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Amidala Red Invasion Gown
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Naergi ()
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Joined: 21 May 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, that.

And here's a long word of advice from myself...

If reproducing a costume as accurate as possible, it's always advisable to try and use materials that are very close to those that were used on the original costume.

Why am I saying this?

Because Trisha Biggar is notoriously known for hunting down fabrics and other materials not at JoAnn's and Fabric.com. She used small, independent shops; often flea markets and antiques dealers to find her materials.

That lace overlay on the Red Invasion headdress is a perfect example - this (with the swirls and the flowers) is, unmistakeable, Brussels lace; and vintage at that since nowadays Brussels lace (which usually comes in white!), IF it's made (which is rare!), is usually made from almost-non-dyeable fibers, like polyester.
But the vintage laces (made pre-widespread polyester; before the 1940s-50s) are still made from pure cotton or linen threads and can be dyed; so it's almost safe to assume that this 'red' (formerly probably white) lace overlay is vintage.

Just think of the Edwardian bedspread, better known to SW fans as Padmé's wedding gown.
Or the jet-beaded appliqué on the necklace of the dinner dress which, too, is probably to be dated Edwardian (1890-~1915). Same for the vintage beaded appliqués on packing gown and the gorgeous and totally undervalued black Coruscant kimono with its beaded vintage appliqués; both probably dating to 1920s / flapper / Art Deco.
Last not least the museum-worthy, HUGE jet-beaded appliqué on the backside of the Black Invasion gown; which I would date even earlier than everything else; c. 1870-90, to be precise.

All those materials are definitely vintage and one-of-a-kind findings; and it's sad but true that "they just don't make them like that any more!". Nowadays they used cupped (opposed to plain) sequins to make appliqués, and IF plain sequins are used, they're too large (vintage sequins are rarely larger than 4mm; modern ones are 5-6mm).
Also, faceted and polished jet beads do have a very different appearance from faceted plastic beads (which are used in modern appliqués).
And don't let me get started on the dreadful, dense underlays of modern appliqués, opposed to the delicacy of Edwardian and Victorian appliqués which are carefully stitched down on *silk tulle*.
All those are minor differences to modern appliqués; but if you put all those minor differences together, you end up with one LARGE difference to what was originally used on the costume you're trying to reproduce.
And no, 'it's black and it glitters!' often isn't enough to get close to what you're trying to achieve; you would see that as soon as you *photograph* your reproduction with a flash and compare that photo side-by-side to a flash-photographed photo of the original gown.
Flash photography does show differences best, believe me.

So if you really want *the* look... don't look at modern stuff if that wasn't what the original costume was made from to begin with.
With Ebay, Rubylane, Etsy and other 'vintage' shopping / auction sites, shopping worldwide is simple and offers a HUGE variety of possibilities.

Also? There's ALWAYS still a bit of space in that / those ever-growing fabrics and trims closet(s) - what you can obtain but can't use right now, you may still be able to use at a later time - never forget, "she who dies with the most fabric wins!" Laughing
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~*~ Love of my life: Creating costumes! ~*~
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Naergi ()
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Joined: 21 May 2012
Posts: 436

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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As for actually making the Red Invasion gown, I started with the hoopskirt. The hoopskirt is essentially for the actual look of this gown because it basically has to be gravity-defying, with the trumpet shape the dress is supposed to be having.

So I constructed it from 24 panels of very, very sturdy cotton twill and added 7 rings of hoop steel to it. It actually works like a lampshade - the hoop steel rings stretch the fabric of the skirt, so it seems to float over the floor.
Please ignore the wrinkled look - as I said, that cotton twill is VERY sturdy - so sturdy in fact that it refuses to be ironed. Then again of course this is just the hoopskirt, and when I wear the actual dress, it will never be seen.



Someone asked me recently how I am going to travel with this dress (or rather pitied me for having to be limited to local events), since that person assumed that I wouldn't be able to pack the hoopskirt flat.
This is why you can see a small spray can in the lower left corner of the picture - it's there so you have something to compare the size to Wink

Of course the hoopskirt (just like the dress) can be packed flat. It's stiffened with hoop steel, after all - flexible spring steel which is designed to be put into hoop skirts. I'm actually very glad that this stuff was invented in the 1840s (and made the large crinolines of the 1850s possible), because seriously - I can't imagine being limited to non-flexible cane (which was used for hoopskirts until the invention of spring steel) or non-flexible wire.
So here's my board-sized suitcase, packed up with the hoopskirt (and, mind you, not even "packed flat" because I can still push it down!)... and the spray can so you are able to compare the size Smile



The hoop steels just spring back to their actual size and shape as soon as I remove the hoopskirt from the suitcase.
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~*~ Love of my life: Creating costumes! ~*~
Current projects:
Amidala Red Invasion
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Naergi ()
Active Legion Member


Joined: 21 May 2012
Posts: 436

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since I just discovered this (and also posted it on Facebook):
What do Red Invasion and a Tusken woman have in common?
Nothing, you say? Well you just didn't look close enough.
Note that this just CANNOT be coincidental, since both "jewels" aren't just in basically the same place but also have approximately the same size.


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~*~ Love of my life: Creating costumes! ~*~
Current projects:
Amidala Red Invasion
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Blue (Beth)
Legion Costume Judge
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Joined: 26 Apr 2005
Posts: 1637
Location: Wisconsin, USA
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
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