Saturday, 21 November 2015

Endor trooper vest

With all my planned project for the year done I felt it was time to go back and do some updates on old costumes instead. One of those updates that I've been thinking about for quite a long time is the Endor trooper. I consider that I have the bare basic trooper, but I've always wanted to add more things to it. Since I prefer to sew the easiest thing to do in order to upgrade it was to add the Endor vest to the costume.

You can see the vest on at least three of the guys in this picture, two are wearing it over the snow jacket, and the bearded man in the front is wearing it directly over the long sleeved t-shirt. There aren't a lot of good pictures online of the vest, but there is a full body picture and some concept sketces of it in the Star Wars Costumes - Original Trilogy book. It is basically the same vest as the one Leia is wearing under her poncho.

There is also a tutorial for the vest available here, and the pattern pieces that are used in the tutorial can be found via the Rebel Legion forum. I decided not to use the tutorial or the pattern though. There are some inaccuracies in the pattern, and the tutorial is made for a lined vest, while I decided that my with the fabric I had a fully lined vest would be too bulky and heavy.

The fabric is a quite heavy cotton/poly twill in beige.

I started the pattern by tracing the pattern off my Endor jacket, since the vest will be worn over it I figured I could just as well do that.
With the back and front pieces up I pinned tracing paper on them and simply freehanded where I wanted the sleeve, pockets and details on the front to be.
Up until this point I had followed the instructions on the tutorial I linked to above. Looking at  more reference pictures there were a couple of things I realized I needd to change. The vest is a lot shorter than planned, and the gap between the padded section (the pattern tissue at the front top) and the pocket is very small. More importantly though is that the padded section isn't just an added decoration on the right side, it's a yoke that goes all around the neck, the only thing is that he left side isn't quilted.
This is my pattern for the joke. Going from just a right front piece to a full joke led to some fabric issues though. I had bought enough fabric to be able to line the vest, but when I decided not to do that I had promised to make a vest for a friend out of the leftover material. I did manage to fiddle with the fabric, and by making one of the yokes in two pieces, with the seam hidden by the quilting, I did get two yokes out of what I had left of the fabric.
I cut out a piece of batting with the same pattern as the yoke and basted it to the main vest. I then sewed the yoke piece on over the batting and on to the vest.

In order to hide the batting at the bottom edges of the yoke I turned the yoke fabric in under the batting and sewed it on.

Since the quilted part of the vest goes from the back over the shoulder and on to the vest it was hard to figure out the placement of the seams with the pattern flat. In the end the easiest thing was to pin a piece of tape where I wanted it to go, from the back to the front, and use that as a reference line. Then 

I marked out where I wanted the seams to go, as you can see they look curved when flat but they look straight when the vest is on. I quilted the right side, but the left is just the padded. One thing that happened with the padding was that the whole vest got really stiff, I feel like a hockey player with really large shoulder protections in it. I think that I would recommend a batting that is thinner, or simply use a layer of felt rather than padding. My Endor Leia vest is a lot thinner and uses felt instead.

While working with the vest I kept having a feeling that it looked to shiny and new, and the Endor trooper is supposed to be dirty and worn. At this stage I also happened to have a full day of doing laundry, so while doing my regular laundry I threw the two vests and all the pieces of fabric that I had left into the zink with some mild bleach. After two rounds the colour hadn't changed much, except on the wrong side of the fabric, but the whole look of the fabric was a lot more faded, it simply looked more worn. I am thinking about actually throwing the vest in for yet another period in the bleach, but I haven't decided yet.

In order to finish the vests I had to use the scraps that I had left. In hindsight I think the vest would look better with lined sleeves, but there wasn't enough fabric for that. To finish the sleeves/armholes I cut a straight piece of fabric as a facing, and the same goes for the front facings as well. I did get manage to piece together two smaller bias cut strips for the neck facing. The waist band is simply the leftovers that I cut off from the vest when I shortened it. That means that there are seams in the waistband, but it was the only way I could get a strip of fabric that was long enough.

This is the finished vest.


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