In The Empire Strikes Back Leia wears a white snow suit through most of the movie, and with this snow suit she wears two different pairs of boots. On Hoth and while on the run on the Millennium Falcon Leia wears light grey boots with wedge heals. According to Star Wars Costume: The Original Trilogy, Leia’s boots where styled loosely off of mukluks,
when Leia’s in cloud city after she’s been captured by the Empire she changes her boots to a pair of white leather boots with a tall heal and a zipper up the back.
“Silk crepe de chine, from the French “crepe of China”, is a famously versatile silk, possessing a very glossy luster and a subtle texture, as well as a surprisingly light weight and truly excellent drape. The fabric, slightly more textured than silk 4-ply woven crepe, is made with tightly twisted weft yarns, or filling, running in reverse directions from left to right. These twisted yarns produce both the crepe texture of the material and its flexible drape. Silk crepe de chine is probably the most durable of cultivated silks – those woven of single, reeled strands – and is found to be exceedingly even and uniform in texture. Silk crepe de chine is popular for bridal and formal evening wear, and also works well in blouses and men’s shirts. Also used in home décor, the fabric lends a light and luxurious feel to any project. Silk crepe de chine is also an exceptionally forgivable silk when it comes to sewing, as it takes thread well and will typically not fray overly when cut. Dry cleaning is the recommended method of care for this fabric”.
The body of Leia’s political dress is very simple; the dress seems to be cut out on a ‘T’ pattern, the fabric being folded in half fully length ways and then again width ways.
Because of the way the fabric is folded before cutting there are only 2 seems one on ether sides. There is no front or back seems, there are also no shoulder seems and no seem on the top of the sleeves. There are really only 4 seems on Leia’s dress, the 2 side seems which are continuous up through the underside of the sleeves, 1 seem for the collar and the seem for the keyhole back opening.
The side seems are left open from about the knee down, to allow for ease of movement, this split in the dress does no go any high then Leia’s knee, (roughly just below the knee cap).
Leia’s political dress is self lined, meaning that the same fabric that was used to make the dress is used to line it. Leia’s dress has the raw seams enclosed between the lining and the body of the dress.
The bottom hem of the dress comes down to break at the top of Leia’s foot and is a folded hem that is secured down with invisible stitching, possibly sewn by hand.
The top of Leia’s dress is blouses and appears to have elastic ruching used to gather in the waist. (Sadly there are no pockets).
Though different necklines where plaid around with in the concept art faze for Leia’s political dress, the approved design has a turtleneck collar (possibly more of a mock-turtleneck since it does not fold over). This turtleneck collar closed in the back with what appear to be hooks and eyes that are sewn on the inside of the collar so they are not visible from the outside.
Princess Leia’s political dress closes with a series of hooks and eyes closer at the neck, and a keyhole back opening. This opening is more or less a strait cut opening down the center back that goes no lower than mid shoulder blade.
Leia’s hood is made out of a single layer of crepe de chine (so it’s not lined), the hood comes down to roughly just below the top of Leia’s hips. The hood seems to be likely cut out on a trapezoid shape and gathered on the edges before being sewn under the collar.
The hood is attached under the turtleneck collar and the hoods hem is a rolled hem which is stitched down by hand with an invisible stitch. The hood is also left open in the back and is not a closed hood, the fabric for the most part lays over the top of the head.
Leia’s political dress has open wide cut sleeves, Leia’s sleeves at the widest point, the wrist, appear to be more than 14” long (Pam’s Costumes: suggests 14″ inches in length for the sleeves). The image below shows Leia’s hand at shoulder level and the sleeves drops down to roughly Leia’s waist. (Perspective in the image has to be taken into account when figuring out the proper length of the sleeve.)
Note: that for movies there are lots of the same costume made, and often times those used during action sequences will have shorter hems and less full skirts and sleeves. It is likely then that Leia’s dress will appear slightly different throughout the movie and promo stills.
There are no shoulder seems or seems on the top of the sleeves, [some of the patterns that were released had raglan sleeves; however, this is not how the screen dress is constructed]. Since the dress is cut out on a ‘T’ pattern, the only seems that exists are on the underside of the sleeves where it’s the continuation of the single body seem on the side of the dress.
Leia’s political dress belt was made to have a medieval look, the belt itself is made out of leather with aluminum medallions. Leia’s belt also has a clear line of stitching around the entire border.
There are 7 to 8 medallions depending on the belt (the belt worn in ANH has more medallions then the belt worn in ESB). There are 6 to 7 rectangular medallions and 1 center diamond medallion (though more rectangular medallions can be added as needed as long as there evenly spaced). The medallions are made out of aluminum and snaps are used to close the belt in the back. In some versions of the belt, such as the one worn in ANH, a medallion covers up the snap closure, however, the belt worn in ESB appears to only have 7 medallions, leaving the snaps uncovered. (This picture pattern below for the medallions is a rough pattern and may have to be adjusted for each individual Leia, figuring out proportions helps.)
(Note: crepe de chine is most likely the fabric used for the dress, as the other construction details in Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy seems to check out with what is known about the dress from other sources.)
Leia’s Bespin hair consists of a bun with two looped braids tucked underneath the bun, this hair style is most likely achieve with the addition of hair pieces and or hair extensions. This style is not hard to do, however, most tutorials don’t have the right preparations, even if they have good technique, to get the right volume and length most people will need to use synthetic extensions.
Leia’s hair does not have a part of any kind; it is smoothed back into the style,
Leia’s bun is a medium sized bun of un-braided hair that is wrapped into a bun with the ends hidden within the bun. Follow the numbers from 1 to 5 to see the wrapping pattern of the hair.
The bottom edge of her bun is roughly in line with just above Leia’s eyebrow however, this sill chance from Leia to Leia.
The top of Leia’s bun is roughly in line with the crown of her head, Leia’s bun should not be higher than the top of her head.
Leia’s bun is placed in the center of her head; the width of her bun leaves an inch and a half at least on either side of her head. (Note: that a hair net matched to hair color should be put over the bun to finish it.)
Leia has two, English, or three strand, braids that loop from underneath her bun, the braids come out from the sides of Leia’s buns, this is important, as there are several inches left between Leia’s braids.
The bottom edge of the looped braids comes down to just above Leia’s shoulders. (Note: that Leia’s braids need to be about an inch in width if not a little more. They should also be a consistent width all the way through.)
To finish off this style, Leia has the hair in front of her ears are curled into a soft spiral curl, note: that these curls can be a little longer or shorter than the bottom of Leia’s ear lobe, however, they should not be much longer than this.
DIY: Bespin Leia Hair:
Version – 1:
Follow the steps in the video links, (Note: that this tutorial needs tweaking to be movie accurate.) Put your own hair into a ponytail on the crown of your head, if your hair is long enough leave it out to make the bun, if not then make sure to add in some synthetic hair to make the bun large enough.
Take synthetic pre-braided hair in a long enough length to loop down to the top of the shoulders. Pin this hair on the top of the ponytail, and loop the braids as shown in the video, however, make sure to loop them down to the top of the shoulders. (Also: make sure that the braids on hanging down from the sides, this is easy to achieve by pinning on the top of the ponytail, there should be several inches between the loops.) Hid the ends under the bun, make sure to wrap the bun following the pattern in the above picture with numbers. Make sure to position the bun in line with the top of the eyebrows and the head, also make sure that the bun is not too big. Finish the look with a hair net.
(Note: this video link has a bun that is note wrapped the right way and is too big, it also has loops that are too short and the braids need to be a little wider, it also leaves out the ear curls. However, the technique is good for achieving a movie accurate hair style.)
Version – 2:
If you are using a wig you may not need to add in any extra hair, follow the steps above with your wig hair to achieve the right look.
Version – 3:
Like with End Ceremony Leia, you could make a hair piece that you pin on over your own hair, make sure to follow the proportions indicated in the pictures. If you have long enough hair you can add a little synthetic hair into your own to make the right width and use your own hair to make the loops and use a clip in or pin on bun (See Links.)
A good material to use for Leia’s belt medallions is aluminum flashing, it is inexpensive, (around 6.00$ for a 6X10 roll). The Flashing can be cut easily with hand scissors, and requires little or no sanding to finish.
The round center part of the medallion can be made with cover buttons, (these are buttons that you cover with fabric yourself, however, when left uncovered they make good centers for the belt medallions.) Pam’s Costumes says that 1 1/8” size works well. The Costumes and Art Work blog, uses thread and a curved needle with a backing button to go through the cover button shank to attach the cover buttons to the medallions. Pam’s Costumes, used epoxy glue to attach the cover buttons, she removed the shanks and filled the backs with resin, hot glue could make a good alternative for filling the backs.
One of the common myths about hairstyles in the Star Wars universe is that these intricate styles are achieved with a person’s own natural (often times long and thick) hair. In reality a combination of wigs, hair pieces and hair extensions, among other techniques, where used to give the length and volume needed for these styles. Princess Leia’s and Queen Amidala/Padmé’s hairstyles are commonly attributed to this myth. However, both Leia’s and Padmé’s hair is achieved through the for mentioned hair help. Within universe the characters achieve these hairstyles with wigs, hair filler and forms among means other than their own natural hair. In [Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Season: 3 Episode: 11, Pursuit of Peace,] a short scene near the end of the episode shows Padmé talking with her handmaiden Teckla Minnau. In the scene Teckla is holding Padmé’s senatorial wig/headdress which Padmé wears with her (blue and gold) senate dress from the Clone Wars TV show.
A behind the scene photo of Padmé’s [Star Wars: ThePhantom Menace] (black Coruscant) wig/headdress from [Padawan’s Guide] shows that the wearers real hair is tucked beneath the wig/headdress.