PATTERN: Simplicity Civil War Uniform Pattern #7274. There are several different jacket styles in the pattern. I use pattern C. This jacket buttons down the middle. You then make your own pattern for the “bib” portion of the jacket to flaps over.
FABRIC COLOR: There are several different colors that you can use. I've seen the uniform in black, olive, gray, and white. It all depends on what part of the military you want to be and what level (white is Grand Admiral) you want to be. I personally choose black: it's easier to find a black fabric, cheaper, and looks sharp.
FABRIC TYPE: I've seen the uniform made out of many different types of fabric: wool, polyester, heavy cotton. The pattern recommends: broadcloth, twill, or poplin. I made my costume almost 5 years ago, and I'm not sure exactly what the fabric was. I believe it was a type of broadcloth. It's basically a heavy cotton. I choose this because I was wearing the costume for the most part indoors or in warm climates and I wanted something that would breath and wouldn't be to warm. I have actually never found a matching fabric to the one I used. I've helped others make uniforms and we have always just gone with the heaviest weight cotton we could find. Basically you want something that has a stiffness to it so that it looks sharp.
CONSTRUCTION TIPS: Before I began my officer's uniform, I got a bunch of tips from Matt B. He had made his own. I also took a look at other member's uniforms to see how they were constructed. These are some of the best tips that were passed on to me:
The shoulder seems on the Civil War jacket come down to far on the front of the jacket. I recommend that after you cut out your pattern, you should tape the front panel to the back panel at the shoulder and draw a line that is more centered on the top of the shoulder. Then cut the pattern apart at that line.
Before placing your front panel pattern down on the fabric, fold the fabric in a “zig-zag” to make a shallow pocket to place your code cylinders in. It takes a bit of measuring and tweaking, but this is one of the BEST tips that was passed on to me. It will also then give you two little pockets that will reside under your “bib” where you can put your cell phone, money, and ID/credit cards. I'll try to post a sketch to explain it better.
SEW BIB ON TO FRONT JACKET PANEL FIRST before you attach the front panel to the back panel. Again, this will take a bit of measuring, so take your time. Attach with pins or a quick stitch to make sure you have it lined up correctly.
To attach the “bib” flap over to the opposite shoulder, I used two snaps on the shoulder and ran velcro down the front panel. I've seen it done using all snaps or all velcro. I used both because the snaps can cause buckling down the front and the “bib” is suppose to lay flat. But at the shoulder, the velcro causes a bit of bulkiness I didn't like.
Tunic and trousers
The standard attire of an Imperial officer consists of jodhpurs or straight-leg trousers tucked into tall, black boots and a buttonless jacket with stiff, upright circular collar. Although there is a single-breasted style of jacket, the usual design is double-breasted, such that a bib-like panel closes the garment on the right-front side.
A modified Civil War uniform pattern (such as McCalls 4745 or Simplicity 7274) works well. Recommended fabric is a suit-weight fabric, heavy cotton or gabardine, as wool is very warm. A black uniform signifies a stormtrooper officer, or one of Darth Vader’s officers. Higher ranking officers often wore olive green (suggested color match Pantone 449 U or DMC floss #646). White uniforms with gold shoulder boards indicate a Grand Admiral.
Officers of rank display their rank insignia on the left breast. This insignia consists of a rectangular piece of metal fitted with a combination of red, blue or yellow rectangular plastic buttons. (Approximate measurements of 60 mm x 50 mm for a two row, 6 button bar, using thin sheet metal scored horizontally across the center. Allow about ¼” between each ½” x ¾” button. Buttons are typically lighted electronic button covers or translucent plexiglass or acrylic.)
In addition to the rank insignia, an officer’s rank is denoted by the number of code cylinders worn in the shoulder pockets of the tunic. (Regulation code cylinders are aluminum chalk holders, radiation dosimeters, or x-tools worn by pilots).
More information regarding specific ranks can be found at
Imperial Service Cap
On duty officers are typically required to wear a standard cap with decorative metal greeblie.
A black leather belt with brushed aluminum buckle with rounded corners is worn around the waist. The belt buckle also features a metal greeblie in the center. The belt should have a silver snap to the left of the buckle and may have a number of metal drop boxes attached to it. (2” leather belt and 2”x4” buckle blank can be purchased online from Tandy Leather.)
Officers wear knee-high, gloss black, pull on boots. English riding boots (without laces, zippers, or snaps) in rubber, leather, or synthetic work very well.
Officers have the option of wearing black, wrist-length gloves and an Imperial issue blaster and holster.
Officers may find additional support at the following sites:
Tunic and trousers
As mentioned, Lori and I used the Simplicity 7274 pattern for the tunic. I believe this pattern has been discontinued. I found mine on eBay. The McCalls pattern is a recently recommended alternative, which some people believe is more accurate, as it includes the princess seaming in the back of the tunic. Lori and I improvised on our princess seams.
Kathy (tkvanb, ID 9989 of the Midwest Garrison) has assembled a page and instructions on modifying the Simplicity pattern. I do have copies of her modification sketches, which I uploaded to a photo gallery. I honestly did not use these files though, so I have no idea how helpful they will be.
Greeblies: Buy them from Elvis Trooper. I made makeshift greeblies out of washers and Sculpy at first, but you just can't beat a shiny greeblie from Elvis Trooper.
Rank Insignia: If anyone finds a good source for the rectangular colored button covers, please post it here! Mine are currently made out of cut and painted Lexan, which is VERY hard to cut cleanly into buttons this small. I found the metal chalk holders locally at a Teacher's Store in Stoneham. The ends should be painted blue - model paint works well.
Boots: An excellent local source for boots is Dover Saddlery. They have two stores in the Boston area - one in Wellesley, MA and one in Plainstow, NH. I highly recommend the Dafna Challenger PVC Boots, at $55-60. The Continental Rubber Riding Boot will also work, for the Officer on a budget.
Stitch Witchery is your friend
The heavier the fabric, the better your finished tunic will look
If you are larger in build than most people, consider scaling your accessories in size - for example, a 2” belt will look tiny on a 6'5” bear of an officer.
Definitely take Lori's advice on the tunic pockets. Before you cut the fabric out, fold the fabric in a zig-zag, just like you would to shorten a pattern that was too long. Sewing through the extra layers of fabric will be slightly difficult, but the finished pockets that go all the way across your chest with no additional seams will be completely worth it!
Your jacket will be more comfortable if you line it with a soft, lightweight cotton. Hem your tunic and secure the lining to the outer jacket using Stitch Witchery. You should NEVER see stitching on the outside of the tunic.
Elastic stirrups sewn to the bottom of your pants will help you tuck them into the tall boots.
To add to the great advise Lori & Tia gave. Do you self a favor and line it with cheap satin type material. The extra layer isn't adding much for heat but will feel muck more comfy against skin than the twill or some other fabrics. Also sew in snaps seem to work in my opinion better that velcro for the bib closure. They don't stick out nearly as much. Sew them down to the outside of the bib then fold and seam the edge. Also use a good medium to heavey weight intefacing on the bib to stifen it up a bit more than the tunic.
this is the link I was sent to when I inquired about the OFFICERS detatchment.
“These are the wonderful suggestions of the Imperial Officer Corps. Realistically, not everyone agreed on the placement of every thing listed- for example the Officer Hat being in the Recommended section versus the Required. The same is also true for the Rank Bar, Code Cylinders, and Boots. There is not just *one* officer that appeared in the different media. TKs and TBs are pretty much “cookie cut.” The Officer costume has some leeway when it comes to being canon, and therefore, will result in different opinions. It is understood that the Council will take these recommendations under consideration as costume standards are discussed.
It should be noted that Star Wars Technical Commentaries provides an insane about of information on uniforms of the Galactic Empire.
-Jasmine “Officer Shades”- ID 2381
I can't tell you the size but here's a nice chart that Matt Boucher put together to display all the ranks:
Also, here's a nice tutorial he made to detail the belt and greeblies:
You can make your own accurate badge using a piece of aluminum plate, and order the proper color button caps from here
The correct ones are the 633-AT4026CJ for the red and they have other colors also.
The best place we've found for bars is http://www.onlinemetals.com/. For small orders they'll usually wave the cutting fee, and you can get good aluminum bars. After fighting several other solutions, I found the real thing can't be beat (and it's not that expensive as I recall…)
a good formula for rank bar size is
N=the number of tiles
this going for tiles across and then again vertically
I'd say that's close… Only difference in my thinking is you have to account for the size of the button. Since I'm at work I don't have mine with me, but I'm pretty sure between the various buttons we looked at I ended up with between a half inch and an inch of difference in the total length of the bar. In my opinion the space between the buttons is fixed, so the bar grows or shrinks as the button size changes.
My favorite reference is still http://theforce.net/swtc/Pix/dvd/ep5/needa1.jpg , and the measurements seem to look about right with our finished bars.
Pattern used: McCalls M4596: Misses' Lined Jackets, View C.
This pattern was recommended to me on the IOC boards by Jade5253
I cut the pattern at full-length for view C and then shortened to desired length from there. Everyone is different, so remember to adjust accordingly.
Omitted: Pockets and interfacing and facing on front pieces. I used lining instead to reduce bulk.
Don't forget that when you're cutting the fabric for the side-front pieces that this is where the pockets will go. Zig-zag the fabric as such: [illustration] before cutting. Pins are good, a fabric basting glue stick is better.
For the bib, just cut the front pattern piece on a fold twice. I omitted the interfacing this time because my fabric seems thick enough on it's own doubled, and my previous tunic bunched like something else. Remember to sew the bib into the seam that joins the side front and front pieces and shoulder seam on the left side of the tunic.
Cut your lining pieces per the pattern's instructions, including the back lining piece for a proper fit. I used a black lining fabric that is a bit thicker than the typical 'satin' lining.
When sewing the front and back seams, PIN PIN PIN, especially if you're not used to curved edges. It will seem that the fabric of the front and side back will bunch doing this, but as long as you keep the seam at 3/8ths of an inch and flat, you'll be fine when you press it out. You don't need a lot of pins, just enough to keep the edges together and the fabric flush on each other.
The pattern calls for top stitching. DON'T DO THIS! 501st standards say no visible seams, and this would violate that. Simply press the seams out and clip as necessary. No worries. These will be behind the lining anyway.
For me, the shoulders seemed a bit higher than necessary, this is normal because I'm not too broad and my chest isn't that big. (It may sound personal, but A LOT of women have this problem. There is no such thing as a pattern that is spot-on to each woman's figure.) So I trimmed 2” off of the shoulder seams for a better fit. If you have to do this, remember to adjust the collar and sleeves accordingly, or get ready for some fits of rage. Stay patient and work out the new measurements or face time-consuming mistakes later in the game.
Tweak as necessary. You may have to put in darts along the back seams to stop bunching, or a dart in the top of the bib, ie. General Veers, for it to lay properly.
Update from Ang: 2/26/08 on McCalls M4596…
My biggest beef with the pattern is that it's designed so there are visible hems on the sleeves and bottom, so what you'll need to do with the lining is line the sleeves separately and ignore the pattern where it says to attach the sleeve portion of the lining. Then attach the main body's lining on the collar, one front side, and the bottom, leaving one side where you'll have the zipper under the bib open. You can do a regular hem here and it won't really matter since it won't be seen.
With the sleeves, you have to attach them already lined to the shell before the body lining. Once the body lining is in place, you have to hand-whipstitch *gag* the armholes of the lining to the armhole seams. It's annoying, but it's so far the only way I've figured out how to do this so that there are no visible hems. Topstitching them flat won't look right and give a double-seam effect at the shoulder.
Also, this pattern has been DISCONTINUED! Snatch it up as you can find it!
More from Stephen:
1) Until a Lucas licensed version shows up, I personally consider the Technical Commentaries at theforce.net the reference for officer badging:
Edit: Oh yeah, forgot to mention, based on the pictures from the Word doc Bob mentioned, I think they come from the same source!
Unfortunately, as they mention on those pages (or at least somewhere in the commentaries) things get confusing when everyone in RotJ is a Commander (even the Moff in charge of the Death Star construction!). And the majority of the officers seen in ANH are considered Tarkin's forces and thus use the different color scheme (that's where the yellow buttons come from). So we're basically left with ESB and if you look at the reference pics the bars change a lot from one shot to another (I think they just had to produce a LOT of them for the movie, so you see production variation). My personal favorite is this one:
and that's the look I strive for when I'm making bars.
2) As far as Officer information, Lori and Tia made a great thread a while back and it's currently in the costuming archive:
The only more recent thing is the establishment of the costume standards, which should be found at the officer's detachment (login required for the majority of the content though):
For those interested in black fabric, Tia found some at Joann's called Trigger fabric. It is not Gabardine. JoAnn's sells it at 6.99 a yard. They have it online, but not in black for a $1 cheaper. It is a bottomweight fabric, called either canvas or poplin, and is 65% cotton, 35% poly. It's stiff, it breathes, and water beads up and rolls right off of it.
Here's the JoAnn's link, though black may still be hard to find:
IMPORTANT NOTE: CostumeBay Officer uniforms are not acceptable for membership. The uniform is not nearly accurate enough.
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