Rey from The Force Awakens Hallowe’en Costume: The Goggles/Head wrap
I was armed with masses of inspiration from the reference photographs, but had constraints of time and climate to deal with. So, I abandoned perfectionism and embraced the challenge to create a costume that evoked Rey but could be worn by a kid in cold weather, and would stand up to tromping through the neighbourhood.
I decided that the goggles were the most iconic part of the look, and getting those right would be important. Alas, I don’t have a stormtrooper helmet on hand to scavenge lenses from, but I did have an old pair of swim goggles (which served me well for three seasons of fieldwork in Greece!). They had tinted lenses, and a nice curved angular shape which I thought looked pretty close to the stormtrooper lens.
My first task was to cut off all the extra silicone from around the lenses and nose, and remove the silicone strap. I didn’t take photos of this because I was too excited to get started. Also not pictured, I taped cardboard to the temples of the goggles to make them more rectangular, as they tapered to a very skinny point. My next goal was to try and approximate the layered look of the movie goggles. They look like something handmade and mended, with different textures and layers of material sandwiched together to form the housing for the lenses.
I decided to glue some light linen fabric I had to the frame of the goggles, and then cut out the lenses. I hoped that a bit of this fabric would peek through the other layers and evoke the look of the movie goggles. I just used normal PVA glue because that is what I had. I cut the lenses out after the fabric had dried. The asymmetry and the roughness pleased me because I didn’t want it to look too perfect.
The movie goggles look as though they have a layer of grey felt or wooly material around them. I struck out at three stores finding felt, and then decided to sacrifice a plain grey crew sock for the cause. The stretchy knit of the sock was perfect to stretch over the top and bottom of the goggles. I just glued and folded the raw edge over, and trimmed the linen fabric at the nose a little bit. I left it larger than the goggles frame because the movie goggles don’t have such a narrow bridge as the swim goggles.
At this point, I started getting really excited, as it was really looking good. The next thing to find was some lightweight leather to form the outer skin of the goggles. Alas, I couldn’t find anything anywhere. My second try was felt, but I was deeply disappointed again at the store. I remember as a kid there being giant racks of square-cut felt in just about any colour you could ever want. Now, they seem to come in pre-assembled packs of garish primary colours. So I went to the (crappy) fabric section and poked around until I found some precut rolls of upholstery fabric. The one I chose was a flocked texture on a net backing, so it would be stable, it was the right colour, and kind of looked like leather (or at least not fabric!).
I made a template out of paper and experimented with the size of the eye holes and the placement of the over layer. Once I was happy with it, I took brown embroidery floss and did a simple running stitch around the eye openings, following the pattern on the reference images. This caused the fabric to pucker a bit, which helped with the illusion that the goggles are actually holding in loose lenses to a frame.
Stretching the overlay over the goggles was a bit tricky. I painted PVA glue around the temples and nasal of the goggles, but left the area around the orbits free, because I figured it would slip and smear glue all over the goggle lenses. I pinned it at each side and the nasal, and then carefully glued around the lenses. The fabric was pretty saturated with glue, so it was a bit stretchier and softer. I also made two false loops at the top that fit under the stitched part and loop over the grey fabric. You can see them on the reference photos. At this point I also punched two holes at each temple, and fed in a twisted leather cord I had lying around. The reference photo shows leather strips with metal loops on either side of the goggles, but I didn’t have time to find something suitable. I also at this point abandoned the idea of having the light on the right side of the goggles, as I just didn’t have time.
Once it had dried, I cut out four leather rectangles from some scrap leather I had, and rounded one end. I then glued them over the holes where the cord was laced through the goggle temples. I only glued the front part of the leather and left the back as a flap over the holes. This meant that the cord could still move in the holes. Because the leather straps were kind of not flexible, I also sewed a loop of brown elastic to the top edge under the top holes of cording. I think the reference photo shows that it is some kind of tubular brown elastic.
I am so pleased with how they turned out!
I next started fiddling with the head wrap. If I made an adult version of this costume, I will spend some more time sourcing fabric, but for now, I had a large cotton curtain panel that I picked up from the thrift store. As soon as I saw it hanging in the store I recognised it as a LENDA panel from IKEA. After washing, I took off the tabbed strip at the top and divided the panel in two lengthwise.
I then tried to duplicate the wrapping seen in the trailer and photographs. My fabric is a bit stiffer and not as stretchy, plus the length I had was shorter (make do!). I found a good description of how to wrap the scarf here and just kept trying until I figured it out. I also tried using a sheet (poly-cotton poplin), and a length of unbleached cotton, and they worked ok as well, but nothing was as good as the movie fabric. It almost looks like a heavy gauze or something. It is stretchy, and compacts into a roll nicely so the roll can continue around the back of your neck and over your left ear to make a second roll on the crown.
Anyhow, I thought the wrap looked pretty good, but my daughter’s head is much smaller so the roll around the crown was too bulky and heavy for her. So she asked if she could just wear the goggles by themselves (yes, my heart dropped a teeny bit, but hey, it’s her costume!).
So, with the most important part sorted, now on to the rest of the costume!