Wool Alternatives...

Discussion in 'Costuming and Props' started by Jedi Girl of Corellia, Feb 24, 2002.

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  1. Jedi Girl of Corellia Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 2000
    star 6
    Now, I know that the Jedi robe is made of wool. What I want to know is there any other fabrics that have relatively the same wieght and drape that I could use instead of wool? Preferably something cheaper.

    I looked at Gabardine, but I don't know...
  2. Scruff Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 25, 1999
    star 4
    Gabardine is actually a weave, not a material. Gabardine can be worsted, cotton, or spun rayon. I'm pretty sure I've seen polyester gabardine too. Most folks advise staying away from synthetic material for robes. A flannel or cotton chamoise may be somethign you might be interested in. I'm using a cotton for mine.
  3. JediToren Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2000
    star 4
    I used cotton. You just have to look around for the right feel, drape it over your hand and make sure you have ALLOT of it.
  4. Jedi_Kai Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2001
    star 4
    My prototype was made of heavy cotton. Denim is probably too heavy and stiff. Trigger might be a good weight, but that's a cotton blend with polyester.

    BTW, if you DO use wool, it's still a good idea to make a mockup using cheap fabric. It took me a long time to find the wool for my final robe and I wasn't about to risk costly mistakes on fabric I couldn't replace.
  5. Woofer Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2001
    star 4
    I used cotton gabardine.

    It hangs well, and its not too hot or heavy for wearing a long time.

    And compared to wool.. pretty inexpensive to boot!
  6. Scruff Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 25, 1999
    star 4
    Good thinking using a cheap material for a prototype. The cotton I bought was less than $2 a yard. I figured it was a good starter robe.
  7. HocFutue Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2001
    star 1
    Wow, I thought everyone already used cheap fabric as a prototype before using the "good stuff!"

    Muslin is cheap, readily available, and a great way to make sure you got the pattern to fit properly before you go cutting up $100 or more worth of wool!

    An excellent option for robes aside from wool is raw silk. Not much of a price difference, but it has a great drape and look, and is much lighter. My outer cloak is brown raw silk, and the inner tunic pieces are linen, silk, and wool flannel.

    And polyester? That way lies the Dark Side. Polyester leads to excessive heat, heat leads to sweating, sweating leads to chafing. Chafing leads to... suffering!

    Hoc Futue
  8. kreleia Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 5
    Has anyone tried using Tencel? It's that nice new fabric made out of wood pulp - so it breathes. It's also heavier than cotton and lighter than wool, and has a gorgeous drape. If I can ever find enough of it (and in white or cream), I'll be doing my robe out of this. I'll dye it brown, of course. :)

    kreleia ^.^
  9. Jedi_Kai Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2001
    star 4
    Tencel:
    http://store.yahoo.com/phoenixtextiles/tencel.html

    50/50 linen tencel, 58 in wide, $5.85/yd, "safari tan"

    Tencel:
    http://www.fabrics-store.com/enter.php3
    100% 7 oz, white 67 in wide; $6 yd
  10. Darth_Eagle Fanforce CR Singapore

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2001
    star 4
    I just wonder, are all Polyester like that or is there a specific type that should be avoided? ?[face_plain]

    I'm using 100% Polyester Matt for my Anime School Uniforms and it's great! The fabric even hold the pleats on the skirts very well and permanently. And this type of Polyester Fabric is being used to make many school uniform in my country and in Japan. Just a note, the Polyester I refer to comes from Japan.
  11. JediToren Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2000
    star 4
    The problems with polyester and other synthetic materials, at least as far as Jedi costume is concerned are that those materials do not hang or move properly for the outer cloak and since you are wearing several layers of clothing (cloak, sash, tabard, tunic) synthetic materials make it rather uncomfertable since they do not allow your skin to breath. Natural fibers like wool and cotton are best for a Jedi costume.
  12. kreleia Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 5
    WOOHOO!!! Thanks Jedi_Kai!! :) I'm going to check 'em out right now!

    kreleia ^.^
  13. Mirax H TFN Costumes Staff

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    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 1999
    star 3
    I've found a 35%wool, 65%rayon gabardine online that I may use for a robe. Any thoughts on this blend, anyone used it before?
  14. surlygirlie Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 2000
    star 4
    MiraxH, I'm working with that very blend gabardine right now, as an undercoat for a friend's journeyman costume.
    I really like the drape and hand of it, because the rayon blend gives it an airy movement.

    As for a Jedi robe... it *might* be a hair too lightweight if you're really going for the look and feel of the ones in the films, but really, it comes down to your personal choice. I've done Jedi robes with a similar fabric before and liked them, but they don't look movie accurate by any means. The airiness mentioned above does prevent them from getting too sweltering hot when the wearers are moving around (the floatiness lets air circulate under the robe a bit) but I suspect they might get kinda toasty if you were sitting still with that as your outer layer.

    -sg
  15. Mirax H TFN Costumes Staff

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    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 1999
    star 3
    Well, since it is for my sith costume, I don't mind if it doesn't have the same look necessarily, since it will be black. Here's the pattern I will probably use
    http://www.simplicity.com/s3index.htm
    #9887. I found this material for $3.50 a yard if I buy a bolt of it.
  16. Jedi Girl of Corellia Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 2000
    star 6
    Hmmm... well I'd better head off to my fabric store haunts tomorrow ;)

    Thanks for all the suggestions! I'll post what I find.
  17. Jedi_Kai Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2001
    star 4
    On line fabric update:

    Phoenix textiles has just announced 100% cotton twill on sale for $2.75/yard for 60in wide fabric. That is a very good price. Be mindful, though, as some of the selections are not 100% cotton but poly/cotton or poly/rayon blends. I would recommend only the 100% cotton.

    Note especially the Twill Stone, a very light beige which might be suitable for jedi tunics.

    There is a dark brown, but it is 65% poly/35% cotton. Not the best for keeping one cool, but the price is amazing. I'd buy it for a "prototype" jedi robe that I might wear for awhile before making the good one in wool.

    Then there's always the screaming Twill Pink. NOT!

    There is also linen (mostly 100%) for $6.85/yard, 58 in wide.
    http://store.yahoo.com/phoenixtextiles/100linen.html
    The price is somewhat better at fabricstore.com
  18. Jedi Girl of Corellia Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 2000
    star 6
    For tunics would you use the light or medium linen?
  19. Jedi Girl of Corellia Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 2000
    star 6
    Well I headed over to the specialty fabric store today and they had a ton of wool that I looked over, but none in the color I want, nor in my price range (all about $30-50/yd!)

    But I did run across Tencel, and I think that's what I am going to use. They had a nice dark gray that will match well with the colors of the tunics, which I still haven't decided to do in Linen or silk noil yet.

    Is dying fabric hard?
  20. Stubbzilla TFN Costumes Staff

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    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2001
    star 2
    Depends on what kind of fabric you want to dye. I've never been able to remove dye or add dye to wool, but I've heard there is some special method that will work. Synthetics will pretty much NOT change color. Cotton is easy to fade out or add color to.

    Have you tried any cheap fabric shops? Depends on where you live, but in LA you can get fabric cheaply. I got thick wool for $5.50/yard, and it looks really good. I opted for black, but you can get brown, too.
  21. Jedi Girl of Corellia Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 2000
    star 6
    Where I live there is three fabric stores :p

    And I was wondering how to dye silk and maybe even velvet...
  22. Stubbzilla TFN Costumes Staff

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    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2001
    star 2
    I've heard it can be done, there was a thread a while back where people were trying to dip-dye velvet. I wouldn't try it myself, though.
  23. kreleia Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 5
    JGC, if you're interested in dyeing fabric, you might want to check out Dharma Trading. They specialize in dyes and dyeable fabrics - I ordered fabric swatches from them, and have to say that I'm *very* impressed with the selection (their prices aren't bad either). Still, it might seem like a lot of trouble to go through - but in the end, it would be worth it (IMHO). :)

    kreleia ^.^
  24. Jedi Girl of Corellia Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 2000
    star 6
    That's where I was looking to get fabric from, they do have an excellent selection :)

    I was just wondering if anybody wanted to share what they've gone through.

    I might go for it, but then again I may just slack off and buy my fabric the color I want it. :p
  25. Jedi_Riibu Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2001
    star 4
    For my Jedi tunics I am using Raw Silk (silk noil) from Dharma Trading, mentioned above. I got the silk sample pack first and was also very impressed with what they have available.

    I ended up buying an 11 yard bolt of the raw silk, which I will end up using most of by the time I make all the pieces I need. I dyed all 11 yards of it a few nights ago in the bathtub - NOT easy, 'cause the raw silk gets really heavy when it's wet and you have to constantly agitate it so that it will dye evenly. I used one bottle of liquid Rit 'tan' dye, which gave me exactly the shade I was looking for. There is no special process for dyeing this fabric, just follow the directions on whatever dye you get. However, you MUST wash the fabric before dyeing. If you go with raw silk you will notice that it seems to have a sort of film on it when you get it. If you don't wash that off it will not dye properly.

    I'm very happy with how my tunic is coming and I would highly recommend the fabric and that website. :)
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