Friday, 29 November 2013

tusken female

original costume
After having been a member of the Rebel Legion for 8 years, I felt it was time to go to the dark side as well, and I wanted to make a costume that would be approved with the 501st Legion. The choice was simple. I'm a seamstress, and I wanted something that I felt would be interesting to sew, I also wanted a contrast to all the fine details and finishing of my last projects. I decided to make a female tusken raider. The female tusken raider is just visible for a short while in Episode II, before they are cut down by Anakin Skywalker. Still there were a lot of references to the costume, and I felt that it was really beautiful. A good thing is that it's been out on quite a few exhibits as well, so there was a lot of photos of the original costumes.

I must also say that the thought of a worn and weathered costume appealed to me, all my costumes up to that point had been pretty, or made to look as neat as possible.

One decision that I took early on with this costume was that I only wanted to use natural fibres. I wanted fabrics that could breathe, since I knew that the costume was going to be a hot one anyway. I ordered all my fabrics from It's a web shop with a segment of natural fibres, the bad thing is that they tend to run out of fabrics, and when they are out of stock they don't come back. I also have a feeling that they have less fabrics in their selection now, compared to when I started looking inot them.

The first layer is an undergown in a lightweight crinkled cotton. I made it up as an historical chemise,
but I don't remember exactly which pattern I used. One thing I did though was to leave out the underarm gussets, instead there are just holes there. I figured that would help a bit with ventilation. When the underdress was finished it got a thorough rest in a tea/coffe/cinnamon bath. I also left some of the teabags in the water when I threw the gown into it, so that they would stain the fabric unevenly.

Building the hood.
The next step was to make the shawl. I decided to make it in two parts; the hood and the shawl.  The hood was build up around the foundation for the mask, I simply cut strips of the fabric and pinned them on top of each other until I had a hood. The rest of the shawl was a bit more complicated, In order to figure out the pattern for the stripes I wrapped myself in an old bedsheet, then I shaped it until I had quite a tight fitting piece around me. I drew the lines of where I wanted the stripes to go, cut up the bed sheet and used it as a pattern. I of course added seam allowance and some extra for the fringes of the strips.
the shawl before sewing it closed at the back

The rest of the fabric parts were pretty simple; tubes of stretch fabric to cover the arms, that I then covered in strips of fabric, a pair of cotton gloves, a pair of boots that I glued strips of fabric to as well. Then in order to get everything really dirty and weathered I too advantage of my job. I work in a historical mine, and it's very dirty. Par of my job is to go into the mine and check on the lamps that we have there. I simply wore the outfit on these rounds, which have made it really dirty. I also use the undergown every year when I'm doing our special Santa tours there. I simply wear the undergown together with a knitted sweater and a Santa hat. The bag was made by a friend, an

The big thing with this costume is the mask though. I bought a kit, the most readily available kit out there, painted and assembled it. I was never really happy with the result. It basically falls to pieces and the glue that keeps the pieces together can't hold it. I am very happy with how I painted the mask though.

The last time I wore the mask was at Celebration Europe II in July. I had actually already sold the mask and gave it and the bag away right after the tusken photo shoots. Since then I have bought a new mask kit, from another maker, and I have made a new leather bag. I only need to find a bone to put in the front. One of my main projects of 2014 is to finish the mask so that I can wear this costume again, it's really funny costume and since we have quite a few male tuskens around it's fun to run around and play out tribal life together.

Status: under reconstruction
A group of female tuskens at Celebration Europe II, 2013
April 2011

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