Return of the Jedi-pants

So my partner (pseudonym Harley) really likes Star Wars, and was mentioning that she would like some Star Wars lounge pants like my TARDIS ones.  I figured they couldn’t be too hard to make and spotted some really rather lovely Star Wars brushed cotton at Spotlight.

They didn’t have enough of either design to make a full pair of pants, so I bought both designs with the intention of making them half and half (half grey, half red).  The option was either to make the front red and the back grey, or do a Harley Quinn approach.  She chose Harley Quinn (front half red, half grey, back half red, half grey on the opposite legs).

So I created a pattern from a pair of pyjama pants that Harley found really comfy already.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of how I did this, but it basically involved finding the front seam that joined the right and left leg together, and getting that aligned correctly, then folding the leg in half, so that it created a half leg.  I repeated the procedure for the back seam, thus creating a pattern for the back and a pattern piece for the front of the leg.

It then turned out that the grey fabric wasn’t long enough to fit the whole leg, so I had to add a cuff of red to the bottom of the grey pieces.

I then sewed up the inside leg seams, followed by sewing the legs together through the crotch.  And took them home for Harley to try on.  They didn’t fit.

I realised that I had taken the pattern from a pair of pants made of knit fabric, and was making the new ones out of woven.  Bugger!

I needed at least another 30cm before they could even begin to fit.

I pondered the situation for a while, realised that I didn’t have enough of the original fabric to resolve it, and bought some black fabric.  I decided that this would ultimately not look entirely brilliant as it was, so decided to put some applique light sabres down the black panels.

Research suggested that blue and red would be the way to go – as green was generally associated with Yoda, rather than Luke (despite the fact that Luke does use a green one in Return of the Jedi).  So I went with blue and red.

The side panels were set at 15cm wide, plus seam allowance.  It was just a 15cm wide strip of black.

Research suggested that a 1/3: 2/3 ratio of handle to blade was approximately correct, so I went with this, to produce a handle model like this:

I cut the base handle shape out of grey.  I fixed them to the strips by folding the black strip in half, measuring 45cm from the fold, and setting the bottom of the handle at this point.  They were fixed using my all time favourite Ez-Steam II, and sewn to the strip using satin stitch.  I went with a width of 4 for the satin stitch as it felt like it would experience a fair amount of wear and wanted to ensure that I picked up all layers of fabric.

I then layered the black and grey features on top.

For Luke’s light sabre, with the exception of the guard at about half-way down the handle, most of the details were created through satin stitch (see image on the left).  For Darth Vader, I had to layer black for the base of the handle, the bit that holds the blade and the switch.  I then stitched the crenelations in the base of the handle in grey (not shown in this image).

I was originally going to make the blades out of red and blue cotton, but TeddyBear had some lovely red and blue lycra that created the perfect sheen for the blades.  So I went with that…it looked much better.

Once the side panels were completed, I realised that the layers of satin stitch added bulk and a kind of roughness to the inside of the fabric, so I cut out a second layer of black to back the side strips with (to keep it soft).  I sewed the side panels onto the front of each leg and went to connect the side seams, where I discovered that the front and back were completely different lengths!  Gah!

This was relatively rapidly resolved, by finding the natural fall of the fabric and connecting the sides together there – although there was still a big difference in the front and back.

This was resolved using a rotary cutting tool and TeddyBear’s marvellous quilting ruler.  I must get me one of those!  Arguments also ensued about how to best test the sharpness of a blade and discussions about what would happen if I managed to cut a finger or toe off in the process of cutting the fabric.

The hems were created, and the elastic casing sewn.  A piece of elastic threaded through and the pants taken home to be tried on for size and the waist elastic length optimised.

I now just need to finish sewing the elastic together at the back (I could do it by hand, but would prefer to use a machine) and the casing closed.

But all in all, I think that they were successful.  They now fit and are apparently really quite comfy!

Perhaps I am more of a force to be reckoned with than I thought 😛


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