Star Wars Celebration: My Costumes!
Hello friends and readers! I just got back from Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, and it was AMAZING!!! As most of you know, Star Wars is my very favorite thing in the world. And I love conventions! So Star Wars Celebration is pretty much my happiest happy place :) I got to hang out with amazing people and great friends! I got to attend the Episode IX panel live and in person, and see the trailer for the first (and second!) time with an arena full of my new best friends! I was among the first to see Season 2 Episode 1 of Resistance! I met some awesome famous people! I spent SO MUCH MONEY! I have a huge bruise on my thigh from a lightsaber battle! And everyone’s costumes were fabulous, including mine!
It occurred to me as I was packing for my trip that I rarely talk about my own costumes. I spend so much time and energy making, and then showing off, other people’s costumes, that mine have become a bit of an afterthought. I decided to remedy that by featuring all of my Celebration costumes on Instagram, and now I’m going to go into a bit more detail about them here!
(It’s important to note that, because these are mine, I don’t put the same amount of effort into them as I do my client’s costumes. I cut a lot of corners, I cheat where I can, I sometimes resort to glue and safety pins because of time, I fudge the screen accuracy for any number of reasons. But they’re mine and I can get away with it! My client pieces will always be well researched, fully functioning, completed garments, that are held together by more than just safety pins and hope. Don’t judge my commissions by the flaws you see here!)
Thursday: Endor Leia
I made this costume in 2013. I’ve always loved Leia, and I’ve always loved how badass she was when she wore this outfit. I mean, Leia is always a badass, and it’s hard to pick her most badass moment, but her speeder bike chase definitely ranks high! And I’ve always loved this space-camouflage pattern. It’s splotchy green, like our camouflage, but still completely different.
The only thing I really made is the poncho. I started with a soft, splotchy khaki quilting cotton blender, and patterned out the poncho on that. The pattern itself was very simple - its a giant rectangle with a great big slouchy hood and a few belt holes. Where the real fun happened was in the camouflaging! I used this project as an opportunity to learn to airbrush! I figured, what better way to learn to airbrush than by doing big color blobs? I can figure out precision later!
So I built a crazy PVC scarecrow poncho stand, set up in my back yard, and had a super fun time learning how to use my airbrush and covering this with all the greens and browns!
I went to an Endor trooper photo shoot at Celebration, which was mostly Rebel Legion approved troopers, and their camo was all lighter than mine. I know that Han, Luke, and Leia all had a slightly different color scheme and pattern, but I feel like most of the RL I’ve seen over the years are always too light. Maybe because most fabric spray paint is kind of light and weak? I don’t know. I’ve never looked into getting mine approved, but I think it’s right and airbrushing is the way to go!
My pants are another story. I started with a pair of white jeans that I tried to dye light blue. Leia’s pants are a weird color that look different in different photos. They seem to run the whole spectrum from blueish-gray to bright sky blue. I was aiming for a nice muted grayish blue, but somehow I wound up with a bright turquoise! Because I suck - SUCK! - at fabric dying! I was ready to give up on this whole costume after my failed pants experiment, but the very next day I was in the mall (because I worked nextdoor to one and I was there killing time almost every day) and I found these pretty light blue pants on the sale rack at The Gap for like $4! I took them home, sewed the yellow stripe on the sides, and boom! Pants!
I finished the costume up with some braided hair extensions, which I braided in a very silly drunken night at the coast with my friends the night before con! It was a fun time :)
This costume is unfinished. I still need to make the shirts Leia wears. Right now I’m just wearing a plain khaki button-down camp shirt underneath the poncho. It gets the job done but it’s completely wrong. Someday I’ll finish it and maybe submit the whole thing to the Rebel Legion! Until then it’s just a fun costume to wear, and one of the less-frequently seen Leias, so I love it even more for that :)
Thursday night: Dryden Vos
I didn’t put too much thought into Dryden Vos’s outfit until I saw the Solo costumes on display at a recent con. Dryden’s costume is actually quite beautiful! The tailoring is sharp, the cape is fabulously drapey, the pinstripes scream old gangster, I love it! When the multi-club bash was announced, with its Canto Bight theme and it’s old Chicago Art Deco look, I knew I had to make a Dryden Vos inspired costume!
I made this on Saturday before the con. I’d been working on commissions until Friday, and I only had Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to get my own costumes finished. I’d originally planned to make a vest too, but that didn’t work out. I wore it with a sheer black sparkly top over a black camisole, plus black leggings with a silver sparkly tuxedo stripe, and it was super glam!
The coat itself was very easy to make, once I figured out how the cape worked. I used a very basic blazer pattern, which even had the diagonal panels included! I added some nice big pockets into the diagonal panels, added the half-cape, and it was done! I actually made a near-critical error when I was cutting that altered the length and drape of the cape, but I think it’s one of those errors that only I noticed, so I’m not going to point it out here. If I’d had a little more time, fabric, and concentration, this jacket would have been perfect. As it is it’s pretty close!
One of the things I struggled with was how to keep this coat on. The cape is kind of heavy and very asymmetrical, and it kept wanting to fall off of my shoulder. I was going through my reference pictures again, and I noticed he wore a small black cord across his chest. I thought it was just decorative, but now I think it might be load-bearing! I added a black, gold, and silver braid that connected from my left shoulder to right waist, and covered up any ugly stitching with a Crimson Dawn pin that I designed and printed, and it was good to go! The coat stayed on successfully all night long!
I LOVE Lando! And I love Donald Glover. And I love Donald Glover as Lando in this fabulous yellow shirt and black cape! I knew as soon as I saw this outfit that it would be mine! I made this shirt in time for UFO Fest last year, which was still a few weeks before the movie release. I’m not sure if it was because not many people had seen the trailer, or because the lighting in the hotel was really yellow, which made the shirt look white, or because my cape and scarf were all wrong, but I got no love for this costume at that event. By DragonCon I’d upgraded the cape and scarf to the ones you see here, and got a decent amount of recognition, but it was so hot under that wool cape in Atlanta in September that I didn’t wear the costume very long. But I managed to wear it all day at Celebration and people loved it!
The shirt is the same basic shirt pattern that is used over and over in Star Wars. Han, Luke, Lando, Cassian, Jyn, random background characters, EVERYBODY has a version of this shirt! I’ve made many of them, but this was my second. This was also one of my earliest attempts at a welt pocket. Welt pockets are STUPID DIFFICULT and I’m insanely proud of each and every one I’ve made!
The cape and scarf actually sort of came from Think Geek. They sold the cape as a kind of cheap costume piece, lined with the scarf fabric, and with a shitty plain collar. I removed the liner and made it into the scarf, replaced the old liner with the bright turquoise satin, and replaced the collar with one with screen accurate topstitching. I kept the original cape shell because it was actually a pretty nice, decently made, well-fitting wool blend cape. There was no need to waste it!
I love this costume :)
Saturday: X-Wing pilot
This is my only officially approved Rebel Legion costume. I made literally none of it, but here it is anyway :)
Sunday: Jedi Anna
I’ll admit I didn’t love Frozen the first time I saw it. But it was one of those movies that stuck with me, and I couldn’t stop thinking about and I had to see again and again. By my second watching I was 100% In love with Anna. She’s my favorite Disney Princess now! I just love her personality, her style, her color schemes, her hair, her Nordic floral embroidery - everything! And I just couldn’t stop thinking of adapting her winter dress into Jedi robes! And then I got an embroidery machine and I knew this costume had to happen!
This was my first really ambitious embroidery project. Each of the upper tabard panels took two hoops, and getting multiple hoops to line up correctly was a real challenge. I can do it now, no problem, but those first few attempts were UGLY! This was also a lesson in digitizing. I bought the embroidery files for Anna’s bodice, and decided I didn’t like about half of them, or they didn’t quite work with my new Jedi layout, and wound up re-drawing a bunch of them. Again, good learning experiences all around, and I’m incredibly proud of the embroidery I did on this!
It took me several days to do all the embroidery, but the actual blue tunics were thrown together in a day right before DragonCon last year! And I totally cheated - usually the inner and outer tunics are two separate garments, mine are one! I have the double-layer of blues on the front, and the back is only a single layer of light blue. Accuracy be damned, I’m here for convenience! At some point I’m going to make a new baselayer shirt, but I haven’t yet. I’m currently wearing a long sleeved turquoise t-shirt. It’s not perfect but it gets the job done.
The decoration on the pants is heat transfer vinyl cut with my Cricut. The leggings themselves are bought, because there’s just no reason to make blue leggings when WeLoveColrs exists! I also made the belt! I don’t normally do leatherwork, but Jedi belts are crazy easy and the results are beautiful!
This costume is so fun to wear! Little kids LOVE this costume. Adults usually don’t get the mashup, but little kids see it immediately and just lose their minds over it! It’s the cutest thing!
Monday: Han Solo
I love Han Solo. He’s my favorite character. Not my favorite Star Wars character, MY FAVORITE CHARACTER. So much of who I am today can be traced back to Han Solo. And while I’ve been making costumes for literally decades, I rarely did actual character cosplay until after I got LASIK in 2010. Prior to that I did occasional recognizable characters, but I did mostly themed costumes - medieval dresses, futuristic jumpsuits, that sort of thing. As soon as I stopped needing glasses I felt like a whole new world of costuming opened up to me! And the very first thing I wanted to make was Han Solo!
I made the first version of this costume for Norwescon 2010. I made the vest and the holster, and everything else was off the rack. None of it was great but it was clear what I was trying to do, and it’s the costume that really took me from having a passing interest in costuming and sewing to having a real true love for both of those things. I wouldn’t be doing this today without Han Solo!
No part of that original costume exists today. The vest shown here is vest #3. The first vest was hastily slapped together from memory days before the con. The second vest I put more effort into researching and patterning. Unfortunately I used some cheap fabric and didn’t finish my edges well and it quickly fell apart. This third vest is the exact same pattern, but with better fabric and better finishing. I made this one in 2014 and I can’t even begin to guess how many times I’ve worn it since. I wear it at least once a year, some years closer to five or six times! And its still going strong. I love it :)
The pants are my second pair. Technically my third, since I just wore plain jeans the first time. The real first pair were a pair of navy blue slacks that I added a red ribbon to the sides of and drew in stripes with navy blue sharpie. It worked, but it wasn’t great. This pair are navy blue off the rack leggings, but the fake-pants kind of leggings with back pockets and belt loops. I airbrushed blood stripes on these, and they are a testament to how sturdy airbrushing is! I’ve worn these almost as many times as I’ve worn the vest (I go to a con that doesn’t allow prop weapons at all, so I have a cute skirt I wear with this instead of the pants and holster) and the paint hasn’t flaked or faded! I’ll probably wear these pants until they disintegrate!
The holster is purchased. It came from Todd’s Costumes after a lengthy fight with Anovos. Todd is the best! I highly recommend his leather goods! I made my first holster out of vinyl, and it was ok. My first set of belt buckles were also vinyl and they were garbage. My second set of buckles were foam and Wonderflex, and they were significantly less awful, but still not anywhere near as good as aluminum. Eventually I upgraded to a better blaster, and I had to replace my holster too. Anovos looked good but their pre-order took way longer than promised. Tood’s holster was available immediately and actually cheaper than Anovos! And made by an actual maker/fan, not some random manufacturing plant. I always prefer to support makers instead of factories, given a choice!
The blaster is my second blaster. The first was a Rubies repaint, which looks ok in photos, but the scope and barrel are a single piece so it’s impossible to fit it cleanly in a holster. My current blaster is from a 1997 laser tag game, and I think it’s the most accurate toy blaster ever made. I repainted it, I had to modify it a little to make it fit in my holster, and I’ve repaired it twice now. I keep thinking about upgrading to something better. I actually have a resin kit all ready to be built, and I keep toying with the idea of modifying an actual Mauser, but I love this one and I’m so emotionally attached to it I don’t ever want to give it up! Just like Han and his blaster <3
So that’s it. Those are the costumes I wore to Celebration. They represent a lot of love for both Star Wars and sewing, and represent a lot of experimentation and learning and new ideas. I love every one of them and will keep wearing them and upgrading them and wearing them some more for as long as I possibly can!