Casual Cosplay: Padmé Picnic Dress

If you follow me on IG, you know that I’ve been trying to up my sewing skills immensely in the last few years. You’d also know I really love the costume design for Padmé Amidala.

From highlighting #HistoricalPadme looks, comparing Padmé costume designs to surviving historical outfits and fashion plates, to making my own fun historical takes on her outfits, I’ve had fun reimagining her outfits. So I guess it makes sense that I’d eventually work on modern interpretations of her outfits.

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Image from http://www.powerofcostume.si.edu/

Inspired by summer dresses I’d probably wear to a picnic myself, and using materials I already had on hand, I got creative and had lots of fun in the process.

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Materials:

I modified the FREE Mood Apricot Ensemble (MDF145) top and made a muslin of it. I had started with the D’arcy pattern but I liked the lace up front of this one since the whole outfit feels very Ren-Faire to me. I extended the bottom of the pattern to my natural waistline since I wanted this to have a certain look, then tested the fit of that before taking it apart and using it as a pattern.

In hindsight, I could have used boning in the top, but I did want this to be a light and fun dress, and I feel like the amount of layers keep it in a nice shape when wearing.

Next up? I dyed fabric for the FIRST TIME EVER. I used the RIT website to figure out how to dye all the fabric I was gonna use in the top-loader washer I have. I used a little over half a bottle of each dye, and would check on it until it seemed to be the color I wanted. Once dry I did notice the floral curtain did not seem to be very golden, so I put it in half of my kitchen sink and re-dyed just that fabric until it was the color I wanted.

After the fabric was washed and dried, I cut one layer each of the cotton sheet, floral curtain and tulle. I sewed the top together except for the front center, which would be the cool lace-up section when it’s done. I sewed down the raw edges of the top, handsewed eyelets in the front center and added ribbon through them. This was my first time doing eyelets, so I was very ok at it and they could have stood to be a little bigger.

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I got my partner to help pin the ribbon straps on the top while I had it on. I wanted the ribbons to be woven between each other and have a cool trailing effect, so I left a little extra for some of them down the back.

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For the skirts, I used a length of twill tape that was the exact measurement for the bottom of the bodice and started with a basic gathered layer of the cotton sheet. After that I added the floral curtain, but the piece I used didn’t reach completely to the bottom, so I added a ton of tulle from the IKEA kid’s skirt I dyed. The outer layer is made of three layers of my yellow tulle, with the bottom layer being the floofiest.

After that I just needed to attach the top to the skirt and add a zipper to the back. This step took about a week to get to. I had to move my gma and her rabbit into my place while there was a heat wave, wildfire risk, power shutoffs and smoke. TLDR: it was a week. I finally made time to wade through the hay and wedged myself between the rabbit’s pen and my table to finish this thing. I feel like I somehow ran out of bobbin thread three times. The first time I was annoyed so I popped in a bobbin with some yellow on it, the second time I did the same. I clearly don’t learn haha.

Anyway, I’m so so so excited this dress came out so well! I really love it and am getting braver and better at making daily wear clothes. Can’t wait to wear this outside once we have reason for a real picnic again.

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If you liked this project and my write-up, and want to support future projects, please consider donating to my Ko-fi. (You can also see a preview of my next project materials there too.)

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