Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Amadala's Parade Gown

**Updated 24 October, 2011**

This outfit of Queen Amidala’s was worn at the end of Episode I when she gives the peace globe to Boss Nass. In the Star Wars world, the cloak is actually made to represent a type of flower that grows near Padme's hometown. The flower is very rare and blooms once every 88 years. They say it is one of the most beautiful sights in the galaxy and that's why Amidala's gown is designed to resemble the petals of the flower.


You will need good measurements of yourself to get a proper fit. Have a friend measure you. And keep those handy for the dress making process.


If you are not an experienced seamstress, it would be helpful to start with a commercial pattern. The ideal dress pattern will be simple, with no darts or seams, a round neckline, and straight sleeves. And a simple cloak pattern to use for pedal covered cape. No patterns will be perfect, so choose ones that are as close as you can get. Be sure to check the measurements on the back of the package, and pick the size that will best fit you.

Example - These patterns have all the basic requirements; and with just a few alterations, will be screen accurate.


The dress is made of silk; the tabard in the front is of the same fabric. The sleeves are of a sheer fabric (probably a silk as well). The cape was made of chiffon or organza probably over silk, with the parasol of the same fabric. Satin or polyester fabrics can be good alternates for the dress. Be sure whatever you choose you can wash and iron. No matter how careful you are, you will get something on the dress and then need to clean it.

The overall color has been very difficult to determine since it appears different based on the light and camera used. In the film and most promo photographs the dress appears to be white, so that is what is generally accepted and used when recreating this costume. The cape is generally considered a shade of ivory with pink and yellow highlights.

The Dress –

You can make a copy of your dress pattern by laying tissue paper over the pattern, then tracing the pattern onto the tissue. This will give you a copy you can cut and alter as needed. Not only will you need to alter the pattern to fit you, but you may need to lower the neckline, eliminate any seams or darts, lengthen the dress and/or sleeves, and be sure there is a closure in the back to make taking the garment off easier. This is why a copy is very handy, so you will always have your original pattern to go back to.

With no darts or seams in the dress this should be a fairly easy garment to construct. You’ll want it fitted to you, but not TIGHT. Don’t worry if you’re not the same size or shape as the actress in the movie, what matters is the overall look on you. If needed small darts can be added in the bust area to help with fitting, but keep in mind the cape going over the dress will hide just about everything.

You’ll need a nice, low, rounded neckline. But be sure it’s not too low! You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable while wearing the dress.

The sleeves can be simple straight sleeves, that go just past your wrist. These aren’t ever really seen in the movie, and with the cape covering your arms, not much will show on you either.

Tabard –
This is the piece of fabric that hangs down the front of the gown. It’s much like a long tie. A shape that can be easily drawn with a long ruler, so it can be fitted to the costumer. It will cover the very bottom of the neckline, and go to about the costumer’s knee.

It is decorated with stylized Naboo royal symbols in light yellow with a gray outline. The color can be added with fabric paints, dyes, or airbrushing.

A close up of the Tabard taken while the costume was on exhibit in Paris. 
You can draft a pattern out of tissue paper, craft paper, pattern paper, or even gift-wrapping paper. Once you have your piece of fabric selected, cover the back with a good iron-on interfacing. It will help make it stiff. The edges can be turned under using double sided iron-on interfacing. Look for it in the fabric store as a small roll about 5/8 inch wide. Transfer your symbols using charcoal pencil, carbon paper, or fabric marker. And paint. You can attach the tabard with snaps near the top, so it will be removable, but stay in place while wearing it.

One interpretation. Scaling may be needed to fit the costumer.

A completed tabard.

The original seams to have been made with chiffon or organza pedals that were hand painted, with the edges left raw. And is held on with matching ties that go over the wearers shoulders, then tie under the cape in the back. The pedals are large on the bottom and get progressively smaller towards the neckline.

Some costumers create their cape with a good base fabric of heavy cotton, polyester, or silk. Then use already dyed sheer fabrics in light pink, light yellow, and cream. Some finish the edges, some don’t. If you want to dye your own fabric; some costumers will do that in large batches, dying about half the fabric (widthwise) pink, and the about the other half or 1/3 yellow. Then cut the pedals out. Randomizing the size and where it’s cut from can help create a more random look. Hand dying can be done by cutting the pedals; then applying the dye using a large soft brush and a light touch, or an airbrush.

A pattern for cutting out the pedals.
A finished cloak made from pre-dyed sheer fabric in pink, yellow, and cream.
Airbrushed pedals -  By Robert Kohn.

However you choose to create your cape, it should have a random or natural look to it. This is supposed to represent a flower. There should not be a solid pink section, nor a solid yellow or cream section.


Parasol -
The large collar attached near the back of the neck, is commonly referred to as the parasol. It’s been very difficult to determine just how the original was made. It’s clear that the same fabric from the cape was applied over a circular wire frame work that has 20 “spokes”; silver finials were applied to the ends of the wires; scrollwork decorations were stitched in some type of sparkly thread; and transparent beads are attached on the outer edge of the side that rests against the wearer (the front). How to put that all together has been quite the conundrum!

Original parasol - from the front, side, back.

Some costumers weld together the framework and cover it with fabric, then apply the decoration with paint and glue on self-made plastic finials. Others use floral or craft wire between the layers of fabric, making sure to keep the finials light-weight so the top section does not get weighed down.
If you are planning on only using the costume a few times, using floral or craft wire may be better as it’s easy and inexpensive to purchase. If you plan on using the costume repeatedly for years to come, it may be better to invest in having someone help you create a good, sturdy wire frame to work off of, as you’ll want something that will hold up to storage, wear, and travel.

The original appears to be made from Millinery wire (hat wire). Which can be purchased through hat making companies, which you should be able to find through an internet search. It can be cut with good wire cutters, and can be joined with basic thread. Spokes can also be made from other types stiff wire - from umbrellas to bicycle wheel spokes. Just look around and see what you can find!

Spoke placement guide, for a parasol with 20 spokes.

The design can be applied with paint, paint pen, machine or hand stitched. You'll want to adjust the length to match the size of your parasol. Each one should be just a little bit different. Rotating through 4 or 5 patterns gives a look that each is different, but allows you to use templates.

Parasol patterns - will need to adjust to fit the width of your parasol.

Finials can be made from clay, plastic, or even beads. They need to be metallic silver in color, which you can do with paint, or purchasing items in silver. For consistent finials, make a mold. This will greatly help make all your finials consistent in size and shape, and cut down on the time to make them.

Cast finials -  Sculped by Robert Kohn.

 A completed Parasol made from floral wire, sheer fabric, fabric paint, clay finials, and clear seed beads.

Forehead Jewelry –
The original costume features what appears to be a piece of vintage rhinestone jewelry at the forehead.

Some costumers are lucky enough to find a vintage piece that works for this, or have a friend that is a jeweler and can make a replica. For the rest of us, we’ll need to make something on our own.

Quality beads can be found at your local craft store, or at online bead suppliers. If you’ve never beaded before, doing some reading on it would help, and beginner books should be available at your local library or bookstore.

Be sure to select quality materials, as this is not something you want tarnishing or breaking on you. 

Completed Versions -
First completed costume.

Second completed costume.

I do want to thank Maggie over at Padawan's Guide for the work she puts into her site. I get a lot of info and reference images from there. If you want to see more, check out her site: http://www.padawansguide.com/


  1. i made my own headdress for this. if you'd like to see it just give me a shout on my blog and i'll send some pics.

  2. Thank you! My daughter wants to wear this for our local comic con and I've been completely stumped on the levels of the design! This is the best guide I have found.