The hat making process improves as I learn where the issues in the pattern and my construction methods are. I made a new one and then went back unpicked and redid the 1st one. The results make me very happy now we have two useable Marcus hats. Pictures to follow.
The officer uniform is also making headway. I decided in the interest of keeping me sane to not have a deadline set instead to work at it slowly and steadily, working out all the kinks and my inabilities to see "how this is done" slowly. After hours of searching for pictures and how to blogs etc... I have a much better grasp on the construction and the rout I will take with it. It's a huge learning curve but I stepped over that "there's no way I can do this" hump to the okay yeah I actually can do this but it won't happen in 7 days.
As is with the hats there are no hard and fast patterns or step by step how to's out there. A couple of enterprising and kind people have shared their methods and this has helped greatly but like the sources for the rank bar buttons, honestly construction of these costumes seems to be a closely guarded secret.
I think a lot of this is that many people either buy a version of the costume from an establish on line seller and then have the costume refitted to make it work for the 501st or they go to private tailors, moms and of the next person they know who can sew and get it done by someone else. Most people don't keep a record of how it is done in an easy step by step manner and everyone does it differently because there really is not established single pattern. I swear if Lucas Arts put out a proper, well done, easy to understand pattern they'd make a freaking fortune.
We decided early on that unless it was something we absolutely couldn't do at home ( ie hard shell costumes) we'd do it ourselves. I'm stubborn that way. Why would I pay someone 2-3 hundred euro to do what I KNOW I can do myself. I complain a lot about sewing but right now, honestly, I'm enjoying this process because aside from the high frustration factor it's teaching me to be a better seamstress and I'm learning new skills with every mistake I make and I'm making a lot.
I also made our rank bars, our belts and a bunch of other things. Anyone who ever says that 501st soft costumes are second class to the hard ones has never done one on their own. It took me months to gather all the right bits and bobs and then adjust, make, sew, transform and create all that we needed to get approved. Ultimately I'd like to also do a biker scout and Marcus wants to do TIE pilot and we're getting there but in the mean time the next step is officer.
Anyway, I have a ton of photos but they need to be resized etc... so it will take a bit.