Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Genderbent Han Solo!



I know, I know, another costume? As Mr. Cation said wearily, three costumes in four weeks is a bit much...but I just can't resist an opportunity to dress up! A bunch of guys from my church have been talking about going to check out the San Jose Tech Museum's Star Wars exhibit for a while, and Sunday ended up being the day. With only 48 hours notice, I rather ambitiously decided that I could whip up a quick Han Solo costume. I love me a rogue of ambiguous moral character (I mean, have you seen Thranduil and Loki?), so I figured I could just finish up my year with everyone's favorite smuggler-turned-Rebel-hero. Besides, his outfit is the most "normal," and considering that we ended up having dinner with my in-laws right afterward, perhaps it was best that I wasn't wearing Leia's famous white gown, even if it would've been much easier to sew.  

Oh, you mean this dress?
I was so excited about getting to see the costumes on display! Leia's gown looks to be a fairly thick, white, classic 70s  poly-knit of some kind, with the sleeves cut in one with the gown, front and back all in one piece, medieval style.


To make my costume, I started by taking my first real pair of pants, the dark blue McCall's 6440s, and adding the Corellian blood stripes up the sides. This pretty much renders them unsuitable for everyday non-cosplay wear, but honestly, after coming up with my perfect pants block, I'm not as thrilled with the fit of this first pair anymore, making it an ideal candidate for repurposing. After experiments with dark blue Sharpie on red seam binding, I discovered, like the Stylish Geek, that the effect was not one I was pleased with, so I ended up spending a couple hours carefully sewing tiny pieces of dark blue ribbon to the seam binding. They're not as closely spaced as they really should have been, but I'm afraid I just didn't have the time or patience to make it more screen-accurate. After sewing up two yards of faux-blood-stripe, I settled for using Steam-A-Seam to iron the strips to the side seam of the pants. I was afraid it wouldn't hold, but I didn't think I could fit the pant leg under the sewing machine foot well enough to sew it on in a straight line. A couple spots came off where I bent at the hip and knee, but generally it was fine. I still wouldn't expect it to hold up under the duress of laundering, though. 

The definition of tedious. 
So convenient that I had navy blue pants that I was willing to give up in my wardrobe!

The cream-colored shirt was sewn from stash fabric, but the jersey knit I had was painfully thin. I ended up doubling up the fabric, which helped give it both opacity and more structure. I just used my standard not-a-Renfrew knit block, and modified the neckline for the slash and collar. Unfortunately, I didn't take into account the changes necessary for adding a collar, so I took a page out of the historical sewing book and added some helpful neck gussets! Yay for faux historical sewing!

My method of construction resulted in no seams at all on the sleeve and bottom "hems." This was nice for preserving the stretchiness of the knit without the use of a coverstitch machine. 

Gussets! My stitching in the ditch also needs work. 

I did have to buy new fabric for the vest, unfortunately. Much as I would've liked the whole outfit to be made from stash, I just didn't have any suitable black fabric, so I had to purchase this black cotton twill. The three main vest pieces were taken from Simplicity 2246, aka the Lisette Traveller Dress, but shortened to vest-length and with the side seams straightened and the bust darts taken out. Since it was a costume, I faux flat-felled the seams (i.e. just pressed them toward the back and topstitched, leaving raw edges inside but still stronger than just loose seam allowances). The neckline and armscyes were finished with bias tape, and the hem was just pressed up once and stitched.The fiddliest part of making the vest, though, was having to put together all the pockets -- and I didn't even do all of them!

This fabric is a cat-hair magnet. 

For the three main pockets on the front of the vest, this one thread I found emphasized that the pockets aren't just simple patch pockets. Considering how much I fudged on other parts of the vest (no yoke! pocket flaps not exactly the right size! placement not quite spot on! not even lined!), I'm not sure why my brain suddenly decided that the pockets had to be vented...but there you go. I used Pretty Ditty's Accordion Pocket Tutorial, but modified it slightly so that there wouldn't be quite so many folds. I just cut off one of the V-sections on each side:

I cut off the piece on the right from both sides, and a similar piece from the bottom. Unfortunately, I didn't realize until after I'd cut and sewn the pockets that the pattern didn't have seam allowances included. 
As a result, the bottom layer of the pockets is a bit too small. 

By the time I finished the vest, it was almost 3 AM, so I sadly had to give up the idea of making Han Solo's holster. Maybe one day! Anyway, sleep deprivation aside, I enjoyed myself greatly at the exhibit, which was extremely well done. I love me a good science museum, especially when it connects back to geeky fandoms (hello OMSI Sherlock!). This one featured sections about programming and robotics (and whether self-aware droids like C3PO and R2D2 have rights like humans), maglev technology (for all those hovercrafts), adapting to the extreme cold on Hoth Antarctic research expeditions, advances in prosthetics (tied back to Luke and Darth Vader, of course), and what would be required to make lightsabers (hint: the power unit would be the size of a house, not a flashlight). They also had the miniature models of the spaceships from the movies and several costumes (although none of Padme's more impressive gowns, sadly) on display. 

Did you know that X-wing fighting styles and formations were based off of WWII planes? 

Doing my best to imitate Han's pose...

Anakin Skywalker's and Obi-Won Kenobi's Jedi robes. I loved getting to see the textures up close!
Wookiees are very, very tall. 
They might be the original steampunks, though...don't these Wookiee guns look so steampunk? It fits with their artisan aesthetic; according to the card, Wookiee weapons seem to be hand-crafted, rather than mass produced. 
Did you know wampas were actually based off of polar bears...both are tertiary trophic level predators living in icy climes, camouflaged with white fur. 
Look, it's the ship that made the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs!

The last part of the exhibit was an opportunity to sit in a recreation of the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon and watch a planetarium show about our universe...I have to confess, it was frankly kind of a letdown after the rest of the exhibit. I mean, I know the point is to be educational, but I was hoping to see a tour of the Star Wars universe instead. The exhibit runs until February, so just as an FYI, it's probably not worth making the reservation and waiting in a additional line to do that. 

Mr. Cation snapped a quick photo right before the show started. 
At least the entrance was cool!
Also, these black boots are the most useful cosplay item in my closet. They work for every costume, and they're super comfortable to boot! (Sorry, not sorry.) 
Found my best bud in the gift shop!

Anyway, if you're in the Bay Area and are a Star Wars geek and/or have little ones that are, I highly recommend this exhibit. This isn't a sponsored post at all (I wish they would pay me to write reviews like this!); I just think good science museums should be supported! 

I love that Mr. Cation is willing to take silly pictures like this with me (and go through a whole dinner in public afterward with his wife-dressed-as-Han-Solo).

This year has been a banner year for dressing up (and also a banner year for staying up late sewing), and the more I do it, the more excited I am for continuing my Theatre and Costume Design program at Canada College. Staying up late to grade papers doesn't get me excited, but building costumes does! By the by, if you haven't see Brooke of Custom Style's post about the differences between the various costume department roles/titles, you should check it out! 

They had a SW-themed Christmas tree out front...Merry Sithmas Christmas everyone!
(Incidentally, if you've ever heard the ultra-cheesy Christmas song "Mary Did You Know?" there's this hilariously awesome parody called "Vader Did You Know?")

21 comments:

  1. Love that posed photo of you and your husband "holding" lightsabers! Your costume is a great last minute build! Wonderful vest pockets and perfect fix with the neck gussets. You make a really cute Han, so how could your husband complain about taking you to dinner? =)

    Thanks for sharing some fun photos of the exhibit! If you want to see amazing closeups of Queen Amidala's costumes you really need to get yourself a copy of this book! It's one of my favorites among all the costuming books on my shelf.

    (And thanks for the linkback! So glad you found my costume titles post interesting!)

    ~ Brooke

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    1. Heh, I think Mr. Cation was fine with it, but possibly his parents were a bit nonplussed...

      That book looks amazing...gonna have to get my hands on a copy!

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  2. Wow, I'm impressed at how quickly you whipped this one out! We really enjoy Star Wars in our house and this exhibit looks like it was tons of fun.
    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thankfully, Han is not big on fit, since his clothes are fairly boxy...it's just the pockets that are tedious! And really, what house doesn't enjoy SW? ;)

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  3. Great costume. Probably a good thing you didn't end up going to dinner all white-robed. my son would be all over that star wars exhibit; though, speaking of OMSI Sherlock, we literally just saw it and it was awesome. just saw it as in, here we are at OMSI and I'm going through my blog reader on my phone while the kids eat lunch.

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    1. Isn't OMSI Sherlock the best? I was so impressed with how they tied in the science and the lore, and made it accessible for kids and adults!

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  4. because who doesn't need a pair of trousers with a corellian blood stripe on them? :-)

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    1. If the stripes were more securely attached, I'd be seriously tempted to wear them out regularly...perhaps it's a good thing they're just iron-on.

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    2. i am now seriously tempted to make a pair of trousers with a corellian blood stripe on them for actual wearing, so one of us is in trouble :-)

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  5. This is fabulous. Yay for quick costumes! Clearly everyone should get dressed up for random museum trips.

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    1. I wish everyone just got dressed up for everything! Hahaha but then clearly I'm just a little obsessed with costumes.

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  6. You make a beautiful Han Solo and he was pretty scrumptious. Your costumes are fantastic, I enjoy your posts very much.

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    1. Thank you! He wasn't always my favorite (hello, little girl crush on Luke!), but I've grown to appreciate Han's character choices more as I've gotten older.

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  7. I always love all your costumes! Hans Solo is my favourite Star Wars character for sure!

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    1. Thanks! I'd be hard-pressed to choose an actual favorite character from the SW universe, but Han is up there for sure!

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  8. Hahahahahahaha! This is awesome! Another fantastic costume!

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    1. I'm just glad that costume overload hasn't hit my readers yet!

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  9. Very cute post. Love the light saber photo and the Han Solo costume.

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    1. Thank you! That lightsaber photo turned out a lot better than I hoped, considering that I couldn't really tell if I was holding my hands in the right place.

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  10. OMG, you have such great production! You're my idol!

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  11. I just saw this post now. I was power-free over the holidays (although not on purpose, that's for sure). Greatest post!!! I love your pics, your commentary and your light sabres! Too awesome. And, you are absolutely right, a good science museum/exhibit should always be reviewed and celebrated, paid for or not. :)

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