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Mara Jade BTEH Bodysuit Poncho Outfit


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I've always been a fan of the bodysuit/poncho combo outfit that Mara Jade wears when she infiltrates Dequc's base in the bubble cliffs of Nezmi in Mara Jade: By the Emperor's Hand, and since there is no existing CRL for this, I am going to build it in hopes of developing the CRL. Right now, I'm in the research and planning stage. I directly reference some of the images below, but here is a link to a folder of all of the reference images I grabbed from my comic, organized by costume piece: https://home.mycloud.com/action/share/e9242a3e-430b-4c01-bc6e-9d03192d3051

 

20201011_143225.jpg.a2445c854a8d3b5a6f4e9b55b6996a53.jpg    image.png.dd7038c42c9eb9257f038c326741a621.png       

 

Boots

  • These appear to be the same kind of boots that go with the currently approved black bodysuit outfit. I've already got these - easy! 

20201011_141857.jpg.fcb454d26dc96aee191a02c4abc5192a.jpg

 

Bodysuit

  • Long sleeve, form-fitting, black in color. I'm going to build this as a stretch unitard.
  • Fabric has some definite sheen. I'm thinking a polyester-spandex blend will work well for this.

20201011_150057.jpg.1586cc087910f65727e0d09c08dc1767.jpg

  • The bodysuit is not visible through the wide collar of the poncho, which tells me this suit has a scoop neck, further justifying my unitard choice

20201011_145630.jpg.7241ace0c38760681e238c53c5e70967.jpg

  • I've found a pattern that I think will work for this with some modifications - Jalie 2105. I will need to make the sleeves and pants full length and see if I can eliminate the back seam, because it bothers me. I'll also need to go through a few iterations of prototypes to custom size this for me because I'm super disproportionate :?

20201011_144330.jpg.dcc677c7fc0aca0f45a5e74ce2a239e2.jpg    20201011_154825.jpg.9da6865fb8992cf96a84ef49d6fddcd3.jpg

  • Each sleeve has a gray piece that wraps all around the wrist like a cuff and extends up the back of the lower arm to just above the elbow. This appears to be integrated with the suit, so I would insert it into the sleeve. In order to avoid a seam running up the middle of the extension, I will need to modify the sleeve pattern as shown below.

20201011_151302.jpg.8d454172266ee257c03f270bd8d0c0a4.jpg  20201011_154643.jpg.9c35151bce58638b5e7b403cabacf792.jpg

 

Poncho

  • Gray color, slightly lighter than sleeve piece
  • Fabric appears to be super drapey, so I'm thinking jersey knit or maybe raw silk for this.
  • Collar is cowl-like. The top inch or two looks stiffer and stands up relatively straight. Area around collar pools and bunches.
  • Bottom cut of poncho at front and back is an inverted triangle. The tip of the triangle extends to about mid-belly height at front and back. At the sides, the length extends to a little above the elbow when the arm is bent or about 1/3 of the way up from elbow to shoulder when arm is straight.

20201011_160954.jpg.cae4d2ae321008098a8254478abbd85c.jpg  20201011_160740.jpg.6a0c09b8e0408d7f73bfcfe7f11b2592.jpg  20201011_160803.jpg.abacb317d6026b53a6723f472d38a8ed.jpg

  • Some thoughts on construction:

20201011_171221.jpg.fca129d2bc05239000012be76ea2b028.jpg  20201011_171240.jpg.70a9bc70136f09c9df78ecc234dd1beb.jpg

 

Hair

  • Red-gold color (orangey)
  • Center part on top, sides droop down to cover ears
  • Hair is braided from nape of neck, and braid length is a little longer than shoulder length.
  • "Tail" at end of braid is tucked under. When Mara is not fighting, the braid sits inside the collar of the poncho.

20201011_161911.jpg.f6b50be9ae4319d2c1b85193c9a48feb.jpg  20201011_162308.jpg.d409cb676516754888dd1a77becaa690.jpg

  • My Arda Buttercup wig in sunset color that I wear with my black bodysuit costume would be perfect for this if I bought another, but Arda wigs are so thick that the braid actually comes out super wide. I will search for something else...

 

Possible Optional Accessories

  • Lightsaber - same as black bodysuit costume. The lightsaber is actually depicted differently in this comic, it came out before the Decipher card images that established the "official" Mara Jade lightsaber design.
  • Blaster - Mara steals a holdout blaster that she uses for a little while, but I do not recognize the model.

20201011_163000.jpg.8e07402a6208f956325869e9d5f3f68d.jpg

  • Messenger bag - Mara carries a messenger bag for some of this section of the comic, but personally I would not want to carry this around while trooping (especially over one should like she does), so I would be against including this in the CRL, but if it needs to be included, I could take a stab at building it. *edit* - My husband just told me that he has been researching this bag without me knowing it and was planning on building it for me as an anniversary present, so now the bag is deffinitely happening :-D

20201011_163117.jpg.2116dec8f12a288f91a74ae0457c19a7.jpg

 

So that's it for now! Next step is some fabric research at Joann's. Then I'll probably start prototyping the bodysuit. If anyone has any comments, please let me know!

Edited by Glory530
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I went fabric shopping tonight, and here's what I came home with:

 

For the unitard, I think I found the perfect black fabric! It's an 82% nylon 18% spandex blend, and I love the sheen on it. I also bought a less expensive bathing suit liner to use as practice fabric. It's has a lower spandex content, so it's a little less stretchy, but I think it will do for dialing in the size and construction of the suit.

  20201015_194122.jpg.1fc640ae11a948d34f887be49a030109.jpg  20201015_162746.jpg.b70a192dee9e5a8838dd15c2b2099656.jpg

 

Finding something for the gray lower arm piece on the unitard was al little more difficult, so I came up with a couple options. I found a polyester/spandex fabric that has less sheen than the black. The color is also off a little from the comic. But I did buy that book 21 years ago now, so who knows if the color on the paper changed over time.

20201015_194207.jpg.e7e575b88a78de4943b7ca1090fb05f9.jpg  20201015_163536.jpg.c77a818f9145dc00cae63ba198ce6f21.jpg

 

Here's my other idea for the gray: I grabbed some of the exact same fabric as the black that I really like in white and a couple bottles of dye. I know the spandex won't take the dye, but the nylon will. I'm going to cut some coupons from the fabric and do some dye experimentation with different amounts of and different ratios of the two colors and see if I come up with one I like.

20201015_194234.jpg.e810013e952873a37dc9c43d034965e0.jpg

 

I did try to scope out some jersey knit as a potential poncho fabric, but Joann's had every color under the sun except gray. It does drape very nicely though! I have not decided between this and raw silk for this yet. The advantage to the raw silk is that it dyes really nicely if I don't find a color in the jersey knit I like. Who knows - maybe I'll make both and decide after the fact which I like better. For now, I have my trusty bolt of muslin that I can make prototype ponchos galore with until I have a design I'm happy with.

 

Next step - construction of the prototype unitard and alterations to achieve custom fit. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tomorrow I am going to start on my initial prototype unitard, and I have been thinking for a little while now about construction. In my first post, I mentioned trying to eliminate the vertical center back seam from the unitard. After spending a lot of time thinking about how to do this and sketching it out (see images below), I am now thinking this may not be the best course of action. Here's why:

 

1. To eliminate the back seam, I would need to cut the back piece of the suit on the fold of the fabric. When the pattern piece is laid out to do this, the low back curve is lost, and space is added here. This alone is a big problem for me, with my understanding of how clothes normally fit me. Even on form-fitting t-shirts, I have loose fabric in the low back area. If I were to cut the back pattern piece in this way, I would probably have the same problem with the unitard fit.

 

2. Laying out the back pattern piece as described above puts the inner thigh area outside the fabric fold, so this would need to become an additional piece, which would be sewn on as an inner thigh gusset. Therefore, if I remove the back seam, I would add two additional leg seams to each leg.

 

After considering these two points, I think I'm going to move forward with the version with the vertical center back seam, per the pattern. I think this will fit my body better, and the added inner thigh seams will be more noticeable than the back seam. I can't claim that either is more true to the comic images, as no seams lines are shown (it's a comic, so no need to show such things!), so if anyone feels that the alternate construction minus the back seam, plus the inner thigh gusset would be better, please let me know! I have enough practice fabric to make a second prototype if needed.

20201023_201933.jpg.e3aa4daaf6499e860ef5cbf49ae0f5a1.jpg  20201023_201957.jpg.4893cec5a8e907199f6d0751551a20be.jpg  20201023_201857.jpg.ed1594eed59492c86938d01585baf628.jpg  

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A few weeks and 21 shades of grey later, I've finally got my dye formulas dialed in! I did a small scale dye bath for my two fabrics (raw silk for the poncho and the nylon/spandex blend for the sleeve inserts).

 

One note about matching the colors in the comic - almost every panel seems to show a different shade of grey for the two pieces I was trying to match, so I tried to create a color that matched several panels and called it good. I also used artificial indoor light when trying to match the indoor shots (they are in an artificially lit cavern, after all), and outdoor sunlight (which I was EXTREMELY lucky to get for a short time when I needed it, in Michigan, in October - WIN!) for the last panel where Mara is outside boarding the ship.

 

First, the poncho color. I started with RIT pearl grey and ended up adding a LOT of tan because straight up pearl grey dyes white-ish raw silk purple. Fun times. My final formula ended up being 1/3 RIT pearl grey, 2/3 RIT tan at 150% of the bottle's recommended volume of dye per pound of fabric (so 6 oz dye/lb fabric). Soak time = 60 minutes.

20201029_082250.jpg.c43c79de452c927f8a366470f0f6b458.jpg  20201029_112026.jpg.cf917d7728737ec263f0bcf6f85eb3f8.jpg  20201029_112039.jpg.1a5591163e05182b0496f7a8a7d320ea.jpg  20201029_124726.jpg.958e210f1f0aa3e4669bf08456531e20.jpg

 

I started with the same RIT pearl grey for the sleeve insert, but of course now when I needed some of its purple/blue undertones to come out, it came out straight up grey. Wonderful. So I added a little bit of RIT denim blue. My final formula for this one is pearl grey at 100% of the bottle's recommended volume of dye per pound of fabric (4 oz dye/lb fabric), plus 0.386 oz (or 10.9 mL because the metric system is better for precision with small amounts) of denim blue per pound of fabric. Soak time = 5 minutes. A note on the photos - to my eyes, the color match was pretty much perfect! However, through the camera lens, it looks way off, so I had to pick a light source where the photos best matched what my eyes were seeing, in this case, cloudy daylight. Still not exact in the photos, but trust me, it is to the naked eye!

20201030_103138.jpg.09d4ad28cbff9ac441d99301fe940da7.jpg  20201030_104056.jpg.4bd394dfc8e1d81a05491b7ea9c12d1d.jpg  20201030_104109.jpg.5f3ffa55d9b6063096e5ca2ff6fe0990.jpg

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today I completed my prototype unitard! Just for the record, the point of this exercise was to adjust the pattern for full-length legs and sleeves and custom fit the outfit to me. Again, the reason that I am making a unitard instead of just buying one is that I have really weird proportions, and one piece clothing items never fit me right.

 

 I used the Jalie 2105 pattern that I mentioned previously and a black swimsuit liner fabric (less stretchy than the fabric I will be using for the final product, but lower cost). I did not include the grey sleeve insert pieces yet. Overall - I'd say I was really successful!

1052470692_prototypeunitard-front.jpg.9e4e28a906d02ac3c56f90f40a87c1ba.jpg  924930103_prototypeunitard-back.jpg.d76d3a88cc01a78c3a99b44034fd43e5.jpg  

 

I would also say it was definitely a good call going with the vertical center back seam, per the pattern, to allow for some adjustability there. I ended up taking this seam in quite a bit at the lower back, as mine curves in a lot (or maybe what is below it curves out a lot :sad:).

20201108_194648.jpg.6cf35c7b1a141b38ac4616347cda9053.jpg

 

Next up for this fun little project is to start playing around with the design for the grey sleeve pieces and make some mock-ups of those. I've got three different options bouncing around in my brain right now, and once I have something to show for those, I will post pictures. I may need help deciding which is best.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a prototype sleeve! I spent all day today creating the pattern for the insert, modifying the sleeve pattern to accommodate it, and putting it together. I could not be more proud of how it turned out! Just a few things to note:

1. These are not the actual fabrics and not the actual insert color I will be using for the final product.

2. The rolled up cuff will actually be a hem on the final product. I was just too tired to finish it today and saw no need to.

3. I know I said before that I was a little hung up on where to put the sleeve seam relative to the insert, but I looked at a whole bunch of pictures online of long sleeve shirts with elbow pads and saw that they all had the center of the elbow pad 90 degrees around the sleeve from the seam. So I was able to leave the sleeve seam right where the pattern had it without it getting in the way of my insert. Yay!

 

Unless anyone sees anything here that may be a potential showstopper, I think I might do one more practice sleeve, then I'll dye my insert fabric and start working on the final unitard.

20201121_191246.jpg.fa15b2ff0e0b71261946cff9dc60ad67.jpg  20201121_191123.jpg.15ca9c9b3cc995f3058cd3beac1a639a.jpg  20201121_191214.jpg.53f4de18c8db2771557344295245a06a.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Today I finished my final unitard, and I am super happy with it! Next I will be designing and prototyping the poncho. My husband and I will probably being doing some work on the bag as well during our holiday vacation.

559760266_Finalunitard1.jpg.1145fb99f200f35d01cbc134ace5525c.jpg  1598350403_Finalunitard2.jpg.8a147df2429f3abc74e597eab1824de6.jpg  1737602236_Finalunitard3.jpg.28796a3f24d86a8b707c247c28eec7b1.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

WIP update - I've completed my design for the poncho, created a pattern and rough assembly instructions, and just finished a muslin prototype. The muslin is much lighter and stiffer than the fabric I will use for the real thing, but my goal was to validate my design and instructions, so mission accomplished, and I'm pretty happy with it! My next step will be to make one more prototype out of the leftover bathing suit liner I used for my practice unitard. Being much more similar to the actual fabric, this will show me how the final product will drape and how the collar will sit. I'm also going to shorten the length by about 3 inches so that the bottom points fall about the same place on me as they do on Mara i n the comic (my torso is shorter than the dress form's).

20210123_180417.jpg.43e2a28f9806a71905a10ca268891e8e.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

More WIP...

If finished my second and final poncho prototype with the bathingsuit liner. Raising those points up worked out perfectly - they now fall exactly where I want them to, and I think the drape looks really good. For the collar, I only had light interfacing, so I used a double layer. The collar was still a little floppy, so I brought some medium interfacing to use for the final product. I was leaning on making the final from raw silk earlier, but now I think I'm pretty set on jersey knit. It's super soft and drapes really nicely. I have both, and they both need to be dyed *cringes*. If for some reason the jersey knit does not work out, I'll make a second poncho from the raw silk. 

20210201_195844.jpg.375cc8c0373ee18288a036d68ad20f8f.jpg  20210201_195952.jpg.2433e3d24c3f8e503c1474ddeac218db.jpg 20210201_200810.jpg.e72bcf407aad8fef5a30f33753bed4bc.jpg

 

My husband also made some progress on the bag. The pieces are cut out, wet formed, and dyed (dye is Fiebing's Pro Dye in golden brown). He's starting to sew it together now. Note: the tubes one the bottom where Mara hides her lightsaber are not shown in the photos.

20210204_173113.jpg.3eff218d07b79d9f710302bb855ddc44.jpg 20210204_173137.jpg.5ae3261d6ff252d71f74d78f43f7f8a1.jpg  20210212_175307.jpg.76a30d2277e31b1c81ca13162f0223c6.jpg

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Well, I dyed my jersey knit fabric a couple days ago. The good news is the color looks great. The bad news is that it looks more like a heather gray than a solid gray to me. I'm thinking this is due to the spandex content in the fabric (it's a viscose/spandex blend). My thought is that this will not be OK for approval, but before I toss it aside and start dyeing the raw silk (or maybe try 100% rayon?), I wanted to check here and see if maybe I'm overthinking the situation and this may be OK to move forward with. Thoughts?

20210217_110358.jpg.a39ea71e8fb892dcc86f3f0da8305cf4.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

LOTS of progress since my last update - I'm one accessory away from being completely done with this build!

 

First, the poncho. Color matching and dyeing this thing was definitely the most difficult part of this whole build! In my last post, I mentioned that I was not happy with the color uniformity on the dyed jersey knit. I had no idea what to do next, but then I came across an ad in Threads Magazine for a local fabric store that I did not know existed. I stopped by and explained to one of the employees what I was trying to do and asked for recommendations. She was super helpful and showed me a few options, and I settled on charmeuse silk. It's beautiful, and it drapes and dyes very nicely. However, when I started working on dye samples with it, I quickly discovered that RIT pearl grey dyes white silk purple. So what I ended up doing was adding a small amount of tan and a tiny amount of emerald green to kill the red, then I got the color I wanted. Since silk shrinks in hot water, I dyed the fabric first, then cut the poncho pieces and built the poncho. 

20210410_172341.jpg.be38b61d45123f24eb9d42a10cf603ac.jpg

 

Next, the wig. Arda is usually my go-to for wigs, but their wigs are really thick, and I thought braiding one of their wigs would make too fat of a braid. So I ordered a lace front wig from Wig is Fashion. Based on experience with my Admiral Daala wig from them, the thickness would be much more appropriate for braiding. The wig I got (picture below) was the right length and color, but it was curly, since they did not have a straight one. After some time with my flat iron, I got it straightened, braided, and doused in got 2b glued. I folded the braid under itself to give the same look shown in the comic, and pinned it in place with bobby pins.

20201023_082351.jpg.d2a7a3ffdaf6336dc8f45d81618b9e15.jpg  20210410_152904.jpg.7ce57b63177f50122600d565fbf8fea0.jpg  20210410_152831.jpg.37ba758b1f3ec59f909202d0816c30b9.jpg

 

And finally the bag. My husband just finished building it this morning. The leather pieces are dyed with Fiebing's pro dye in golden brown and hand stitched for the main body of the bag. He 3D printed the tubes on the bottom, painted them metallic silver, wrapped them in leather, and glued them to the bag with contact cement. For the closure, he designed the latch in CAD based on the comic book images and 3D printed and painted it. There are magnets recessed in the latch and inside the front panel of the bag. 

20210410_164903.jpg.c18ab563526ad57f3223cf94d138a5c0.jpg 20210410_164928.jpg.2c4a6997aaf533191c0a80b1c5f7edc1.jpg

 

Here are a few shots of everything all together - I even busted out the green contacts, makeup, and red eyebrow paint for this!

20210410_162012.jpg.ef89913691666af30ae35ce9f65ea78c.jpg 20210410_162046.jpg.7add0d3c423a6ee5cc0b64adeb22f9a4.jpg 20210410_162149.jpg.60731c3d5c312ba24369e93ba920b94f.jpg 20210410_162341.jpg.55e3132c82379d52c058879bafffa9a6.jpg

 

All that's left is the blaster. Like the bag latch, we're going to model it up in CAD from the comic images and 3D print and paint it. Then I'm ready for the next step in the process to turn this into a CRL, whatever that step may be...

 

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This build is absolutely amazing! You look fantastic so far and I love all the details. WiF are my go to for wigs as well, they last incredibly well. I have one that I've used for the last four years that is still holding up amazingly. 

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  • 2 months later...

OK, final update because this build is officially done! *throws tiny trash in the air to celebrate*

 

As I mentioned previously, my husband and I were planning to model the blaster in CAD and 3D print it. We've done that, and I think he nailed the design! The blaster was printed in several parts in PETG filament and glued together, then finished up with various layers of primer, filler putty, paint, and a matte-ish clear coat. I did some light weathering on it today, and it's good to go! Now begins the CRL process. Exciting!!!

20210626_185625.jpg.0ed2ddfe3f0fac9a832eb7bd918eb1e7.jpg  20210626_185650.jpg.c6844c63ffe91ee9c015dbde7ba44235.jpg

 

20210626_185716.jpg.7cfdfd7a798b57cc97df0075a302a9d9.jpg  20210624_182253.jpg.767226f1dca5b6c167b0541649f69355.jpg

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