This robe can be finished in as little as 3-4 hours, if not doing hand blind hem stitching. I recommend shopping for fabric only when you get those handy 40%+ off coupons in the mail, by email or flyers. I spent $38 on my fabric, using a 50% off coupon at Jo-Ann's for 8 full yards of 44" inch fabric. I went with the lesser width fabric because I absolutely fell in love with the type, color and texture of the fabric and could not find something similar enough in a wider size. This necessitated stitching two 3 yard lengths together, but it was worth it.
Required for this project:
5-8 yards of fabric, depending on width
Heavy duty machine needle
Medium weight machine needle
One regular hand sewing needle (optional for blind hemming)
Sharp scissors OR rotary cutting wheel and mat
One spool/color of matching thread
Straight line machine stitch, or a blind hem machine stitch if you know how to do it-I don't so I did that part by hand.
I cosplay Aayla Secura, Lake Dress Padme Amidala and Classic Princess Leia. My Aayla and my friend's Dash Rendar recently took Best in Show at ConCarolinas.
Step 1: Fabric!
You can do polyester, but I prefer heavy cotton, broadcloth or blends. Polyester fabric can be used, but be aware of the stretch and stretch amount when you buy. Broadcloth isn't that heavy and is usually less expensive in general - but will have more weight than just cotton. The fabric I used here is a linen/cotton blend. Jedi robes are usually made out of wool, but I find this to be both prohibitatively expensive and heavy. If you want to go that route, by all means, do it. A rougher, or any texture will also help hide any machine or hand stitches you have to make. The fabric I chose for my robe had the added benefit of looking nearly identical from either the front or back - most fabric will have a visible right side and wrong side - mine did not.
In this tutorial, we are making a robe that is folded over at he neck/shoulder so it can be more screen accurate, as well as Rebel Legion acceptable - this omits an upper arm seam. Ideally, your only visible seams, when finished will be along the sides and very edges of the robe if you make it fully lined, or do facings. There will be a seam at the hood as well. If I make another robe, I will double over the front edge to remove the front facing edge seams and figure out something for the hood as well.
Step one: WASH YOUR FABRIC FIRST. Seriously, go chuck in the washing machine, dry it, then come back. I'll wait.
Step 2: Initial Cuts
If using 60 inch wide fabric, cut an opening up the front of the robe from the middle front to neck. It might be easier to do this after cutting the sleeves, it's up to you.
Make the neck hole smaller than you think you need- at this stage, it's more for reference. The hole, naturally, should be in the middle of the fold with an equal length of fabric in the front and back.
Cut the sleeve edge at least 22 inches wide - these are jedi robes and should have super wide sleeves. Wider than you would ever think you could possibly want. You can always cut them smaller if you desire, but trust me, giant sleeves look awesome.
The open edge of your cut out sleeve should extend 8 inches beyond extended fingertips - this makes for bigger sleeves and they look good bunched up on the arm a little bit, rather than smooth like wizard robes. Remember, you are NOT cutting the top edge.
The very top armpit edge of the robe will be the most narrow point - flare the cut away from the point and out, curving inward again at the bottom edge to make everything circular at the bottom. Cut less than you think you need, you can always sheer it off later.
Step 4: Starting the Hood
Take your remaining yard or so of fabric and cut out two rectangles. If you don't mind your hood unlined, you may make just one rectangle and turn in and hem the front edge instead of marrying it to the other rectangle. The folded over edge is the top of the hood, so the seem will barely be visible in the back, if at all.
Wrong sides out, stitch the 'back' closure of the hood on each separate rectangle. You now have two 'pockets' that are open on two sides, folded on one side, and stitched on one side. place and pin the open hoot fabric right side to right side, so the raw seam is facing outside on both hoods. Stitch along the edge of the hood that will be framing your face - it's a long edge and should be very long, it will be enough to make an enormous hood opening. Clip corners and finish seams, if desired. Turn inside out so that the right sides are out - one side is the lining of the hood and the other is the outside of the hood.
The open edge of the hood that becomes stitched to the robe will stay open for now. You can gather it or pleat it - I went with pleats - do not pleat or gather until you're ready to pin the hood to the robe.
Step 5: Yay Back to Robe
Step 6: Facings and Hemming
Or you could buy an extra 3 yards of fabric and just fully line the robe.
I blind hem stitched my entire robe to have as few visible seams as possible.
On the back of the robe, since a seam was visible, I added an extra strip of fabric, folded over longwise, to look like a floor length pleat along the back of the robe - the folds of the fake pleat are visible, but the seam is not. The inside seam of the fake pleat is stitched to the back seam where the two original lengths of fabric are joined. This is strictly optional. See graphic for hemming/facing instructions.
Step 7: Attaching the Hood to the Robe
Pleat or gather the open end of the hood. Match the hood to neckline, opening up the neckline as needed - there should be a shallow (very flat 'v', not tight 'v') curve at the neck instead of a circle so that when the robe is open with the hood back, the open neck makes a smooth line from front to hood. Pin pleats or gathers on the hood after measuring then stitch them in place. This will make it easier when attaching the hood to the neck and prevent you from losing any gathers. Switch to your heavy duty needle, pin in place at the neck, then say sweet nothings to your machine as you pray to every deity you hold dear that you don't break several needles stitching through 3-4 layers of jedi robe fabric. I got away with breaking just 1.
This is by far the most complicated aspect of the whole robe, and once it's done, you're basically home free.
Step 8: Neck Facing and Done!
This step is mostly optional, but coving the otherwise visible rough seams will reduce neck chafing and will look a whole lot better when the cloak is open and hood down.
As stated earlier, you can always go with fully lining the robe instead.
The main photo below is of the inside, not outside of robe.
Step 9: And Now We're Done
One last note, my robe does not have a front closure, but most do. Consider adding one to your own.
I hope you enjoyed this instructable.
It was based loosely on another design I found online - unlike the one I found, this is meant to be modifiable to suit your needs, especially if you want just a better than average robe but don't want to spend time blind hem stitching. Blind hem stitching is completely optional, but I like the look it gives the robe once finished. Simply machine stitching the facings is fine, but they'll be visible!