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Padme's BTEH Mara Build Thread


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Hi everyone! New to 501st and TFE (but a current RL member), and excited to be sharing my progress on Nezmi Base/By The Emperor's Hand Mara Jade! Mara has to be one of my favorite characters from the EU/Legends, and this outfit in particular is a lot more simple compared to her other outfits. I'm hoping to get this approved for C2E2 this August!  I want to thank Glory530, who helped develop the CRL for this costume and has answered questions I've had on it. Thank you for bringing this Mara build to life :)


To start, I recently got my jumpsuit/unitard. I'm not too thrilled to go nuts for this with a deadline and other things to finish alongside it, so I took a chance and ordered this suit from Amazon in 3XL. I think it fits very well! I might get some shapewear for extra support, and it's a bit long in the arms and legs, but nothing I can't adjust myself. I plan to sew the cuff/elbow pieces on by hand. Definitely recommend this for other Mara's! Here's a quick selfie of me in it.


For the fabric for the poncho and cuff/elbow pieces, I have a question for this. Joann's has these two nice knits that are blue-tone greys. I think the lighter of the two would be best, but would they be approvable since the CRL says light grey? The grey both in the comic scans and in Glory's CRL does look blue-tone to me. Photo 1 (fabrics on the bolt) | Photo 2 (bolt tag for lighter) | Photo 2 (bolt tag for darker)

If not, I plan to use Jet Set 2 knit and dye it to the color I need - I recently used the original Jet Set fabric for my Senatorial Leia (here's a photo), and I think I can really make it work for the poncho and arm pieces. I did ask Glory what they recommended, and said to make sure it's not too stretchy, and they ultimately went with their final choice of fabric to match Mara masquerading as a Baroness. I really like the way the poncho lays in the comic though, so I would love to try and make a knit poncho work! It could possibly expand fabric options for the CRL as well. I plan to use a nice knit interfacing to have some weight and support for the fabric. I'm also using a stretchy thread with these fabrics - I 100% recommend Coats & Clark Eloflex thread for projects like this. Even handsewing with it is incredibly easy! 
I do have a question on the poncho construction though, should it be self-lined? Blind hemmed? The knit may not exactly fray as other fabrics would, but over time it will definitely lose it's niceness if I cut it and left it as is. Also, does the collar fold down? Should it be left folded down or tacked down with small prick stitches?


I plan to try and thrift my boots, they're not too hard of a style to find and from the sound of it, I might be able to use them for Mara's other black jumpsuit! The CRL says they should have a "modest heel" - would a small heel, say around 1 to 1.5 inch be okay? I have issues wearing high heels due to being disabled - anything over 2 inches puts me at a fall risk. It's an issue I've been running into with some RL costumes as well.


For my wig, I plan to look at Arda Wigs. I know Glory mentioned their wigs can be on the thick side, but a bit of de-wefting should make it just fine. I think I will go a bit darker and go with Dark Copper Red, since I'm a bit of a sucker for Shannon McRandle's version of Mara. For contacts, I go through the brand OhMyKitty4U as my fiance (my Luke!) is an affiliate. Note that these are circle lenses, and there are huge risks to wearing them. I understand the risks and try to be as careful as I can when wearing them. If any of you use or consider using circle lenses, please understand the risks and make sure you are careful using them.


The lightsaber is a struggle. I know the problems with Ultra, and do know Saberforge or a 3D printed hilt are good options as well. But I've held the US hilt in person at an event and truly think it's a good size for me, as I've heard SF's is a bit smaller scaled. I also worry about a 3D printed hilt breaking if I may drop it or if it falls out of my mobility aid. I am also very new to soldering and electronics, so I am not confident yet for a full custom build. I want to make sure I put my money into something sturdy and will last me, and I personally have not had many issues with my US hilts yet. I plan to go for a basic, soundless setup with purple blade of course.


I didn't plan to go for the small blaster right away, but I might just to have it. Most conventions and events require an orange tip for safety though - how would I go about this for approval? Maybe some sort of tape or piece I can put on for events? (And do any of you have 3D print file recommendations?)

I have questions about the leather bag. Do we have a good recommendation for size/scale proportional to the wearer? What size/kind of leather would you recommend? I think I can make the bag closure and rods on the bottom from oven-bake clay and found materials.


I *think* that covers it for now! I will keep this thread updated as I make progress :D 

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I can't ask any questions as Mara is not my area of expertise but I love the detail so far for this build! This will be so helpful for the people who follow after. I wish you nothing but the best of luck. 

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Yay! You're welcome for the help, and I'm excited to see this build happening and that my creation of this CRL was an inspiration!


Here are some more answers to your questions: 

-Make sure your poncho color is lighter and less blue than the arm inserts. I had a *really* hard time correctly capturing the poncho color via photos. When in doubt, try to match the comic book color over the photos in the CRL 🙂



-Yes, there is a little bit of blue in the arm insert color. I noticed this in the comic book and added a tiny bit of denim blue to my dye bath to get it to match.


-I'm attaching a photo of my poncho instructions I made for myself, so hopefully this will answer your questions on this topic. Sorry if the stitch callouts look confusing - I did them like weld callouts since I'm an Engineer and I was writing this for myself. 🤓 But if you come up with a construction that works for you,  go for it! I opted for this to minimize visible seams and make it look as comic booky as possible.


-For the small blaster, my husband modeled it from scratch in CAD (he's an Engineer too!), and we have 3D print files that you (or any other TFE members or prospective members reading this) are free to use if you wish! I just have to find them and will add them to this thread when I do. I would think a piece of orange tape on the end would suffice where orange tips are required, but I don't know for certain, as I never needed to do this. 


-For the bag, there is a frame in the comic book that I'm pretty certain is in my build thread with Mara's hand over the side of the bag. That's what I used for scaling. I made a bag out of paper and tape to check the porportions before cutting leather. As for the leather, I bought a 5 oz (I think) veg tan shoulder from Tandy a while ago that I've been using for several things, so that's what I used for the bag. You could certainly go thicker though!


Let me know if you have any other questions, or free to reach out!


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Thank you for your replies, cocktailcat and Glory! I appreciate it so much. The goal of my build threads is to help make things a bit easier to understand and more accessible if possible - doing things to media accuracy/club approval is certainly a feat, and if I can help make it easier for others, that's another reason to make it all worth it.


Maybe I glanced over it, but I didn't realize the elbow section is more blue than the poncho! I did grab some sample lengths of the blue/grey knits, and a spool of the silver elastic thread to attempt to match for my poncho. (Photo 1 - without flash) (Photo 2 - with flash) These were taken on a section of Jet Set knit in artificial lighting. Looking at these and comparing to the comic scans, these might be too blue (at least compared to the samples I grabbed for Arica's dancer

wear)? I will have to wait until I get some dye tests for the poncho going. I do think the thread I grabbed is a good match at least!


Yes, those instructions are incredibly helpful! It sounds like it's self lined (aka lined in the same fabric as the outer), and then sewn together at the poncho's lower

hem and at the neck to create the folded collar. I almost want to go for a lighter weight knit because of that, but that's opening a huge can of worms.. I'll try to stick with Jet Set 2. Would it be possible to re-write this construction into the CRL for more clarity in the future? 

I also have a question on the measurements for the poncho. The poncho length in the CRL says "4 inches below the costumer's navel" - it's probably not very visible in the selfie I posted, but I do have a longer apron tummy, and eyeballing it seems like that makes the poncho too long compared to how it looks on Mara. I know it's just my waist-to-hip length ratio is longer, but I wonder if I would get away with it being /at/ my navel? I can try to get photos of measurements with a tape measure, and/or make some muslin mock ups. I know everything shouldn't be exact and should be proportional to the wearer, but anxiety, yknow?


There's a few good shots I could use for scaling, it looks like! I found this one, this, and this. Putting these photos into a scaling website such as this one, and taking my hand length measurement (6.5 inch), the side of the bag should be roughly 9.109 inch tall and 4.154 wide at it's fullest width. The front face of the bag should roughly be about 8.069 tall and 9.482 wide at it's fullest width. The front flap of the bag should be roughly about 7.057 tall. I tried with another image and using my wrist to elbow measurement (10 inch) and it's a bit inconsistent, so emphasis on those measurements being rough I guess. I also would rather round up those measurements and go from there. Eyeballing it, the length of the bag looks like it goes from about Mara's waist to just at or below her hip measurement... I need to stop trying to get exact with it, comic art can also be inconsistent and otherwise I will be in measurement OCD hell.

I'll definitely try to get myself to Tandy in the near future, I've been meaning to for some other costumes too - maybe I'll see if I can this weekend, even if just to get some prices. I think the thin leather you used is very nice though, Glory! 


Thank you for being so kind as to share your blaster file and to your husband for designing it! I'll definitely look into getting it printed soon. I appreciate your kindness so much :) 


I think the goal for this weekend is to use my leftover Leia scraps and get the poncho color with frost grey RIT DyeMore, maybe some adjusting with graphite DyeMore and any other colors needed to match the thread. From there, patterning and mock ups for the poncho and cuffs/elbows. Beyond that, I might see if my fiance can style my wig this weekend (I think the Arda Anne in Dark Copper Red I have can be used for Mara, although I bought it for Brianna from Outlander) and look at contacts if the green pair I have on hand doesn't work, and still need to find the perfect boots (ones I could use on hand have too high of a heel). I might get this done in time to actually be approved before the event goal I have, so fingers crossed everyone!



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I have an update on some things!


To start, I went to Tandy, and I am very overwhelmed for my first time being there. I am very new to leatherwork so this will be an interesting project piece for me. I think I plan to go with a decent size oak veg tan shoulder and Fiebings Golden Brown dye for sure. I think I also found the same copper strap pieces at my Tandy as well. I'm just not sure if I should sew or glue the bag pieces together? I still need to do some size testing, but I think somewhere in the avenue of no smaller than 9 but no bigger than 12 inches wide for the bag is perfect. I have some cheap craft foam that's been sitting around with no use, so I might attempt to size test with paper first, and then the foam for a final check. 


As for the dye tests for the poncho/arms, I think I got it after some attempts! I first started with Frost Grey (10-12 cups of water to maybe 1 capful of dye for 2 and a half minutes), which was too blue. I then tried Graphite with the same ratio... and it came out the same exact color (photo). Of course. So, neither of these would cut it. I then got to thinking about Rey's grey Resistance wraps - regular Rit in Pearl Grey is too purple but mixed with tan is perfect. I picked up some Royal Purple and Sand Stone DyeMore after finding the recipe for "Breeze" on Rit's website. 8 cups of water to equal teaspoons of both colors came out perfect! (Photo without flash in natural daylight | Photo with flash) I hope you all think so too. I think the Frost Grey or Graphite dye could potentially work for the cuffs still, since Glory mentioned the cuffs/elbows being bluer? I'm just super happy I figured this out since it was a huge hurdle!


I also took an hour or so to draft my cuff/elbows and poncho patterns! I eyeballed a lot of it, comparing scans from the comic and Glory's photos from their build thread/poncho construction photos. I have some cheap knit fabric that's similar to the final fabric that I can make mockups from, which I'll probably do this week. I drafted these on Pellon tracing paper, each square should equal roughly 1 inch/2.5cm. (Cuff/elbow pattern draft and poncho pattern draft) I know I mentioned the length being an issue with the poncho, I made it to a decent length so I can adjust from there.


I did look at contacts, and have some options if anyone wants to give their 2 cents on color? I'm looking at Kazzue Basic Pure Green (My fiance uses these in Brown for Ben/Han, very natural looking and comfortable! Just a bit pale than I'd like?), Doya #YOLO Green (they're a bit pale looking as well?), Doya Mini Sheer Green (Darker than the first two), or I.FAIRY Pony Caribbean Green (Darkest of the options, really pretty!). Trying to find a perfect match to the ones in the CRL is a bit difficult, and I'm not sure how lenient the green shade is with approval. If it helps any, the models in all of those have roughly the same eye shade as I do.


Beyond that, still trying to figure out everything else. Getting some print quotes on the blaster, need to try styling the wig, still need to go boot hunting, and ideally would like contact with a local GML for guidance and support but not even sure how to go about that. But I hope I'm on good track, I'm excited to get going on this!! :)


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Your dye color for the poncho looks great so far! Congratulations on getting past one of the most stressful parts of this build (at least for me - I HATE dyeing!). 


I don't think anyone is going to be too picky on contact colors. As long as they're some shade of natural-looking green, you should be good to go. I use Air Optix Colors in gemstone green and get them through my eye doctor (since I wear Rx contacts anyway), and they look pretty close to your Caribbean Green picture.


You should be able to find contact info for your GML(s) here: https://www.501st.com/members/displayUnits.php. Also, if you haven't already done so, hop on your garrison's forum to introduce yourself and what you're working on as another way to make contact.

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Thank you for the kind words, Glory! I'm grateful for your feedback. I'm kind of torn between the Kazzue Basic Pure Green and the I.FAIRY Caribbean Green, but I have some time before I make a decision. Thank you for the link as well - I'm excited to get in touch with a GML!


Ugh. Mockups. I hate this part. The cuff/elbow piece I drafted is simultaneously too small and too big (photo 1 - photo 2 - photo 3). The cuff needs another 2 inches in width including seam allowance, and the elbow needs to be shortened and taken in at the top/sides of the elbow. The length of the poncho though, for the most part, seems really nice! (Photo 1 - photo 2) I marked it for a 1/2 inch seam allowance, but I might do 1/4 inch seam at the bottom? I sewed it at 1/4 at the top and it's nice! The back length is a bit long though (Photo 1 - photo 2, hand is at the lower curve of my back), so it will need to be raised by a couple inches - I'll make a new copy of the pattern for the back. The neck needs to be widened by a couple inches at least, since as it is now is pretty snug to my neck. Here's a redraft of the arm pattern, and a redraft of a new back pattern for the poncho, with the collar widened by 2 inches. I'll do another mockup round some time this week.


While wearing my Mara suit, I did notice the lower back sticks out a bit funny/away from it. I plan to take some of the extra fabric from the excess length at the legs to try and correct this with a small gusset at the inner crotch.


I have also decided that if I can at least get the blaster and contacts and everything else requirement-wise is done, I might submit early to stop worrying so much over it. It sounds like that if I am approved and then finish the bag and get the saber, I'll just have to submit those items to the GML for approval - fine by me, and that gives me more leniency if things go awry. I want to be extra sure I don't mess up with expensive leather for sure. I also wanted to wait and save up for my saber for a May 4th sale, and Ultra is often known for shipping issues. I'm sure I'll figure it out regardless :D 

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More Mara updates! Hooray!! :D 


I found a pair of black boots! (Front | Outer | Inner) They have a heel that is a comfortable height for me and have a zipper on the inside of the leg! Obviously need to remove the ankle straps but nothing a seam ripper can't do. I might end up adding a wedge of elastic above the zipper, though - they are a bit tight as they are right now and need to be broken in, but I'm sure my legs will not be happy with con/troop swelling. I hope that will be okay for approval.


Next, mockup success! (Front | Side | Back | Back (showing dip in lower back) I think the neck looks great but will look even better on the final with the interfacing added. Making the back shorter looks so much better too. I need to take it in above the arms since it's a bit long but not sure if another mockup is necessary - I'll probably just cut this one and then mark and adjust the patterns. Just need to remember to leave plenty for seam allowance! I did also grab the fabric I needed for dying, so once I can get some interfacing (since I so wonderfully forgot!) - it should be go time to get the poncho completed and get the arms done up right.


Speaking of the arms and their grey pieces, I didn't make another fabric mockup. I was still concerned about length.. and yeah, it was bad. It was still way too long. I had to cut it down quite a bit with trial and error until I got something that looked good with my elbow bent and with it straight which I think was my issue with drafting beforehand (Photo 1 | Photo 2 | Photo 3 | Photo 4) I think it looks a lot better, but I'm still paranoid about the cuff not fitting me. I get a good amount of overlap with the paper pattern though so I think it'll be fine. I don't think I'll do another mockup since it looks nice as it is now, unless someone thinks otherwise.


I believe a friend of mine is printing the blaster for me, which I'm excited about considering this friend is part of the MMCC crew. I'm lucky to know some really kind clubfolks in my area. I'm speedrunning another costume and updated accessories for another on top of that - all for roughly the same time frame, so hopefully soon I'll be able to sit down and figure out the leather purse dimensions.

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Lol hi, not dead - just busy! I haven't done much for progress beyond taking the straps off of the boots (besides the ones parallel of the inside and outside of the boots - I want to keep those for stability, hoping they'll work for approval)


But I just got my blaster today at an armor party! It still needs some filling, sanding, painting, and gluing but it looks amazing! Super happy I was able to have a Merc friend do this for me, and hoping he can print my Rey blaster as well.


Hoping to finish everything else soon! :)



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Lol doesn't everyone love when things go so horribly bad?


I decided to test/break into my Mara boots for another costume.. I am so, so glad I didn't troop in these. The pleather shredded everywhere and the stitching ripped from the zipper - from maybe only a few hours at a convention! What a setback..




I'm now back to the start for her boots. I need something with a low heel due to chronic pain that could work for approval and obviously not destroy themselves. I have roughly 18 inch calves so finding riding boots that fit is.. so so hard. I don't even fit into my fiancé's expensive boots for Han.


I also did not meet the deadline for C2E2 2022 for a variety of reasons.. oh well, always another goal! I'll take some time to get the blaster finished and look for a good fitting pair of boots :)

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I've been struggling since my last post to find a suitable pair of boots in my size with details I am able to remove (e.x. straps, etc).

I literally cannot find a single pair that I feel a GML would not oppose to. I don't know what to do and feel like I cannot complete my costume now.


That pair I had was perfect to me in terms of heel height and comfort, and I'm completely heartbroken. I'm tempted to take them into a local cobbler, but I know it would cost far more than just a new pair of boots. I had no indication they would do that at all - every time I wore them before this to try on with my suit, they fit nicely, and I did not notice the faux leather being messed up prior.

I'm at a loss because even some of the most higher end boots on the market just seem like a no-go. I have not worked on Mara because of this. :( 


Help me, Flagship friends, you're my only hope.

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2 hours ago, DarthValkyria said:

What size shoe do you wear?


I usually wear a 10 or 10W. But I also have a large calf - I'm actually closer to about 17 inches now from vigorous exercise. 

I'm overly nervous of finding a pair of boots that have a low heel, no permanent details I can't remove, but I also don't know if they can have elastic inserts at all. My Leia boots do for Rebel Legion, but it even varies depending on which judge you work with. 


Besides my boot issuss, I should have my fiancé style my wig soon and I should get to finishing my blaster. I've just been stressing so bad that I'm afraid to finish my jumpsuit and poncho :(

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I'm trying to search for any that I find in my free time to see if it will help. Though, admittedly the concept of, "free time" right now as I am going through test week, work deadlines, medical stuff, and a week-long Fiesta troop planning are a bit scarce. 


If I come by any that work well with the lower heel I will post here!

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On 9/26/2022 at 8:34 PM, DarthValkyria said:

I'm trying to search for any that I find in my free time to see if it will help. Though, admittedly the concept of, "free time" right now as I am going through test week, work deadlines, medical stuff, and a week-long Fiesta troop planning are a bit scarce. 


If I come by any that work well with the lower heel I will post here!


I appreciate it so much, far more than I can express. I've been so upset over not being able to find suitable boots, and most of my fabric for my other Legion build to finish this year went missing during a move. It's been a stressful time to say the least.


In good news, we found the dye for the poncho/arm pieces! A lot of stuff was misplaced during the packing up phase, or the countless times we have reorganized stuff. Hopefully other things will turn up :')


I suppose with the boots, it's the uncertainty of knowing what /can/ be on them. I saw in Glory's newer Mara thread, their boots had a slit and (I assume) elastic in the slit. I for some reason did not think those were allowed? I know 501st is much more strict so it's been a struggle to figure things out. I might chitchat with some folks on my base about it.


I might at least get working on that poncho, I just can't decide on if I should dye fabric and then cut, cut and then dye, or cut, construct, and then dye. I worry about patchiness with all 3. 

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Honestly, if it is a slit with elastic, I am not going to complain. She is a comic character, so there is a tiny bit of leniency that I would allot to stuff like that for a better fit so long as it does not take away from the rest of the boot. Now, things like additional straps, buckles, or other decorations, I would steer away from.

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So the boots thing has been bugging me since forever ago. I honestly have not stop searching in a good variety of places (even secondhand!) to the point of tearing up about it in frustration. This style of boot must not be in fashion anymore or something! It's frustrating! I would love to get Mara done and finally get her submitted, but I feel like it has not been worth doing if I can't complete the costume fully.


But since my fiance told me he got me a Mara-related surprise, I tried searching again and found these. I think I could easily add elastic to that gap section at the top after removing the strap/buckles, and obviously the ankle ones would be removed as well. But before I buy, what do yall think about them?  Ermonn Womens Knee High Boots Chunky Low Flat Heel Side-Zip Back Lace-Up Buckle Faux Leather Riding Footwear Fashion Fall Winter Boots

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I would be concerened about holes being left behind after removing all the straps and buckles, depending on how they are attached. Just cutting away a strap or two that is sewn into a seam would probably be ok, but these seam like they might need some pretty heavy modifications. Also the cutout in the back looks too large. The vertical expanding elastic slits that are in a lot of boots are ok, but I think I would say no to this one.


I see you listed your size a few posts up, so I'll try to help out with some searching as well. Fortunately we'll see the best boot options and availability this time of year. Hang in there!

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Hi there! I spent a while searching today, and I found some boots that appear that would be approvable and are available in your size (as long as they are the faux leather version - I didn't see anywhere to select a material option). They are over $100, and sorry I neglected to ask what your budget was, but in my experience it's worth it to spend extra on a good pair of boots - your feet and back will thank you!




Edit: they are also available on the Aerosoles website for a lower price, and you can select the material. https://www.aerosoles.com/products/berri?variant=32891485487188

Edited by Glory530
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Glory, thank you so so much! I'm hoping to buy them very soon then so I can get Mara finished and submitted. They're right around the high end for my budget so hopefully I will get plenty of use out of them! And I am wrong, my calves are 17 inches, but it looks like they should be around that with my shoe size included :)


It also seems like there's an effort to make this outfit dual legion, so I'm really hoping to get this done as soon as possible! 


About that surprise... I've been waiting forever to get my Mara saber, because it's just been not affordable with other bills being more important. But he woke me up with this. US was doing a 40% off sale and he knew how badly I wanted it.. it's so so beautiful! I'm so happy and excited! 


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I did order the boots suggested by Glory from Aerosoles, and they are here and so beautiful! They are a bit snug in the calf even after going a half-size up, but I am hoping to break them in. Adding a bit of elastic by the zipper from the shin up may be necessary as well, I really don't think I'll find a pair that aren't tight in the calf without spending well beyond my means for custom made boots.


But hooray hooray for decent boots! 🎉🎉



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