upper sleeve cutting line (*important note: these lines overlap to allow for 5/8" seam allowance). Cut two, on fold, of the natural colored cotton material.

Unfold the sleeve pattern and cut two, on fold, of the entire sleeve out of your lining fabric. Set aside upper sleeves and sleeve linings.

With right sides out, pin lower sleeve and batting together using quilters' pins. Make sure you pin every area well, to avoid slipping. Baste the layers together around the outer edges, 1/4" from edge. Repeat for other sleeve.

You will need to mark the batting with a grid of squares that matches the tan pre-quilted fabric's quilting. I chose to use a graphite pencil, as my tailor's pencil didn't show up very well. Whatever you use, make sure it washes out or does not show through. Following the grid you marked out, quilt the layers together.

Sew quilted lower sleeve to upper sleeve. Pin sleeve to sleeve lining at hem, right sides together. Sew, turn fabric to right side, and press. On outside, top stitch close to seam.

Baste sleeve and sleeve lining together 1/4" along outer edges. Sew pocket flaps, and turn under hems on pockets, press. Sew pockets to sleeves making sure to put the correct pockets on the correct sleeve. (The pattern I created will tell you which pocket goes where, you can also use the pictures as reference.)

Sew sleeves to shoulders, again making sure you sew the correct sleeve to the correct arm hole. Sew underarm & side seam on both sides of jacket, leaving enough at the hem for the side slits. Narrow hem the remainder to finish the slits.

Try on the jacket and mark where the bottom of the jacket should be. Narrow hem the bottom edge of jacket.

Pin collar and batting together using quilters' pins. Fold collar in half, right sides together. Sew rounded ends, leaving long edges open.

Pin notched edge to jacket at neck edge, matching notches and ends of collar with ends of jacket. Sew collar to jacket, being sure to keep loose edge free of needle. Turn collar right side out. Turn loose edge under and pin to inside of jacket at seam. Slipstitch closed.

Now, you have a completed Hoth Rebel Soldier jacket!

Completed jacket shown with Hoth hat, holster,gun, gaiters, & pants.