When cosplayers choose to dress like Princess Leia they often go for the white robe seen in A New Hope or the metal bikini from Return of the Jedi. I’m thrilled when I see replicas of either of Leia’s ensembles from The Empire Strikes Back – like this Bespin Leia design. Leah D’Andrea, a.k.a. FenigDurak, made the entire outfit by hand and spent over 350 hours embroidering the cape. 350 hours! That seems like it would have been enough time to construct the Death Star. She shared some making-of information at DeviantArt:
5 yards silk twill in rust
7 yards 54″ wide silk chiffon in ivory
20 spools of silk embroidery floss in various colors
3 spools Kreinik braid size #32 in copper
A lovely costumer in Atlanta was kind enough to send me the embroidery pattern she used (thank you Brandi!) and from there it was print, resize and reprint until I had the scale right. I am a number of inches taller than Brandi, so adjusting her pattern was a necessity. I changed and added a few details that were recently discovered thanks to high res photographs.
I did a test run of the embroidery on some costume chiffon for a pair of wrap pants for a one-off costume idea. It went well, so off I went!
I thought ahead and color coded my pattern tracing. The pattern was taped to a large piece of foam core and I pinned the silk chiffon to the board and traced the pattern. Each floss color got its own pencil color. This saved me a ton of time referring back to the photos later. I could just set up Netflix Instant Watch (MacGuyver and Star Trek!) and go to town.
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