Sunday, January 15, 2012

Senatorial Leia

Character: Princess Leia
Costume: Senatorial Robes
From: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Made: 2005

Ah, the iconic Leia dress, the one costume any casual fan would recognize. I made this dress to wear as Leia in Star Wars: Musical Edition at Star Wars Celebration III. Although the material is heavier than I would have liked, I'm very happy with how the dress turned out. This dress was auctioned off for charity during GenCon 2006, and now my friend Jennifer owns it!
Star Wars: Musical Edition at Celebration III
(thanks to Rosamunde and Steve for the pics!)


Overall, the construction of this dress is very simple. I pretty much followed StormtrooperPrincess's account of how she made her dress, with a few minor changes. I made a keyhole neck by cutting a slit down from the neck in both layers, then sewing the layers together very close to the slit and turning the dress right-side out. The neck then closes with a hook and eye. I also had to sew the two layers together at the waist to make an elastic casing, because the dress fabric was so heavy it was constantly pulling the dress out from where it was bloused over my belt. Plus, the elastic gives the skirt a nice, evenly-gathered look. My hood is also substantially narrower than hers, because I ran out of fabric.


The belt is made from white vinyl. The plates I made from thin aluminum sheets from the hobby store, which I cut with tin snips and then superglued onto the belt. The circular bits are 7/8" button blanks glued onto the plates. The belt closes with Velcro in the back.


My original boots were the Sweetheart Boots from, which apparently aren't sold anymore. In any case, their heel is too high. After many years of service, my boots gave up the ghost in 2011, and I replaced them with a pair of flat white boots that I found on Ebay.


For CIII, I wore a wig. (That's another story in itself-- the original wigs were in a car that was stolen the night before we left for CIII, so I wore an emergency backup wig.) Afterward, I made separate hairbuns that I clip over my own wee buns. I bought dark brown Kanekalon fake hair (the frizzy kind, not the silky kind) and a colored hairspray that matched, rather than trying to match my own hair. I made the hairbuns by loosely twisting the hair and sewing it in a spiral, putting a hairnet over the whole thing, and sewing combs on the inside. My first try at the cinnamon buns was way too big! I've since made them a bit smaller.

To do my hair, I part my hair slightly to the left and pigtail it. Then I twist my pigtails into tiny buns as flat as I can make them, cover each one with a hairnet, and pin them down. I spray my whole head with the brown hairspray and hook the top comb of each hairbun into my hair just above each tiny bun, bobby-pinning the edges down. It works quite well!

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