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ANH Vest: Breaking down the off-the rack versions
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CaptSolo77 (Brian)
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:43 pm    Post subject: ANH Vest: Breaking down the off-the rack versions Reply with quote

CaptSolo77 here.

I've been called a lot of things in my time: Smuggler, pirate, scruffy-looking nerfherder. But one thing I'm not is a seamstress, so when it comes to ANH Smuggler's Vests, ready-made is my best option. There's lots of versions out there, but let's take a look at three that we're probably all most familiar with.

Let's be clear: this post is not about which version is best or most accurate. That would most likely be the Magnoli, hands down. I've never seen it in person, but I have studied the photos; and based on the quality of his Falcon gloves and his Han pants, both of which I do own, I'm sure it's the best thing out there. It's also $250.00, and for most of us, that's a lot of Kessel Runs.

So I want to take a look at the Costumebase (or UtopiaBase) version, priced at around $50.00, the Evolution Props version, which runs about $125.00, and the Magnoli, then compare them all with reference photos of the original. Hopefully this will give potential smugglers out there some informed choices on which direction they want to go, and how they want to spend their credits.

We'll start with one of the most recognizable features of this vest, the "crescent moon" pocket. Let's take a look at what it should look like:

[img]
kd_vest5 by bri457, on Flickr[/img]

This is not a photo of the original, but rather one made by KayDee, but she has created the most accurate fan-made version of this costume I have seen yet. As you can see, the pocket shares its top seam with the shoulder yoke. Also noticable is the small pocket on top of the "crescent moon" pocket. Finally notice that the crescent moon pocket is "billowed" around the edges, while the smaller pocket is topstitched down on top of it, a feature clearly seen on KayDee's version as well as this image of the original:

[img]
hanfront31-1 by bri457, on Flickr[/img]

Many thanks to Bob for his excellent archive photos!!

Both the Costumebase and Evolution vests have the pocket sharing the top seam with the shoulder yoke, so this is correct. The Costumebase version is missing the small pocket altogether, however. It could be added, but it would be tough to find an exact match to the fabric, and would require a fair amount of work.

The Evolution version is a bit better; at least it has the small pocket, but it has some different problems. I've already modified mine and don't have any "before" photos, so here is a line-drawing to illustrate the issue:

[img]
ANH Vest "Crescent Moon" pocket by bri457, on Flickr[/img]

As you can see, the small pocket extends all the way to the top of the crescent moon pocket, and meets the seam at the shoulder yoke. The orange line in the image is where I cut mine down and re-sewed it. Even without being a seamstress, this was fairly easy to do. Here is the after result:

[img]
IMG_0330 by bri457, on Flickr[/img]

The other issue this one has is that the "billowing" is reversed; the crescent moon pocket is topstitched, while the small pocket is billowed. Fixing that would require a whole new pocket, so I just left that one alone.

From the photos, it appears the Magnoli version might have the same issue, but I can't really tell. For the answer to that, I'll turn things over to our good friend Havok69, who actually owns a Magnoli, so we can see how this feature compares to the original...
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When Magnolia was making the vest a while back I had sent him tons of reference pics... and he missed the issues with what should and should not be billowed. I had informed him of his mistake, but I am not sure if he ever corrected it.

Like most things there are small details that people miss... but for the most part if you work with these guys and inform them of the correct info, they can usually get it correct. For a few extra bucks you probaly can take it to a seamstress to have it altered to make it right as well.

TBH though for that kind of money you probably can get one made to fit from a seamstress cheaper if you provide enough pics.

Bob
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Havok69 ()
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great idea CaptSolo77, I'll try to be a thorough as you are. So without further ado, here's the Magnoli crecent pocket up close after surviving it's first troop:



As you can see, the top of the pocket is lined up with the shoulder yoke as it should be, and I am happy to report that the crescent moon pocket is indeed billowed, which I'll show a better picture to illustrate this. However, the billow is only on the bottom and right sides. Here's a picture that shows this feature better:



(Bonus points if you can identify the partially hidden costume part)

One thing about the Magnoli crescent pocket is that it appears to be a bit wider, with the left side of the pocket being a shade shorter. Otherwise, Magnoli and KayDee's pockets are very close. If I'm not mistaken though, it looks like the KayDee pocket is also billowed on the left side as well.

Perhaps since the left side of the pocket is fairly small, Magnoli took a shortcut and decided to just skip the billowing there.
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CaptSolo77 (Brian)
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome!! Thanks Havok, and congratulations on surviving your first troop!!

The overall shape of the Magnoli pocket is not quite what I expected, but it looks accurate in every other respect. Interesting that you mention the pocket not being billowed on the left side as this brings up another issue with the Evolution Props version, one I was going to bring up later, but since it came up...

ALL of the pockets on the front of the Evolution version are only billowed on two sides. The edges that face in toward the middle of the vest are billowed, as well as the bottoms, but the edges facing out toward the arms are topstitched down. I can't for the life of me imagine why this is. Even the Costumebase version is billowed all the way around the pockets. It has many other issues, but at least he got this one right.

We'll move on to the "double flap" pocket on the lower-left side of the vest next, but before we do a couple more quick observations: Neither the Costumebase or the Evolution Props version has a waistband; I believe the Magnoli is the only ready-made version that does. Also, neither is lined or includes interior pockets. I'm pretty sure the Magnoli version has all of these features, but again we turn to Havok69 for confirmation...

(Bonus: Looks like a motorcycle boot...Ironman or something from Firefly perhaps?...)
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Bonded Hawk ()



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im pretty sure my evo vest has a waist band. Its that band that makes my vest too long. I have thought about removing it to shorten up my vest. I wont be home for a few more days but Ill take pics then
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CaptSolo77 (Brian)
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Hawk,


Nice to hear from you. Interesting news about your Evolution vest having the waistband. I'm pretty sure I got in on one of the earliest runs of that vest, so he may have made additions/improvements since I bought mine.

I have thought about adding a waistband to my vest, but then, as you say, it would be too long. I'm quite happy with the overall size and fit of my vest, so to add the waistband I would have to shorten the vest itself. That would mean repositioning the pockets, and now I get back to the fact that I'm not a seamstress. By the time I pay a seamstress to make that amount of alteration, I might as well have just bought the Magnoli. Rolling Eyes

Anyway, I look forward to seeing what you find out when you get back home. Take some pics for us and stay tuned to the thread and let us know if there are any more changes to the Evo vest.

Meanwhile, we again turn to Havok for confirmation of billowed pockets, lining, and waistband on the Magnoli. Havok, are you out there...Do you copy? Havok...? Is this thing on?...

(sounds of microphone feedback and chirping crickets)
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Havok69 ()
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha - sorry guys, Real Life™ got in the way. So here we go...

Yes, the Magnoli has a waistline:



And yes, there is a lining. I'm no fabric expert, so I may be wrong, but I think its cotton, in a shade that is very close to the outer vest, but slightly lighter. You can see it in the following pictures that show the pockets.

Here's the left pocket, with a zipper:



And here's the right pocket, more like the kind you would find on a suit:



One thing about the billowing; the crescent moon pocket is the only one that is billowed on just two sides, with the exception of the interior double flap pocket, which I'll address later.
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CaptSolo77 (Brian)
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stupid Real Life, I HATE when it does that!!! It's been getting in my way lately too, so no worries Havok. Besides, since you provided photo confirmation of the waistband, lining, etc, we'll give you a pass.

That Magnoli, he really doesn't make too many mistakes. His vest looks really nice. I felt like the lining was a nicitey since the vest is already full of pockets, I didn't see the need for the interior ones. Besides, I would guess the original was made on the cheap; garments probably weren't lined untill Empire when the budgets went up. That being said, it is a really nice feature.

Speaking of pockets, time to move on to one of the greater mysteries of the ANH vest--the so-called "double-flap" pocket. This would be the one located on the lower-left side of the vest, seen here in this image from Bob's Archive photos:

[img]
frontpocketflap2 by bri458, on Flickr[/img]

As we can see, the pocket is a large, rectangular shape. The double flap is not really clearly seen in this image, but is more visible here:

[img]
hanfront21 by bri458, on Flickr[/img]

I must say, I'm really not sure how these flaps are supposed to be configured, but it seems like they should at least be touching one another. The Evolution vest does not have them placed this way. Here once again is a line drawing which illustrates the placement:

[img]
ANH Vest "Double Flap" Pocket by bri458, on Flickr[/img]

On the Evo vest, the top flap is just a decorative flap, there is no pocket there at all, and the second (lower) flap is actually the flap for the functional pocket. As we can see, there is about a half inch between the bottom edge of the first flap, and the top edge of the second. It doesn't look like this is the case on the original, it looks like these flaps overlap somewhat, almost as if there is a pocket within a pocket.

The Costumebase vest does not include the double-flap at all, but the pocket itself is fairly accurately sized and placed.

Here is where I can't wait to see what Magnoli did with this pocket, as I think it might shed some light on how these are supposed to work. So, once again, we turn things over to Havok69 for the details...
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Havok69 ()
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's where Magnoli's vest shows it's the the more expensive vest, but worth it. All the pockets are fully functional. Keep in mind that the double flap pockets are on the front side of the zippered pocket in the inside, which is also it's own pocket. Here's a picture of the double flap pockets:



And here's a shot of the whole side to show the alignment of the pockets:



Once again, the top pocket is also fully billowed and functional. The attention to detail that Magnoli put into this is commendable, and really shows why the cost is higher than that of other manufacturers. Of course, technically, this is a single flap, so it does deviate slightly from the actual vest, but still the overall look is there.


Last edited by Havok69 () on Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Havok69 wrote:
And yes, there is a lining. I'm no fabric expert, so I may be wrong, but I think its cotton, in a shade that is very close to the outer vest, but slightly lighter. You can see it in the following pictures that show the pockets..


The lining is cotton? Hmmm... not sure why anyone would use a cotton lining tbh. IMO the fabric would not lay very well with cotton... oh well. Probably a cost issue.

Either way... his work has always been pretty decent.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just got confirmation from Magnoli; the lining is cotton. Obviously, it is a much thinner cotton than what the outer vest is constructed of. In my opinion it lays very well. I've received quite a few compliments from 501st and Rebel Legion members while trooping in it.
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Without a doubt he has the best commercial vest out there. I do not think one could make it better without spending a ton of money with a seamstress.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Bob, generally most garments are lined with something like satin or taffeta, but there is nothing wrong with a lightweight cotton/muslin. My ROTJ vest was issued by the Fan Club several years back. It is accurate to the stitch, and it is also not lined with satin or cotton. I'm not sure what it is, but it just shows many different things can work as lining.

The mystery deepens with the double-flap pocket. I'm wondering if Bob might provide some clarification to the annotations on the second picture in my fourth post. The pink text referring to the double-flap pocket is blurry. It reads: "Appears to be a flap more than likely to help keep pocket closed...(blur)...main flap...(blur)...down flap." The missing text may help clear things up.

I'm beginning to wonder if it really is a second flap at all. In the photo, it looks oddly detatched from the vest, almost as if it might be a lining that has come out of the pocket when removing something. Like turning the pockets of pants inside out.

Magnoli has included a double pocket, but not a double flap. It's really great construction, but here is a photo of Magnoli's vest from his website:

[img]
ANH Vest-Magnoli by bri458, on Flickr[/img]

As we can see, the double flap is clearly present on this version, so I'm curious as to why he did not include it on Havok's vest. Perhaps it has been determined that the flap is inaccurate? Not really sure. I look forward to hearing what you guys think.
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO... the flap is nothing more than to assist in keeping the pocket "Clean and closed". Which if you see that original picture did not always happen and the pocket/ flap worked it way out from time to time. They also tacked the edge of the pocket as I had marked in the photo with a small green X... this was also to help facilitate a closed pocket.

I have not tacked my pocket down on my vest... and probably should for its always opening up. With the baffling on the side I can see why they tacked down the pocket flap and extended the top of the pocket to help keep it closed.

Basically you flip the tab up into the top flap... and it should stay in place. Should is key word.

When I made mine we thought thru this very carefully and decided not have have it baffled as much to help keep the pocket together and closed. This allowed me to forgo the tack on the top flap.

This is my opinion... and I could be wrong... but there most certainly is an extended flap there... pics don't lie. Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well at least in this picture it appears like there is only one flap and a ripped pocket:



And Brian gets a half bonus point; the partially hidden item is for my BSG costume, back when Starbuck was a dude...
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