The Queen is here! She has been completed (at least 98% of it). I really can’t believe that I actually did it. O_O. I’m in awe with myself. My Queen Amidala cosplay is now ready to compete with. I had my first photos taken of her this past weekend with my bestie, Alexandra Lee Studios. I don’t trust anyone else with my photos besides her, truth!
Now having her done, we can now chat about the techniques I used to put her together. Beware, this post might be long, but enjoyable, I promise.
I started working on her in April of 2016, with the headpiece first. I’m glad I started there because if that would have failed, I wouldn’t have gone any further. But luckily I started gaining good ground on her. I started a worbla base for her cap that rest on my head. Not too hard, then I added details by the way of fabric paint. yup truth, I used fabric paint for all the little details you see on the headpiece. Then of course sprayed over with gold spray paint.
The giant M structure was next to build, I used a lot of things in that M. Cardboard was used as a pattern first and inner stabilizer, then I placed quilting batting around it and stuffed with poly fill to give it its round shape. Then covered that in chicken wire and then covered in duct tape. That part was messy and difficult. TRUST ME. At first I made the M too big and just kept trimming it down before I added the hair. I must say the M is attached to the gold crown by the hole I made at the top.
The M is made up of 4 wigs. I ordered cheap wigs from Amazon and ripped the wefts out of them and glued them on layer by layer. This is what gave it the weight I truly did not see till I tried it on at the end. OUCH. BUT WORTH IT!!!
After the M was “haired” I started finishing up all the gold attachments. All are made from worbla sandwiched over 1/8″ craft form. Then formed with a heat gun to the shape I need. Applied fabric paint dots, lines, and squiggles then sprayed it gold! This took a lot of time too. Next I started the hanging columns from her headpiece. It’s basically upholestry foam that I rolled up and wrapped in red brocade. Then applied the gold worbla pieces to the spots needed. It’s attached to the headpiece by two jump rings because they need to be moveable.
OK now, all the pieces are attached, now it’s time for the final additions and touches. I used like 20 yards of gold chain for the strands hanging of the sides of my crown pieces and faux jewels glued over them. Then I hand painted all the little dots through the headpiece red and blue. BOOM, headpiece is done. Now to try it on. Once I tried it on, I realized that I will need a thick wig to basically provide a cushion for my head because having just the worbla crown on my head hurts pretty bad. So the current wig I have that is under it won’t work, I need to rethink this piece and have a new wig and ponytail for Star Wars Celebration. Oh ya! The ponytail, that was interesting to play with. It’s actually my least favorite part of my costume. I hate ponytail wigs, and you really can’t put up a “non ponytail” wig up into a ponytail. Cosplayers, you will understand this. Try it and it reduces the size of the wig cap and it’s like a child size wig. Big fail, you can see the issues in my livestream of my photoshoot over on my Facebook page.
That being said, I will have to purchase a new lace from base wig and two ponytail clips to complete the under wig. Not fun, this will run me up about $85 in Arda Wigs. ugh -_- BUT lets move on.
The headpiece is completed, and I happily put it aside to focus on sewing the tunic, skirt, and robe. FINALLY. It’s sewing time, my confidence shot up like 100%. Let’s start with the tunic and skirt first…oh no wait amanda, you must start the beading…
Oh my god, the beading ok. The amount of beading I had was nuts but it was crucial to the piece. I beaded separately on nude netting for the main piece in the middle of my tunic. Once that was complete (so many hours), I attached it to my tunic over the white organza and orange fabric that was there. Then I proceeded to bead around it, using my own designs and photos I found from the movie and the Disney Parks dress.
The sleeve ends will get beads…eventually. Then I hand stung the hanging beads, that was the easiest part. haha. Now let’s get to the tunic and skirt creation.
I want to list the fabrics I used for her here. Both from Fabric.com and Joann’s
Tunic and Skirt fabric- 7 yards of Shantung Sateen Orange from Fabric.com
20 yards of gold 1/4″ robe trim from fabric.com
8 yards of Premier Velvet in Red from Joanns’ for the robe
Among other notions I bought were orange and red Coats and Clark thread, 10 spools of Elastic thread (for shirring technique on robe), interfacing, 30 yards of upholstery piping that I dyed to orange. Plus about 4 yards of gold netting for collar band overlay.
The tunic and skirt patterns I used were custom, I used a base bought pattern then adhered to what I needed on the dress form. The Robe pattern is actually an altered Jedi robe pattern form Simplicity.
The pleated of the tunic and skirt are 1/2 overlap pleats (i think that’s the technical term of that). Measured out on the back and ironed flat.
ASSEMBLE all the pieces together and boom, a lovely tunic and skirt. This actually was pretty simple. The fabric I bought was great, pressed nicely and served well. I used a french hem on both tunic and skirt, and left a little bit of a train on the skirt.
Robe time, ok. This was way more of a massive project that I thought. I have no clue the math I need to work to achieve certain elements I wanted. THANKFULLY my boyfriend is great at math and helped me a great bit to determine the amount of fabric I needed to buy. Once I altered the pattern for the robe, I cut out some pretty massive pieces for the textured panels at the bottom of the robe.
Now one of the main questions I get is how I created the super lush texture you see that I have my hand on. I made it buy using a sewing technique called “shirring”. Shirring is basically sewing normally but having your bobbin full with elastic thread. You must hand wind the thread on there then simply place it normally like you would a bobbin within your machine. The trick is to sew normally and the fabric will bunch underneath. It’s works great. A lot of seamstresses use this method for dresses for little kids, easy on, easy off.
The only problem is the amount of fabric that you have to DOUBLE to get the desired final size you need. So one of pieces I had to cut for the bottom panels was literally a 60″ by 68″ right curved angle. dear lord…
Once the pieces of velvet were cut out I then sewed a line of elastic thread vertically and horizontally with 2″ in-between. Basically looked like a checkerboard pattern on the back of the velvet. Once those pieces were done, I lined them and attached them to the robe. Next added the gold trim by doing a 2 by 2 stranded braid. Hand sewed it on. Now it’s downhill from here, I promise.
I created the collarband and sleeve band from hand dyed upholstery thread then fabric glued onto scraps of the orange fabric, once that was glued, I then overlayed some gold netting from Joanns over and “snug” stitched the overlay on. Looked like I was sewing udon noodles.
After that collar band was done. I then stepped back and wowed myself. Couldn’t believe it, the last thing I needed to do was the circle embroidery on the robe. I created the design on Adobe Illustrator then digitized it into an embroidery file using my embroidery software.
Nest was literally 12 hours of embroidery because each circle design took 14 minutes. Had a couple of hiccups but it went well. Once that was done, she is now complete enough for a photoshoot.
A snip and a trim there, she is ready for her debut. I’m so happy to have seen this project all the way though. It took me 9 months to totally create it. A literal baby.
If you have any questions on anything, just shoot me a message! You can reach me through my contact tab. Cheers!
Photo credits: Alexandra Lee Studios