Star Wars Franchise: Working With Synthetic Braiding Hair

Hair is one of the most stunning pieces of costuming in the Star Wars franchise, however, sometimes working with synthetic hair can be difficult. Here are some suggestions that might make working with synthetic hair easier.

Why Synthetic Hair?:

Synesthetic hair is a better option for making hair pieces for achieve Star Wars hair styles then human hair in most cases. Often times human hair is unethically sourced so avoiding it is a good idea, unless you know it’s origins. That said, if your human hair can he ethically sourced then it can also work well, however, it is always going to be a less affordable option.

Some articles that break down the ethical issues of  human hair extensions

Synthetic hair is also more affordable, for many of the hairstyles in Star Wars a lot of hair is required, and that can become very expensive. Synthetic hair like Kenekalon Braiding Hair and other brands like it are typically a more affordable option when buying a lot of hair. Synesthetic hair can also hold up longer then human hair when taken care of

Another alternative to human hair is horse hair, buying horse hair extensions, they are less affordable and depending on the sealer may also be unethically sourced. However, as an option, the hair is natural and looks so.

Weight, real human hair can be heavy, synthetic hair is often times lighter weight then real hair and can be worn longer because of this.

Styling products, when styling with synthetic hair, styling products such as hair spray or moose, are not needed, because the hairs are all the same length unless altered there are few if any fly-always that need to be smoothed.

Hair Color:

When using synesthetic hair for a costuming it can be hard to find a matching color, this is partly due to the fact that natural hair is not one color, humans have several different colors making up teach individuals hair including high-light and low-lights. Synesthetic hair is typically one color, and it’s hard to match and make it look natural right out of the package. For a more natural look blending 2 too 3 colors of hair together will help, see video for tutorial on blending. (Note: for making hair look more natural, using more of the base color and chose a smaller amount of your high-lights and low-lights.)

 

 

 

Hair Texture:

2 of the main textures for synesthetic hair are natural or yaki and silky, both will work great, however, most Star Wars hairstyles in the movies use a silky finish, this is not as important when doing a hairstyle such as Classic Leia (a.k.a Political Gown Leia), however, most of the headdresses that Queen Amidala wears require silky hair finish to be used, such as her Red Invasion Gown headdress.

Tangling:

Synesthetic hair can tangle easily, so to untangle it start by brushing or combing depending on the need, at the ends and slowly working up the tail of the hair. Starting at the top and going to the ends will only make the tangling worse and more difficult to get out. Sometimes using fingers to come the hair can be easier then a brush, and if using a brush a wig brush would probably work better then a normal hair brush. For general untangling and styling a wide toothed come works grate.

Washing:

For some people synthetic hair can be itchy right out of the package, to remove the coating the hair comes with make a bath or water and vinegar and let the hair sock a while, then rinse and let dry. This processes might be easiest if the hair is still in its loosely braided form that it comes in right out of the package.

 

Storing:

Storing the synthetic hair for reuse, put a fabric covered elastic at the center of the hair bundle and loosely braid the hair. Coil the braid into a circle and place inside a hairnet. See Alexa Poletti’s video on storing wigs.

Resources:

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Legends EU: Heir To The Empire & Dark Force Rising: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest

The Heir To The Empire, or Thrawn Trilogy was turned into a comic adaptation in the 1990’s. In both the 1st part Heir to the Empire and the 2nd part Dark Force Rising, Leia wears a yellow vest and black shirt and pants combination. She notibly wears this outfit when visiting the Bimm’s on Bimmisaari (who notably wear yellow as part of their culture). Thus it has been named the Yellow Bimm Vest, because of this reference to Bimm’s in Heir to the Empire book.

DFR Cover
(HTTE & DFR: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest)

Inspirations:

Looking at Luke’s Black Vest outfits that he wears in the beginning of Return of the Jedi while at Jabba’s palace is would seem that his outfit is the inspiration for Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest in the comic. The comics where drawn by three different artists, and the artists for part 1 had a very different style of art then the 2nd parts. Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest is the most strongly similar to Luke’s black Vest outfit from ROTJ, in the first Volume Heir To The Empire. (Note: that they fist volume does not have consistent representation of the costume). For the purposes of this break down most of the images will be from volume 2 Dark Force Rising as they are more consistent in their depiction and simpler to breakdown.

Luke and leia Vest Insparation
(HTTE & DFR: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest: Inspiration From Luke’s Black Vest Outfit At Jobba’s Palace ROTJ)
Padme Vest Sleeves Inperation Leia
(TPM & DFR: Similar Arm Howls)

Though The Phantome Menace did not come out until after the comics where released, however, there is some similarities in the width and shape of the arms howls of Padmé’s Pilot Disguise Vest, as well as the depth of the fabric that sits on the should.

Comic & Breakdown Design:

Because the comics had three different artists, Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest goes through several variations in look. For the purposes of consistency this post is choosing to base the breakdown (for the most part) on the Dark Force Rising comics, which are the most consistently represented and detailed of the three comics for this outfit. This is why the look of the outfit changes from comic to comic and also why the outfit in the Heir To The Empire comics look more similar to Luke’s Black Taber Vest from Return Of The Jedi. Also why Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest in Dark Force Rising looks more similar to Padmé’s Pilot Disguise Vest from The Phantom Menace.

Yellow Bimm Vest:

Fit:

(Note: that Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest is fitted but not skin tight, there is enough slack in the fabric to show that it’s comfortably loose while still smooth.)

Vest Sleeves:

DFR3 Double Sleeve Fold 2
(DFR: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest: Double Folded Sleeve)

Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest has folded double sleeve, the sleeve appears to be one large piece that then has part of it folded or tucked under  to create the double sleeve. Similar to (but not exactly like) how Obi-Wan’s Jedi tunic sleeves are tucked up.  

HTTE1 Double Sleeve 3
(HTTE: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest: Double Sleeve)
DFR3 Double Sleeve Seem 2
(DFR: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest: Shoulder Seem)

There is a strait seem that runs along Leia’s shoulder, for construction of this vest side seems are likely.

DFR14 Sleeve Opening Shape
(DFR: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest: Arm ‘V’ Shaped Howl)

The arm howl for Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest is a inverted teardrop in the picture which translates to ‘V’ shaped arm howl opening. The arm howl is a deep one that goes all the way down to fall roughly in line with under Leia’s bust. And though it can not be seen in this picture falls roughly in line with the point of the deep V neck of the vest.

DFR14 Sleeve Opening Length
(DFR: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest: Arm Howl)

Vest Neck:

DFR1.5 Vest Neck
(DFR: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest: Neckline, Deep V Neck)

Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest has a deep ‘V’ neckline, the ‘V’ neck width is not much wider the Leia’s neck.

DFR Vest Neck Bust
(Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest: Deep V Neck, Depth Goes Down To Under Leia’s Bust)

The deep ‘V’ neckline of Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest goes down to just under her bust line where the point ends.

Vest Body:

DFR Tunic leangth 2
(DFR: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest: Vest Is Tunic Length)

The length of the Yellow Bimm Vest comes down to tunic length, the vests lower hem ends roughly around the point where Leia’s leg meets her hip.

DFR Side Seem Vest
(DFR: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest: Side Seem)

There is a side seem on Leia’s Vest, likely a slightly curved seem to allow for her pregnancy. Though it’s hard to tell, for the construction of the yellow vest a back seem with an invisible zipper seems likely.

DFR3 Center Back Seem
(DFR: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest: Back Seem)

Shirt:

DFR1 Turtel Neck
(DFR: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest: Turtle Neck)

The shirt that Leia wears under her Yellow Vest is a black turtle neck, (it, however, does not have a folded over collar so it’s similar to a mock turtle neck , however, it comes up higher more to the height of an actual turtle neck.) The shirt seems to be a fitted shirt as there is no bulk viable under the Yellow vest, and likely make out of the same fabric as the pants.

Sleeve Shirt Leia
(DFR: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest :Undershirt Sleeves)

The sleeves of the undershirt that Leia wears are tight fitting and break at the wrist, sometimes Leia wears gloves of the same color with this shirt that over lap the sleeves, leaving no skin visible.

Pants:

DFR Pants
(DFR: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest: Pants)

The pants Leia wears with her Yellow Vest, are close fitting pants of the same black color as the shirt. Likely made out of the same fabric as the shirt, because of the close fitting of the pants a fabric with some stretch would be a good idea. 

Boots:

DFR15 Leia Boots
(DFR: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest: Boots)

The boots that Leia wears with her Yellow Bimm Vest outfit, the boots are standard simple black riding boots. They appear to be unadorned and go up to the knee. 

Hairstyle & Hair Piece:

 

Leia’s hairstyle is a simple three strand or English braid, the braids ends roughly mid back or at the bottom of the shoulder blades. The hairpiece that Leia wears is inconstantly represented, however, the most common way in which it appears in two separate combs similar in idea to the way that Slave Leia’s hair pieces appear.

 

 

(Dark Force Rising: Leia’s Yellow Bimm Vest: Hair Piece)

The Hair piece is two separate pieces that attach on ether side of the head with two distinctive curling decorative parts both above and by the ears. The first curl comes down near where the sideburns are, there is a second scowling piece at the very stop of the hair piece. There also appears to be three lobs to the hair piece, ranging from large to small descending in size as they go back away from her ear.