This is my version of the little-seen Green and Fuschia Handmaiden gowns seen at the end of The Phantom Menace during the Peace Celebration. This project is on hold until I can afford the velvet.
When choosing fabric for this dress, lighting is very important. These dresses as seen in the movie, have a certain coloring. The same dress, seen indoors and with a camera flash, show up in a different color. It is important to choose colors based off how it appears in natural sunlight. The Ice Green silk dupioni I chose looks different in sunlight as opposed to indoor light, and is very close to the original. The last picture was taken by Sister Sola and is a good shot of what is going on in the back of this gown.
I have completed my version of the Underdress. We never see it in the movies or in any Behind the Scenes material, so I designed my own based on the criteria of the skirt shape and the different fabric for the sleeves. To achieve the skirt shape, I determined an underskirt was needed for the stiffer shape. I made one out of matellaise fabric, it is a simple bell shape. My design is an off-the-shoulder princess-seamed dress, with a sort of mock shirt out of the sheer ruffly material, bound by a belt. The top of the dress will have the Naboo symbol embroidered on it. The dress is mostly finished save extra decoration, and the hem. I will possibly exchange the belt. The ruffly material I was lucky enough to find in a shop in St. Louis. The silk dupioni is called "Ice Green" which I bought at Silk Baron. Here are the images of my underdress.
So far, the cloak section is just research and some fabric testing. As seen in the movie, this cloak is what I will call a dark Celedon Green silk velvet lined with a deep Fuschia silk satin. I believe that this velvet is cross dyed. In the movie, the velvet appears green but there is almost a background shimmer of color to it. In pictures of the gown I have noticed pronounced pink showing through the velvet pile which I do not believe is the lining showing through. I have tested cross-dying velvet samples as well as embossing and etching. I have noticed that velvets with a cross dye, that is the backing is dyed one color and the pile of the velvet is dyed another, produces the same effect when viewed normally and when a camera flash is applied. This picture to the left is my initial velvet cross-dye test. The scarf on the left is just the silk backing dyed, the pile is still white. On the right, the pile is dyed a different color. As you can see, there are purple highlights on the velvet similar to how the pink shows through on the real parade gowns. The symbols were etched (called Devorè) into the velvet, which is not the method to use.
To dye your silk, you will need white silk velvet. I usually get mine from Dharma Trading Company. You can also get the dyes there too. The color will take some experimentation, so I suggest buying some of their silk scarves and cutting them into halves, and appropriatly record fabric weight, amount of water/dye used, and time spent dyeing so you can achieve the same color on a larger scale. You will need silk dye for the backing, and I would think fushia mixed with a little red should yield the right color. Follow the instructions provided with your order to dye the backing; this will be done in hot/boiling water. For the pile, their fiber reactive dye is what I use, and in a cold dye bath otherwise it will dye the silk. I think a mixture of Yucca and Seafoam might yield the right color. I will post my dye experiements and dye formulas here when I attempt them.
There was also some debate as to whether the Naboo Symbols on the tabbards are embossed (pressed into) or etched (the pile is removed) into the velvet. I have experimented, and because I am positive the velvet was cross-dyed, I believe the symbols are embossed. If the velvet were to have been etched, the bright pink of the backing would be what you see. Since the color of the symbols is only slightly different than the cloak itself, it would have been embossed. To emboss a symbol into velvet, you would need to get a rubber stamp blank. You would print an invert of what you wanted to emboss and cut this out of the stamp blank. Lay your velvet over the new stamp, put a press cloth (wash cloth, a couple folds of muslin) over the velvet backing. With a steam iron on a medium setting (test on scrap velvet first) press this over the stamp and steam for 10 seconds. Let cool. Your symbol will now be embossed into the velvet.
Each time the Naboo Symbol is used, it is usually altered some. Using illustrator I created a symbol pretty close, you would just need to print and flip over for the inverse. You will have to use a computer program or a xerox to adjust the size, as it is a different size all along the tabbard. I will probably create a package of sized symbols, however it should all depend on how wide you make your tabbard.
The pattern for this cloak looks to be an almost triangular cloak that closes at the arms with chinese knots with a high almost mandarin style collar, two embossed tabbards down front and back, and a removable hood which I think has wire in it and heavy interfacing to keep such a stiff hood shape. The front of the hood has some kind of formed tips on it.