Saturday, August 9, 2008

Royal Guard

I have been commissioned to sew a set of Imperial Royal Guard robes. The version of the robes seen in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi are slightly different than the versions seen in the prequels. I will be making the Return of the Jedi (ROTJ) version:

I'll be documenting my progress here. Yesterday, August 8th, the fabric I ordered from Sy Fabrics came. Here are some pictures of the fabric, though it looks much richer in person.

With Flash

Without Flash

Red Triple Plush Velvet (without flash)

Dark Burgundy Triple Plush Velvet (without flash)

I began right away working on the inner robes, out of the dark burgundy velvet.

Cutting out the inner robe

Inner Robe Progress

More inner robe progress. This is as far as I got the first day. All I have left to do on the inner robe is handsew the inside of the collar, hem the bottom, and put in closures for the neckline.

Update: 8-12-08

Yesterday (after having taken the weekend off for family stuff) I began cutting out the robe lining and the robe itself. I am altering a cape pattern, so I am sort of "making this up as I go along". I got both the lining and the robe cut out, and I was able to get the lining sewn together, with a start on sewing the robe together. I also hand stitched the collar for the inner robe and hand-tacked the front yoke opening's seam a little so it would lay more smoothly. I have pictures, but don't want to take the time to download them, so I'll post those later. Now, I need to finish sewing the robe together, figure out the front pleats (which will be the most difficult part, to get them to look correctly), and figure out the length before sewing the lining and robe together. Then, I'll need to hand-sew hooks & eyes to the robe to keep it closed. I also need to figure out length and hem the inner robes and sew hooks & eyes on the front yoke to keep it closed.

The collar and yoke hem are hand sewn now.

Using the lining as a pattern to cut out the outer robe

The outer robe pinned over the lining to get the pleats correct

The outer robe over the inner robe

Pinning the hems of the lining and outer robe together

The hem of the outer robe after sewing the lining and outer robe together at the hem.

Today, I finished sewing the outer robe together. I adjusted the shoulders, because they were too round, and I tapered the sides a bit more to look more like the movie robes. I managed to get the pleats to work without too much effort and I sewed the lining and outer robe together at the hem. I need to adjust the hem length some more, it is too long on the sides.

Update: 8-19-08

Between Wednesday 8-13-08 and Monday 8-18-08 I adjusted the hem on the outer robe quite a bit, and then sewed the rest of the lining and outer cloak together along the sides and most of the neckline. I turned the whole thing right side out and top stitched along the neckline and down the front of the robe, on the inner layer. I also hand sewed 3 large hooks to the right shoulder, where the robe opens.
The outer robe over the inner robe, to mark the hem for the inner robe.

Today (8-19-08), I marked the hem of the inner robe and cut off the excess velvet. Then, I hemmed up the bottom of the inner robe. Using the excess velvet from the bottom of the inner robe, I created a sash. The proposed new 501st requirements (as of yet, I don't think they've become 100% official) for the ROTJ Royal Guard robes state that a 3-4" sash is required. So, I made the sash 3½", right in the middle of the recommended size range. I got the sash turned right side out and hand sewed the opening closed. I also finished the outer robe today by hand sewing eyes for the hooks on the right shoulder to keep the robe closed. I've begun to hand sew hooks & eyes to the inner robe, but haven't finished that yet. (I'll post pictures later, when I have more to upload.)

Now all that remains for my portion of the costume creation is to finish putting hooks & eyes on the inner robe, sew snaps on the sash, and create gloves.

Update: 8-27-08

I've actually had this completed since the middle of last week, but lacked the time to post. Here are the final pictures of the finished robes. I still need to create the gloves. I will post pictures of them when they are finished.

The Inner robe with the hooks & eyes sewn in.

I took out the hooks & eyes I had in the outer robe because I didn't like the way they worked and looked. Here are the new hooks & eyes, they are much nicer.

The proposed Royal Guard 501st requirements state that a sash is required. The suggested size is 3-4", so I made this one 3.5", right in the middle of the recommended size. (If you look closely, you can see the measurement in cm as well.)

The finished inner robe and sash.

The finished outer robe over the inner robe (this will look better when it is on a man, my female dress form without arms doesn't fill out the robes like they should be).

The finished outer robe pulled back over the shoulder to showcase the right arm "slit" and the inner robe & sash, as well as the outer robe lining.

Update: 8-30-08

I got the gloves finished today! I am 100% complete with this costume and it is ready to mail. I just need to wait until the Labor Day holiday is over so I can mail it out (Tuesday the 2nd of September).

This was the first time I ever sewed a pair of gloves and I have to admit, I hated it! Stretchy lycra-type material, 1/8" seams, and a small working area DO NOT mix well! I needed to make the pattern slightly larger since it was a ladies' pattern (the only thing for men I could find was a fingerless glove pattern, not very helpful). But, I made it through, and the gloves are done. :)