Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Costume cross-section: Luminara Unduli

Luminara's costume consist of ten different pieces. From top to bottom; headpiece, cape, brooch, shirt, arm guards, pair of belts with large buckles, waist cloth, skirt and shoes. She is also carrying lightsaber somewhere under her cape.

There is actually a pair of post, where I go through the construction of the headpiece. In short, it's made from mosquito net, modeling paste, small piece of foam and few different fabrics. The trim on the head piece is still not finished, I still need to add two decorative ribbons to it.

The cape ate five and half meters of brown wool, which I printed by hand. I used black pigment and the base emulsion for fabric printing from EMO-tuotanto. It was bit risky to use the colors on wool, because they are meant for on cotton and cotton mixes. The printing process took several weeks, because I had to do a negative print, meaning that I had to cut the pieces separately.

The idea for the pattern came from Yoki. After browsing through Rebel Legion forums I found credible verification for the plan. The whole body of the cape is actually one big piece of fabric. The sleeves form when the fabric is pulled from the hem up to the shoulder. There is narrow yoke on the front with snap and hook fastenings.

The back of the cape is heavily draped. The drapes are sewed to piece of fabric tape on the waist. The hood is only for a show. How would you wear a hood with the huge headpiece anyway? I modeled the hood on my fitting dummy before sewing it on the cape.

The base of the brooch is pulp board. The rest of the body is modeling paste and hand-twisted wire. The brooch is painted with acrylics. The body is black and green mixed together and the wires are copper and gold. I used a tooth pick to paint the wires. The fastening is a safety pin, which is glued to the brooch a with a piece of fabric.

The shirt fabric was originally beige cotton tricot. I machine dyed it with cotton lace I used on the skirt. The pattern of the shirt is pretty basic. The front panel is striped with crooked pin tucks on the wrong side of the fabric. The ribbons are braided from strings of pleather. The high turtle neck has a zipper on the back, so that the garment would be easier to get on and off.

The arm guards and the front cloth are made with same materials and techniques. The figures are craft foam painted with acrylics and glued on brown leather. The details are made with different tools, like hair pins and a seam ripper. The arm guards fasten with Velcro, which is actually movie accurate solution. The cloth fasten with Velcro to the belt higher on the waist.

The belts are made from brown pleather. They both have black awning fabric as lining to make them sturdy. The belts fasten from the back with to poppers. The buckles are made from pulp board and paper. They are painted with acrylics in gold and copper and weathered with watercolors. I like to use watercolors instead of acrylics, because they stick too fast and don't spread well even when rubbed.

The skirt has two layers. Ribbed, black cotton forms the first one with cotton lace that I had dyed earlier. Black cotton acts as lining underneath to give support to the first layer, which would be too limp alone and not hold the required A-line form. I had my old petticoat with two hoops the first time I wore the costume.

The boots are brown leather with warm tone, even if the color looks grey on the photo. There is three copper colored buckles on the side and moderate wedges. And they were found unexpectedly from a second hand shop for seven or eight euros. Good bargain.

The lighsaber is made from a pulp board tube stolen from aluminum foil container, soft foam, glue, putty, screws, plaster buttons and black tape. The body was painted with silver and chrome sprays and the golden details with acrylics. I like the result a lot and the fact that is was virtually a free prop. All the materials used was found from our cosplay workshop.

Writing this made me realize that there is still some work to do with this costume like dyeing the cape darker and making the decorations on the headpiece, but I think I'll manage to finish everything before the next wear, which will be at Tampere Kuplii next spring.


  1. Hi! I am thinking about cosplaying as Luminara at a con this year. I'm not going to be able to make my own parts like you did, but do you think you could give me some pointers? I love what you did!

    1. Hi Zoey! Have you watched the animated series of Clone Wars? In the cartoon Luminara's design is bit diferent from the movies and maybe little easier to achieve with ready made clothes. Especially the head gear is more cloth like and would be easier to make than the one seen in the movies. And if I remember correctly, Luminara doesn't wear her cape in some fighting scene. For the clothes; you could decorate an A-line skirt with lace rims and add details to plain long sleeved shirt, like ribbons or leather cord.