Princess Leia Leia ANH First Gown...Help me... Obiwan Kenobi....;

Discussion in 'Costuming and Props' started by JediMasterLeia, Jul 29, 2002.

  1. kay_dee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2002
    star 4
    Weeee! I just got to inspect something very cool here at Costume College in LA. In one of the lectures the instructor brought a vintage Quianna Knit gown in made by the designer who specialized in Bias cut gowns - Charles Kleibacker. It was my first time ever seeing or handling this fabric in person and I'd say with 99.9% certainty this is what the Leia ANH costume is made of. I know it's been a speculation in this forum for some years now, but after seeing it in person I'm more certain than ever! I'd even say that the version of this gown that was on display at the Star Wars exhibits is made of this same knit Quianna. It looked the same.

    Sadly, we really don't have anything like this now. I think the two fabrics that are closest are the polyester knits we've been using for fan recreations, as well as nylon knit swimwear fabric (so long as it's not too shiny, and has a fluid feel... not too stiff). Swimwear/dance wear nylon has a very similar feel because the quianna knit is also nylon.

    Another thing that was interesting about this lecture, it turns out that Charles Kleibacker would flatline the Quianna garments with the same quianna used on the outside. It was the only way to keep the drape and flow from changing. Again, just like the Princess Leia dress construction! I inspected the way he sewed his hem, and it was the same as the Leia dress hem is sewn. The raw edge of the lining quianna and outer quianna folded up together as if they are one piece, and loosely blind hem stitched by hand so it is not seen from the outside.

    See, learning about historical costuming really does help us understand all these wonderful Star Wars garments!
  2. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    Quianna sounds a little like something you'd find in the fan fiction forum kay_dee, but too bad about the fabric!
  3. StormtrooperPrincess Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2002
    star 3
    Funny that all of a sudden I'm hearing Charles Kleibecker's name quite a bit this year. He's from the town I grew up in in Alabama, and I didn't learn that until I read an article in Threads magazine about him. :)


    It's nice to actually learn a little about quianna & it's properties. Thanks, Kay Dee!
  4. elini99 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2008
    Hey there.

    My sister and I will be making the ANH Senatorial gown for Halloween this year . I was going to use the jet set poly and much help from my sister who knows a few things about sewing (I don't). I explained the process of the dress to her, and we will not be using a actual pattern since, one, we don't have one and two, looking at some websites on the subject, it looks you can kind of wing it by folding it and cutting a T shape that is wide at the bottom. We'll probably end up drawing up our own pattern on paper or something. The only thing my sister is worried about is how much fabric we will need and sizing it, since there is no real pattern to guide us - we wil also be lining it wil the same material. I know the dress is loose fitting, but I am pretty thin, and I don't want it to be too big and be swimming in it. Any tips from anyone - like measurements of the dress? I am 5'5" 33" bust 27" waist - anyone else happen to be close to that size and made a dress? Also, cutting the neck hole out, is there any trick to knowing how big to make it? Sorry if these are strange questions, but I figured this would be the place to ask :)
    Thanks so much!!!
  5. Benae_Quee Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 15, 2002
    star 4
    I used one of my husbands large tee shirts as a guide for the size. I know that his shirts are large and dress like on me (I'm the same size as you, just 1.5" taller). This worked out really well I think :) I plan on remaking this yet again, the fabric was not wide enough for my freakishly long arms (60" wrist to wrist) after hemming.
  6. elini99 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2008
    Okay, I had to go measure my arms really quick, luckily my arms aren't freakishly long, just my fingers :) I just placed an order online for 8 yards of Jet Set poly, they didn't have a whole bolt at the store. So now, I wait :) I bought some boots off of Ebay that will do the job, so that is out of the way, so now I just have to obsess about the hair do. I put red henna on my hair, so it's a bit reddish now. Hopefully I can get my mom to put brown henna on my hair soon so I can get closer to my natural brown, and so I can figure out what color hair extentions to buy. I will most likely have to buy them online since I know of no place around here. This is a bit stressful (but in a good way, right?)! I have a belt, but it's silver (leftover from my horrible Ceremonial Gown I wore at Celebration IV), but it will do for Halloween. I'll make a white belt when I don't have a deadline, I'll work better that way. Funny, how I chose to do this, it's just a Halloween costume, and possibly a costume to wear to Celebration V... But this way, hopefully, I'll get exactly what I want.
  7. Symina Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2006
    star 4
    A word of caution...start out the neck hole very very small. You can always make it larger if you need to, but once you cut it too big, you're outta luck. My first attempt that happened to me and I had a heck of a time trying to pull it in to make it work. (It didn't look very good since I ended up with a baggy neck/collar)
  8. MiraxTHorn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2000
    star 4
    Hi Everyone,

    I've finally decided to join the White Leia ranks with the rest of you. I was given a Yoda costume for my son, my hubby is going to wear X-Wing and I realized I don't have a comfy OT costume. So, Senatorial Leia it is. :)

    I've spent the last couple days pouring over this thread and the reference photos so I've got a pretty good picture of what I'm in for. But, I do have a few questions for you veterans on a couple issues. Any help is appreciated!


    First a couple for kay_dee regarding Quiana:
    Does Quiana have a definite stretch to it? When trying to decide between the two fabric options you mentioned, that seemed like it might help sway the choice. Jet Set has only a minimal stretch while swimwear has a lot of stretch.

    If you were going to re-do based on this new intel, would you still stick with Jet Set?

    For anyone -
    Regarding flat-lining:
    Flat-lining makes sense along the side seams between the sleeve and the slits, but it wouldn't work to create the neat seams inside the sleeves, and the edges of the sleeves and slits. Do you think the original was partially flat-lined, possibly after doing the sleeve seams? Has anyone caught a glimpse of an inner seam above the slit, perhaps with Biba-Fett, to describe it?

    Regarding placement of the waistline gathers:
    Does anyone have a good trick for measuring where the waist should be? Ideally, I'd prefer to mark that line before I lift the fabric up and start working with it for fear of not getting a straight line later. I'm planning to try smocking it as LeiaYT1300 suggested and I think it would be easier before joining the sides. (My gut says muslin it first. Grrr. :) )

    Regarding boots:
    Any feedback on the CutesyGirl boots a couple of you got? The soles look really good, but the shafts are ruched, so I'm torn. Any luck removing buckles and un-scrunching them?

    Thank you all in advance for any help, and additional hints you might have! I appreciate all the study and hard work you've already put into this thread!

    Regards,
    M.
  9. kay_dee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2002
    star 4
    I probably used the word flatline when I probably meant to say "line". But it's been a while now since I saw the Charles' K dress so I don't remember for sure. I only remember seeing the hem treated as one layer and folded up. And I could swear I remember seeing the inner seam allowance edge... but I'm unsure if the lining floated free at the side seam or not. I would think it should have. I don't remember how the sleeves on his gown were treated, it might have been a short sleeved or sleevless dress. I can't remember, I should have taken photos.

    We never saw this gown with Biba fett. It was behind glass at WSMI, and I remember looking up the dress as best I could and only could glimpse the hem I guess. My suggestion is sewing the side vent seams in a way that all the raw edges are enclosed and not visible even when you look at the inside of the dress. (That's how I do mine anyway). Treat the inner layer as lining, not flatlining. But when it comes to the hem, treat it all like one layer of fabric. Make sense?

    As for the waist-line marking for elastic gathers... oh man. I have a formula for my patterns but I don't know where I put it. It was some formula where I took measurements from shoulder top to bust point, then bust point to waist where your elastic gathers will rest (I suggest elastic casing). I then added a particular number of inches to that combined number so I'd have the correct amount of blousing. I then measured on my pattern from shoulder downward to mark the placement of the elastic waist casing line and wheeled the line in with chalk paper. The line was not exactly straight though, it curves upwards at the sides... by a particular number of inches that's written in my stashed formula.

    I think making a casing is easiest. You have 2 layers of fabric. I pin them together at the lines I marked in chalk after the dress is sewn together but the hem is not yet sewn. I then just do 2 rows of stitching to make a casing and slip the elastic through. If for some reason you try on the gown and the casing was made to low or high, you can measure up or down from your original chalked line, rip out the stitches, and stich the waist line gathers in a new spot. The elastic helps the dress stay bloused and prevents that problem of the ever changing hem line. Hope that makes sense.



  10. MiraxTHorn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2000
    star 4
    I will definitely do the sleeves and side slits as you suggest. I was just thinking that blending from enclosed raw edges to to a serged seam from roughly armpit to the top of the slits (basically a partial flatline) might actually work and help control the layers a bit more than just the elastic at the waist. I'm still mulling that one over.

    Ok, I get the general gist of that. Thanks, that helps!

    My thought was to do the smocking, adjust to fit my waist, and then make a casing for elastic on the inside after the smocking to stabilize it. Same basic idea but I was hoping it would look like those screencaps showing the gathers. (One of those anal urges to recreate a screen accurate detail even when no one will ever know. :) )


    Thanks again!
    M.
  11. Leia1138 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2006
    star 3
    I have the Bamboo Zen68 boots from CutesyGirl. You can unbuckle and take off the top strap and I cut off the bottom strap. There are still loops for the straps, but they're not very noticeable. They are ruched and by pulling them up I think it gets rid of some of it, but they're still ruched! Since the dress is long, you really don't see it much except through the side slit.

    [image=http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i244/tsixt/Costume/IMG_0228-1.jpg]

    I think they're very comfortable. I just trooped in them for 6 hours on Saturday with no problem (unlike my jedi boots which are painful after a couple of hours). I think the rounded toe and flat rubber bottom look very nice for Leia boots and that's the part you see the most.
  12. kay_dee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2002
    star 4
    That's the beauty of the elastic casing sandwiched between the 2 layers of fabric. It creates gathers. It does the smocking for you by gathering up your fabric.
  13. lucialeria Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 1
    I think the "pleating" method looks most like "cartridge pleating."

    JMHO
    Alli
  14. kay_dee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2002
    star 4
    Hey Alli! Nice theory on the pleats, but I don't think it would be cartridge pleated at all. That's a method of pleating that is only achieved by attaching a huge amount of fabric to a waistband. Mostly for historical gowns from 1800's that had all that fabric to go over the big hoop skirts :)

    Why can it just be gather pleated? (like, gathered by elastic in a casing - LOL!)
  15. lucialeria Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 1
    Dressing a Galaxy lists two versions of the dress. There's the ANH version and the End of Empire/Touring dress. The ESB version I believe does have just simple gathers.

    But the ANH version appears to have different pleating done in the front center and back center in screen caps. And Carrie was only 5 feet tall, maybe 5 ft 1 in, so I think cartridge pleating was done to draw in the massive amounts of fabric side to side. I've got pretty high res screencaps showing detail to support my theory. I did the same thing on my dress and easily accomplished this on a dress built for my 5 ft. 6 in frame (with bigger butt and larger waist)!

    But as the ANH dress has never been seen in public, only the ESB dress which is also the dress used in all promo shots, you're right it's just a theory I have. I thought someone was talking about making an ANH dress. But I read these boards really fast so I might have been wrong. I've found at least 16 differences between the two dresses, which someday soon I hope to blog about on my myspace.

    They were different dresses just made differently to look so darn similar! But your right the ESB dress does have gathers.

    Alli
  16. MiraxTHorn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2000
    star 4
    I am intending to make my dress as close to the early part of ANH as possible (holding to the previous theory that the Death Star and Yavin dresses are also different). I agree that the gathers/pleats are only in the front and back - you can tell by how it hangs on CF from the screencaps and the promo shots. It also seems to be more straight from hip to hem on the side seams than some fan-made versions have been. I'd love to see your list of the other differences, just for curiosity's sake. I know I won't catch even a third of them since I've only started studying this costume.

    Regards,
    M.
  17. lucialeria Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 1
    I've put up several of the differences up on my myspace page, which you don't have to be a member of to see the pictures which are in the "observations" section.

    According to an interview I found from 1977, (minus the celebration dress) there were 4 identical dresses made for ANH. I believe NONE of them survive intact. That is why when Star Wars became so popular they replicated the dress as nearly as they could remember and created the promo/holiday special/end of empire/touring dress. But this is just my THEORY based on evidence I've collected from YEARS now (OMG it has been that long) of researching. But all the dresses (minus the celebration dress) were identical in the ANH film, just in various states of dirty.

    The dress that I was talking about that was different was the promo/holiday special/end of empire/touring dress - the only dress that can be documented that survives from the original films intact.

    I've heard from several independent sources that the garbage smasher dress with it's ripped up side seams (ripped to allow for ease of movement I assume, but definitely visible in screencaps) has been personally seen in the lucasfilm archives. But no photographic evidence of this dress exists. And if it's true would make this the only dress remaining from ANH.

    After Star Wars became such an unexpected hit, merchandise needed to be created and fast - I theorize that's why the new dress was made as nearly as possible to the film dress. But the smallest of details were changed perhaps because no original dresses remained to be studied. And they look incredibly similar! But the ANH dress(es) and the Empire strikes back dresses are different - not dresses amongst the ANH movie scenes (minus the celebration dress).

    IMHO Man I wish Mollo would write a book like Dressing a Galaxy! Researching original costumes is the hardest thing to do! And the craziest thing of all is that some of the most popular costumes come from the least documented film, the first film!

    As for the blog about the differences - I know this sounds crazy! and I hope they accept the proposal - but I'm saving all the research I've done for my Library science masters thesis. So publishing it all may not be for awhile! But as I said, some of my observations are already posted on my myspace in the photos section.

    And Kay-dee's probably going to have to be given 1/2 credit on the thesis or something because all I know about the ANH dress has been taken from what she's posted/figured out about the ESB dress and taking what is the same and figuring out what is different. She just recently convinced me about the Qiana fabric for the ESB dress. I wish I could see that garbage smasher dress to see if the ANH dress was the same. Until then I may have to disagree that the ANH dress was Qiana but I absolutely believe the ESB dress is Qiana - a concurrence very rightly won. Go Kay-dee!

    Until then, we'll just have to squabble it all out here!!! Until someone asks Mollo if they ever get to meet him at a con, take a list of questions. PLEASE!!! If my proposal gets accepted I will save up and make certain to do just that at his next appearance. But I'm guessing he had very little to do with the actual contruction. I think he handed a sketch to a seamstress and said, "make that happen." I think a lot of leeway was given to Berman's and Nathan's and whoever made the promo dress/holiday special/end of empire/touring (presumably an American seamstress).

    We may NEVER know for SURE about anything.
    Alli
  18. MiraxTHorn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2000
    star 4
    I think Maggie was the one that mentioned the difference between Death Star and Yavin on her site(though it might have been someone else who pointed it out to her.) I think that was based on the extreme number of folds in the top and the sleeves and the fullness in the skirt compared to other photos. But, your research sounds more definitive on that point. They could have just pulled the 'shoulders' forward a bit to achieve that particular iteration? Speculation. :)

    Right, I figured that. As far as promos, are you talking about this version being used in any of the reference photos collected? I want to make sure I'm studying the correct ones. :)

    Good luck with your thesis proposal! That would really be a fun one to present!
    Regards,
    M.
  19. lucialeria Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 1
    I get what you're saying now. Okay the Death star and Yavin thing. That, I believe, is a misinterpretation of a post that Kay-dee originally sent to Maggie that was posted on Padawan's guide and discussed in an older version of this forum. Kay-dee's post was saying that the ANH and Promo photo dresses were different - which they are. Because the Promo dress IS the ESB dress. Only the belt is different. This is really hard to explain!!!

    Someone mistakenly posted that the observation Kay-dee was trying to make was that two version of the dress were used in the filming of ANH. That is not what Kay-dee was saying. Then someone else said, you mean the senate dress and celebration dress? And that's NOT what either girl meant. We all know THOSE two are different dresses. The original intention of Kay-dee's post on Maggie's site was that the promotional photo dress, the dress with the gun cocked on her hip was different than the ANH movie dress. Because they are.

    The dressing a galaxy book ALSO lists the ANH movie dress (showing it with a pic of leia on Yavin) and the Promo dress as separate. The problem becomes that people think there were pre-movie promotional photos of the on-screen ANH dress. You could chose to debate the following sentence but you'd be wrong.

    THERE ARE NO PROMOTIONAL photographs of the on-screen ANH movie dress. They just weren't taken. There are stills from the movie set, and there MIGHT be one or two costume shots. But NO studio shots of the film used dress. ALL THE PROMO PHOTOS you will ever find are the ESB dress. I call it the PHET dress because it's life went like this. It was originally made to be as close to the ANH movie dress as possible and was used to promote ANH in promotional photos. I believe this dress was created very soon after ANH was released and took off, still in 1977 - BUT NOT ANH SCREEN USED. So "P" for promo. THEN that same dress was used for the "H"oliday Special. THEN it was taken out again and used at the End of "E"mpire and they had lost the belt so they made a new belt at this time. Then I believe this dress was taken out again and put on every "t"our you've ever seen this dress in public.

    And my theory about why there are no pre-movie costume shots or promo shots of this dress is this: All along George wanted to go with the scoop necked dress - that's why the FEW photographs taken before filming show leia with the buns in that dress. However. Leia's first scene shows her bending over, her second scene was a fall to the floor. And she was sooo short maybe the camera just keep looking down her cleavage. Notice all the shots of her in the scoop neck are from a low angle shooting upwards not downwards? I think George changed his mind LAST minute about which dress she'd wear. In the Making of Star Wars book I think Carrie talks about being fitted a day or two before filming??? Even the poster art was made with the scoop necked dress. It seemed liked the scoop necked dress was the dress they intended to go with for a long time. But last minute they went with the turtleneck dress, so no pre-movie photosessions are recorded.

    And during filming I think all those dresses were destroyed, ruined or returned to Berman's and Nathan's like other costumes they made for the film (or they're in Paul Simon's attic or Gary Kurtz's private collection. None are in Debbie Reynold's collection - that was one question I asked Carrie during a signing) so when the film took off they made a new dress which they kept pristine - the promo dress which they then used for the Holiday Special, the the End of Empire then for tour.

    ALL of the promotional photos that we have of Leia were taken AFTER the movie was wrapped. I even have dates and photographers, it is a fact. And they were all done in America (pretty sure about this too). So the promo dress IS the ESB dress.

    Was that at all clear? OMG my head hurts now. I must lie down now.
    Alli :)
  20. LeiaYT1300 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 7, 2002
    star 3
    Very clear to me (and I'm reading this at 2am!). :)

    I tried the proper cartridge pleating on my gown and admittedly it didn't work the first time around for me. Now granted I'm 5' 9" and pear-shaped no matter how slim I've been in my life (nothing like wide-hips to make things more difficult) but for some reason when I simply gathered the gown with my belt I seem to have more than enough fabric and things look great. But cartridge pleated it pulled around me rather oddly, so I ripped it out.

    I haven't retried to pleat it lately (it's not a daunting task so much as the first failure sort of knocked the wind out of my sails of enthusiasm and I just never returned to it), but I'm trying to figure out if I should spread things out a bit and create sections of pleating to distribute the fabric more evenly or use even smaller cartridge pleats (I tried 1/2" but now I'm thinking 1/4" might be better). But one of these days I'll get the bug again, give it a try and let you ladies know what happened.

    All the best on your thesis, Alli! I work as a media archivist for a museum and while I've not been formally trained, I've toyed with the notion of going back and getting my MLS. Not sure my local university would accept your idea but I think it's absolutely fabulous and I hope your department will accept it. :)
  21. lucialeria Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 1
    God here I go again! But very short this time.

    I just did the cartridge pleating in small small section - maybe 3 inches across - middle front and one section the same width in the middle back. Standard elastic was then sewn around the entire waist for uniform support because the skirt is sooooo heavy with the kind of fabric I used (another debate for another time!).

    Cartridge pleating is NOT done uniformly around the ENTIRE waist IMHO just in two places, I call them starbursts for some reason (the resulting pleat pattern kind of looks like rays of a sun emanating from her belly button), one in middle front and one in middle back.

    But otherwise, like Kay-dee did with her version, I think there is also standard elastic waistband around both versions - the ANH film and PHET - of the reel dresses.

    Alli
    And thanks for the thanks!
  22. MiraxTHorn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2000
    star 4
    Thanks for all the history and detail, Alli! It all totally makes sense. And I thought the Picnic Gown was complex. ;)

    However, from your explanation and studying your observation photos (Thank you so much for those!), I guess I'm not making the ANH dress after all. :) I was never planning on that belt because I just don't like it as much, but the other details aren't going to match quite right either. Part of that is a function of fabric width to my arm span, but the other is that I really prefer the straighter, more svelte promo look. (Not that I am svelte, but still. ;)

    Maybe I'll chance across something thinner than Jet Set someday and make a Version 2:ANH. (Don't tell my husband!)

    Oh, regarding pleating. I did a test of that yesterday with a couple rows of 4.5mm straight stitching and it looks really similar to the screenshot.

    Regards,
    M.
  23. lucialeria Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 1
    And someone was asking about belts. My boyfriend at the time had an epiphany when we were shopping for belt blanks for his Luke costume. He told me most of the original costume belt blanks came straight from Tandy Leather. And while looking closely at some of the blanks he said he had an idea. He bought a standard square/rectangle one and took it home. He cut off and then sanded each of the four edges smooth with a dremel. Then he pounded a hole in the center of each with a nail and hammer. It was Leia's side belt medallion shaped! He did the same with another belt blank cutting 3 sides meeting into a point and that made the center belt medallion. I wish I could put diagrams here. But maybe I'll work on that and put it on my myspace.

    I then used button covers for the center pieces. And those come with a back with a loop. I threaded the loop with a pin and threaded that through the hole in the belt blank. I used super glue to secure everything. But you have to use shoe glue or something else to affix the medallions to the leather! Because during one humid Comic Con in San Diego every single one of my medallions popped off using superglue on leather! But they popped off in one piece so metal to metal works fine. I used shoe glue after that for metal to leather.

    The belt blanks give the belt a nice feeling of weight and stability. And since we know many of the items used on other set-used costumes came straight from Tandy Leather, I feel pretty confident saying I believe this is the method used on Leia's on-screen belt as well. Before doing anything though I thoroughly washed each blank and button cover with brillo pads to remove tarnish and get an even sheen (not shine). AND I put on several layers of matte paint sealant just to keep them from retarnishing.

    Just some ideas if you wanted a really weighty piece that lasts forever!
    Alli
    www.myspace.com/lucialeria
    Photos are up in the pics section entitled "Look"
  24. MiraxTHorn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2000
    star 4
    Well, I finished on Friday morning, just in time to wear my new costume trick-or-treating. A big thank you to all of you for your insight and tips, most especially to lava for her excellent hair tutorial! I'm really happy with how it all turned out. I need to take some more formal pics for RL submission, so these are just fun ones from that night:

    Family Photo
    Yoda in his 'floating' vehicle
    Getting Candy

    Regards,
    M.
  25. Neimhaille Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 12, 2002
    star 3
    Just wanted to clarify that it is not cartridge pleated. That involves specifically sewing edge to edge two pieces of fabric one significantly wider than the other.
    However in making them you can use a technique called gauging which is probably meant here. It employs several rows of even stitches pulled in to make neat and even gathers. This is used also for smocking to create the even gathers to stitch down. Also used for shirring, though that tends to be much smaller so a less perfect row of gathers forms.

    You can also do shirring with elastic and a sewing machine, and direct the gathers more to the middle. They would remain permanently in place that way.

    Nice screen caps :) Wow, the dress looks really see through in some shots, it's really noticeable in your caps!