Frankenpattern: Princess Leia Costume

Leia costume with beltMy DD2 wanted to dress as Princess Leia this past October (yes, it’s taken me this long to blog about this) and since Carnivale is just around the corner, I thought I’d share my version of this famous outfit. 

My starting point was Burda 1/2013 #148, but I made a lot of changes. My fabric choice wasn’t jersey, like the original Leia costume, but white polycotton broadcloth because it was cheap.  Obviously it doesn’t have the drape of the jersey, and it’s a bit transparent, so I doubled it for the body of the dress.

First, I added width and length to fit DD2 with enough extra ease to fit over her clothes. I actually think I used Burda 4/2011 #135, a traced pattern from this tunic for the front and back because it would be faster than grading up the Leia costume, and added enough length to achieve a slight blousing effect over the belt.  I left a hemline slit at the side seams from the knees down to facilitate easy walking.Burda 1-2013-148 hemline slitI used the sleeve pattern from Burda’s Leia pattern.  It’s a nice shape.Burda 1-2013-148 Leia sleeveAnd for the collar I traced off the collar pattern from Vogue 8846 but only attached it from the back sleeve seam  of one sleeve across the front of the dress to the back seam of the other sleeve.Leia stand-up collarThe back of the collar was left unattached at the back with a velcro closing.Burda 1-2013-148 velcroI cut an over-sized hood, using Vogue 7110, and attached it to the back between the sleeves, turned down the seam allowances to make a casing and ran elastic through it all to facilitate easy dressing. This is the centre back of the dress with the hood up.Burda 1-2013-148 hood attachment The belt was a new adventure into leather land, having never sewn or cut leather in my life.  My husband had brought home a large upholstery-quality piece of black cowhide from a business colleague of his, and I thought it would be perfect…. Burda 1-2013-148 beltSo I used the Burda Leia pattern, spray painted it silver and added a little centre spot of copper paint.  Not very accurate from a costume point of view, but it did the job.  It fastens with velcro in the back.Leia leather belt velcro My favourite part is the hood.  BTW, frankenpatterning is great fun for someone draft-challenged (or draft lazy) like me.  Just pull all the pieces you’d like from 100 different patterns and see them work.Leia costume

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Pattern Review: Burda 4-2011-135

B 4-2011-135 I’ve discovered something completely unexpected: sewing up my stash is actually quite satisfying. More satisfying at this point than planning new purchases. I never thought this would happen. I often get overwhelmed by the sheer number of design/pattern choices when I want something new. Add to that the completely insane amount of choice for fabric and I often get paralyzed before I begin. But not so far this year, as I’ve decided to limit purchases to notions, lining if necessary, my Burda subscription, and any designer or Vintage Vogue pattern that may be unusual or worth collecting for future. And it’s been a lot of fun finally getting around to some projects that have been in my queue for years. And I mean years. Take this top, for instance. The fabric was purchased in the last century with the intention of making a tunic, and I finally got around to sewing it up. It’s amazing what a few boundaries do for productivity.B 04-2011-135

Pattern: Burda 4-2011-1

Pattern Sizing: size 44-52

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Absolutely, except for my changes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. The instructions for this are particularly easy to follow and well-written.  Just be aware, though, that there is no pattern for the pockets.  I think they forgot to add them.  I didn’t put the pockets in because I just wanted a short tunic top, but I’m sure it would be simple to draw your own, or steal a pocket pattern from some other design to use.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really liked the front pleats and the sleeve options.  I left off the sleeve ties because they’re just frankly annoying, like I’ve mentioned in other pattern reviews.

Fabric Used: a silk/rayon burnout velvet from Thai Silks

Pattern alterations:  I actually stole the neck band pattern from 4-2011-136.  I didn’t want a bias bound neckline because I cut the front and back on the bias.  I liked the look of the fabric better on the bias than the straight grain, although I did cut the sleeves on the straight grain.  Because of the bulk of the velvet, I didn’t turn under the edges of the neck facing and slipstitch it.  I did understitch the facing, which isn’t called for in the pattern, but it prevents it from rolling around.  I simply finished the raw edge of the facing and pinned it into place with all seam allowances turned inside.  Then I stitched it place by hand using a half backstitch.  I didn’t want any stitches showing from the right side.  You can see the details below. B 4-2011-135 neck facingI like this pattern.  I’m glad I cut it on the bias – it skims along instead of hanging like a sack, which I think it would if cut on the straight grain.  And the raglan sleeves fit perfectly without any fussing, basting or tweaking, unlike any other set-in sleeve of Burda’s I’ve sewn.  If you’re looking for a simple casual top or dress, this is an easy pattern with several sleeve variations to suit your fancy.  B 4-2011-135  back