Star Wars: The Force Awakens Rey Cosplay – Construction Notes 1

Star Wars The Force Awakens Rey
To much glee, the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer debuted online a few weeks ago. After I recovered from turning into my 6-year-old-self drooling over X-wings, costume plans immediately started turning the wheels in my head. Rey’s costume has ‘me’ written all over it – from the resemblance to the actress (which, to me, makes it even funnier that I auditioned for her role (true story! I wrote a post about it here)), to the desert chic look of the outfit. Hellooooo weather-appropriate Dragoncon costume! Not to mention I can actually wear it with my injuries! A friend pointed out that I might be able to use her staff as a walking stick in between photo sessions, which will come in quite handy. Not to mention, this outfit looks like something I’d normally wear. In fact, I plan on ordering double the amount of fabric for this cosplay in order to make a second outfit designed for regular wear. What? So I’m predictable…

Since the trailer was released, I’ve been hard at work gathering every photo of Rey I could find and starting a thread on the Replica Prop Forum to document all of my findings (as well as bounce back and forth with other craftsmen and costumers). But I figure not everyone is on the RPF, so I’m going to document my cosplay progress here as well.

To start, since there are no references for the back of Rey’s costume (and until this morning, none of her side. But I drew this last night, so it looks like I was on target), I decided I’d do what I normally do and draw a costume turnaround.  (I love doing these. So challenging, yet therapeutic.)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Rey Costume TurnaroundRey1 Rey2 Rey3
Next up…fabric!

At the Star Wars Celebration convention in April, Rey’s costume was actually on exhibit, complete with a handy placard that listed the materials used. As well as the costume being on a white mannequin, it was easier to see that the fabrics are all natural colours rather than dirty white. So I’m thinking I’ll be getting either natural-coloured fabrics or tea-dyeing white fabrics and then distressing the heck of it all. I cannot WAIT for that part! Distressing is uber fun (and a surprising venue of stress relief).


Wrap dress – viscose
Head wrap – cotton
Top hemp and cotton jersey
Trousers silk
Backpack leather
Wrist cuff and belt – leather
Pouch canvas
Arm wraps – cotton
Gloves leather
Boots wool and leather
Staff 3D print

I ordered a few swatches from Dharma Trading. Some were right on the money, while others were a bit off. So for the sake of this post, I’ll just focus on the swatches that work.

Star Wars The Force Awakens Hemp Cotton Jersey
This fabric is SPOT ON for Rey’s undershirt. The Hemp-Cotton Jersey is  very soft and comfy.

This appears to be the right fabric for the wrap dress, though I’m still not 100% sure. However, when dyed, the fabric will become mostly opaque, so that’s a good thing. I’ll check around a few others places for viscose swatches and see what other blends might be out there.

Now it’s a matter of finding the rest of the fabric and patterns. I’ll probably order a few more swatches of the ones I already have to do some dye tests. So…tally ho!


  1. says

    This is amazing. I’m debating between Hoth Leia and this. I have never constructed an actual costume before and most of my sewing skills I learned in middle and high school. Yikes. Thank you for your inspiring and helpful post. The figure drawings are excellent!

    • The Lady Nerd says

      You’re most welcome Stephanie! (and best of luck with your costume!) If I may, I would suggest Rey over Hoth Leia. Alas, that snowsuit of hers, I’m told, is rather difficult to construct. I haven’t started on my Rey costume yet, but I think it’ll be easier. Given that she’s a scavenger and most Star Wars costumes from the original trilogy are easy-ish to make (and the new films are trying to emulate the old ones), I would say it shouldn’t be too difficult to construct. She says, having not started on her own costume….*whistles nonchalantly*

      • Susan says

        Could you please tell me how much of the fabrics did you order for your Rey costume? Yardage wise, and what fabrics exactly did you decide on? I want to buy the best fabrics for a Rey costume too, but I know nothing about garmet construction or textiles. Would appreciate any help 🙂

        • The Lady Nerd says

          Alas, I haven’t ordered anything yet except for 3 yards of the hemp jersey fabric for Rey’s undershirt. I haven’t found a fabric I like yet for her pants and wrap dress.

          • Susan says

            Any progress on finding the right silk for the pants and the viscose for wrap dress? Is it about finding the right color, or are the textiles not right?

          • The Lady Nerd says

            Sadly, not yet. I’ve found things that are close, but not quite right. The pants appear to be a silk crepe, but somehow still sturdy enough to run around in. And the wrap dress? I have no idea…no viscose I’ve looked at looks right (as I have a few high-res pictures of Rey’s costume so I can zoom in on the fabric).

  2. Aña-Lisa says

    Thank you for this!! I’ve been obsessively trying to deconstruct this costume to make for my daughter. Looks like I was on the right track, but confirmation from a pro makes me feel better equipped to take it on!!

    • The Lady Nerd says

      Aw, you’re most welcome! 🙂 I hope all goes well with the costume! (I haven’t progressed much past this point yet. I’ll throw up another blog post when I’m able to move forward.)

  3. Katie H says

    Any of you ladies know someone willing to make one for me or live in Atlanta and can give me lessons? . I not much of a sewer (I’ve tried) but I love these on point costumes.

    • The Lady Nerd says

      There’s a few, depending on your budget. There’s God Save the Queen Fashions mainly. There’s a few other personal commissioners in town, but I don’t know who’s actually taking work at this time. Best of luck!

  4. Jo says

    This is incredible. I’ve been following the forum on RPF too. I know this is a long shot but would you be willing to make one and sell it? I’d be very interested in buying one and paying for all the parts and labor. You seem to really know your stuff and I don’t know the first thing about clothing or sewing for that matter! Thank you!! 🙂

    • The Lady Nerd says

      I see you found my FAQ, so I needn’t repeat it here. But I wish I could help! If I could sew, this would be a fun project (especially with all that distressing). But alas…I can do all the research and design, but I was given all thumbs when it comes to sewing. Best of luck with your costume!

  5. David says

    I know it supposed to be a Lucasfilm quality costume, but where is the average person supposed to get raw silk? That’s just not an affordable option for people.

    • The Lady Nerd says

      I did! From the Vanity Fair magazine article on The Force Awakens. Alas, I didn’t quite get the back right. But now we have reference, so whoo! (Here’s what the back is supposed to look like —- Rey Costume Back

  6. Sith Librarian says

    I’m actually thrilled that they got the material from Dharma trading company. I’ve been making jedi robes for people for YEARS out of raw silk. It’s amazing stuff and so easy to work with.

  7. Jenn says

    What’s the plan for dying these? The colors seem to be way off (though that could be a lighting thing) and I doubt a bottle of Rit will do the trick. It just seems like such a narrow window to hit and I’m afraid of messing up good fabric.

    • The Lady Nerd says

      I’m still trying to figure that out (I don’t have the best track record for dyeing). I’ll post on the RPF thread and see what everyone else did. Though there is great debate over what the actual colour of her pants are as it changes depending on the camera lighting or if it’s a promo picture or set photo. I’m thinking of keeping the entire costume in the warmer hues (as opposed to grey) as Rey lives on a desert planet. So it would make sense for her colour scheme to blend in with the landscape.

  8. Gma Sue says

    Does anyone know where I can locate a more detailed picture or diagram of Rey’s pouch and staff. I’m working on getting my granddaughter set for the Salt Lake Comic Con X.

  9. Gma Sue says

    Just an FYI, raw silk, if finished with a sheen or smooth touch, will reflect different tones depending on the light. Be sure to match grain direction when laying out the pattern pieces or when constructed the garment will appear to be made with different colored fabrics. Looking at different photos, Rey’s trousers are the same color as the vicose and the cotton, but because of its fabric characteristics appears to be a different color.

  10. says

    I’d like to thank you for the breakdown of the materials. I’m amazing at dissecting how a costume can be built from pictures, but am terrible at the specific materials that go into it. Also, for the staff, have you thought about doing a hardware staff rather than 3D printing it? It might save you some money in the long run.

    • The Lady Nerd says

      You’re most welcome! I’ll be doing a Part II of construction notes come the new year with updates. 🙂 Fear not, I’m usually the same way at trying to figure this mess out (thankfully, being on a website like the Replica Prop Forum helps a bunch!). For the staff, I’m actually getting a 3D printed (or resin, haven’t decided which) kit that one of the forum members has made. It’s spot on!

  11. Suna says


    I just wanted to ask if I can have your permission to use your spec drawing for getting the fabric and creating the costume of Rey?

    Thank you for reading and good luck with your costume!


    • The Lady Nerd says

      Absolutely! That’s why I drew it. 🙂 (Just give credit if you post it anywhere, but other than that, go for it! Oh, though note…the back of the drawing is wrong. I drew it before any of the references pictures were out. Rather than a criss-cross, the wrap dress simply goes straight down her back on either side (like thick straps). Good luck with your costume!

  12. Stephanie Richardson says

    Did you order the Piper 1 Brown boots? Did they come in? If so, how do you like them. I’m about to order mine

    • The Lady Nerd says

      I love mine! No exaggeration, they’re the comfiest shoes I’ve worn in my life! They have a very plush inner sole and are well made. I highly recommend them. 🙂

  13. Jantien says

    I’m completely new to tailoring and so on. I’m gonna have a go with my dad (who is kind of a jack-of-all-trades).
    I’m gonna need dye for colouring. Could you give me an indication on the colour? Maybe a colour number or something? Thanks a bunch!

  14. says

    Great job done, I and my girlfriend found this fantastic article while seeking for Star Wars Finn and Rey Guide for cosplay to attend Star Wars theme based party. Although it didn’t came out perfectly on him, but yes this is currently one of the valuable and helpful guide on the internet. We just want to thank you for your efforts especially for the drawings

  15. says

    Wow this is really so helpful, I love your article so much. Unfortunately, as a poor student, I’m unable to buy the Piper shoes 🙁 but I might try modifying a pair of combat boots? Not sure if this is the best way to go, but I was wondering if you had any tips? As a ballerina, I’ve done a fair share of sewing by hand, but not much with a sewing machine.

  16. Lia Bond says

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I would never have found out about Dharma if it were not for your blog, and making my Rey cosplay would not only have cost me more time but a fortune in fabric as well (not to mention I’m pretty sure JoAnn’s doesn’t have viscose…) Thank you thank you thank you!!!

  17. says

    This is fantastic! My 6 year old has decided she wants to be Rey for Halloween this year (along with me as Leia, and her dad as Han), and I found this while researching the costume. Thank you for posting this!

  18. Danielle Comer says

    I LOVE your fabric recommendations! They are SUPER helpful! I’m actually currently working on a Rey cosplay of her last scene costume. So, I’m looking to still make her undershirt. I was wondering if you had found a really awesome pattern for one or made your own or have any suggestions of patterns for that undershirt?

    LOVE this page 🙂

  19. says

    Hi there, just FWIW. I think the wrap dress fabric looks like a double gauze. Even the way it’s frayed at the ends looks like the double gauze I have. It’s really light, and usually pretty soft and gets softer as it’s washed. I hope this helps!

    • The Lady Nerd says

      Thanks! I actually just bought fabric for my wrap dress a couple days ago. Another Rey costumer recommended a crepe viscose from the UK that we’re wondering if it’s the screen accurate fabric. But thank you for the suggestion!

  20. says

    Hey. I think the back may be incorrect. See, if you look at more recent photos, it doesn’t cross at the back, and this makes sense because those gauze hangy bits are actually all one piece. I’m crocheting a costume for my baby and I noticed that two of the gauzes on her left side are joined at the bottom, so it makes sense that it crosses over at the front and is just straight down at the back. I can’t post photos to explain what I mean, but if you google Rey you’ll see what I mean. Great notes though, if I were younger and slimmer I’d do this cosplay, but I’m just going to do it for my baby instead. 🙂

  21. Rylie says

    Thank you for posting this! I want to have this cosplay done by the next con I go to. Where did you find the material? I went to Joanns and I couldn’t find anything good.

  22. Rachel says

    Hey there!

    I made my Rey costume a while ago, but I’m still not super happy with my wrap dress. Did you ever find fabric you liked?


  23. Laura says

    I’m attending a dance contest costume party and was thinking that Rey would be the easiest to move in. What has me so confused is the way her “shawl”, for lack of knowledge on fashion terminology, is wrapped around her in one piece. It crosses in the front and in the back and some pictures show that, when she is facing forward, the fabric of the shawl is looped by her right leg. How is that possible? I tried doing it myself on a model and can’t manage it. Also I haven’t seen a lot of pictures that have her legs wrapped like as if she were wearing ballet shoes.
    I am extremely low on cash and I’m try to make it a DIY kinda thing and could really use you help.

  24. Laura says

    I just saw the memo about the back, but I would like ur expertise on how to make this costume, not exactly from scratch, but cost efficiently. Thank you.

  25. Laura says

    I just saw the memo about the back being wrong in this picture, but I would like ur expertise on how to make this costume, not exactly from scratch, but cost efficiently. Thank you.

  26. Marianne says

    Hi there! This has been so helpful, but I have a question about the leather. Is there a specific website you can recommend, or a shop in the bay area in CA? Also, what kind of leather is usually used in creating things like the belt and wrist wrap? thank you ever so much!

  27. Darth Aloha says

    Did you make the undershirt for this costume? I’m wondering how the whole thing turned out. I want to make this for myself by October.

  28. Elizabeth Casey says

    Thank you very much for posting this. I am attempting to make this costume for Halloween to accompany my Storm Trooper husband and Scout Trooper son. My husband made a fabulous replica of Rey’s blaster with his 3-D printer for me to carry. I appreciate your time and effort.


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