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Jedi Fabrics and Colors

 
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EeanLedgor ()
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:53 pm    Post subject: Jedi Fabrics and Colors Reply with quote

Disclaimer regarding the fiasco with Photobucket:


Sooo....Photobucket?

Yeah, with the new policy of charging for 3rd party hosting (meaning photobucket is now charging it's members for their images to appear on 3rd party sites like costuming forums (501st, Rebel Legion, StarWarsAlabama, etc.) many, if not all, images in my tutorials are no longer available. I will likely switch to another photo sharing site, but I've got hundreds of images and this will take time. With my current schedule and costume queue. I doubt I will get around to moving images this year (2017).

In the meantime, you may visit my photobucket account where all of my tutorial pictures are currently housed. I've got it fairly well organized, so you should be able to find what you're looking for. Here's the link:

http://s33.photobucket.com/user/lakrog/library/?sort=3&page=1

As always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me.


Jedi Fabrics and Colors...an opinion

One of the most prevalent questions we are asked in the Jedi forums is in regards to fabrics: what kind to use and what colors are allowed. Other related questions include the mixing and matching of colors between the components of the Jedi costume.

I will offer my opinion, based on my experience as a Jedi costumer and as a Jedi Legion Costume Judge. Please understand that what I write is my opinion, which has no bearing on whether or not a Jedi costume will or will not be approved by the Jedi LCJ team. In addition, please understand that, while I enjoy the Expanded Universe, I am partial to the “classic” look of the Jedi characters depicted in the highest level of canon material: the live action films.

In addition, I am not an expert on fabric and do not know the names of the various weaves and textures AND am not familiar with the various chemistries of fabrics (such as plant versus animal fibers, man-made fibers and the various blends between these). I simply go with what looks “right” to my eye…and I think most people share my level (or lack of) expertise.

First of all, I would say that the higher quality Jedi costumes that you see are those where the costumer has paid close attention to the details. Having the right color, texture, thickness and drape of fabric is key in making an incredible Jedi costume.

What kind of fabric should you use?

If you study the films, you see that the Jedi costumes, especially those in the Prequel films, look rich, have a “thick” look to them and they all have an obvious texture. Plain, non-textured, fabrics don’t look as good as those with some kind of texture.

For example:

Here is a close up of OWK ROTS outer tunic:



Here is a pic of Anakin ROTS:



Both of these outer tunic fabrics are very similar. They are a heavily textured fabric where the crinkles run vertical along the main body, and/or parallel to the arms and collar. While these two fabrics are probably different, to the eye, they look almost identical except for color.

ALSO, as mentioned, pay close attention to the grain of the fabric and how it runs on the fabric pieces. Having the grain of the crinkles running horizontal on these costumes would drastically change their look…I think, for the worse.

One of the problems with fabrics is that they are weaved in large quantities, then the weaving machine or company changes their system to move onto the next fabric. So, once the desired fabric is gone, it is usually gone, never to return. The fabrics used in the films are very likely no longer available, so we are faced with finding a suitable substitute.

One of the most popular substitutes for OWK and Anakin fabric is cotton gauze, also called crinkle gauze (or any number of other names). The good thing is, cotton (crinkle) gauze is fairly ubiquitous and isn’t necessarily seasonal (meaning you can get it year around). In addition, cotton (crinkle) gauze is relatively cheap, and can be found for as little as $3-$4/yard (depending on how much you order). Three of the sources that I’ve bought cotton (crinkle) gauze from are:

http://www.fashionfabricsclub.com/p/23668/White-Stretch-Gauze
http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/3479-AA.shtml
http://www.onlinefabricstore.net/apparel-fabric/gauze/polyester-gauze/white-gauze-.htm

Here is a picture of the OnlineFabricStore cotton gauze. The left side is the picture from the website. The right side is manipulated to make the “crinkles” show up better.


*VERY IMPORTANT* If you’re ordering online, ALWAYS get a swatch or a fabric sample and see it in person before ordering.

While these cotton (crinkle) gauzes come in various colors, I tend to buy white and dye the fabric to the color I want. I’ve dyed this fabric for both the “ivory” or “beige” for OWK costumes and dark brown for Anakin costumes. If you want my dyeing recipes or protocols, please PM me. I will consider writing a tutorial on dyeing fabric…at some point.

-Picture (courtesy of Modern-Day Warrior) shows the Hand Woven Natural Fabric (from Dharma Trading) before washed (on the far left) and (in the middle and on the right) washed and dried. The color of the fabric is the original color.


-Picture (courtesy of Modern-Day Warrior) of Hand Woven Natural Fabric, a larger piece:



Consider two factors with cotton (crinkle) gauze.
1. It is either or very nearly 100% cotton, it is a stretch fabric and, therefore, it will shrink a LOT when you wash it. ALWAYS wash/dry or dry clean your fabric before you start sewing!
2. This fabric most often comes in 45”-50” wide. Many linens and wools come 55”-60” wide. This plays a major role in how much fabric to buy when making your costume.

Here is a close up of Mace Windu:



As you can see, Windu’s fabric has a different texture than OWK or Anakin.

Another fabric that has a good texture and is 100% cotton (so it dyes easily) is osnaburg.

Osnaburg
http://www.fashionfabricsclub.com/p/CM100/Natural-Osnaburg
-Picture of fabric


Some people use this fabric in its raw state for Tusken robes. It is equally good for Jedi and can be dyed fairly easily. Because of the nature of this fabric, you’re not likely going to get crisp colors. The blacks won’t be VERY black, the navy’s won’t be VERY navy.

Osnaburg: left side is bleached, right side is raw:


Osnaburg died black (note the black satin border on the left):


And the whole costume:


A word on muslin. Muslin is a loosely woven cotton fabric, popular in arid and hot areas of the world. It is thin and (what I’ve generally seen in the fabric stores) is non-textured. Because of this, I consider muslin NOT suitable for Jedi costumes (…and certainly without being lined). In it’s raw state, muslin is usually an off white or light beige color.

Muslin CAN play a role in Jedi costuming:

(1) Muslin is a VERY cheap fabric (I’ve seen it for as low as $1-$2/yard) and can be used for mock ups (that is trial runs through a pattern to make sure you’ve sewed things right before cutting and sewing your “real” fabric).

(2) Muslin can be used as a liner or filler to help make a thin fabric appear “thick”.

RECAP:

I’ve mentioned two fabrics, so far: cotton gauze and osnaburg. I offer these because they are relatively cheap, have a good texture, are easy to dye…and the costume can be washed at home (rather than needing to be dry cleaned).

There are many other fabrics that can be used for Jedi costumes. Another popular fabric is linen. Linen is a plant fiber fabric (like cotton) and dyes well. Linen can also come in a variety of textures.

Gray Linen (seen above on my black/gray Jedi):


Here’s an interesting choice. The robe, pictured above on my black/gray Jedi was made from a shower curtain (or six shower curtains, to be precise). These shower curtains have a diamond “waffle” weave pattern and are a polyester/cotton blend. This robe is very light weight and comfortable. The drape is incredible and many people mistake it for wool. The shower curtains came from Target…and can be machine washed at home.



Here are some linens, showing both range of texture and colors. Each of these fabrics are from fashionfabricsclub.com


From left to right: Oatmeal, Antique Gold, Tabacco, Olive Green, Gray

From left to right: Olive Ivory, Olive Tan, Forest Green, Green

From left to right: Taupe & Black, Chocolate Brown, Blue Suiting, Blue Black, Burgundy

A word on fabric thickness:

One way to make sure that your costume looks cheaply made is to use a thin fabric. See-through thin fabrics are terrible. Interestingly, both the cotton (crinkle) gauze and the osnaburg are thin fabrics. One easy way around making a thin fabric look “thick” or have body is to either double (or even triple) the layers of fabric. Another way to “thicken” up a thin fabric is to use a liner (of a complimentary color).

When using cotton (crinkle) gauze or osnaburg, I like using complimentary color of satin as a liner for the main body of the outer tunic and sleeves. The satin I use is 100% cotton and comes in a huge variety of colors. Satin is also light weight, breathes well and can be washed. To my eye, satin gives the outer fabric that rich, thick look. For the tabards and obi, I will often triple the thickness of the cotton (crinkle) gauze or osnaburg.

For the linens that I’ve used, I have doubled the fabric thickness.

When sewing a liner or doubling (or tripling) the thickness of a fabric, I simply cut two (or three) pattern pieces and sew them together, then treat them as one piece. Granted, the seams can become difficult to work with, but I will often trim the “inner” layers of the seam away to make finishing seams more manageable.

Here’s the difference between various thicknesses of the cotton (crinkle) gauze and with a liner:



And here’s a picture of an OWK ROTS that I made. This outer tunic is made with dyed (camel dye from Dharma Trading Co.) white cotton gauze (from onlinefabricstore.net) and lined with a flax colored satin. The tabards and obi use the dyed cotton gauze and are each three layers thick.



What colors are good for Jedi?

Well, the costume standards have said (for a number of years) and will continue to say for the foreseeable future…and in so many words (…and I’m using my words/interpretation here):

Earth tones, especially those colors from the black, gray and brown families…where brown may include anything from “off white” to beige to brown to dark brown. Other earth tones may include blues, greens, burgundies, yellows and purples AS LONG AS these colors are not “bright”, meaning they should be subdued and from the “darker” side of the color’s chroma (chroma being defined as the intensity of the color itself).

While I do not agree that all of the following colors should be allowed for Jedi costumes, these are mostly what I have in my mind for Jedi colors:





What about mixing and matching colors?

Many of the face character Jedi from the Prequel films have tabards and obis the same fabric (and color) as the outer tunic. The inner tunics are often a different color…as are the pants.

I think it is fine to mix and match colors between the inner tunic, outer tunic, tabards and obi. However, care must be taken to make sure the colors used are:
1. complimentary
-A dark purple outer tunic overlaid with hunter green tabards and a “burnt” yellow obi is just going to look awful!
2. are similar in value (lightness and darkness)
-A dark brown outer tunic overlaid with an off white pair of tabards and obi will be WAY too contrasting and look awful!

Mixing textures is also okay, but…the differences from one costume component to another should be subtle or not so glaring that it becomes the focus of your costume. This is true of using borders around your tabards and obi or embellishing your tabards with some design (like aurebesh).


There are many other fabrics that can be used for Jedi costumes. Again, I tend to go with what looks “right” to my eye, in both texture and color…and try to make the colors of my Jedi costumes complimentary and of a similar value (lightness versus darkness).

I hope this helps you in your endeavor in making a quality, screen accurate Jedi costume.

/bow
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Last edited by EeanLedgor () on Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tag Aldeggon ()
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, the fabrics of a Jedi. I was raised by a father who does tailoring at a professional level, and I grew up with fabrics of every kind. I can look at almost any fabric and tell you right off the bat what it is and what its qualities are, so the materials used in the jedi ensemble are of especial interest to me.

This thread brings up many excellent points of which some have been particular pet peeves of mine - namely, thin, untextured fabric. The Jedi costume is simple and lightly detailed in its design, if not in its construction. As a result, the only way to give the costume structure is through rich, natural fabrics. The ones suggested are all good, but it is true, too many people use thin or untextured materials without doing anything to give them thickness or body. With a thin linen or the "crinkled fabrics" that are all the rage this season, there must be added liners or layers in order to give the outfit the proper drape.

May I suggest two other fabrics? The first is what I used for my costume, which is a very soft corduroy with an extra fine wale. Now, the wale of corduroy is the thickness of the "lines" you see running through the fabric. A thick wale has very definite lines, but with a fine wale they are not especially visible while still giving the fabric a lovely sense of "direction" in the weave. It is also remarkably comfortable - I feel like I am wearing a soft blanket whenever I wear it. Corduroy is a very rich fabric that you won't have to line because it is already composed of layers that give the tunic structure without employing all the tricks you need with thinner materials. Smile

The other option is a raw silk. Not the extra smooth or see-through kind some people associate with flimsy scarves and what not, but the beautiful raw silks of India that have the most incredible texture and color. This can be very expensive, but it has that inimitable drape and appearance which simply can't be recreated with imitation fabrics. Qui-Gon's tunic uses this, thus his ensemble's unique look - it "hangs" far more loosely off the body, and so gives it a lot of movement and a very rustic yet refined fit.

As for colors. well, we have come a long way from the days when gray on a Jedi was a controversial issue - thank goodness for that! Although I may never really come to accept the cool colors (green blue and purple) as Jedi colors, and even the warm colors except as tones of brown, I do agree that if they must be used, they should be in exceptionally natural looking tones. THAT is when natural fabrics are most important. They take color differently than artificial materials, and the tones are softer and more subdued in hue.

All in all though, this is a very good post and I hope it helps us avoid the polyester Jedi that slip through the ranks now and then. Every Jedi deserves the best, especially when it comes to fabrics.

Mr. Green
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EeanLedgor ()
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An exceptional addition to the info, Edward!!!

thank you...Thank You....THANK YOU!!!
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Gorbulas ()



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, I am from Australia and looking for such linen fabric but unable to find. Even I checked the Linen House but not successful. Could you please help me in shipping?
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Gruntsky (Jake Rainsford)
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:56 am    Post subject: Re: Jedi Fabrics and Colors Reply with quote

EeanLedgor wrote:

http://www.onlinefabricstore.net/apparel-fabric/gauze/polyester-gauze/white-gauze-.htm


I've ordered from this company before and they certainly deliver to Australia.
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EeanLedgor ()
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is good to know! Thanks for the information. I order from this company from time to time.

I also order from a very similar company www.fashionfabricsclub.com Perhaps they do international shipping as well. It'd be worth a look.
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Neferet ()
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love a fabric called "sarga" in my country (Argentina), in english the name is "twill". Some kind of twill are similar to Windu’s fabric.





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Lora Skywalker ()
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Twill is a nice durable fabric type. It's also heavier and generally more stiff. I have used it for my tabards due to these qualities.
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Flanaman (Adam)



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:16 am    Post subject: Very helpful Reply with quote

Thank you for this great information. I was just looking to start my next step of working with a cheaper fabric to size everything and then start my final, and this helped for both. I am looking for more recommendations of a final fabric for a light weight costume. I live in Florida and in early February the high was in the 80's, don't need two suns to have this heat lol. Does the satin liner help disperse heat at all? Thanks in advanced.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Very helpful Reply with quote

Flanaman wrote:
I am looking for more recommendations of a final fabric for a light weight costume. I live in Florida and in early February the high was in the 80's, don't need two suns to have this heat lol. Does the satin liner help disperse heat at all? Thanks in advanced.


Satin probably won't help, depending on what it's made of. Natural fabrics breathe better. Personally, I just ordered some beige silk with a checked pattern woven throughout. Cotton gauze would probably be a good bet also, maybe line it with muslin, which will also breathe.
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Orissa Erte ()



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that texture is a must. It gives dimension to a garment, especially in a theatrical sense. I have worked on stage productions for live theater with costuming and with stage lights washing out a lot of details, texture saves the day. Also, natural fiber fabrics are much more comfortable than synthetics. Synthetics are mostly based on plastics of some sort. Sometimes a good blend fabric will give a nice balance of durability and comfort utilizing more than one fiber type.
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