Friday, October 08, 2010

Making Darth Maul

I've been spending the last couple of days going hairless, trying to make two costumes for heroes/villains dress-up day for Book Week.

Son chose Darth Maul.

The good news is, this was totally simple to do. The basic costume is a black tunic and trousers. I decided to cheat on this bit and use ready-made clothes, and just make the accessories and cloak. It's not easy to find plain black trousers or tops in children's sizes, nor to get the right sort of style, but I checked through his wardrobe first! In the end, I bought a cheap karate suit from a martial arts place. It cost £12.99, which is still cheaper than most children's fancy dress costumes off the rack. It had an embroidery badge on it, but I just snipped that off, no problem.

Darth Maul has leather gauntlets, a wide leather belt and long leather boots. I bought some black leather-look fabric, which is excellent stuff. Instead of big gloves, I decided leather armbands would give the look without the awkwardness of trying to find/make gloves in his size for something he'd take off after about two minutes. He had some black woollen gloves he could wear with it as well if he wanted.

Making the armbands was very easy - just measure around the arm at the wrist and forearm where you want the band to finish, and measure the length between those points to get your sizing. Make sure you do this while he's wearing the tunic, so the sleeve will fit under. Then it is just snip-snip, cut out rectangles for each arm. To fasten them, I used stick-on velcro. It's good stuff, sticks to the shiny side of the leatherette firmly, while the fabric side might need a couple of stitches to keep it totally secure.

The belt is exactly the same process as the armbands, only round the tummy, haha.

With the legs, well, obviously I'm not going out to buy long boots for the boy, so again the leatherette comes into play, with his black shoes. Again, measure round the leg at the ankle and at the calf where you want the 'boot' to end, then measure between these points. When you measure, make sure the child is wearing the trousers, so the 'boot' will fit over them. Then when cutting your rectangle for the height of the 'boot', make it an inch or two longer. Apply the velcro and once you have your cylinder, with the shoe to help you gauge it, snip a curved triangle from the front and back, so it will sit atop the shoe in a similar way to stirrup pants. I did consider adding some black elastic to go round the bottom of the shoe, but it actually worked very well without it, so I didn't bother.

The hooded cloak was a bit more of a challenge as this involved actual sewing. The hood consists of two long triangles sewn together all the way along on one side (call it the 'A' side), and part way on the other long side (call it the 'B' side). You could cheat and use hemming tape for this. Turn the right way out and you should have a hood.

The cloak itself is effectively a square of cloth. To get the right size, drape the cloth over the child's shoulders or use their dressing gown as a guide. Hem the edges. Decide which side will be the top edge, and find the middle. Pin the hood at that point, starting where the B seams meet, and pin the spread-open ends of the hood along the top edge, making sure the material's straight. Then check it works, before sewing on carefully. At this point, you need the child to try it on again, so you can work out where you need to put a fastener. You can use the velcro again - or go wild with poppers or buttons - or just use a badge or brooch.

Then it's just face-paint! Yay.

You could probably make Darth Vader using the same basic costume and a mask.


Anonymous said...

That's clever. My daughter has a big box of cloth to make into costumes but she never does. I nearly made a tunic once for a costume for a play but then the children went off the idea before I got to do it. To satisfy our desire to dress up we have all joined the accordion band, I think we will all look awesome when we all have uniform. Abster.

Mephitis said...

I really do enjoy this sort of thing.