A Basic Jedi Robe

Written by Ani-Chay Pinn
 

— Jedi are like snowflakes; no two Jedi dress exactly alike. —

The typical Jedi robe is large and enveloping and can cover everything. The essential characteristics seen in the Star Wars movies are:

  • A very large, oversized hood.
  • Wide, "angel" sleeves. (sleeves are a little larger at the end of the sleeve than at the shoulder)
  • Floor length.
  • Can wrap completely around the body.
  • Made from simple, natural, woven material.
  • Solid, muted color with no pattern or decoration at all.

There are variations in the movies. Some have sleeveless robes; some robes drag on the floor; some only come down to the ankles. This pattern is aimed at the generic Jedi, but any of these variations can be added to it, too.

The following pattern and instructions assume that you have some basic sewing experience and a sewing machine with at least a straight and zigzag stitch. A blind hem stitch would be nice, too, for folded-over facings in the pattern, but you can do that by hand if you need to.

Fabric

Before you can make a robe, you need to buy some fabric. There are a few basic rules to follow:

  • Type of Fabric: Natural fibers; cotton, wool, linen, silk or blends of these. There are also some very nice natural fiber/polyester blend fabrics that feel very nice and are easier to wash and care for. Go by feel when selecting a fabric; if it feels at all synthetic, donít use it. Since the robe is meant to billow about so the inside of it will often be visible, the easiest fabric to work with is fabric that is the same on both sides.
  • Color: Earth tones; almost any type of brown or tan, as long as it is not a bright color. Jedi want to be inconspicuous. A black robe is almost always a Sith tendency, so donít pick black for a robe unless you want to go to the dark side.
  • Amount of Fabric: 4-8 yards or more, depending on your height and weight. Iím 160 cm tall (5 ft, 3 in) and I was able to make a nice, wooly Jedi robe with 4 yards of fabric, but I used every bit of it and the robe had very few pleats in the back and front. Lay out your pattern pieces to figure out how much fabric you will need.
  • Accesories: Donít forget to buy a couple of spools of matching thread to go with the fabric.

Always pre-wash your fabric before you do anything else with it. If you have 100% wool, keep it away from hot water and dryers; air dry only. Heat will turn your wool into felt and that makes a terrible looking robe. Wool blend fabrics will usually take normal washer/dryer treatment with no problem. If you're at all unsure about what washing will do to your fabric just safety pin a small scrap of it to a towel or something, wash it and see what happens.

Pattern

The pattern pieces are shown and described in Figures 1-6. Many of the measurements are based on your own body measurements like height, shoulder and arm length, etc. The best way to be sure about how much fabric you need is to make the pattern pieces out that you think youíll need and try them out. The cheapest way to make pattern pieces is to tape newspaper pages together, mark them with a wide, felt pen and cut them out.

Most of the adjustable dimensions are based on heights and lengths, but if you are very wide-bodied also consider adding extra pleats in front and back to make sure you can comfortably pull it all the way around you.

Preparing Some of the Fabric Pieces and Initial Construction

Figure 7 shows the first steps of construction. Finish edges on sleeves, front pieces and hood with a zigzag stitch. Sew the back of the hood closed with a straight stitch. Finish the edges on the hood seam as shown in Figure 8. When the hood is down, the inside of this seam will show, so you want it to look nice. Finishing the edges on all future seams in the robe is optional, but the robe will be much nicer if you donít have any loose, fraying edges on the inside.

If you want to add any hidden pockets in any of the facings that wonít show on the outside of the robe, this is the easiest point in the process to put them in. But be careful where you want to place them. Hold the pieces up to your body and figure out how accessible the pockets will be.

Construction of Body of Robe

Unless otherwise noted, all sewing is done with a simple straight stitch. If you have a fabric that has sides that are different (an "outer" side and an "inner" side of the fabric) then always double check to make sure that the "outer" sides are facing each other when sewing two pieces together. In the figures, the "outer" side of the fabric is gray; the "inner" is white.

Sew the back piece to the front pieces as shown in Figure 9. The neck opening is huge at this point; it will become much smaller when the pleats are added later.

Attach the arms to the body of the robe as shown in Figure 10. Make sure that the sleeves are centered on the shoulder seams.

Sew up the side seams from the bottom hem up the sides to the ends of the sleeves as shown in Figure 11.

Finish the facings of the sleeves with a blind hem stitch as shown in Figure 12. You want to tack the sleeve facings back on the insides of the sleeves with a stitch that wonít show on the outside of the sleeve.

Gather the pleats of the body of the robe at the neck and tack them down with a zigzag stitch as shown in Figure 13. This is where you will establish the collar size of the robe. Make sure that the collar is comfortable, but not too big. If the collar is too big, you robe will always be slipping off your shoulders. Try it on a few times when itís pinned up and see how it feels before sewing down the pleats. Make sure the robe comfortably fits around you. This is also where you will establish how wide the front facings of the robe will be. The front facings will be folded over onto flat parts of the fabric and not over any of the pleats in front.

Check the sleeve lengths when trying on the robes as well. The pleats in the back and front will shorten their length, but you may also add extra pleats at the shoulders to shorten the sleeves as well, but remember that the sleeves are meant to be large and meant for concealment.

Attaching the Hood and Finishing the Robe

Fold over the facing and gather the pleats in the hood as shown in Figure 14. The total length of the hood must match the length of the collar on the body of the robe. The hood facing will be folded over onto flat parts of the fabric and not over any of the pleats in the hood. Put the hood on your head a few times when the pleats are pinned and see how it looks. Remember that the hood on a Jedi robe is outrageously large. Look at Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi at the beginning of The Phantom Menace for reference.

Tack down the front facings of the robe with a blind hem stitch, also shown in Figure 14. Also tack down the facing of the hood with a blind hem stitch after the hood pleats have been sewn in place.

Attach the hood to the body of the robe as shown in Figure 15. You will be sewing through multiple layers of material, so you may want to be careful and use a wider stitch.

Add the collar casing to the collar where the hood is attached to the robe, also shown in Figure 15. Pin the casing to the edge of the collar, fold over the ends and cut off any extra length of the casing.

You will be sewing through many layers of fabric when attaching the casing and you may want to do this by hand if you donít have a sewing machine that can handle it. When the hood is down, this part of the robe will show when you wear the robe, so the stitching where the hood is attached does need to be covered up.

Finally, hem the robe as shown in Figure 16. Try it on and see how you like the length. Put it on a friend and trim any excess or put it a dressmakerís dummy. The hem will be very narrow, less than 1 cm (1/4 in). Once the hem is trimmed and even, finish it with a zigzag stitch. Then just fold the edge over and sew it down.

Done