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Natalie's Slave Leia Build
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LeiaAurora ()
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:46 pm    Post subject: Natalie's Slave Leia Build Reply with quote

So I finally decided to make this costume. It has always been one of my favorite's of Leia's and with my recent weight loss giving me a confidence boost, I figured, what the hell?

The one thing I found lacking while in the beginning stages of researching this costume was references from people doing the actual build. I found tons of questions from other costumers but no real "build" thread. The only one that was very specific was Tom/Amy's thread and it was extremely useful to me. However, I still felt there were specifics missing ie; how parts looked and how things were attached etc so I decided to write this up and include as many details as possible. Hopefully it helps others who are looking into making this costume.

I decided to purchase my kit from Tomak of "Leia's Trooper". He came pretty well recommended and his prices were reasonable. I also liked that he was very prompt in his communications with me. I would email him and usually receive a response a few hours later. I was concerned about sizing for the bottom of the bikini. For reference, I am currently 41-33-40 and 5'8". He recommended I order a Medium for my measurements.

The kit arrived roughly 3 weeks after I placed my order. The only thing not included in the first shipment were the boot toppers. When I emailed Tomak asking what happened, he stated, "yes they are. too much work, kind of hectic. ships monday." While I appreciated the honesty, I was a little put off that he hadn't even bothered to include a note or email in the first shipment stating there would be a delay. Just a heads up for people potentially ordering from him.

I ordered the unfinished kit because I wanted to spend less and knew I could probably do the work myself easily enough. It is a very orange color. I definitely didn't like it as a personal preference so went about looking for a good alternative. I know that Tomak (and a few other ladies who were nice enough to answer my questions) recommended using Modern Masters paint but it was far too expensive for my liking and I already owned acrylic paint that would work just as well. I sanded everything down with 120 sandpaper and used a mixture of brown/gold paint to achieve the color I wanted.


You can see in the picture below the original color it came in (bottom right) and what mine looked like after one coat (top left).

I used roughly two coats on each piece to give it the gold color I wanted.


After the paint dried, I realized that it still didn't look old enough. Leia's bikini looks very aged and bronzed and with that in mind, I purchased 2 metallic paints to add to give the bikini a more bronzed finish.






I am very happy with the finished paint job. I purchased a sealant at JoAnn's and used that over the entire kit to make sure that the paint stays. It applied evenly and gave it a nice matte look.


Sewing the elastic to the bikini took me a few attempts before I got it right. I didn't think that the amount of elastic suggested by Tomak on his info sheet was enough so I made it 3 inches. Boy, was that a mistake. The bikini pretty much fell right off me and the clips were visible. Luckily, it was an easy fix. I cut off the excess elastic and restitched it so that the clips were hidden behind the plates.













It felt so good to be able to say I got this far all on my own that I tried it on to check fit etc. Happy to say it hangs great and doesn't move around (which was a definite fear of mine).




I had initially commissioned someone to make the skirts for me but that ended up falling through so I will be making them on my own this week. This will also be something new for me as I have never worked with silk. My grandmother usually helps me with my RL costumes but since she does not approve of this one, I am on my own. It is my basic understanding that the skirts are just 2 pieces in a rectangular shape that need to reach my ankles per standards. That seems easy enough so fingers crossed on that!

The boots are my favorite part of this costume. I couldn't wait to start working on them. After reading through the forums a bit, I found a suggestion for a good base boot and I purchased it right away. I bought the Room of Fashion Faux Suede boot off of Amazon. It was a decent price point (under $35 shipped) and the color was spot on.


The material of the boot is flexible and easy to cut through. I saved the extra material from the boot after it was cut to use as the lining for the bra. Since the boot is supposed to reach around mid-calf, I cut to an inch or so above that to allow for seam allowance etc and then stitched it closed with a sewing machine. I was worried the machine wouldn't accept the fabric but it went through no problem.

When the boot toppers arrived, I sanded and painted them as I had the rest of the kit and then stared at the big question. How was I going to get the toppers to stay on comfortably AND look neat?

The toppers come with prongs (just like what was on the inside of the bikini plates) that I was worried would poke me if not used correctly. I took a few photos to show what they look like & how I attached them to my boots.


I pondered it a few days and then came up with an idea. I am also working on my Jyn Erso submission and with that work came the purchase of an ergonomic awl. I used that awl to punch holes through the boots that fit the toppers and then bent the prongs and stitched a bit to keep it in place.





I folded the additional fabric in and then sewed it shut. Any gaps in between the topper and boot I fixed by using E6000 glue. It held pretty well and cleaned it up considerably. I love how comfortable the boot is and how it looks on.







The hair was the next challenge for me. My own hair is fairly long, reaching an inch or so past my bra strap. I figured I would use it as the base for the upper portion and then use Kanekalon hair for the actual braid. In all my research, I couldn't find any photos of Leia's hair without the clips over it. Following the standards, I came upon a course of action for the style. I pulled my hair up into a high ponytail and loosely braided it. It was VERY loosely braided. I then took the Kanekalon hair I had already braided and looped it around my ponytail braid. Once the Kanekalon was pinned in place, I gathered my hair and pinned it to my head. This helped achieve the overall "bun" look I was going for and also kept the Kanekalon braid in place. I pinned the gold hair pieces to the bun and added the ponytail clips as well and voila! I am aware the braid is too long and needs to be shortened a bit but that is a super easy fix that just requires another loop around my own hair. I plan on straightening/curling the bottom portion of the braid as well but haven't gotten around to it just yet.





I also attempted Leia's makeup when I tried the hairstyle out. I used the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani palette and blended the gray and browns together for the crease color and then lined the eyes with a black pencil liner. Leia has a brown/red lip so I used a Lipstick Queen lipstick and added a balm to the top to give it more of a glossy look.



The earrings I wore for these pictures are not what I will be submitting with. They were just "place holders" for the actual ones. I will be attempting to make Leia's screen accurate earrings today. I saw Angie's post about using Target hoop earrings and Sculpy and that seems like a great way to go that isn't too difficult. Hoping to have those done in the next day or so. I will post a build update on that when I finish.

The hair clips were also fun. I purchased barrettes as suggested by Tomak and attached them with the prongs and a small pair of needle nose pliers. I needed to bend them slightly so that they would hold in my hair but once I got the hang of it, they clipped on easy and stayed in place well.





I did not paint the inside of the hair clips as an FYI.


The ponytail portion of the clips I added the extra elastic I had (3/8 inch size) and then tied it in a knot around the hair. It held great and doesn't move at all.





The next step is to receive the bra from Tomak and sand/paint and add the necessary beading etc as well as make the earrings and the skirts. I am under a bit of a deadline and need everything done for an event in 3 weeks.

If anyone has any input on this and on things I may need to change for approval, I would welcome it. This is a build I am basically doing blind so I would appreciate feedback. help
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Last edited by LeiaAurora () on Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:16 pm; edited 5 times in total
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SongofAmazon (Jenna)
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks to me like you're off to a great start. A couple of things you might want to watch out for:

1) The bottom of your ponytail looks very wig-y. You can fix that by giving the hair a trip to make it look more like layers and trying to curl it a bit.

2) The back of the boots tends to sag over time, so you may want to add some boning in the back of them, if you haven't already, to keep them standing up nice and straight.

3) I can't tell when you are wearing it, but you'll want to make sure that your buckles between the skirt plates are hidden by the plates.

Keep us updated with your progress! I can't wait to see more of it.
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Lora Skywalker ()
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you really want to go accurate on Leia's makeup, then use solid eyeliner rather than liquid. Smile

Same on the straps: if you want super accurate then it's brown leather straps, otherwise stick to what you have.

Jenna has shared some good advice, so best of luck with it. It's always important to trim the ends of your extentions to get a more realistic look.
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LeiaAurora ()
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lora Skywalker wrote:
If you really want to go accurate on Leia's makeup, then use solid eyeliner rather than liquid. Smile


I used this photo as reference for the makeup. I used pencil liner. Do you suggest a thicker line or adding eyeshadow to the look and smudging it more?


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Lora Skywalker ()
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your eyeliner looks like the liquid kind that is very solid and with sharp lines. In the 80's they weren't quite as sharp and solid looking in general. So if you could get it to look like that you would be closer to the 80's look. Smile
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Nomad Angie (Angie Rivera)
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am looking forward to see the final result. Slave Leia is my favorite costume.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SongofAmazon wrote:

1) The bottom of your ponytail looks very wig-y. You can fix that by giving the hair a trip to make it look more like layers and trying to curl it a bit.

2) The back of the boots tends to sag over time, so you may want to add some boning in the back of them, if you haven't already, to keep them standing up nice and straight.

3) I can't tell when you are wearing it, but you'll want to make sure that your buckles between the skirt plates are hidden by the plates.



Thanks for the feedback, Jenna! I hadn't thought of trimming the braid but that would definitely help! I bought corset boning and added it to the back of the boot so we are good on that and the buckles are hidden under the plates so that is also covered.

I had a question on the skirts. Are there any patterns available or suggestions on how to make it? I know its a basic rectangle that is attached to the plates and that it must reach my ankles. Other than that, there doesn't seem to be specifics in the standards on stitching etc. I haven't been able to find any patterns on the skirt.

Also, the beading on the bra strap. Is there a specific size it needs to be? I found a few at JoAnn's that would work but they seem a bit small. Do we have a specific size they need to be?

Thank you. Smile
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Nomad Angie (Angie Rivera)
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LeiaAurora wrote:
I had a question on the skirts. Are there any patterns available or suggestions on how to make it? I know its a basic rectangle that is attached to the plates and that it must reach my ankles. Other than that, there doesn't seem to be specifics in the standards on stitching etc. I haven't been able to find any patterns on the skirt.

Also, the beading on the bra strap. Is there a specific size it needs to be? I found a few at JoAnn's that would work but they seem a bit small. Do we have a specific size they need to be?

Thank you. Smile


The skirt panels are basically a long trapezoid shape (the top part will be smaller than the bottom part). You can also cut two rectangles and gather at the top so the skirt drapes better.

The beads on the bra are cones. There is no specific size for those as long as they cover the knots and are proportional to the costume. I saw a member who used pen tips and painted them the same color as the armor.
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LeiaAurora ()
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally got the bra piece in from Tomak and was able to put in some more work on this build this weekend. I found some beautiful material at JoAnn's and was also able to work on the skirts as well.

After reading the standards though, I had a question. It says "non shiny" fabric. I realized only after using flash in the photo that the material I purchased may be considered shiny. However, the back side of it is more matte. I haven't finished it yet so I can still take it in and reverse the stitching so the matte side works.

This is the current "front" side of the skirt.

This is the current "back" side of the skirt.

Before I finish them, can I get a consensus? Is what is currently the front too shiny or is it fine as is?

Also, for those of you who may be looking for a pattern, this is basically what I did. I took Tomak's suggestion of making it 18 inches wide. I then measured from my belly button to my ankles and added seam allowance and then did straight stitch followed by a zig zag stitch all the way around. It sits well and the extra inches give me work room for when I pleat it and attach the snap tape.

While I was at JoAnn's purchasing snap tape and material for the panels, I happened upon the inserts that are used for swimsuit tops etc. I purchased a black pair and then took the leftover suede from my boots and sewed them together. This provides a bit more protection against the metal of the bikini and also gives a bit more support for those of us who may need it.



For reference, I am a 34DD and purchased the DD from Tomak. I am so glad I did. Originally I was going to purchase a size D one from someone and was hoping it would fit. Now I know it probably wouldn't have.

The bands that go around the back of the bikini were way too snug so I used a hairdryer as Tom suggested and pushed the bands out so that it would fit me comfortably and not bite into my skin.

I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised with the bra. It fits perfectly. I can see it standing up on its own without the straps at all. This is comforting as I was worried about wardrobe malfunctions. I don't think this will happen with all the precautions I have been taking though.

The bra before it was sanded/painted/molded.



I sanded the entire piece with 220 grit sandpaper and then applied the paint used previously on the plates etc.




I also found that the right wrist cuff was too loose so I used a hairdryer and molded it to my arm. It fits much better now and took maybe 5 minutes to do. The material was surprisingly pliable after I heated it. I definitely advise wearing some kind of clothing on your skin to prevent being burned. It cools quickly but can still burn you if you aren't careful.


After getting some advice (thanks Angie!), I purchased leather cording and tried a sample tie with it on the bra. At the time of this post, I had not yet gotten input from others on the best way to tie it. I basically did a small knot in the leather and looped it behind my back. I plan on stitching it closed when its looped in the back tonight.


I want to redo the earrings that I made. After trying them on, I discovered there needed to be more of a gap between the claws so I will also be sculpting those tonight. This was my first attempt and while not the best, I am proud of it. This is all new territory for me so learning anything new gives me a smile.





Everything seems to be coming along really well and now that I have all the pieces, I am hoping to submit in the next 2 weeks.

If there is anything anyone notices that I may need to change, please let me know. My main question is the skirt though so if judges can weigh in, I'd be very grateful. Amadalia
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Last edited by LeiaAurora () on Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Nomad Angie (Angie Rivera)
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're welcome. I personally have found the leather cording to be firmer than elastic, as it keeps everything together without being readjusted constantly.

I am redoing my costume with Tomak's kit. I love the bra size but I need to adjust it. And I still have to see how to fit the plates in my large hips.
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Lora Skywalker ()
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say go for the non shiny side of the skirt fabric. Smile It looks like it's coming along nicely.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally had an early day and was able to put in a ton of work on this build. It is so close to being finished and I am super excited about it!

Based on my feelings on the material and also Lora's comment, I redid the stitching on the skirt panels so that the matte side is what is on the outside and I am glad I did.


I did a preliminary try on with the majority of the costume last night. According to standards, the panels of the skirts must reach my ankles. I wanted to confirm that where I have the panels is fine before I actually attach the snap tape and sew it in place.


I also finished the bra cups last night. I took the swimsuit bra liners and sewed the green suede fabric over them so that I would have more support. I then used E6000 to glue them into place. I cut the excess fabric off and voila!







I was a bit frustrated with the cone bead that needs to go on the bra strap. People had suggested pen caps, glue caps, bugle beads etc but I was unable to find anything that really worked or looked right. I was at Michael's yesterday picking up some thread for the panels when I happened upon the baking area. I started thinking about the way I used to decorate cakes with my mother and grandmother and then hit on an idea. I rushed over to the cake decorating area and BINGO! Found the perfect thing for the beads. Piping tips! They come in all sizes and have a variety of openings so the leather cord would go straight through it without me having to cut anything out. I picked up both the 10 and 12 sizes just in case. The bonus was that they were only $0.99 each!
The one on the left is the tip that hasn't been sanded yet and the one on the right had been. I have learned of the importance of sanding items before painting to make sure the paint stays. I put on a light coat of the same gold acrylic paint that I used for the bikini and then added an Antique Gold spray paint to give it more of a sheen.


I tried the tips on the bra prior to painting them just to see how it worked with hiding the knot in the cord and it works really well. Just to confirm though, will these be approved?


I'm pretty sure that I have everything else covered and good to go. Is there anything I am missing for this costume?
Tonight I plan on sewing in the panels (once I get final confirmation on length) and re-making the earrings. After that I should be set and can submit for approval. Dance Chewie
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In progress/planning: Briefing Room Leia, Blue Linen Navy Dress Padme, Endor Leia, Tatooine Poncho Padme & Flame Handmaiden Padme
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Last edited by LeiaAurora () on Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Nomad Angie (Angie Rivera)
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everything is looking good. I can't wait to see the final result.

That plate in your pictures is the back plate. The front plate has a more angular shape.
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LeiaAurora ()
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nomad Angie wrote:
Everything is looking good. I can't wait to see the final result.

That plate in your pictures is the back plate. The front plate has a more angular shape.


Lol thanks! I blame the fact that I have had little to no sleep for the last four days for the flip.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking great, can't wait to see it! Are you debuting it at Celebration, or WonderCon, or some other troop?
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