Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Return of the Jedi "Slave Leia" bikini

Princess Leia as Jabba's prisoner, wearing the famous gold is one of the most infamous bikinis in the world, and very popular with male Star Wars fans. I feel it is too revealing to wear in public. However, the costume freak in me wanted to try making one for the challenge of it, and also for my husband to enjoy seeing me in it (even though he's not as big a Star Wars fan as I am, I don't think he minds when I wear this for him!). So, about 2 years ago, I created my own. I gleaned a lot of information from Padawan's Guide, Slave Bikini Builders Club, and Leia's Metal Bikini.

The original costume as worn by Carrie Fisher in Return of the Jedi.

My finished costume.

I used copper wire to create a framework for the bra based off of my measurements (Carrie Fisher is/was smaller than me, so I had to adjust the proportions to look okay on my frame). I then covered the wire framework with Sculpey clay and baked it in the oven.

After the bra was baked and cooled, I used watered down Elmer's white glue to glue kitchen string to the bra for the details. I also added prebaked "dots" to simulate the dotted texture of the original costume.

For the bracelet, I didn't want to make it entirely of Sculpey clay because it wouldn't flex enough to get over my wrist. I decided to use a plastic Old Orchard orange juice container.

Here is the orange juice container after I cut it down and glued string & pre-baked Sculpey details to it; prior to painting.

My front and back skirt plates were made using mostly cardboard. I used images of Carrie in the bikini to judge where the plates should fall on my body (once again adjusting the size to match my frame). After I created a suitable pattern, I cut out pieces of cardboard in graduating sizes.

Once I was satisfied with the shape of the plate sections, I glued them together. This is the front plate glued together. It isn't easy to tell from the picture, but as I glued the cardboard layers together, I curved them to match the curve of my body and used clothespins to keep the cardboard layers in that shape until it dried. Once the glue dried, I removed the clothespins and the plates stayed in the curved form.

Here are the plates prior to painting. The back plate is on the left and the front plate is on the right. After the cardboard layers were dry, I put crinkled aluminum foil over them to create the texture of the original costume. Then, I glued on smooth cardboard, string, and pre-baked Sculpey details where necessary.

I found a "formula" for the size of the front and back skirts on the Slave Bikini Builders website in the files section. It uses the width of your shoulders and your height to calculate how much width and length your skirts should have. It is possible to make the skirts without this formula, just go with "what looks good". I created a "waistband" for each section of skirt, sewed snaps to the skirt sections, and glued the other half of the snap to the inside of the skirt plates. This way, I can remove the skirts to wash them when needed. When I made the skirts, I also made a little pantie of the same material and sewed it directly into the waistbands. (*PLEASE NOTE* If a woman wants to wear the bikini in public, I wouldn't recommend attaching the pantie directly to the costume. If the costume were to malfunction, so would the pantie. If you wear this in public, it is recommended that your pantie be a separate piece. That way, if you lose the skirt, you don't lose ALL of your dignity.) The fabric I used was Sunline lining fabric in "Wine" from JoAnn's.

The side "links" that hold the front and back plates together at the hip are also made of Sculpey with string details. I glued the links to the back plates using black elastic and attached the elastic to the front plates using snaps.

My hair decorations are made from cardboard with string details. The end of the braid decoration is made from craft foam with string and pre-baked Sculpey details. My collar is a wire framework covered in Sculpey clay with string and pre-baked Sculpey details. In the center back of the collar is a hinge for easy on/off (the original also has a hinge). The snake armlet is a wire framework with Sculpey clay over it. As stated above, the bracelet is a plastic orange juice concentrate container with string and pre-baked Sculpey details.