Mara Jade is a great character first introduced in the Star Wars trilogy, Heir to the Empire, written by Timothy Zhan. One of the few woman to populate the galaxy before the Prequels came out, Mara Jade becomes the wife of Luke Skywalker and mother of Ben Skywalker in the now Legends EU. Originally an agent for the Empire, Mara Jade later becomes one of the first new Jedi.
Mara Jade’s Black Jumpsuit Outfit that is her most recognizable look appear in the Dark Horse Comic adaptation of the Heir To The Empire, Thrown Trilogy. (Images From: Dark Force Rising Comics: Mara Jade: Black Jumpsuit)
“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.)
Devorè velvet, also known as burnout velvet, is used a lot in Padmé’s clothing, and also in many other costumes throughout the prequel trilogy. Devorè velvet us usually made by using a blended fabric such as, silk/rayon. A blended fabric of portion based fibers like silk, and cellulose based fibers like rayon have a mild acid is used to eat away the cellulose threads leaving a shire cut out panel.
Moire fabric is likely the kind of fabric used in the body of the gown of Padmé’s deleted scene senatorial gown from (Attack of the Clones). Moire fabric is sometimes called watered silk and historically Moire was made into silk taffeta and now is made into other, sometimes synthetic, fabrics. For Padmé’s senatorial gown it’s likely to assume that it is made out of Moire silk taffeta, in gold.
Jo-anna’s Fabric’s has a cotton/polyester blend available online; the fabric can be purchased at other sites online as well. (Note: that cotton/polly will be hard to dye gold, an all natural fiber, or a synthetic in gold, would work best.)