Saturday, 18 June 2016

the elusive Simplicity 4450 sewing pattern

Bear with me on this post lovely readers - this is a mix of dressmaking, an unhealthy desire to own one sewing pattern, and my struggles to just make a decent Sith costume for my fiancĂ©! 
source (via Google) - edited
Simplicity 4450/0579, above, is an infamous sewing pattern on Star Wars and cosplay forums. The pattern is known to most Star Wars fans as one of the best sewing patterns that was available for those who wanted to make their own costumes for conventions, film screening, gatherings, and so on. It wasn't necessarily canon, but it provided the base pattern that you could alter to match your favourite Jedi or Sith costume.

I say it was one of the best sewing patterns, because it went out of print in 2006/07 (the closest evidence I can find to confirm this is this forum thread - and also that fact you can't buy it anywhere online). I understand this was due to copyright infringement, based on the information on forum's and the fact that you can't buy it from Simplicity's out of print service

Why am I harping on about this pattern, you ask? Well, I've mentioned this before, but next month Ben and I are attending Star Wars Celebration in London, and Ben wants to cosplay as a Sith. We didn't want to buy a costume, mainly because Ben is so tall and guy's costumes are really hard to buy to fit (past experience). Plus with my weekly dressmaking class going well and the fact that Sith and Jedi have a wonderful penchant for loose, draping robes, I offered to make him his very own costume instead. 

Flashback to a couple of weeks ago, when I realised 'oh damn, I only have a month to make this costume and I haven't even begun to think about it! I hope there is a pattern I can use out there'

*a dozen or so Google and Pinterest searches later*

'Simplicity 4450 - PERFECT, I will just buy this so I can get started right away and ...'

So you understand my frustration. Particularly as, these days, we take for granted that anything out of print, or something as popular as Star Wars, should be relatively easy to find online, or to purchase from Ebay or other online retailers. But no, all my Pinterest searching kept sending me back to this pattern that I could not get, or to elaborate tutorials that I didn't think I had the time or patience for - I just want to cut the pattern out, darn it! And not spend up to £50 for an only closely matched and not as well used alternative.

let the designing of our own pattern commence!
Fortunately, not only are Star Wars fans dedicated to being true to canon when it comes to cosplay, they are a delightfully generous lot, and one chap shared a detailed guide on how he altered part of the 4450 pattern to make the tunic and tabard more true to canon. His instructions are so detailed that I was able to draw my very own version! This, he writes, was the intention, and I'm so thankful that he's done this for us young 'uns who weren't into cosplay in 2006, and also didn't have full time jobs that let you spend whatever is needed to make the costumes. 

It took a while, but measuring Ben and drawing the pattern carefully, and being able to follow directions, means I have an incredibly good feeling that this costume is going to come out really well! We are aiming to have something that looks like this, an image Ben really liked from Pinterest.
I also have several Jedi robe tutorials that can be amended to a Sith robe (have a look here and here, just swap brown for black, easy!) and this is so large and billowing it won't need the detail the tunic and tabard demands. 

I've been documenting my progress on Ben's costume on Instagram, and you can see some of these pictures on this post. It's been a while since I enjoyed sewing a garment this much (though wait until you see what I'm making for myself to wear at Manchester Comic Con this year! I am working on it at my dressmaking class, all will be revealed once we attend the con) and I feel extra proud that I am tailoring it specifically to fit Ben - a labour of love if ever there was one! :) 

I even spent some time this week inserting some back darts and adjusting the hem, while he stood watching the football - a tailored fit!

So really this post was supposed to be a 'hey here is something I am working on at the moment,' but rather became an 'argh frustration why can't I buy this one pattern?!!' ramble - I did enjoy the research into why and where the pattern was, even if I couldn't give you a specific answer on what happened to 4450. I might email Simplicity just out of curiosity! It's all working out in the end though, and the satisfaction of a tailored costume should make the work worth it (as long as it looks good!)

Do you know what happened to Simplicity 4450? If I get a response from Simplicity, I will be sure to let you know!

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