Dark Jedi personal character armor/robes

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Techne

New Member
Here's my newest cosplay. It's my first personal character.

His name is Amet Risu; he's a "Dark Jedi" who served with Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma during the Great Sith War, thousands of years before the movie trilogies. Kun and Qel-Droma's various costumes are the strongest influence on my design.

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I tried to signal the fact that he's a "Dark Jedi" of Qel-Droma's ilk (i.e. not religiously committed to the Sith so much as being opposed to the Jedi) through the orange saber, the purple robe, and the use of browns rather than just blacks (which you’d normally see in Sith).

The armor, which you can't see well while I'm wearing it, but can see in the detail shots, is a medieval style called Brigandine. The comics this character derives from, the various Tales of the Jedi series, signaled the difference between various Sith and Jedi sub-cultures and eras by basing their armor and clothes off Egyptian, Roman, and other Earth styles. I decided to go with Brigandine partly to work as real armor while dueling, but also following this idea of basing his armor off another ancient Earth style of armor.

I also played with styles that came from the Knights of the Old Republic comics (like Zayne Carrick, born 3982 BBY) and the slightly-later Old Republic video games (basic Jedi battle armor like Ven Zallow’s and Kao Cen Darach’s; ~3650-81 BBY). For comparison, Exar Kun and Qel-droma died in 3996 and 3986 BBY, respectively. All of which seems like a really long explanation but I know my fellow Star Wars folks can be deeply invested in canon details (as I am, myself) so I figured I'd throw the sources out there to put my thinking into context.

I made this armor to wear to cons, but also to wear as actual armor for my lightsaber dueling club, so all the foam, etc. was made with actual protection in mind. I would also be wearing protective gloves and a fencing helmet while dueling. We use light-touch sparring, so I’m trying to minimize the effect of a light strike, not to be a tank.

I forgot to take almost any in-process pictures, but I should be able to describe things well enough while looking at the finished pieces.

I am quite happy with this; it’s probably my technically most well-made piece so far, especially in terms of sewing. I wore it out to C2E2 at the end of February, one of the last cons to actually take effect before the Great Desolation. I also gave it a practice run doing lightsaber forms in my saber class, where it provided a good level of freedom of movement; I could do the forms well. I haven’t had a chance to duel in it yet.

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Cloak
The cloak is short-sleeved, like the Old Republic cloaks worn by Ven Zallow and Kao Cen Darach. It is purple, inspired by Exar Kun.

I made it based off a bunch of patterns and instructions for Jedi robes all over the internet, which are also pretty similar to how Jawa robes are made. I folded the fabric in half at the top of the sleeves, then folded it in half again vertically. Then I cut out a mostly bell-shaped pattern with triangles for the arms.

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What felt very fancy for me was double-rolling the hems to keep them fancier-looking and more finished.

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I also sewed a tape up the vertical front seam on both edges.

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The hood is a big rectangle folded into a square, with a curved back corner. I lined the hood so the seams would look finished. In order to attach the hood well, the seam slants down a bit on the lapels, as you can see. This seemed to be the best fit.

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Honestly while it’s not like it is an amazing feat of sewing science, I was damn proud of pushing the extra level of finish beyond what I’ve done in the past. It feels like actual clothes sewing, not cosplay clothes sewing, if you catch what I mean.

I want to emphasize here, as with the rest of the costume, that while I feel like this gets across the correct “feel” for how a Jedi cloak should be put together, it is also a creatively-designed piece, and not intended to fit exactly into canon designs or the standards of formal Star Wars costuming groups like the Rebel Legion (who I fully support, but that’s not what I was going for here).

Boots
The boots are basic spacey/pirate boots from online. I like the folded-over flap but am aware that not all people believe it is a Star Wars-y aesthetic.

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Anyway, one issue with the boots is that they don’t fit tightly to the leg at the top. You can see that they are loose enough to extend past the leg by at least a few inches, towards either the front or back depending on how the leg is positioned.

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This was a problem since I need to tightly wrap straps around my leg to attach the shin armor.

My solution, which worked out well, was to cover some upholstery foam in fabric, then shove it in the back of the boot to make it more stable. I covered the upholstery foam with leftover fabric. I used a little black, to match the pants, on top, but didn’t have enough to make it all black. I covered the rest in brown, but that’s fine. The only part you can see, even if the backs of my legs are not covered by the cloak (as they usually are) is the top sliver that’s covered in black.

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When I first put them in, these inserts rode up out of the boot over time. I now attach them to the inside of the boot using Velcro.

Straps
Being based off ‘90s designs as it is, this costume involves a lot of straps, many completely pointless, and just there for the pure strappiness of it all.

The straps are leather. I attached a couple different styles of bronze buckles to the ends, using rivets to close the ends around the buckles.

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Then I used E-6000 to glue some smaller pieces of leather in loops. These small loops go through the riveted loop, and hold down the other end of the strap when it is buckled together.

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For a couple straps I tied small leather thongs through the riveted loop instead, just for variety’s sake; I wanted the straps to have a somewhat jerry-rigged feel, so they’re not all the same. I punched in a bunch of holes in the other end for the buckle’s prong to go through. With a lot of holes, I can just wrap it around however I want and still get a hole that fits, instead of worrying about getting the wrapping pattern exactly the same each time I put it on.

A couple times, I riveted two lengths of leather together end to end to make a longer strap.

This was the first time I used a leather hole punch, I am kind of addicted to it now.

Leather Belts/Obi (the cloth belt)
Again, this design is based off many existing fanmade and canon Jedi belts, but I altered it as needed. Jedis typically layer three belts on top of each other: a cloth belt on the inside, called an obi, with a wider leather belt on top of that, and a thinner leather belt on top of that.

The obi is the same fabric as the tabard, which is the vertical brown sash. It’s a linen, I just liked the feel of it. I hemmed the edges, and put in three snaps at the end, the outside caps of which are hidden by the hem so you can’t see them when it’s snapped.

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There are also snaps in the center, running horizontally. These connect the obi to the tabard, and the wide leather belt to the obi. I didn’t have these snaps when I first wore it, and it was OK, but over time the belt would slide down, even while just walking, and required regular adjustments to keep it in place. Under dueling conditions, it would obviously need to be fixed in place.

So, it now has small inward-facing black plastic snaps to connect the obi to the tabard, and heavier outward-facing metal snaps to connect the obi to the wide leather belt. All these snaps are covered by the wide leather belt so you can’t see them while it’s worn. I prefer the small plastic snaps for their lightness, and they work for the fabric-on-fabric connection of the obi/tabard, but the metal ones are sturdier and necessary to hold the heavier leather belt.

The wide leather belt then has inward-facing snaps to connect to the obi running through its horizontal center, and snaps at the ends to connect the ends of the belt. There is also a third snap at one end, which connects to a piece of leather that wraps vertically around the end of the belt. This piece covers up the snaps that close the belt, and itself snaps on the inside so you can’t see its own snaps. It is in the back of the belt. Most Jedi belts use a wider wraparound piece than I did here.

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The wide belt also has eight outward-facing Sam Browne screw/studs in pairs. These hold the thin belt in place.

The thin belt, which runs through the Sam Browne studs, is also held in place by the vertically-wrapping piece of leather in the back. In the front, the thin belt connects at the buckle. The buckle is a thrift store-find. There are canon-style Star Wars buckles that you can get, but they’re typically associated with specific Skywalker-era Jedi, and I wanted something that was older, and unique to the character. I honestly stressed over this more than just about anything, and couldn’t find anything that felt sci-fi enough. Then I found this simple black circle on a thrift store belt, and it just felt right.

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The ends of the thin belt wrap around the circle-buckle, and then attach to themselves via ¼” Chicago screws. I put a couple holes in the end so I can adjust it for tightness around my waist. When the thin belt is in place, you can’t see any of the snaps below it. The image above shows it with the thin belt partially in place so you can see where the snaps are below.

Tabard
This is the paired vertical brown sashes. Tabards are standard in Skywalker-era Jedi, but are not as ubiquitous in the Old Republic. However, it felt like a good design element to incorporate. Even in the Skywalker era, there are many different ways to do this—some longer, some shorter, etc. I designed it so they are separate in the front, but come together to create one piece of cloth in the back.

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I also sewed vinyl patches on the lower front strips, the lower back strips, and over the shoulders. The intent was to create a slight extra degree of cushioning in the loins and shoulder while dueling, in addition to being a visual accent.

As I noted earlier, I originally just had the obi/belts rest on top of the tabard, but it slipped down over time, so I connected the obi to the tabard using small black snaps. You can see them here; there are two sets on the front and back because it was a pain in the butt to measure, and the weight of the belt pulled the tabard fabric down more once it was attached, so I had to raise the snaps. So I actually only use the top snaps on the front and back of the tabard.

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The tabard is also connected to the chest armor by single snaps at the top of both shoulders. If you don’t have these snaps, the tabard slips off the shoulders really easily. I added them after sewing on the vinyl, but should have done it earlier. My first attempt was just to E-6000 the snaps on, but they came off after a few wearings, so then I cut a hole in the back of the fabric and stuck the snaps on through the fabric, then reclosed the fabric. Those are the shoulder snaps on the vest, to the left and right of the neck hole.

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These pictures show the tabard snapped to the obi, then with the wide belt, then with the thin belt, from both front and back.

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Thanks for reading so far...the next post with the remaining parts will be up soon!
 
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Techne

New Member
Pants/knee pads
I sewed the pants based on a pattern I’ve used for a number of costumes. They have front and back pockets, which are of course super-useful to have at a con for your wallet and phone, and belt loops for my actual belt, which is hidden by all the chest armor/obi stuff. I use Velcro instead of a zipper out of laziness.

The knee pads are the thing I probably spent the most time trying to figure out. The thing is, if you only attach them by one strap at the back of your knees, and let’s say the strap is tight when you’re sitting down, then when you stand up, the strap will be too loose and the kneepads will slip down, because the distance around your knee is shorter when standing up. This is not as much of a problem if you’re using elastic straps, but I was using leather, which doesn’t stretch.

Other kneepad styles have a strap at the top and the bottom, where the leg doesn’t change diameter as much. But this didn’t fit with Jedi style as much, and also would still slip over time.

So what I did was to rivet the strap directly to the pants, holding the kneepad generally in place, then buckled the ends of the straps behind so they wouldn't flop around.

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But this creates its own problem, because when you bend your leg, the fabric where the kneepads are pulls up—that is, if the kneepads are in front of your knees when you’re standing, then when you sit down, they ride up above the knee. This required me to fiddle around with the strap length between the kneepads and the rivet, and basically half-fudging the location of the kneepads in both standing and sitting locations. In the end, it worked; they are in front of the knee while standing, and only ride up a bit while sitting.

Bracers and Greaves
The bracers and greaves are made of quarter-inch foam and held in place with straps. They’re primed with spray rubber dip, hand-painted with acrylic, and clear-coated with a flat spray clear coat.

Kamui Cosplay came out with some greave patterns right before I made mine, so I took that as a sign from the cosplay gods and just used one of them instead of figuring it out myself. I did put a slight extra curved cut at the bottom to allow the boot to bend up more easily.

The bracers are my own design, and are intended to go over the elbow for protection during dueling. I added strips of foam that wrap around at a few points for extra protection, and for design’s sake. To make sure these raised foam pieces would stay on while being whacked by lightsabers, I not only glued them on, but also sewed them on using leather thongs.

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The sigil on the one bracer is a reference to the character’s loyalties. It is a classic Jedi symbol with a Sith symbol on top. I was particularly happy with how well the two symbols graphically merge together.

The bracers don’t have a hard-closed seam. They are just open on the inside, and slip on, and the straps wrap around them in such a way that they are mostly closed and stay in place on my arm. The straps are loose; there’s no hard attachment between the straps and the bracers.

The straps on the greaves, on the other hand, are riveted onto the greaves, and buckle together in the back, over the boots. Then another set of loose straps are wrapped on top of the greaves.

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I did this a little asymmetrically, to create some visual rhythm, with one strap on the left gauntlet and one (loose) strap on the right greave, then two straps on the right gauntlet and two straps on the left greave. There is also one completely random and pointless (other than looking cool) strap around my right thigh (this doesn’t go over any armor, it’s just wrapped around my pants).

Under-shirt and upper-arm bands
The under-shirt is light grey linen. It is long-sleeved, and its bottom is long enough that it acts as a sort of skirt, whose bottom edge hangs a little above the ends of the tabard. It has a sort of wide turtle neck, purely for looks.

The upper-arm bands, which are for protection during dueling, and are the part of the costume least like a real Jedi aesthetic, are the same foam as the gauntlets and greaves. They wrap around the arm, and are held closed by a piece of leather that wraps around. (The gauntlets and greaves are brown with black leather straps; the upper arm bands are black with brown leather straps.)

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The upper arm bands are sort of halfway between the bracers’ and greaves’ designs. They close like the bracers, but the straps are hard-attached to them like the greaves. The top of the strap is attached to the band with a Chicago screw, then it wraps around, and is attached at the bottom by another Chicago screw. There is a little bit of strap that goes beyond that.

This piece tucks under the band, and attaches to the shirt with a snap. This is necessary to keep the band in place.

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Like the kneepads, if your arm is bent, your bicep is thicker, and the upper arm bands are tight. But when you straighten the arm, then the arm is thinner, and the bands are loose, and slip down. You can fix this with elastic, or by putting foam inside that compresses when the arm is bent. But even so, it can slip. I need the bands to stay in place while dueling, so I used the hard attachment of a snap.

Like with the snaps on the tabard, this was a pain to measure, and the weight of the band dragged the snaps down (even farther than where I was planning for this to be the case), so I had to put in multiple snaps. Even now they’re a bit lower than I’d like, but if I raise it, the other snaps would show. I’ll see how I feel after some more wearings.

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Incidentally, it would have been far more Jedi-like to have shoulder pads. Those are all over the place in early-Jedi design. But I need to be able to easily raise my arms above my head for dueling, and no matter what kind of pauldron design I looked at, it looked like it would hamper the raising of my arms. I’d be curious to hear from anyone who has successfully made very flexible shoulder armor.

This shows the shirt by itself, and with the arm bands attached.

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Chest armor
The chest armor is a form of brigandine. The plates are made of Sintra, which are riveted onto the fabric. The fabric is wool, which felt thick enough to not tear if the attachment points were stressed. I also made a double-thick vest out of pre-quilted cotton. The goal of this quilted vest is to add padding under the plates, and also to keep the inside of the rivets from scratching my chest like a cat stuck in a bag.

I made the vest by starting with an adaptation of a jacket pattern, but then really tailoring it to my specific fit. Here it is before the armor. In terms of what I said above about the cloak, this actually felt like real sewing instead of cosplay sewing.

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This required more than 400 rivets, which took forever and bruised my hand to hell. There are washers in the front and back to hold them in place, and for design.

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I chose the brigandine style of armor for its mix of protection and flexibility—as opposed to a more partial-plate style like Kao Cen Darach has. I could have gone with scale mail, which Exar Kun has on his skirt, but I used that in my magic-Egyptian-armor Moon Knight, and wanted to try something different.

It is totally possible that the Sintra will break when hit hard enough by a lightsaber, and that I will be spending a lot of time re-riveting new plates on. That’s fine. I will be interested to test it out. Let me explain my thoughts when it came to material choice.

I thought of a few options for armor plating. In general, looking at sports equipment and also testing some prototypes out, I found that the best solution was to have a hard piece, backed by something soft and cushioning. The hard piece blocks the blow, but the soft piece keeps the energy of the strike from traveling into your body.

I tried a few things. I made plates of foam with Worbla wrapped around them. But I found that when hit, the hard edge of the Worbla still rammed into your body, which still hurt. I made plates with foam directly behind them, so you’d see both parts from the front. I liked this concentric rectangle effect to some degree, but the thickness of the foam that was required made the armor protrude too much from the chest. It would have looked weird, and the cloak would have gotten stuck on them protrusions. I could have put the foam rectangles behind the fabric, thus creating a Sintra-fabric-foam layering. But I felt like that might make weird bumps. I could also have covered the entire inside of the fabric with foam, but that limited mobility.

The double-quilted cotton seemed to be the best mix of hard and soft while retaining mobility.

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Thanks for reading!
 

PlatinumKnight

New Member
Very well done. The Exar Kun war is one of my favourite expanded universe elements. The thought you have put into the elements of this costume make clear the joy you likely had in completing it really comes through.

Great job
 

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