Bespin Leia & Lando Calrissian - The Empire Strikes Back

Leia & Lando

Worn at: TT 2005, Dragon*Con 2005

Awards Won: Best Master Workmanship, Best Master Presentation (TT 2005)

Leia:
I've loved this costume ever since first seeing Star Wars as a kid, and it's been on my to-do list for ages. Thing is, however, you can't see all that embroidery in the movie AT ALL, so I had no clue how much work it was going to be. I thought it would be an easy hall-costume. >_<;

Then I found The Padawan's Guide, and saw what the costume REALLY looked like. It's covered with TONS of embroidery (it was apparently fancy curtains they converted into an overgown). Well now that I knew how it actually looked, my costumer's pride couldn't let me just ignore that, so I had to go for super accuracy.

So using the many reference photos on the site above, I drew out the pattern in Photoshop, blew it up and printed it out, taped all the sheets of paper together, then traced it onto my fabric with a water-erasable marking pen. And then I spent six months embroidering. XD I put the fabric and embroidery supplies in a backpack which I took with me everywhere so that I could get a few stitches in whenever I had a free moment - on the subway, on the bus, waiting places, watching TV, at friends' houses, etc. As usual I didn't schedule my time properly so I still ended up doing a lot of frantic sewing at the last minute, but I did get it done in time. The collar area was drafted from scratch and then got Xiola's help to drape the cloak in those nice folds.

The flower petals are interfaced with red and white fabric to create that 'shadow' effect, and the 'fish-scale' pattern is shadow-embroidered for the same effect (as seen in the original movie costume).

I couldn't find metallic copper trim ANYWHERE, so I got some metallic copper cord that was too thin for trim and then hand-braided it to create a nice edging braid. That also took awhile, although it went by pretty fast once my fingers got used to the four-strand round braid pattern. The braid is hand-sewn to the edges of cloak and tunic. Yes, I'm crazy.

The tunic and pants are just a simple pattern, with craft foam inside the belt to keep it smooth. I bought white satin pumps and had them custom-dyed. They're not all that comfortable to walk around in for long periods, though, as I have narrow heels so they keep sliding out of the shoes. :P

Lando:
This one wasn't too difficult except for the pleather collar - it was annoying to sew. And the cloak is about 500 yards of fabric and rather unwieldy. It looks really sharp on him, though. ^_^ I do need to figure out what they used in the movie to keep the cloak in place, though, as the collar doesn't like to lie nicely unless the cloak is pulled forward, which negates the cool billowing and showing off the lining.

The cloak, shirt and belt are made from scratch; shoes and pants he had already.

Leia and Lando Leia and Lando Stu looking surly Lando Leia Leia Leia Leia Detail of the embroidery