Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Classic Princess Leia

March 2009
As a female Star Wars fan, and costumer, it felt more or less compulsory to make the classic white princess Leia costume, with the cinnamon roll hairstyle. I also wanted a costume that would finally be recognized as a Star Wars costume. The gown itself was pretty simple, and the belt wasn't too complicated, but I have struggled a lot with the hair.

The gown is a simple t-tunic. Meaning that I folded the fabric. layed down and draw the arms and width of the costume. The fabric is a poly interlock fabric, the original was made in some kind of cheap 1970's fabric that isn't available anymore. The hood is a trapezoid shape that I made a roll hem on by hand and attached to the neck opening. An important thing with the hood is that it's open in the back, so you only attach the short sides of the trapezoid piece of fabric to the neck. The hood is a bit on the small side, since I managed to burn a hole on one end of it when I tried to press the hem. The collar is simply a piece of fabric folded in two. The side seams go down to about the knees, and then they are open to form two splits. It's in two layers, otherwise it would be too transparent.

The fabric has a tendency to get runs, and it's also too big so I'm not too happy with it anymore. I have fabric to make a new one, and if I remade it I would change a couple of things.
  1.  I would make it smaller. 
  2. I would only attach the two layers at the neck, and then I would attach the lining by simply rolling the hem of the outer fabric over the lining
  3. I would add some kind of interfacing to the collar to make it stand better.
  4. I would possible add some elastic in the waist, so that the blousing wouldn't be controlled by the only the belt.
 The belt is made from faux leather, ordered from Stoff och Stil and a sheet of aluminium. For my first belt I cut both the shape of the metallic plates, and the round things in the middle from the same aluminium. It's soft enough that I could use a pair of cheap ordinary scissors, they got destroyed in the process by as I said they were cheap. For my next belt I had bought button blanks for the round middle things. They were a bit smaller so I had to make the plates smaller as well, since my waist
Bottom is v.1 of the belt, top is v.2.
hadn't changed that meanst that the spaces between the plates are bigger on my second version. I have a big problem with the plates falling off from the belt, I've tried E6000, contact clue and superglue, but I still haven't found something that make them stay properly.

I  need to remake the belt, I've lost quite a bit of weight since I made them, and the last time I had to use saftey pins to prevent if from falling down to my hips all the time. I think I have enough faux leather for one more belt, I definitely have enough aluminium.

There are a lot of tutorials out there to make this costume. I mostly used this one, which has patterns for both the dress and the belt and gives all the measurements in both metric and imperial units.

The most iconic thing with this costume is the hairstyle, and that's also what I consider the biggest challenge. When I made this costume I had come long
Too big buns in autumn 2010

enough in my development as a costumer that I had decided that I couldn't do Princess Leia with blonde hair. Look at my Padmé costumes, I was happy to do the hairstyle with my own dark blonde hair. I decided to go for a wig. I got recommended a wigmaker on ebay and bought a prestyled Leia wig there. It was a huge disappointment when it arrived. The wig itself was nice, and the buns were well styled, but it was way too small. When I put it on the buns were both more or less placed on top of my head, rather than on the sides. My first solution was to buy some fake hair and roll up around the pre-existing buns. This meant that they got way off when it came to proportions, they were huge!

Since then I've bought a really long wig and what I do when it's time to do the buns is that I make a small bun out of fake hair and pin it on to the wig. Then I roll the long hair around that little bun and try to get them as symmetric as possible. It's really hard though, or I'm not good enough with hair, so I rarely have to buns of the same size and shape. What I would like to do is buy a short or medium length wig that I can put on, and put the hair in two ponytails. Then I would just like to make two permanent buns that I can attach over the ponytails. This is the way that many costumers who use their own hair with extensions do it, and I think that would make it easier to get a good look every time.

A good thing with this costume though is that you always pin the hood up so that you can hide the worst of the hairstyle. I do that almost every time when I wear it.

The gun that I'm using is a replica of her DDC defender. It was made by a fellow trooper, and I won't say the name since the trooper isn't making things to sell to other people.

Status: active

I thought I had retired the costume, but our regular Leia in Sweden wasn't available for an event this autumn so I took it out from the closet and used it again. I would love to totally redo this costume, I h
Me in autumn 2013.
material for the gown and belt, and then it's on to buy a new wig and make permanent buns. It wouldn't be too hard, I just need to dedicate some time to it, and I'm so bad with updating my costumes since I think it's funnier to make new ones. Still there might be more chances where a Leia is needed so I think I need to do this in the coming year.

For example I'm doing Leia on Sunday at a troop at Toys'R'Us in Kungens Kurva, when our base's primary Leia can only be there on Saturday.

Also one thing I'd like to add is what I wear under. The dress is a bit see through, even with two layers of fabric. The most common advice is to wear nude underwear, but in fact the best choice is actually bright red. At least if you have fair skin. The bright red against the white fabric creates a perfect invisible shade. Yes, I'm wearing bright red underwear in all pictures of me in the gown.

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