Princess Leia Leia's Ceremonial gown from ANH

Discussion in 'Costuming and Props' started by Amidala_wannabe, Apr 5, 2002.

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  1. LeiaYT1300 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 7, 2002
    star 3
    I, personally, don't care for it that much because I don't like the pattern they used for the base. The new Simplicity one we're discussing just looks much more like the right shape for the bodice of it... As a tutorial for someone not nearly as picky as I am about how my Leia costumes look compared with the originals, it's a pretty good tutorial.

    I feel the same way you do about it. And having had the time to look over that pattern you mentioned thoroughly, it really is the best one we've seen to date. Also, I myself am very picky. I always want it as authentic as possible, right down to the stitches, as I figure it this way for myself: Why go to all the trouble if it's not as authentic as possible? But like I said, that's just the standard I hold for myself alone.
    Which is why my Bespin costume took nearly a whole year, and I'm still reworking and updating bits and pieces to this day (and one of these days, I'll get that darned tutorial written out! ;) ).

    But I do like this ceremonial gown tutorial. It's very helpful on many levels, especially for the jewelry and belt. :)
  2. Obi Anne FF admin Celebrations, Europe

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    Nov 4, 1998
    star 7
    Since the discussion of this dress is gearing up in the costume project thread I think it's time to push the thread up to the top.
  3. StormtrooperPrincess Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2002
    star 3
  4. Sister_Sola Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2002
    star 4
    Thanks Obi Anne!

    Okay, StormtrooperPrincess posted this in the other thread:

    I'm also convinced that it's sleeves, not a split cape

    Plus a couple others said the same thing.

    So my question is, sleeves how? Going by the pictures of Carrie in the dress, it looks to me like the sheer fabric is attached all along the neckline, from back to front, and at the bodice seam under the bust. It also looks like it attaches at the side seam under the arms as well, at least for a few inches. And then slit all the way up the back (but still attached at the neckline).

    [image=http://sistersola.com/Extras/boards/leia_ceremonial_seams.jpg]

    So I see them as like 'wings' kind of, attached mainly at the neckline, and anchored at the bodice and side seams under the armhole.

    Thoughts? Suggestions? Corrections?

    About the shoes - Ferd, you mentioned that you got them on eBay. What kind of search did you enter to come up with them? Like "silver pumps" or more detail than that? Thanks!
  5. StormtrooperPrincess Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2002
    star 3
    In the last picture on my references page (the link above), there are two faint lines that I think is where the fabric from the front attaches to the back as it comes around to make the sleeves; I marked them with arrows. (Of course, I could be wrong about that, but it's the only thing I can think of to explain what's there, especially since on the left side of the image you can see what I think is the shoulder seam of the bottom layer.) So the fabric in back is seperate from the bust/sleeves, but attaches at the neckline, too.

    Beret may have a better explanation of what's going on.
  6. LeiaYT1300 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 7, 2002
    star 3
    First off, thank you Obi Anne for unlocking the thread. :)

    StormtrooperPrincess, you're the only other person I know who has noted those diagonal seams in the back shoulders. And that, to me, is indomitable proof, aside from the shot of her placing the medal on Han with all the space showing, that shows it has to be sleeves. Also, you're on the right track with the front of the sleeves, Sister_Sola. That neckline seam you marked out, though, stops at the shoulder seam on the neck and branches out to become it's own entity in the back. But the front sleeve edge is actually in line with the bodice seam, and then the sleeve is stitched down to the bodice side seam about 2" up (see pic "details004" in my album for a visual explanation).

    I tried keeping that diagonal line as a true "seam" at first, attaching the back of the "wing" (which is a good way to describe it, Sister_Sola) to the armscye just like a traditional sleeve, and it didn't work. It began to pull funny, pucker and lay unevenly as I tucked it under and pinned it to the armscye. On top of that, the thin crepe I was using was only 45" wide (which is standard for crepe, unfortunately; I used crepe instead of chiffon, as it has a similar thinness to the original and chiffon was too thin, imo, along with having a similar drape, weight and liquidity, which chiffon didn't offer), and I had to consider the shape and fullness of the "wings" within those restrictions. Turning it under to attach to the armscye was affecting the fullness of the shape badly, shrinking it down, thinning it out and it wasn't flowing well at all. Seeing as how I would have to draw the sides and hem of the sleeves freehand to begin with, I wanted to use every inch of fabric I had while keeping the fullness and flow, using the fabric effectively and efficiently (not sure if that makes sense, but those were the thoughts in my head at the time).

    So, with two muslin sleeves dead (I only worked on one side, knowing when the muslin was done, it would just be flipped for the left) and very frustrated, I went back to the shoulder pic in question and studied it further, as well as the same shot on the film, and noticed another detail, though faint. There are what seems to be a vertical line stemming from the shoulder seam/neckline and the inside point of the diagonal seam (pic "details001" has an arrow pointing that out), and I don't think it's a wrinkle in the garment, even though it only shows on the left side. And I began to think that perhaps that diagonal line is not a seam but a tack mark to keep the "wing" from flipping back due to movement, while also stabilizing all the layers down at the shoulder, and that the vertical seam stemming from the inside of the diagonal line is the actual seam of the sleeve.

    Armed with a new muslin sleeve base (meaning the front is finished, but the back is unworked), I tried it out on my form, and it worked! I then slipstitched the seam of the sleeve down along the back of the gown until about the middle of the shoulder blade, then left the rest to freefall as part of the sleeve, hand-rolling/slipstitching a tiny hem all the way around. It allows the sleeve to lay flat as she reaches for the medal and rearranges it, but when she places the medal on Han, it flies open to create that space we see. The diagonal "seam" creates a nice anchor for the sleeve with the neckline, and like the slipstitching I did down to mid-shoulder blade, it keeps the sleeve from flipping up with her medal-placing movement.

    I've uploaded to my photoalbum Ceremonial Gown Reference pics, so you can see what I mean: Album I also added two of my drawings to that group which will help illustrate things.

    As for shoes, I did a simple search on Ebay, using the keyword "silver pumps". Lots of auctions for similar silver shoes out there. :)

    I hope the above helps you gals out with your costumes, and that it makes sense to you (I can get very wordy with my explanations, and
  7. Sister_Sola Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2002
    star 4
    Thanks so much StormtrooperPrincess and LeiaYT1300! I see now that the sheer fabric does not attach at the back neckline. When you said sleeves, I thought you meant that they would be attached at the armscyes but I was sure I didn't see that in the pics.

    Thanks so much for your drawings LeiaYT, they are tremendously helpful!
  8. StormtrooperPrincess Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2002
    star 3
    Hey, nice to know that I've been fairly on track with the shape of the sleeve in back, too! On my first muslin of the sleeves, I fiddled with the idea of making it fit the armscye in back, but never could decide how far around it should be attached so that it would still hang correctly. Besides, it looked better from the side when it wasn't attached there. That was back in September; haven't had the opportunity to finish playing with this yet. In six weeks I get the rest of my sewing supplies, so I should be able to finish playing with sleeve shape then.
  9. FERDALUMP Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 12, 2002
    star 3
    Yeah--the thread is back! :) I wish this discussion came about a few weeks ago! Sister_Sola You lucky monkey! These ladies sure know this dress backwards and forwards now! :)

    As I said before this dress drove me bananas--and it's because of those wicked "wings". I too am convinced it is sleeves--so mine is more accurate to the action figure and doll. The variation comes in with how I carried the two pieces around to the back and made it into a cape and not so much sleeves. (sorry to be redundant-just thought I would document it here).

    I had a hard time finding a sheer material that pleased me. IMHO the original appears to have some elasticity to it--like a poly sheer stretch, not exactly a stretch mesh, but sort of an illusion material (think Ice Skater's sheer insert material). The fabric I had in mind had that nice drape and weight to it--not too fly away. I did not want a sparkle organza or a chiffon with too much stiffness, so I was pretty pleased with the chiffon I found as far as drape. If I were to recommend a fabric for an "accurate" dress I would say a sheer poly stretch type material.

    I found my shoes at a local second hand store, but I think Leia found her's on ebay--and so I assume you can find them easily there.

    I made my necklace out of Sculpy clay. I used silver, but once it was baked it wasn't a nice shade. They say you can only use water based paint to paint clay--so I experimented with Folk Art "Silver Anniversary" water based aryllic--but the finish was a bit too matte for my taste. So I played with Spray Paint in Chrome finish. This is tricky, the clay sometimes has a reaction and the paint will not dry. I found that if I primed the clay, and did the spray paint in light coats it worked nicely. I would also recommend the clear glaze that is made by Sculpy and is made to seal painted clay. You brush it on and it seals the paint and looks nice.

    For the belt, I had a very hard time finding leather locally--but I did find silver vinyl!!! :) So that is what I used. I double layered it so the belt has a decent thickness and weight to it, and I used flashing and button blanks for the details. I glued the flashing with E-6000 glue.

    I made my dress out of poly knit, overlaid in chiffon, and lined completely with matte satin.

    LeiaYT and Stormtrooper Princess Your observations and sketches are wonderful. If I ever have to make this gown again, I will tackle those sleeves that way! :)

    Sister_sola Can't wait to see your gown!! :) Good Luck!

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who was mistaken to think it was a cape! [face_blush]

    ~Ferd
  10. Sister_Sola Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2002
    star 4
    Thanks for documenting your experiences here Ferd - every little bit helps!

    I haven't started this yet - I've just got the fabric, but I need to find some decently similar fabric to do a muslin with.

    Question about the Sculpey, as this is what I'm planning on using. When it comes to making the holes in the squares in order to 'string' them into a necklace - what gauge wire did you use, and do you just leave it in there and bake it (like, won't it be stuck in the soft piece and impossible to pull out again? or do you oil it, or what?)?

    Thanks again!
  11. StormtrooperPrincess Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2002
    star 3
    Sister Sola, I "borrowed" a wire cake tester from my mom, and used that to make the holes in my necklace. Just carefully pushed it through the clay and pulled it out again as cleanly as possible so that the edges of the hole didn't get misshapen.

    Hey, my first version has no sheer overlayer, and has a full cape in back (the zipper is in one side seam), so it's not even accurate to the doll. :) If I can just find fabric like what I used for the cape again, I'll be happy--it's got some of that elastic quality you're talking about, Ferd.
  12. Sister_Sola Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2002
    star 4
    Thanks StormtrooperPrincess!

    I just had to call 5 places before I found one that carries cake testers at all. I didn't think they'd be so hard to find!

    I've got lots of Sculpey left over from my Return to Naboo medallion, in gold. I'll test it out and since I'll have to paint it anyway, I'm not too worried about the base colour. (the gold Sculpey bakes to a 'yellow bisque' colour anyway, not gold at all).

    Thanks thanks thanks! :)
  13. Jedi_Dajuan Admin: FanForce and Games

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    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 2002
    star 6
    Just thought I'd stick my head in here and let everyone know that I'm creating this costume. Thus far I have the belt about done (I'm going to use the white leather version I think not the silver). I'm working on the actual dress currently. I'll post picutres as I get them.
  14. kay_dee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2002
    star 4
    Hi - I'm sticking my head in here too :)

    I started thinking about making this costume last week and saw that I was not all that original in my idea for a Halloween/ Celebration III costume!

    Oh well, I won't let it dampen my spirits I guess. This has always been my FAVORITE costume of Leia's, and since it doesn't have embroidery or other elaborate embellishments I might have enough time to squeeze it in!

    It sounds like drafting the sleeves and fitting the dress pattern will take the most time.

    After studying a few of the Photos at Padawan's guide, it almost looks to me like the dress is made of two layers. The top layer being similar to the sleeve material, and an underlayer added for opacity. (note the hem of her skirt in this photo: http://www.padawansguide.com/originaltrilogy/ceremony1.jpg)

    Time to start looking at patterns and searching for fabric ideas :)

    -Kay Dee


  15. Obi-Dawn Kenobi Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 4
    Do it kay_dee! :)
    The necklace from this costume has always been my favorite original trilogy costume item. [face_love]
  16. Jedi_Dajuan Admin: FanForce and Games

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    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 2002
    star 6
    See I switched it kay_dee. I used see-through sleeves, and lining, opaque for the regular top layer. When I get back to St. Louis I will post pictures of what I've done. Looks pretty good.
  17. kay_dee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2002
    star 4
    I can't wait to see your pics Jedi Dajuan!

    OK, I went to JoAnn's today and found some very good simplicity patterns to use for this dress! I just have to go back tomorrow to get them on sale :)

    It seems to me the best pattern to use is Simplicity 5681.

    [image=http://www.simplicity.com/assets/5681/5681.jpg]

    This pattern would only need some simple alterations - change the bust gather to a dart, round out the neckline, and maybe remove the waist seam in the back, making it all one long panel neck to floor.

    Has anyone seen a good view of the back of the real costume? Does it have a waist seam? Does it have a center back seam with a zipper?

    Another pattern that is also very close is Simplicity 5049 (a 2 hour dress! I don't have much time so that is a good thing - lol!)

    [image=http://www.simplicity.com/assets/5049/5049.jpg]

    Again, this pattern would need to have a dart substituted for the bust gathers, round out the shape of the neck line, and the back has that waist seam and some funky gathers added in - so I think the gathers would be a little more work to alter out. (that's why # 5681 seems better to me)

    This should be fun!

    Now to just figure out those darn sleeves. I will read over the posts again but I might have a few questions :)

    -kay dee



  18. Jedi_Dajuan Admin: FanForce and Games

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    Dec 30, 2002
    star 6
    Actually Kay_dee this is a better pattern: Butterick 6593. You can find a picutre of it atObi Wan's Jedi Acedemy. The site has some great advice for this project in general. I'd take a look there as well. ;) I'd link the pattern but the link is too long. There is a link for it on the site though. It's the pattern I used, only thing I don't like is that there is a seam down the front of the dress, but that is easily changed.

    I don't know what you mean by waist seam on the back, care to elaborate? (sorry if this is choppy I'm trying to get it out before class, be back later with more discussion.)
  19. JainaMSolo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2001
    star 3
    Dajuan, I'm not sure that pattern is necessarily better-- it's got princess seams in the bodice that would have to be drafted out, whereas the patterns that kay dee is suggesting only need the bust gathers changed to darts. As for "waist seam in the back," I'm pretty sure that in those two patterns, the underbust seams continue around the dress, making a seam at the waist on the back pattern piece.

    Caitlin
  20. Jedi_Dajuan Admin: FanForce and Games

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    Dec 30, 2002
    star 6
    You have a point there Jaina. That pattern worked better for me because it allowed me a lot of freedom with the bust adjustment. I need a little extra room in the boobage area but not in the rib cage, that one made it easier.
  21. LeiaYT1300 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 7, 2002
    star 3
    Kay_Dee, from all of the pic research a number of us have done, we've only been able to see the back of this costume from the neckline down to a couple of inches below (in the film). The available still from that bit of film shows that there is most likely no center back seam on the gown (from what we can tell). But that doesn't mean there is no zipper involved in this costume--there could very well be one in one of the side seams, to make getting into the costume easier, and we're just not able to see it. I myself opted to make my gown a pull-over version, as my fabric had some stretch to it and I found it worked very well.

    As for a waist seam, with the pic evidence we have, we can definitely say there is none--there's only the bust seam.

    One can only hope that one day Lucasfilm will release a nice pic of the costume from behind, perhaps through Photoreceptor (in Hyperspace access) or some such, but for now, what the back looks like is purely determined through a glimpse of the back shoulder/neckline details in the film, speculation and personal preference. And as for a pattern, go with what works for you. :)

    Hope that helps somewhat, let us know if you have any more questions, and good luck with the gown! :)
  22. kay_dee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2002
    star 4
    Thanks for the advise everyone. :)

    First off - let me clairfy whaty I meant by 'waist seam'

    I know there is only the seam under the bust on the front of the gown... but on just about every pattern I found, the bust seam wraps around to the back... so there is a seam in the back as well. (just like Caitlin said)

    I've scanned the back of one of my pattern so you can see what I mean by 'waist seam'

    Simplicity 5049 Back
    [image=http://www.kay-dee.net/costumes/5049_back.jpg]

    I guess if there are no shots of Leia from the back (other than her shoulders) we won't know if the real costume has this kind of seam as well. *sigh*

    Jedi Dajuan for some reason the Jedi Academy site doesn't show any content for me. I just see the picture of Leia, but no information on patterns, how to make it - etc. (I click on "tips" but only get a page saying 'these are time saving tips' with no actual tips given) Did they take the info off the site? Are they using some kind of strange script that my computer won't allow? It's frustrating - because I bet they had some good tips! Anyway, the reason I didn't go with the Butterick pattern is because it has the princess seams and I wanted to find a pattern closer to the movie costume. I'm sure it looks great though, and the princess seams do allow for a nice fitted look.

    It's funny, because as far as the center back seam goes - her ponytail covers the center so you can't tell if there is one or not :( Adding a side seam zipper is a good idea though, I'll see how my mock-ups go.

    Thanks!

    -kay dee





  23. kay_dee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 15, 2002
    star 4
    OK - I need some pointers on draping the sleeves/wings :)

    I've started to play with my muslin, but I'm having a heck of a time. Are there any tutorial's out there I'm missing on how to drape the sleeves? (I see where they attach under the bust, a small amt taked in at the side seam - etc.)

    Leia - it looks like you used one continuous panel of crepe fabric (I don't see any seams at the front center where the two wings could potentially meet under the neckline). Am I on the right track by taking several yards of muslin, cutting a hole in the center for my dress form neck to poke through, and drape from there?

    If anyone happend to save the tips that were posted at the Obi-Wan Jedi Academy I'd sure love to have a copy of them!

    Thanks,

    kay dee
  24. surlygirlie Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 2000
    star 4
    kay_dee, I'm wondering if the problem you're having at the Jedi Academy site isn't due to browser incompatibility. The info's there -- I see it using Mozilla Firebird/fox, but it seems like on a build of Netscape that I was using last year, I was unable to see some of the content.


  25. StormtrooperPrincess Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2002
    star 3
    The pattern I'd suggest is Simplicity 5590. Scoop neck (not as low), inverted bust V with slight gathers, no back seam or back waist seam, pulls over the head, almost ankle length, sleeveless. Unfortunately, I think it's out of print now since I can't find it on Simplicity's site. (A shame, too... I just bought it last year!)


    In my first version, I put the zipper in the side seam. (It's a full cape in back, which worked for the amount of time I had to work on it when I made it.) Not sure what I'm going to do in my second version yet, which is on hold at the moment.



    ETA: Do you browse with images turned off? The Jedi Academy uses images for their links... On the Ceremonial Leia page, there are four (dress, hair, accessories, belt) on the right underneath the header, and about nine in the center of the Basic Tips page. As for any weird scripts, I don't see any. They used MS FrontPage to build the site, apparently.
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