Star Wars Rey Costume Part 2 – Rey’s Henley Shirt

Rey's Costume

As promised, here is the second installment in the Star Wars Rey Costume series. As mentioned in Part 1 of the series, I originally intended to have the costume completed in time for Halloween but again, due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to create the proper shirt. Instead I used a shirt purchased locally and weathered it with a mixture of dirt and paint. While it was an inexpensive option that required very little work, several details were missing. This became even more obvious after Star Wars The Force Awakens was released so I decided to start from scratch with a new shirt.

It appears that the actual shirt used in the movie was a cotton/hemp blend. I was unable to find a henley shirt with this fabric combination but believed that linen would be a close match. I found the henley shirt shown below online at Banana Republic.Banana Republic Henley
The shirt was not available in an off-white or beige so I purchased it in white with the intention of dyeing it a light beige. As it is a long sleeve henley, the sleeves would also have to be removed. The first step was to remove the buttons on the opening at the top. While the opening at the top was consistent with Rey’s shirt, Rey’s shirt did not have buttons. The next step was to remove the sleeves. Although at first glance Rey’s shirt appears to be sleeveless, there is a small, unhemmed, sleeve section on both sides. I cut the sleeves at a slight angle.


Next the details, consisting of very thin, squiggly, lines, needed to be added to the left sleeve. I accomplished this by taking strips of the leftover fabric from the long sleeves and attaching two layers together using heat activated fusible bonding web.  I then cut the strips down into thinner strips about 1/8 inch wide by 8 inches long. I sketched out where the strips should be placed on the sleeve and then applied contact cement with a toothpick to both the fabric strips and the sleeves. After allowing the contact cement to set for about 15 minutes, I attached the strips to the sleeves.Rey's Shirt Sleeve Details
Now it was time to dye the shirt. Since I was trying to achieve a weathered look rather than a solid color, I initially tried to use tea instead of a traditional dye. However, after experimenting with several test pieces from the leftover sleeve fabric, I determined that the tea did not result in a dark enough shade and tried coffee instead. I ended up using 12 tablespoons of dark roast coffee with approximately 2 quarts of water, prepared in a french press, added the shirt and let it sit on the stove over low heat for an hour. I then rinsed it in cold water with vinegar and let it air dry.
Rey's Shirt Coffee Dye
 Rey's Henley Shirt Close-up
The final step was to sew the button holes on the opening shut and sew the opening at the top together about half way up. Here is a close-up of the final product. (Dressmaker form courtesy of Rey's Henley Shirt
Stay tuned as there are additional posts on the rest of Rey’s Costume coming up!

14 Replies to “Star Wars Rey Costume Part 2 – Rey’s Henley Shirt”

  1. What was your cold water to vinegar ratio? I am going to be dying Rey’s shirt using your method. This will be my first time dying anything and I don’t want to mess it up. Thank you.

    1. I used 2 Tbsp of white distilled vinegar to approximately 2 quarts of cold water. The purpose of the vinegar is to set the dye so it won’t actually change the color. Good luck!

  2. Thank you so much for including information on dying, I’m making a costume for my daughter and my first attempt at dying the fabric was an unmitigated disaster! Your suggestions meant the second time around was far more successful 🙂

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