The following was written by cosplayer and costume designer Marla Massey
Cosplayer: MCubed Cosplay & Modeling
Costume made completely from scratch by MCubed (me), Matt Long and David Palmer
BB-8: Mad Scientist’s Workshop
Photographer: Evolution Photography
Based on art by: Andrew Tarusov Pin-Up & Illustration
From the second I found out they were creating a new Star Wars movie I was beyond excited! I grew even more excited when I first saw a picture of Rey! Daisy Ridley and I have similar facial features and she looked like a bad ass – I was sold!!
I knew I wanted to make this costume 100% from scratch, I wanted it to be completely screen accurate, and I wanted it done by the premiere… This was a lot to take on but luckily I have amazing people in my life to help me and not only did I get it done by 12/17, but I also think it looks pretty dang screen accurate!
I’ve had a lot of people asking me how I made it and so I’ve decided to put together a little tutorial 🙂
So first off I’d like to break this down into the costume and the accessories, I went full out with all of Rey’s costume, but that way if you just want the casual costume you can do that.
So the pants are the one thing I didn’t make from scratch. I took a pretty easy route. I actually bought these pants from Forever 21. They are called self-tie palazzo pants and they are the perfect color and fabric. Once I received them in the mail, I went in and cut the pants off at the knee and seam ripped out the tie and inner lining at the top. I then used the parts that I had cut off to make the bottom wrap of the pants. **Note – you might need help with this part. Here I wore them and had a helper pin them where they naturally fell so you get that bunch effect. I then velcroed the outsides of the new pant bottoms together, and I gathered/sewed both sides as well to give that bunched effect.
I bought the material for the shirt from Dharma Trading Co. This fabric was called Hemp/Cotton Jersey Knit Blend 52“. I cut the shirt out in a simple tunic pattern measured to my body. If you are not great with this concept yet I suggest cutting it all out of muslin first and then transferring it to your real fabric!
The cap sleeves are two different types (one is ribbed and one is not), I cut those out. I basically pin tucked the ribbed sleeve (the left one is the normal sleeve and the right one is the ribbed before I cut it to the right size.
The neckline is a Henley neckline just thinner and without buttons. It seems complicated but once you get the hang of it, it’s not bad. Here is a great tutorial for it. **NOTE instead of an inch wide like she uses in the video I only did it a ½” wide.
I then added the sleeves and cut the shirt to the right length (just below the butt). I did not have to dye this piece because the color was already perfect. I did however soak this costume piece in tea to make it look dirtier. I also fray checked the ends of the shirt and the sleeves since they are unfinished seams.
These were a little daunting at first but once you get it started it’s not bad. Because this is actually one long piece wrapped around her whole body (not 2 like with most Jedi’s tabbards) it has to be extremely long. I connected two pieces and hid the seam in the back under the belt. Though upon further inspection it looks like there might be a seam on the bottom loop, so if it shows there, I still think you are okay. The fabric I used was Viscose Rayon/Silk Blend from Dharma. First I measured around my body how long and wide it needed to be (for me that was 180” long and 14” wide). Then I cut them out and sewed the 2 pieces together, hemmed the side seams, and gathered the fabric on the shoulders. I did need to dye this fabric, and for that I used Dharma Trading dyes. They work 100 times better than any other dye I tried! I used Dharma Ecru mixed in equal parts with Dharma Safari Grey (just the ecru dye is too pink and the grey on its own is too grey). The first time I dyed this it came out too brown so I actually had to dye it a second time with a 2 to 1 mix of Safari Grey to Ecru.
Okay for these I got the fabric from Dharma as well, Cotton Bubble Gauze 50“. First, I cut 3” wide strips out. Remember the right arm will be longer than the left since the bracer is on the left arm. I measure my arm with elastic and then made a little garter for both of my arms. If you don’t know how to create a garter, here is a little tutorial I found that might help you (just without the lace obviously).
I sewed the top of the gauze all the way around the garter at the top so it covered it. Then I wrapped my arms and at the end put pieces of Velcro. I then used the same mixture of dye for the arm wraps as I did for the tabard; because it is a different material it comes out a slightly different color which is what you want. I then took old tea bags (the ones I’d used on the shirt before) and rubbed/dapped them all the way around the edges so that they looked dirtier than the middle part. Then I fray checked the ends since it’s not hemmed. You have to wrap them tightly around your arms but remember to slightly bend your arm when you first wrap it, or you won’t be able to bend them at all.
So with this costume piece, it was the planning and figuring out exactly what to do that took the longest. After much research I found out that her head wrap is actually a long sleeved T-shirt with your face sideways through the neck hole and the arms wrapped around the top of the head! I read an article that interviewed The Force Awakens costume designer, Michael Kaplan, in it he stated that he wanted Rey to wear practical desert attire – something that she could wear on her head in the hot sun and wear as a sweater when it got cold at night. I went to the thrift store and bought a cheap men’s long sleeve shirt. A problem I’ve been noticing a lot with other costumes, is that peoples’ head wraps are too tight around their shoulders, because of that problem, I bought an XL shirt so I’d have room. I then came home seam ripped the shirt apart and laid it out on my fabric. This fabric was again from Dharma- Handwoven Natural Fabric. As you can see from the picture, the major modification here is you need to create extra-long arms for your shirt so they can wrap around your head twice and then tie in the back(I added 18” to each sleeve for example), but other than that just sew it like a normal shirt. I hemmed the neck (part that goes around your face) but left the bottom and arms unfinished so I fray checked those.
They were the most difficult!! The real shoes that she wears in the movie are actually from a European Boutique called Po-zu, they are called Piper V Dark Brown and for $136.50 plus shipping you can get them and not have to do this step. I didn’t have that kind of money to spend, so I went the harder route! I got the fabric for the body of the shoe from Discounted Designer Fabrics.com and the cork fabric from Etsy.
First I started with old UGGs I got from a thrift store for like $5 (they were scuffed and dirty but I was covering them so it didn’t matter). I then cut about an inch off the top, and cut them along the seam until I got to the seam along the main part of the shoe. This made the inner lining come off but that’s good just keep that bunched in the middle until the end. Next I needed to add the overlapping part. I notice that the inside of the UGGs were lined with foam board so I actually took foam board, cut out the correct shape and sewed it to the front of the shoe (along where I had cut it) >
Next I cut out and sewed together the fabric to go over the top/front of the shoe. I just followed the same lines as the UGGs. Then I used Shoe Goo and Fabric Glue to glue the fabric to the shoes and used pins and rubber bands to keep it held together while drying (WARNING do this outside, Shoe Goo is super smelly and toxic). I left fabric hanging over the bottom of the shoe so I could cut it exactly along the bottom when it dried.
After this I cut out the fabric for the back section minus the very bottom. For the very bottom I used the cork instead. I sewed the cork to the fabric on one side, and then glued the rest if the cork and folded over the edges so they looked completed. I used the same cork for the long piece up the back of the shoe as well. I sewed along the edges of the cork so it would look like the real shoe, but I then used the same glue to glue it to the shoe. I did the same thing for the little connection pieces along the front of the shoe. I used small white budgie that I dyed brown for the tie in the back.
The side pack is made from 2 European Combat Bags. I took both of them apart and pieced them back together to make one bag. I cut off one of the front straps. The lengthened front flap and top/side parts were from the other bag I then hand sewed and fabric glued it all together. I connected an ALICE clip to the front and painted the clip on the front black. I then weathered the bag with brown and sand colored acrylic paint.
The backpack is completely made of leather. I started by measuring the bag to my body then cut out the pieces. The front was one piece, the bottom and sides were one long piece and the back and front flap were one piece (the flap goes about halfway down and is rounded). I used a Prong Flat Chisel Leather Hole Punch from Tandy’s to make the holes first then used wax thread and a leather needle to sew it all together (I used binder clips and hot glue to hold it in place while I sewed). Remember on the left side of the bag you have to sew a second piece on top to hold the stick pieces (you can either use 2 pieces like I did, or double the size of the piece in that picture). It will end up looking like this.
Once the basic bag is done you have to add the backpack straps to the back (I just did the straps as one piece, so the straps don’t adjust, so make sure you measure twice and cut once 🙂 ) and add the front strap that keeps the bag closed (held together with strap slides from Tandy’s). The piece on the front holding the greeblies is made the same way as the side part that holds the sticks. Measure out how big your pieces are and leave that much room before you sew. It is A LOT of sewing and gluing!!
The part holding the greeblies on the front flap of the bag, the left backpack strap, and the parts that hold the 2 water bottles are made out of webbing that I got at an Army Navy Store. The pieces that hold the water bottle on the bottom also has a strip of leather in the middle (connected together with a strap slide) and the bottom cup shape is made out of leather sewed together. After all of this was finished, it was dyed and sealed twice (so the color doesn’t rub off on the costume).
These are all made out of PVC and painted silver and gold. I used 1/2″ PVC for both side sticks. The leather one had a cap on one end and then was wrapped with leather and then dyed and sealed. The other one has black wire loom attached and then electrical tape on the top. I also glued pieces of aluminum to the inside of the bottom and right side of the backpack (the same size as the bag) in order to keep it from drooping under the pressure of the water bottles.
: The wrist bracer is made out of leather. I used the below pattern, it is 2 pieces of leather sewn together (make sure you sew it together so that the stiches are hidden). The bigger piece was wetted and pounded with a stamping tool from Tandy’s leather. The second small piece was left alone but turned over so both smooth sides of the leather were showing. Then they were dyed two different colors, the bigger piece (which has the pattern stamped on it) is darker than the smaller piece. After it is dyed and sealed you can wrap it around your left wrist.
The belt is measured to my size and made with leather (one piece). I used this template below. The twine is suede leather lace. The buckles on the sides are strap slides. And once it was all together it was dyed (tan and dark brown both mixed together) and sealed.
I’ve had people asking me for months…yes the lenses are Storm Trooper Hero Lenses (make sure they are bubble lenses and they are green)! That was my first purchase! After that I started making the base for the googles. The lenses were put into a plastic base that was made from a 1/8” sheet of ABS plastic and molded with a heat gun to fit my face. Once the lenses were glued in we used grey modeling clay on the outside of the lenses (WARNING – do not put them in the oven to dry the modeling clay it will flatten the lenses, instead use a heat gun while they are facing downward). The top part of the goggles is made of sheep’s skin and the stitch pattern is sewn with grey cross stitch thread (the skin is super thin so you can sew through it easily but be sure not to rip it). It was then cut out to the size and shape of the goggles. The side part is made of grey felt and glued all the way around. Then the sheep skin was glued on top of the felt. The four little straps on the top of the googles is leather painted grey. Once everything is glued on, I put leather sealer over the top and then I dry brushed brown acrylic paint on it to make the sheep’s skin look hard and weathered. The side brackets were made out of aluminum (with clay at the top where the holes for the string is drilled through), sewn onto the googles (drill holes first and then you can sew through them) and then painted a rust color. The string connecting the googles is small white budgie that was dyed brown and tied in the middle. The light on the side is a modified mini flashlight (painted silver and weathered with black acrylic paint) connected to the googles with the arm from a Magnifying Glass Desktop.
The staff parts are all 3D printed and glued onto a 1“ wide and 5’11” long OD wooden dowel (it was measured to my height, Daisy’s staff is 6’ and she is 5’7”, I am 5’6” so I made it 5’11”). It was then painted with a textured black paint. The material on the middle is the same gauze material that my arm wraps were made of (dyed the same color) and a brown faux leather. The strap is Army Navy Store webbing connected with oval ring lobster claws to H shaped leather pieces that I dyed black.
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