I started by looking for dye-able fabric that was the right texture as the original was loosely woven but had to be able to stay together and withstand the rigors of trooping. I found two different silks in a home textiles shop down in New Jersey. One has a small rough looking weave, the other has thicker threads in a more open weave. The were both white so I started by cutting off enough of the smaller weave fabric to make the arm wraps and set it aside. I then dyed the rest of the small weave blue using Dylon Ocean Blue.
|The Fabrics Un-dyed|
|The blue dye bath|
|Finished blue fabric|
|Grey dye bath|
|undertunic with flash|
I then used Butterick 4523 for the over tunic. I had to do a lot of alteration on it. The pattern had two lengths, I used the shorter one but it also called for slits on the sides and in the front and the back which I took out. The front was supposed to be cut in 2 pieces and then sewn together with a center seam (the back was as well). I cut them both on the fold to eliminate that seam and then sewed up what should have been slits on the side seams when I put them together. Instead of facing the neck and arm holes I did a wrap over so it looked piped like the original. I was careful to measure the length on myself and adjusted it to get the right look as the pattern wasn't as exact as I wanted. I then stitched up the arm wraps the same way as the belt but just put snaps on the top end.
For the pants I took a pair of crinkle cotton pants that I had been using for my Jedi (I found a better pair to replace them for that) and dyed them purple using a full bottle of purple Rit mixed with a half bottle of wine Rit. I also redyed the rest of the blue small weave fabric (I left the pants in for a long time, the silk I only dipped in briefly). (Tip: I always heat set my dyed fabric in the dryer on warm before sewing with it or washing it). I cut the silk into strips and sewed them up in the same way that I did the belt and arm wraps for the leg wraps (I did have to sew 3 strips together end to end for each to make them long enough - I measured that out by testing it repeatedly before making the tubes.) I sewed snaps on my shoes and on the leg wraps to keep them in place. For the shoes I actually got indoor/outdoor slippers - they are SOOOOO comfortable! They are leather so it was hard to get the needle through, and hurt my fingers - A LOT, but it holds the fabric well and makes it very easy to wear.
The last couple of pieces are the belt pieces. The center stone was easy. It appears slightly textured so I bought a large textured button and a plastic paint pen and painted it red. It took a couple of coats but it did stick very well. I then bought a little wooden circle at JoAnns, my sister helped me drill a hole for the back of the button in it and I painted it the dark brown to match the edge of the stone. I hot glued the wooden circle onto the back of the button after threading the button onto a thin string. For the brown macrame'ed parts of the belt, I bought "chocolate" colored crochet yarn and cut 5 strings each about 3 wingspans long (aka hold one end on one hand and the ball in the other and stretch both arms out to the side as far as you can - that is one wingspan) I folded them in half and tied a knot leaving a small loop, and giving myself 10 strings to work with. I then started an epic friendship bracelet. I used the 4 knot system (you take a guide string and a working string and make a number 4 with the working string over the guide string and wrap the tail of the working string around the guide string and then through the opening in the 4 and pull the working string up and the guide string down, do this twice for each knot to keep them strong) and the rag rug pattern - tie every other thread over its neighbors (odd numbered ones if you laid them out in a line flat on the table over the even numbered ones) then tie a knot in between each of those pairs (even over odd if you renumbered so the slots maintained their number instead of the string). Continue this pattern to the end. I added the lighter colored bits by randomly adding small pale tan wooden beads on the guide string of a knot.
|back of hair. I did it rather quickly for the pictures so I didn't manage to get everything tucked in the way I would want.|
|The side view. I think I will get another braid head band to use in place of my own braids to wrap around my head, that way I can thicken up the bun as well and hide edges better.|
Upon submitting this for approval it was suggested that I should darken the pants to be more accurate. I redyed them in the Wine Rit for a half hour which did darken them considerably:
|the newly re-dyed pants with a shoe and leg wrap.|
However I'm afraid that they are too red now, so am thinking of getting some dark blue and layering that on to even it out a bit (or another dark purple), once I get feedback from the ladies of the Senate. But we shall see what they say.
I did decide to try adding the Navy Rit and while it did help I'm still not sure if it is good enough. May have to try a different brand and see if it works better:
|they are a bit more plum but still not sure if they are dark enough.|
I tried dying it once more, this time I used iDye Poly which did seem to work a bit - as it is a little darker, but I'm still not sure if it is quite right. I used a full package of violet and a half package of brown to achieve this color.
|Dye attempt 4 a bit darker...|