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Purple Senate / Loyalist Committee gown
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Naergi ()
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:30 pm    Post subject: Purple Senate / Loyalist Committee gown Reply with quote

Well, hell.

I was working on a (different!) "surprise" costume for CEII, when I remembered that I still have a full bolt of the silk/rayon 'flame' velvet of the purple Senate gown from Episode 2 (I bought 2 bolts ten years ago); so I could have made that one as well (instead of the surprise costume which I actually made, that is).

The idea nagged me. For weeks.
And finally I gave in.
Since I already posted some pics of my progress on Facebook, I thought I could as well post my progress here.

I'm not quite sure if I can pull that gown off until CEII, but I just HAVE to try. So here's my progress.

I started with the most time consuming things because I know that I tend to lose interest if I am stuck doing things that, well, need much time.
So I figured that instead of doing the actual sewing on the dress first, I'd start with the beading and cording embroideries - that way I won't waste time doing the "simple stuff" (=sewing) first, but can do it last, so I know that my speed will pick up towards the end.

During the past five days I've done nothing but beading. Here's the result after five days (of which I took one day off from beading).
The photos of the brooch were taken indoors with a flash, the one of the triangle was taken outside in the sun. I used no filters on the photos; that IS the way the beading sparkles naturally Wink

Brooch, after one day:



Brooch, after two days - this was finished surprisingly fast:



By now I've spent two days on the "bodice triangle", on which the progress is WAY slower than on the brooch:



If you click on the 'triangle' photo to see it larger, you will notice that the beads at the center of the sequins have many different sizes and shapes.
This is because I'm not just using cupped iridescent black sequins and seed beads. In fact I'm using a variety of round and cut seed beads, hex cut beads and cut glass beads, all in various shades of "iridescent" (black-, blue- and purple iridescent, that is) on top of the sequins.

I'm not doing this because I would have "no idea that the original gown only uses round seed beads" (actually I know that Wink ), but to add some extra sparkle by using the cut variations of beads on top of the cupped sequins. I don't think that the usage of those cut beads takes away much from the appearance (in terms of "likeliness to the original"), and I love me some extra sparkle, so there Wink
Also, for the brooch I didn't just use "straight" bugle beads but also twisted ones in black AB - again, to add to the sparkle (because a twisted bugle will sparkle more than a non-twisted one).

Will post again when I have finished that bodice triangle - by now I've beaded a bit more than 1/4 of the complete triangle.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow!! Cool
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RebelSenator (Raychel Enck)
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second that wow! Great job.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beautiful! I'll be following this thread with great interest; I've been gathering the materials for this one for a while (though I'm terribly jealous of your silk velvet- I was a poor college kid back when it was easily available, so I had to settle for a polyester version that is, well, polyester, but at least it's the accurate pattern).

I like your idea of doing the boring tedious stuff first, and may have to steal that idea. Though this year my goal is to do the undergarments for it, just to get it all underway. I look forward to seeing how this progresses!
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Naergi ()
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, everybody, for the nice comments! Smile
JediDWH wrote:
Beautiful! I'll be following this thread with great interest; I've been gathering the materials for this one for a while (though I'm terribly jealous of your silk velvet- I was a poor college kid back when it was easily available, so I had to settle for a polyester version that is, well, polyester, but at least it's the accurate pattern).


I bought two bolts back then because I was still making costumes professionally at that point of time. Over the years, I used bits and pieces of that fabric here and there (besides making the actual Senate gown for someone else, that is). Now I still have one bolt left, plus some scraps from previous projects.

Since yesterday I did more beading on the triangle - I think I have by now finished approximately 2/3 of the entire triangle.

As I have already made the gown once I know pretty exactly how long it takes to make it; so I know that there's a real chance that I can have this costume finished until CEII (while also finishing my numerous other projects for that convention, that is).

There's just one thing that worries me greatly, though, and that is the braided hair for the headdress. Almost four weeks ago I bought two pounds (!) of microbraided hair (!) in the US. The package was sent off on the 10th of March, but has not arrived yet.
I contacted the seller today; and I SO hope that it didn`t get lost. Usually packages take approximately 2-3 weeks to get to me from the US, sometimes (rarely) it's four weeks, and one package took seven weeks (!). And only one package was lost on its way to me within ten years of online ordering from the US.
So I somehow still have hope for that package of microbraided hair - I REALLY need it. Knowing my patience (or rather lack thereof) there's no way that I will braid that hair by hand; and I can't obtain any pre-made microbraided hair in Germany (or Europe, that is).
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LaV317 (LaVonne)
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooooh, sparkly! Amadalia

Look forward to further progress reports/photos. Beautiful work Naergi!
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some days I wish I hadn't sold mine, but at least I used the money to buy materials to make it again.

Lovely progress so far!
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Naergi ()
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you :-)

More progress - just nine and a half more rows to bead!



You'll probably notice the lines on the fabric.
I drew one line for every two rows I have to bead, using a gel pen that will wash out easily, and highly recommend doing this.
When I started the triangle, I just had those lines on the backside of the fabric. That basically required me to turn the piece of fabric over for each sequin / bead to make sure that I'm beading even rows.
Having them on the front side of the fabric allows me to bead much quicker since I don't have to turn the fabric over for each bead/sequin.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent progress!

What is that fabric you're sewing all the beads and sequins on to, and is it reinforced in any way?
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Naergi ()
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JediDWH wrote:
Excellent progress!


Thank you Smile

Quote:
What is that fabric you're sewing all the beads and sequins on to, and is it reinforced in any way?


Excellent question! *snickers*

The fabric is a 10 years old scrap, which I had left from lining the hanging sleeves (and making the inner sleeve...) of the Senate gown that I made for someone else ten years ago (and yes, I tend to HOARD scraps of pretty fabrics!).
You can "guess" it in this old picture of said old dress on the undersleeves.
Back then, digital cameras weren't as good as they are today - and yes, compared to newer pictures of the original my soutache embroideries of back then look way too purple; but, well, back then they looked right:


It's crushed silk taffeta, and I reinforced it with iron-on stabilizer for the beading.
This dress is all about stabilizers, flat lining etc. - except for the inner sleeves, there's not one pattern piece on this dress that hasn't been reinforced in one way or another.

At the point of time when I started beading the brooch, the fabric which I'm intending to use for my Senate gown had not arrived yet - actually I'm still waiting for some of it.
So I just went to my 'dark blue' scraps box (...yes, I sort them by color...) and looked what would work. After all I don't need much for the parts that are covered with beading.
The a-bit-less-than-half-yard of crushed taffeta that has been in that box for ten years practically begged to be used as a backing for the beading; so I did what it was asking for.
Also? Ten years of living in a box are really enough for pretty fabric Wink
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Naergi ()
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beading of brooch and triangle: Finished! Very Happy



After a few hours break I will write a longer post with some beading tips, a bit about hair (mine has arrived - finally!), the usage of Pepakura for headdresses as well as why rayon soutache is obviously not equal to rayon soutache... stay tuned Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks nice. I've started this costume as well. Don't have much of it done yet, but I've gathered all the supplies I'll need.

If you don't mind my asking, what is the width of your brooch. I'd like to see how it compares to mine.
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Naergi ()
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blue wrote:
If you don't mind my asking, what is the width of your brooch. I'd like to see how it compares to mine.

Using the proportional method (=a photo of myself in a doorframe to which a measurement tape is attached, then overlaying that in Photoshop with photos of the original costume until shoulders and feet (hem) match up and cutting out the measurement tape out to see what "size" the single details on the original costume have), I determined a size of 13.5cm (about 5.5 inches) for my brooch. It really depends on the proportional size compared to your own body height how large the brooch has to be.

So...

...beading tips!

- if your beading needle won't pass through some of the small beads, the needle is too large. The ideal beading needle is barely thicker than a hair and slightly bendable without breaking; and if you find one, you must treasure it.
Some of you may not see this as a "tip", but it really is. I have been treasuring my (single!) beading needle for years - it's probably the best-guarded item in my household, and will pass through 15/0 seed beads (under 1mm) without problems.

- If you use sequins or beads of the very SAME type (as in "6mm cupped black iridescent sequins", or "black iris twisted 6x2 bugle beads") from SEVERAL packages, empty the content of ALL those same-type packages BEFORE you start and blend them together.
If you're working with LARGE packages (like, 4,000 sequins packages!), do the same.
The reasons are that a) different packages can contain several color batches - the variation may NOT be obvious in the package, but on the finished beading, it may be; and b) that in large packages, certain colors of (in this case sequins) may be clustered.
Let me use a picture to demonstrate this.
Click the picture to see it larger (and understand what I'm talking about):



If you look closely, you'll see that the upper 8.5 rows are slightly darker than the lower rows of beading. Guess what? That's when I started using sequins from a different package.
That effect isn't as obvious in person as in a flash-photographed image, but it IS there.

Knowing that, see this...:



and look at the first, say, 4-5 rows of the "new" package. You'll notice that the main sequin color in those 4-5 rows is mainly "lavender / copperish".
That new package? That WAS such a new large 4,000 sequins package (opposed to the 500-sequins-package which I used up before), and I didn't blend the 4,000 package through before starting but just pinched some sequins between my fingers and took them out to bead those rows. That, obviously, was the place where the lavender/copper sequins were concentrated.
If you look at the upper rows, the color variation is much better (because that's when I noticed the problem and had blended the package).

As I said, that problem isn't as obvious in person; which is why I won't redo the beaded panel. But if you know that it's there, you can spot it in flash-lit photos.


Now... let's talk about soutache.

Ten years ago I bought two 288-yards-spools of Soutache from Cheeptrims; one white, one purple.
Those two poor spools have survived three house moves and one flooded basement after a tornado, so they're not exactly in best shape - but the soutache on them is still good.
Here's a picture so you can compare the labels:



As you can see, the spools and labels are basically the same (except for the labels having different color codes). And actually, both labels have a "RYN" on them, specifying that the content of the soutache is rayon, which is dyeable.

Over the years I've used quite a bit of the white soutache and dyed it successfully (of course - it's rayon, right?).
Now, when it came to soutache for this Senate gown reproduction, I thought "why not use the purple soutache and dye it navy?" - not unreasonable, right?

So I put approximately 100 yards of the purple soutache on a loosely spooled plastic card (to be able to dye it properly), and tried to dye it.
Twice.
Guess what? It didn't take the dye at all.

So I put ANOTHER 100 yards of the WHITE soutache on such a plastic spool, and dyed that.
Guess what? It took the dye PERFECTLY.

Here's a picture of both the original spools standing on the plastic cards with the dyed soutache. You will notice almost no color difference on the purple dye batch (compared to the original spool color, that is) while the white clearly turned navy without problems.



Reason?
Cheeptrims obviously MISLABELED the purple spool. That purple soutache, as similar as it may look to the white soutache, is made from polyester; while the white soutache is indeed rayon.
I confirmed that with a burn test of the fibers - the white soutache burns like a candle, smells like burned paper and crumbles into fine ash; while the purple soutache burns with a bright flame, smells like burned plastic and turns into hard blobs of molten plastic.

So much for "soutache doesn't equal soutache.

Last not least, headdress in Pepakura.
What I did was to first build the headdress in Blender, with reference photos of the original headdress in the background to get the shape right...



...and then I disassembled the resulting object in Pepakura, printed it out, glued the pieces of paper to cardboard, and here's what that looks like - note that this is just the 'base headdress' (=the hair covered part):



I will assemble this now, then stabilize it with a few thin layers of epoxy resin and, afterwards, attach the hair right over it. The epoxy resin will stabilize it perfectly and keep it lightweight.

Oh! And my hair has arrived. Instead of using Padmé's brown hair color, I of course bought hair in a light brown-reddish color similar to my own hair color, so I get a better match to my own hair.
Here's my microbraided hair after a first initial washing:



Tomorrow I'll glue the parts of the headdress together, see if it fits and then add a first layer of epoxy resin over it.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always loved the headdress for this costume.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fascinating plan of attack for that headdress shape! Technology, wonderful thing that. Any chance you'd consider sharing that pattern? I've got my Clone Wars version of that headdress to look forward to later this summer, and I still haven't decided how I'm going to do it.

All in all, I am amazed at how quickly you're whipping through this! That's a lot of intense, hard work in a short period of time.
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