Thursday, February 2, 2017

How to Make Jedi Robes from Curtains - Part 1

Ever so slowly, I am working my way toward populating this blog with posts again. A lot of the sewing I've done this year has been small projects, to accommodate my limited health. However I am gradually increasing into more interesting projects, so there should be exciting new stuff to watch for in the coming months.

Today, I am going to talk about how I made Jedi robes for my little nephew in just two hours! Honestly, I could have done them in an hour if I wasn't taking photos and planning this blog post at the same time! But I did, because I just had to share this super easy project with you all!

(I made Jedi Robes because my family is super into Star Wars, but you could also use this pattern to make basic wizard robes.)

This tutorial is aimed towards making robes for a child, but you could definitely apply the method for a teen or adult as well, you'd just need bigger curtains (or a sheet or bedspread). You could also just start with plain fabric, but then you would need to add hems and it would take longer. The beauty of this layout is NO HEMMING! Yay!

Jedi robes are not very fitted, and this project is made to be unlined, but not unravel, so this is an ideal project for someone with basic sewing skills.

In Part 1, I will show you how to select which curtains to use, and how to cut them out.

These robes are unlined, so I recommend picking out a curtain with a bit of weight and body to it. You can pick any material you want. I used polyester because it is what I had on hand, but a rough, natural looking weave would be more accurate to the costumes worn in the movies.

Bonus tip - most thrift stores have sale days, or have categories or tag colors on sale on different days of the week. Call ahead and find out when you're most likely to find curtains on sale, in order to get the best possible deal!

To get the dimensions of your curtain, take your model's floor-to-shoulder height + arm length. This is how long your curtain needs to be. The width is more flexible - it should be 2-4 times the circumference of your model's chest (depending on how flowing you want the robes to be). If you are working with very narrow curtains, you can get two and sew them together down the long end, to create a center back seam. The hemmed edges will create a nice finished seam on the interior.

The first step is to fold the curtains in half, lengthwise, right sides together. THEN, take each edge and fold it back over, so that you have four layers, with the front, finished edges lining up with the center seam, as shown above.

Take your model's floor-to-shoulder measurement, and measure that amount from the bottom of your curtain. Cut it in half at this point. Set the upper half aside. Keep the portion that corresponds to the FTS number. This will form the body of your robe. The hemmed edge will be the bottom, and the cut edge will become the shoulders. Keep in folded in the 4 layer configuration!

On the shoulder edge, you now need to cut the arm and neck holes. If possible, grab a t-shirt from your model's wardrobe and use it as a guide, cutting your armholes slightly bigger (the robe will need to fit over the model's clothes, remember). The arm holes are cut on the folded side, while the neck hole is cut on the side with the center back and hemmed edges. I took this picture so you can get an idea of the measurements for a kindergartener.

Now, pick up the discarded upper half of the curtain. Unfold the four layer configuration, and refold it, wrong sides together. Locate the corner with both edges hemmed. This corner will form the bottom and front of your hood. You will need to cut a curve from the top to the back of the hood, as shown above. Again, I've laid down my grid to give you a guide for the numbers for a kid. If in doubt, measure the neckhole you just cut out of the body. The bottom edge of the hood should be about the same size as that hole, but just a tad bigger. So take that measurement, divide it, and add a couple extra inches.

(measurement example - neckhole is 16 inches, divided into 8. Add 2 inches. Each edge should be 10 inches.)

This is how high and how deep the front and bottom seams should be (right edge and bottom edge as shown above). Cut your curve very square, you want as much fabric as possible in this hood!

You now have one uncut piece of fabric left. From the bottom hem to the cut top edge, it should be about the length of your model's arm. If it is longer, cut down to size. (add an extra inch of length if you can, to add for seam allowances.) Fold the piece over, as shown above, so that there are four layers. Fold once, then fold again.

Now it is time to turn that tube into a sleeve. The side that is only folds will become the top of the piece shown here. The side that is one fold and two raw edges will be cut again, as shown at the bottom here (note the slight slope rising up from the right, so that the sleeve narrows as it reaches the armhole). The hemmed edge will become the sleeve hem, as shown on the left. The raw edge will be cut in a curve, to form the armhole. The arm curve is measured just as you did for the hood edges. You can use the same t-shirt you did previously to get an idea of how to make the armhole curve.

(measurement example - armhole is 12 inches, divided out to 6 inches, add just one extra inch this time, making a final measurement of 7 inches for the curve. Use a flexible measuring tape to measure out 7 inches from the tip of the uncut edge top to about five inches down on the uncut side.)

Go on to Part 2 to learn how to sew the sleeves and hood!

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