I've always been on the fence about this Leia costume. It's lovely and so delicately detailed without going overboard. It's the epitome of early 80s fashion and color palette. But all that embroidery.
So I finally tackled it. I made a promise to a friend who makes an excellent Lando (search Bitches and Pancakes on YouTube) and got it done in time for Celebration IV.
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.
Anyway, I won't bore you with all those details and get down to it. Over 350 hours embroidering, another however many sewing and I was good to go!
I did learn that after I finished the embroidery, hand washed the silk to remove the pencil marks, I could use a spray set while ironing and it smoothed everything out so beautifully.
There are a few little fiddly bits I would change given the motivation, but as Halloween has just passed and I'm getting over a crud, I think I'll wait a little bit.
Photos taken by the always charming Trent Thornton.
Edited to add: I stuck this under Stage and Screen because I truly dislike being called a Cosplayer.