------------------------------------------------Goal: Make a recognizable Star Wars costume
--Need to be able to drive in it & work in it
--no handheld props
Deadline: Wear it on May 6, 2019
Budget: Lets see where it goes but it would be great to stay under $100.
Addl considerations: Use as much owned material as possible. Track time spent.
Research ~6 hours
+ Movie watching all weekend
I haven’t seen the older Star Wars films in years so step 1 was to Google for Star Wars costumes & step 2 was to watch the entire series to get into the mood & also see how the costumes I favored worked in motion. That warranted a trip to the library to get all the episodes at once, as well as all the picture books I could. I really like Renaissance inspired shapes & I’m already familiar with the patterning & have functional support garments so I picked out 2 of Amidala’s court dresses that had Ren shapes & her velvet security detail uniform as an easy backup option.
1st choice was a gold moire’ gown with blue velvet coat that has a very interesting collar. I already have a similar outfit in my SCA wardrobe in the right colors & fabrics so this seemed like an easy recycle.
2nd choice was the peacock dress because I have yardage of the right color shot blue taffeta and I love the hair. It also looked like something I could re-use easily.
3rd choice the copper velvet security uniform because it looks easy & would be something I could get a decent amount of re-use out of with minimal time invested.
---------------------------------I couldn’t find either dress in the films. Uh-Oh. More Googling. Dress 1 never made it into the film, and dress 2’s scene got cut despite it was in all the pre-release publicity, even to the point that Simplicity released a pattern. I found 2 websites with excellent information including the design notes and the only photos I was able to locate of dress details. I have enough info now to do a decent copy, so I’m going to go for #2. It’s a blessing and a curse to find photos of swatches because you find out all the detail the photo & long camera shots didn’t give you. Also, the design notes tell me that the photos pixeled out some important fabric details. This is going to be more work than I originally hoped for because there is SMOCKING. I picked up a smocking machine at an estate sale last year & this will be a chance to try it. Also, except for the designer’s basic description, we don’t know what the dress looks like, because it’s always under a coat. The Simplicity pattern doesn’t follow the designer’s description (I was able to see the line drawings & layout in someone’s Amazon ad, $60 ouch) so the pattern can be disregarded. I’m starting from scratch.
Week 2: Create materials list, sourcing, map out the project
2/17-20 Made & fine tuned a list of all the things I think I’ll need based on design details & past experience. ** Making the BOM & decide on dress design 4+ hr
2/21 PM Unearthed all the owned things from my studio so I know what’s on the shopping list. The 2 most important items I don’t have are patterned velvet for the coat, and the wig.
** Finding all the owned stuff ~2 hr2/22 Shopping day (woo-hoo!) A somewhat local wig shop (McMinnville) had a reasonable wig on their website so I made a trek there to see what it really looked like. Excellent find & clearance priced.
The clearance fabrics section of the local JoAnn yielded an interesting patterned velvet, not swirly like the original but random enough for a copy and it’s linen-cotton so I should be able to dye it to the right colors.
I found a cotton sweater at goodwill that mimics the texture of the snood. Another dye project. I’ll also need to dye the canvas I’m using for the coat edging.
Lucky accident at the dollar store, the Easter baskets they were unpacking have a remarkable resemblance to the pattern of the top of the headpiece. Bought a few of those.
**Shopping 9 hr (This went well & I’m feeling lucky! I have everything I need in the first round. That NEVER happens.)
NOTE: Photos of the actual film dress are not mine, they were printed out from other blogs and may be copyrighted by Lucasfilms. To see better versions, more info, and citations go to these sites:
The Padawan’s Guidehttp://www.padawansguide.com/peacock.shtml
Star Wars: fit for a queenhttp://www.rebelshaven.com/SWFFAQ/peacock.php
I Have A Plan (not necessary to execute in this order)
Dye Velvet & Other Textiles
Make BroochI decided to reproduce the brooch using Sculpey clay, since I had packs in blue, black & bronze. I needed to buy the pin back. I considered baking loops into the back & sewing on, but some photos of the coat show it without the brooch. I should be able to cut the design into the clay using carving tools & a printout of the brooch design. From photos of the outfit I estimate it’s about 1.5 inches across. I’ve printed out photos in multiple sizes so I can cut them out & see what looks best. Other methods to reproduce would be to cast in plaster, carve out of soap or wood, paint pretty much anything, or 3-D print it.
I’m planning to make a frame from heavy floral wire & cover it with buckram, then glue the black materials to it. The baskets I got will need to be cut up & painted to a bronzy-metallic. I should be able to sew them on top of the black headpiece & glue the blue beads on.
I didn’t find any good closeups of this. It appears to be a beaded bag, probably made from a beaded scarf with quite a bit of texture. I liked the look of lightweight boucle’ knits but only found them in synthetics, which don’t dye well. I got a reasonably similar texture in a knitted cotton sweater. If there is excess time I can add beads later but that is a time-consuming detail that I’m not concerned about.
Add Beads & Snood to Wig
I have gold springs to mimic the metallic beads & brown pony beads. Should be able to pull the curls through the beads with a fine crochet hook, or wrap the tips of the hair in foil & thread them on like a shoelace. Past experience with beads in my own hair says I might need to glue them to hold in place.
Make Hooped UnderdressI have multiple sets of hoops but taffeta is lightweight & likely to show hoop lines unless I wear layers of petticoats. The original dress is Fortuny-pleated and has very crisp vertical lines. I’m not pleating the skirt so any understructure will show. The original design called for a quilted, hooped petticoat & there are online photos showing it’s Empire-style. I’m electing to make a new one that works with the fabric since I don’t have one that type. The quilting will give the dress some real support without sagging between the hoops. I have a garage sale comforter that I tore apart, and it seems to be all cotton. I’ll put the color to the inside (it’s pink) and do the face surface in white cotton. That will make it re-usable for other historical costumes.
The big trick here is the smocking. Yoked turtleneck, Empire waist, A-line skirt, bishop sleeves, long Victorian cuffs with dangly bead trim, double row of beads top of collar. If it was cotton it could be Gunne Sax. The design notes say yoke is smocked, front is smooth. Photos show smocked cuffs, Fortuny pleat sleeves. You can’t see the sleeves above the elbow. You can’t tell from the photos that the neck is smocked because the pixel-expansion makes it soft, but once you know what you’re looking for the indicators are there. No idea what shape the yoke is BUT there don’t appear to be any seams above the coat closure…I think the designer visualized the dress as a blend of a period gown plus chemise. That’s close enough to the shapes of Simplicity 8735 that I can use it as a starting point. I’m going to put a zip in the back & line the bodice & cuffs so I can support the smocking & also to protect the fabric & give it some weight.
Once the velvet is dyed this is a couple lined layers with made edge piping (there was a swatch, heavy grain like canvas, unclear what color because it appears blue in some photos, gold in others, and mostly disappears in the distance shots). There are beaded tassels on the points, not sure yet how I’ll handle that but I have small black tassels & could also do them in yarn or possibly beads, or leave them off entirely. The lining swatch for the original is copper taffeta. I have plenty of black suit lining so I’m using that. The real coat has all the edges decorated with couched cording. I’m not even going to try & duplicate that. It’s a year’s worth of handwork. If I had an embroidery machine, maybe, but you can’t see it at all in the distance shots. A lot of work just for the HD camera in case of a single close-up. My biggest concern is there might not be enough velvet. I got all there was, so I’ll have to pattern to fit the fabric.
The design notes call for brown court shoes (unseamed pumps) 1.5” heel & knee-high nylons, so it’s apparent they never expected the feet to really show. I have a pair of brown buckle shoes & a pair of dyeables pumps that could be made brown. Also a pair of satin beaded ones in a bright peachy color that are the perfect shoe but wrong color, possibly dyeable.
Dye TestsThe fabric content of the velvet is SUPPOSED to be linen & cotton but I never trust bolt labels on clearance stuff. Dye test looks like I can get the look I want. The backing needs to pick up some blue color & the pile needs to be dark coppery brown. I painted dry dye powder teal & peacock onto the back of a scrap saturated with dissolved soda ash, let it sit a couple hours & washed it out, then dried it. Once it was dry I soaked it in soda ash again, sprinkled some brown on the velvet side, let it sit for a few minutes & washed it out. The pile is more resistant to coloring but it did pick up some color in the short time there was dye on it. I think by laying the fabric out flat dye side down & doing it in 2 stages I can minimize bleeding between the colors. I’ve never dyed big pieces without a ceramic bathtub and a spray to rinse with, but my new house has fiberglass baths that I don’t want stained. My great idea is to put plastic all over the garage floor & flat dye 3.5 yards on the floor. I don’t want to soak it so that the pile takes the blue dye so I’ll paint on the colors with a brush or sponge and trust gravity to keep it from wicking up too much. An interesting experiment at least.
|Fiber Reactive Dyes|
|Velvet Dye Test Back|
|Velvet Dye Test Front|