The Princess Leia slave costume is, by far, one of the most popular costumes in the "Star Wars" franchise. This sexy costume, reminiscent of belly dancing outfits, is worn by the Princess Leia character for the Tatooine scenes in the third film, "The Return of the Jedi." Although the costume is well-liked, it is also fairly difficult to make, requiring both lingerie sewing skill and costume armor crafting knowledge. However, much of the difficulty lies in the construction planning, and the costume can be well-executed by anyone willing to put the time in. To make your own Slave Leia costume, as it is dubbed by the fans, complete the instructions in this article.
Things You'll Need
- Costume reference pictures
- Muslin fabric
- Utility knife
- Bucket of boiling water
- Puffy paint
- Craft foam
- Gold leaf acrylic paint
- Antique gold or brown paint
- Antique silver paint
- Glossy clear spray sealer
- Small paintbrushes
- Suede fabric in maroon
- Maroon cord
- Plain shoes
- Sewing equipment and supplies
Gather reference images of the Princess Leia slave costume from as many views as possible. You can find images as screen captures from the film or publicity scans by using the link in the Resources section of this article. Using these images, draw the parts of the costume that you would like to make in detail. Make sketches from all sides and, if necessary, draw close-ups of any detailing on the costume so that you have as clear a guide as possible.
Make a pattern for the top of Leia's costume out of muslin. Drape the muslin against the front of your body while you are still wearing your bra, and tape it to your skin. Have a friend help trim the muslin into the overall shape of the costume top, focusing particularly on the center and bottom curves. Directly on the muslin, draw the armored parts exactly where you would like them to be on your body. Take the muslin off and lay it flat on a table, then neaten all of the drawn and cut lines. Trim the muslin until you have only the armored drawings left. To make the sides symmetrical, fold the muslin top in half while you work.
Put a piece of Wonderflex on the table, and lay your muslin over it. Trace around the muslin and cut the shape of the top out of the Wonderflex, keeping the edges neat. Put the piece of Wonderflex into a bucket of boiling water for no more than 1 minute, or until it becomes flexible. Mold the flexible Wonderflex around the top of your body until you have the fit you would like. If you cannot get a single piece of Wonderflex to work for you, make the top in several pieces and bond them together by heating or gluing.
Make holes in the sides and top with the drill, in the places where cording will be attached. Create texture on the Wonderflex by carving indents with a pair of pliers, and applying gesso and puffy paint for raised details. Use your references to determine exactly what details to create.
Paint the top in a variety of golds and browns to create an aged look, using colors like gold leaf, brown, antique gold and antique silver. Spray the paint with a clear sealer to finish it off. Then when the sealer is dry, loop the cording through the holes you drilled in Step 4. Crisscross the cording in the back.
Measure the length and width of fabric you will need for your skirt, and cut two long panels in that size. If desired, cut the panels from muslin first and practice with them to make sure that you have the most accurate, flattering cut possible. Use the muslin as a pattern and cut the panels from your fabric. Finish the raw edges.
Make a muslin pattern of the skirt's armored pieces the same way that you made the pattern for the armored top of Leia's costume. Lay the muslin on a table, and trace the pattern onto the Wonderflex. You may also need to make this part of the costume in several pieces, likely one for the front, back and each side. Create texture on the Wonderflex with craft foam, puffy paint and gesso, then paint it the same color you painted your top. Spray the Wonderflex with clear sealer.
Hot glue the skirt panels to the inside of the bottom armor, like you did with the bra cup panels. Decide what type of undergarment you will wear with the skirt, which can be either a separate flesh-toned string bikini or an attached front and back of a bikini.
Make the neck collar, arm band, bracelet and hair ties out of Wonderflex, using the same method you used for the top and bottom of your Slave Leia costume. Create the chain out of linking baby toys, painting them gold and brown like the rest of your armor.
Create Leia's boots using a thicker suede than the rest of the costume. Glue a boot cover in this thick suede over a pair of plain shoes, and attach a few light pieces of painted Wonderflex to the top of the suede in the pattern your reference pictures show.