In a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Becoming Rey

As soon as Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out, I knew that I had to make a Rey cosplay. She’s such a fantastic character, and the costume isn’t too hard to make! There are phenomenal people on the internet who have gone into the detail of making her costume using things like the same custom-dyed fabric used for the original costume and real leather. I saluted those crafters, looked into my wallet, and went to Walmart. One day…

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  • “Light Stone” crinkle gauze curtain panel from Walmart – $6.87
  • 2 packages of 2-inch Ace bandages – $6.25
  • 2-qt MOLLE canteen cover from the army supply store – $12.50
  • beige capris from Goodwill – $2.50
  • Tulip Color Shot Fabric Paint in grey – $6.99
  • acrylic paint in Burnt Umber – $3.50
  • Fabri-Tac fabric glue – $1.99
  • fake shearling boots from Walmart – $18.00
  • 1/2 yard grey felt to cover boots – $2.00
  • 1/2 yard fake leather for boot, cuff, and belt accents – $5.30
  • Two dingy old white t-shirts from the depths of my closet – $0.00
  • Two brown belts in various stages of dilapidation, also from my closet – $0.00

So the total for this costume turned out to be $65.90

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The boots were the most complicated part. You can buy the legit actual Rey boots from Pozu for $170, which wasn’t going to happen on my budget. Any pair of mid-height brown boots would do nicely. I was itching for a craft project, so I tried to make a replica.

I based mine off of this ingenious guy’s video, where he added fabric and leather to a pair of Walmart-brand Ugg knockoffs. I went even further down the cost spectrum, and replaced the wool and leather he used with craft felt and faux leather. I couldn’t find felt that was the right color, so I applied burnt umber acrylic paint to charcoal-grey felt with a dish sponge.

(Pro-tip for fake leather: it looked a WHOLE lot better when I colored the light brown foam of the cut edge with a black sharpie.)

For her tunic, I dyed a dingy old white t-shirt. Actually, I dyed two of them. The first was an old long-sleeve shirt in order to test out the dye color. I cut off the sleeves and used them under my arm wrappings, which made the Ace bandages much more comfortable. After that test-run I dyed the second shirt in what turned out to be half-strength Pearl Grey Rit dye (1/8 of a cup in 1.5 gallons of water) with two  teaspoons of Camel Rit dye for 2 minutes. If I were making another costume, I would add another teaspoon or two more Camel color to warm up the tone of the color.

I folded the collar ribbing of the t-shirt under and glued it in place with the Fabri-Tac glue, and then cut a 2-inch slit down the front. I cut the short sleeves to be cap-sleeve length.

The wrap was intentionally messy (Right? Right.). I cut the 76-inch long, 48 inch wide panel in half so I had two 24-inch wide strips, unpicked the hems and casing, and then basted them together end-to-end with two rows of running stitch. I didn’t finish the hems, because who has time to do that in a busy day of scavenging? Once I had practiced arranging the wrap, I gathered the shoulders with doubled thread so that they were 5 inches wide.

One particularly nice day I took the wrap, t-shirt, and ace bandages outside and went to town with the spray paint. I put an even layer on the ace bandages to get the color right, and then a light layer on the hems and neckline of the shirt and wrap to make them look more lived-in.

My satchel is a 2-qt MOLLE canteen cover, which is pretty much perfect. It already has belt loops on the back. I roughed up the fabric and buckle with coarse-grained sandpaper, and then lightly rubbed on diluted burnt umber acrylic paint using a scrap of felt.

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The wrist wrap pattern was sketched out and fitted using printer paper, and then cut out of fake leather. It basically works, for something that cost me about $0.50 in materials.

I punch some holes in my old belts with an awl, secured them together, and then covered that ugly join with a layer of fake leather on either side plastered on with more fabric glue. The front edge of that combo got wrapped with hemp. I used more of the fake leather to make loops to secure the loose ends of the belts, as the originals had fallen off.

I added a cheap light saber from the toy aisle of Target, and was ready for action!

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