In this post, I am going to blatantly ignore the advice of Edna from the Incredibles.
While capes may be a hazard to superheroes, they’re so fun to wear, I couldn’t resist making one for my Anakin Skywalker costume. Besides… a good Jedi always removes his cape before a fight anyway!
When I first made my Anakin costume, I thought about how cool it would be to make a cape to go with it, but I didn’t have time back then. But now that I’m looking to make improvements to all my Star Wars costumes, and because I finished the Titanic dress, I now have time to work on new projects.
(Yes, on this blog we go from pink silk dresses to edgy battle costumes in approximately 2 seconds. I am a well-rounded individual, you might say!)
I suppose I should mention exactly WHY I’m making improvements to my Star Wars costumes. In April 2019, I will be going to Star Wars Celebration in Chicago- a really awesome 5-day convention attended by people (including cosplayers) from all over the world. I was really sad I didn’t get to go to the Orlando one in 2017 because Hayden Christensen was there…. and I was literally in Orlando one week before the conference… but that’s a story for another time. I don’t know if any of my favorite actors will be at the Chicago one, but some of the best cosplayers in the world will be there, and there is a cosplay contest, so it will be awesome just for the networking experience and the contest alone!
Needless to say, I want my Star Wars costumes to be in their best possible shape by the time April rolls around. Currently, my Padmé Meadow Picnic costume is disassembled so I can rework some of the shaping and fabric layers. The Anakin costume is in good shape other than needing a new belt, so I figured this would be a good time to make that cape I dreamed about.
I came up with two options for the cape design. One was more accurate to the movie: a long-sleeved coat/robe sort of thing with a hood. The other design was a little bit of a looser interpretation: more of a traditional cape without sleeves, plenty of loose fabric to catch air movement easily, and a hood of course. I called these two designs the Classic and the Edgelord, and had my Instagram audience vote between the two designs.
Both designs received votes, but there was a moderate preference for the Edgelord design, and I have to agree with my audience there. The movie-accurate design is cool and sophisticated, but if I’m going to make a cape, I want it to blow around dramatically when I walk. I also liked that the Edgelord design left the rest of the costume more visible. And it doesn’t contain an extra pair of sleeves. I Hate Making Sleeves.
Besides, I had already altered the costume to fit female proportions, so I wasn’t really going for 100% movie accuracy… I was going for angst and drama.
I always do some math before going out and buying materials. Ideally, well-proportioned capes are half-circle shaped, so I did some basic geometry and calculated that a half circle cape for my height requires about 4 yards of fabric. It’s such a blessing to be short when making these things- it saves me money on materials!
Usually I buy fabrics on Etsy, but since the weight and drapeyness is so crucial for a cape, I went to Jo-Ann’s so I could feel the fabric for myself. And I found this really nice, thin, almost-sheer rayon. There was only one problem with it: it only came in maroon and black, not the dark coffee brown I was desiring. After debating whether to bleach the black fabric and then dye it dark brown, or dye the maroon fabric dark brown without bleaching it, I decided to try the black. I got some brown dye in the color I wanted since usually fabrics turn a yucky color after you bleach them.
BUT. When I bleached the fabric, it did not turn a yucky color. It came out to the espresso brown I wanted without even needing any dye! Here’s a picture of the rest of the costume sitting on top of the cape fabric after it was bleached. You can see what a nice color match it is.
I can’t believe my luck in doing this. Bleach is unpredictable, and so is the type of black dye used in black fabrics.
Next, I learned from the Titanic dress that when making drapey garments, you need them to have a sturdy foundation even though the rest of the piece is drapey. 1910s dresses look very loose and fluid but all those flowy fabrics are mounted on a sturdy, often boned, waistband. I applied the same principle and made a sturdy shoulder foundation out of interfacing and the cape fabric.
The entire weight of the cape is on the shoulders, after all. This was the equivalent of the sturdy waistband in 1910s dresses.
Attaching the cape length was trivial. And fun to wear.
I jokingly told my friends over Facebook and Instagram that no, I’m not overdramatic- I said as I pranced around the house wearing this cape and playing classical music on Spotify.
(Listening to Shostakovich while working on this really got me in the spirit of the costume- Shostakovich is the angstiest composer I know of. Even his more triumphant sounding music has dark and sinister undertones. I could ramble all day about classical music.)
Creating the hood was easy too. Jedi hoods are actually really easy. You just create a rectangle, fold it in half, cut a curve on one of the corners and stitch the back.
(Image found on Pinterest somewhere. Hoods are so simple, and I didn’t even know it!)
Also: here’s a hack for making hoods. Put some interfacing in the top edge so that the front of the hood is perky and doesn’t flop down over your forehead.
So there you go, that’s it for the construction of the cape.
Capes are SO EASY. I highly recommend them to any beginning costumers, because they are:
- REALLY fun to wear and you get a high amount of satisfaction from even the most simple cape designs.
- Forgiving. Since they are so loose and kind of shapeless, it’s hard to mess up a cape.
- Don’t require any complex calculations (unless you want to make a circular cape. Mine is actually not circular, it’s three rectangles and the hood). So basically, a cape can be made of 4 rectangles, or fewer, or more, depending on the complexity.
- Did I mention they’re fun to wear?
I plan on taking more pictures soon, but I am pretty happy with these ones:
By the way, that is my natural hair. It makes ringlets by itself which makes it high maintenance, but it’s really fun.
Here’s a little gif of me doing a figure X with my lightsaber. I know how to do some other lightsaber flourishes besides this one, and I have some martial arts training so I’m thinking of choreographing a lightsaber form of sorts…
Even though most of my other costumes are more elaborate and detailed than this one, I’ve gotta admit that Anakin is my favorite character to cosplay. It’s just way too fun! I enjoy bringing the character to life with the lightsaber tricks and scary makeup. Being a drama queen, I connect a lot with Anakin’s everyday angst. It’s just a really fun outlet for me.
Stay tuned on more posts about prepping the costumes for Star Wars Celebration 2019! Thanks for reading!