Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hoth Tan Vest

Here is my tutorial on how I made the tan Hoth vest similar to what Luke wore in "The Empire Strikes Back".

The tan vest as seen on Luke in "The Empire Strikes Back"

You will need a vest pattern to use as your base, medium weight tan fabric (I used Trigger in khaki from JoAnn's), a somewhat lightweight lining fabric (I used a quilter's cotton in cream/light tan), batting, matching thread, matching bias tape, tan 1" Velcro, a ruler, tailor's pencil, and quilter's pins.

After you cut out the basic form of your vest, you need to cut out pocket flaps. Cut 2 from the tan fabric and 2 from the lining. The pocket flaps aren't a rectangle, but have a slight slant to them. The narrow edge is sewn into the front edge of the vest and the wider edge is close to the side seam. The narrow edge is approx. 4 inches and the wider edge is approx 6 inches. (*Note: In the interest of cutting down on bulk, I omitted the working pockets and just made the flaps for cosmetics only.) Sew the pocket flaps on all but the short end, turn and press. Top stitch the bottom edge of the pocket flap approx. 1/8 inch from edge and then again approx 1/4 inch from first stitching.

Sandwich the batting, outer fabric, and lining of the back as seen in the picture. Sew along the bottom hem.

Turn and press.

On the 2 front pieces, layer the batting and tan fabric, with the tan fabric right side up. Pin the pockets in the correct position, making sure that the short edge of the pocket meets up with the front edge. Pin the lining to the batting & fabric sandwich. Sew along bottom hem and center fronts, making sure to catch short edge of pocket in seam.

Turn and press.

(*Note: On the pattern I used, the vest had a yoke. It wasn't until I had it cut out that I realized the original vests didn't actually have a yoke, but a faux yoke. It is up to you if you want your vest to have an actual or faux yoke. In this tutorial, I'll be covering the actual yoke.) Open the yokes and the lower front sections with the tan fabric & batting on one side and the lining on the other side.

Line up the yoke and front sections, pin, and sew together.

Once you have the linings sewn to the tan fabric and batting, zig zag (or surge) around the edges to baste the layers together.

Using your tailor's pencil and ruler, mark diagonal lines 3½ inches apart. Then, draw diagonal lines in the opposite direction again 3½ inches apart creating squares/diamonds on a diagonal. Once all the lines are marked, pin generously with quilter's pins. Note that the front pieces are not quilted below the pocket area or in the yoke area (yoke is approx. 8" from shoulder to quilting). Also note, it will be necessary for you to move the pocket flap out of the way while you mark, pin, and stitch the quilting.

Once you have the lines pinned, stitch along the lines you marked until every line is sewn, removing pins as you go.

Sew pocket flap to front along top and wide edges approx. 1/8 inch from edge and then again 1/4 inch from first stitching.

You will need to create a rounded, puffed, collar and line it with about 3 layers of batting. After you have your collar cut, sew it together along top edge, pin one open end with batting to the neck edge of the vest, being sure to leave one edge free. Clip curves.

Turn the free end of the collar to the right side.

Turn under the seam allowance on the free edge of the collar and pin it to the seam allowance on the neck edge of the vest. Slip stitch by hand to sew the collar closed. (*Note, This is not shown in my pictures, I did this step later, and did not get pictures of it.)

Sew velcro to the center fronts of the vest.

Sew bias tape to the armholes.

Turn the bias tape over the raw edge of the armhole, then turn toward the inside of the vest, making sure the bias tape does not show on the outside of the vest.

Sew the bias tape closed, making sure to keep the stitches approx. ½ inch from edge.

Cut two "window" pocket sections and pin them together on the sides and bottom. (*Note: I based the size of the pocket on the greeblie that my client already owns. The dimensions of her greeblie were 3½ inches by 2 3/8 inches. I based the center "window" on this dimension and added 1 1/4 inches on each side, allowing for a 1/4 inch seam. If your greeblie is a different size, you will need to adjust the pocket to fit those dimensions.)

Sew the window pocket sections together along the sides and bottom edges only. Turn, press. Tuck the center "flaps" in toward the middle of the pocket, press, and topstitch approx. 1/8 inch from edge. Zig zag/surge the top edge, fold under 1/4 inch, and topstitch approx 1/4 inch from top edge. Sew pocket to left vest front just under yoke along sides and bottom approx 1/4 inch from edge. If desired, sew a patch of 2" Velcro to the vest in the center of the "window" to apply the appropriate greeblie to the vest (you will need to glue the other side of the Velcro to the greeblie's back side).

One step that is not pictured is to top stitch the bottom edge of the vest ½ inch from the edge.

(*Note: I am not entirely convinced that the quilting on the back of the vest goes all the way to the collar. I think it might also have a faux yoke similar to the front of the vest that does not get quilted. Since I was not entirely sure, I went ahead and quilted the entire back of the vest. The choice is yours if you want to include the faux (or actual) yoke or quilt the entire back.)


There you have a tan Hoth Hanger Trooper and Tech vest.


Front, right side open.

Front, right and left sides open.


Many thanks go out to Phyllis Schulte for the tutorial and images that helped me create my own tutorial. If you would like more information on Hoth Rebel costumes, or to see Phyllis' original tutorial, visit the Yahoo group: Ice Station Echo