August 10, 2010

Costume: Padme's Black Corset Gown

Padme's dinner gown from Attack of the Clones is very symbolic.  I think during this meal she crosses a line that she is unable to turn back from.  That's all lovely, but I have to admit that to me this is mostly just a gorgeous costume that I wanted to recreate.

First, I put in research time.  The Padawan's Guide is an excellent source to start for any Star Wars costume.  You can get reference photos and several links to other tutorials or resources.  The Rebel Legion costume requirements and forums are also good resources.  After I looked through what felt like a hundred photos, descriptions, and how-tos, I started my list.  I would need:

- Two silver headbands
- Black beaded scarf/necklace
- Black corset, ideally pleather with no laces
- Black fingerless gauntlets
- Silver mermaid style skirt with a geometric black lace overlay

For a Padme costume, not bad.  I think it is possibly one of the most simple of her costumes, yet to me, the most elegant.  I knew that two things I did not want to compromise reasonable accuracy on were the gauntlets and the skirt.  Those two things were beyond my ability.  The corset was too, but I had a black one that would suffice.  For the skirt and gauntlets/gloves, I contacted MiaLa - the seamstress behind my Number Six red dress.  They do fantastic and speedy custom work.  Also - she makes Slave Leia and Wonder Woman costumes, so geeky is right up her alley.  I provided reference photos and some of the resource links I had found.  We went back and forth over lace (the seamstress was kind enough to send me photos of multiple swatches of lace and presented all kinds of options to me), and after both of us spent way too much time trying to track down the exact pattern of lace in the costume, we decided that a floral black lace would be just fine.

I left my black corset as it was, so I only had the headbands and necklace to figure out.  For the headbands I picked up aluminum stripping and a yard of silver-dyed pleather that was the perfect width.  I ran out of time to flatten and shape the aluminum stripping, so I used the pleather.  I secured the pieces with bobby pins, and I think it was passable.  The necklace was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  This is probably because I sacrified accuracy and just wanted to make something passable.  To build it, I gathered:

- masonite
- black craft foam
- black sequined ribbon
- 1 yard of black velvet
- black glass or plastic beads, seed beads and larger 4mm - 6mm facet cut beads
- cheap strings of bridal party beads
- black Krylon (glossy finish)
- black velcro
- lots of hot glue
- lots of staples

I cut a 3" x 3" circle from masonite.  I covered it with black velvet and attached it with hot glue.  I cut a 2.5" wide strip of black craft foam and covered it with black velvet, again attached with lots of hot glue.  After it dried, I put a strip of black sequined ribbon on the middle of the collar with hot glue.  I then strung two rows of 4mm black beads on black embroidery thread and put them on both the top and bottom of the collar.  I went back to the circle centerpiece and added sequined ribbon on two sides and a mix of black 6mm and seed beads to the middle.  I centered up the circle on the collar and glued it down.

For the dangling strands, I totally cheated.  Rather than stringing countless beads, I found already strung plastic beads in the bridal area of the local Michael's.  They were hot pink Mardi-Gras type necklaces that were for bridal showers.  I strung them up between two stakes and spray painted them black.  I saved money and time doing it this way.  I then cut 41" strips of black velvet.  The fabric tended to curl naturally to look like velvet tubing, and mixed with the beads, I was happy with the result.  I cut a 4" long piece of black foam to attach them to.  I lined them up and stapled the tops each piece down.  Then I drowned them in hot glue.  Hot glue is your friend, even if you over use it.  I attached the strands to the back of the collar and made sure to shape it as if it were already around my neck, so it could dry in the proper shape.  After it fully dried, I attached black velcro to the back of the collar.  It held up with no problems through transportation to and from the convention and at least five hours of being worn.

Future improvements: pleather corset, headbands shaped from metal, more details on scarf.


  1. Thank you, I was happy that it was pretty close to hers. :D And - Adrianne Curry complimented it. That didn't stink.

  2. God, I love you. I mean, it may be starting to surpass nerdy girl-crush love.

  3. Hehe, thank you! I can't wait to get a better quality corset and make the costume extra awesome.

  4. I love this! awesome job! any cosplay plans for SDCC?

  5. Yep! Hoping to cosplay as Amethyst this year.

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