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Gloria's Black Nebula Mara Build Thread


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I'm doing it. I'm going for the Mara Jade triple threat! I already have Black Bodysuit, I built the Nezmi Base version and got the CRL released, and now I'm going to build the Black Nebula version. Mara has been my favorite Star Wars character for over 30 years, and one of my favorite ways to honor her is to, well, become her, so this just seems right. 


Carlos Ezquerra's depiction of Mara is my favorite of all her comic appearances, so I'm pretty excited to add another of her outfits from By the Emperor's Hand to my collection. I would LOVE to also build the Arica bodysuit from the same series, but unfortunately I have bad plantar fasciitis, so the shoes are a deal breaker :( (also covering up multiple tattoos would be a pain).


Onward to my latest costuming adventure...


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I made the easiest part first - the unitard. Could I buy a unitard off the shelf instead of making it? Yes. Would it fit me? Absolutely not. My body has some pretty wacky proportions going on, most problematic being my EXTREMEY short torso. Therefore, all of my costumes have to be custom sized. Lucky me.


For the pattern, I used the same one I used for Nezmi Mara (Jalie 2105). I already extended the sleeves and pants to full length and made the necessary modifications to the pattern to make the suit fit me correctly when I did my Nezmi build, so all I had to do for this was add back in the portion of the sleeve I cut out for the sleeve insert. I also got clever and designed in an "easy access gusset" for when nature calls (reverse engineered from my Spanx) because removing four layers of costume to use the restroom would be awful. 

20201011_144330.jpg.778e087d822a1f25871f5cabdf9ab1f3.jpg 20201011_154825.jpg.11d32c5e2696a4f761dd79db89e16e58.jpg


Now for the fabric. I initially had a ridiculous thought that I could find a nylon/spandex fabric about the right color off the shelf and not have to dye. I found one that looked really close - the Storm Grey Milliskin Nylon Spandex Matte #216 from stretchhouse.com, but when I ordered it, the color was more like a light grey than a dark steel grey. Back to the dye bath and the headaches it involves (sigh!). Luckily after less than ten small-scale trials, I was able to lock in the formula that gave me a very close match to the comic. I overdyed with 50% RIT Pearl Grey, 25% RIT Denim Blue, and 25% RIT Hyacinth, at 4 oz total dye per lb of fabric. Note: the color looks slightly different picture to picture because this fabric/color does not photograph consistently.

20211001_164649.jpg.21c1416c8d7a763151b1839b7a6d24d4.jpg  20211003_101650_1.jpg.9f57e311f28cdd0733eeed745e2f6380.jpg



20220625_184240.jpg.45b024d339821a62871529e7e442e1e5.jpg 20220625_184322_1.jpg.e73d485900d75322b7be133a7fd27a5b.jpg 20220625_185328_1.jpg.8d8524e4bd0aa3df69a8e34fc4741350.jpg


So then I spent a few hours with the scissors and sewing machine this weekend and banged out a unitard! One piece down, several to go.


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It's been a little while since I've updated. I've been working steadily on the bodice and sleeve slopers I will use to develop the patterns for the dress. It's been a pretty slow process since I've never done this before and I'm learning how to do it from a book. I'm getting close - I should hopefully be able to build and try on a trial dress within a month!


In the mean time, I received some boots several weeks ago that I ordered for this costume, and I think they will work nicely. These are the Capree boots in Espresso color from Jones Bootmaker. They were a little bit on the pricey side (about $200), but they are beautiful, comfortable, and the closest color match to the book I can find in the correct style (my perfectionism goes into overdrive when it comes to color matching!). There are two pictures in the comic where Mara is outside in daylight where the boots can clearly be seen. These match the color in one of them almost perfectly (comparison photo below). I've also added a picture of me wearing them with the unitard.

20220820_111246.thumb.jpg.37bc4534f2ef776aa5bbdc7703587815.jpg 20220820_111312.thumb.jpg.2ffa699bb26ff92bb6e046d18ad2a0f3.jpg 20220819_160109.thumb.jpg.3450960c47475289e394f33d76db07f6.jpg 20220820_113114.thumb.jpg.19aa8ff463d9f979634b21195747684a.jpg

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Major progress has been made! Since I completed the unitard, I made a duct tape dummy, created pattern slopers, created patterns for the dress, and made a muslin "practice" dress.


The duct tape dummy was necessary, as I don't believe there is any dressform in the world that can be adjusted remotely close to my body shape. This was dirt cheap to create (plastic wrap + duct tape + fence post expanding foam) and didn't take much time (thank you to my husband for helping!). This dummy made taking measurements and fitting the slopers super easy.



I learned how to create my slopers from the book How to Make Sewing Patterns by Don McCunn. The pattern drafting videos on Creative Bug were also very helpful. Basically what the slopers are are generic, fitted patterns that you can then use as a base for pretty much any pattern you want to create for yourself based on a series of measurements you take from you body (or duct tape dummy) and a pretty lengthy (at least for me since this was my first time) fitting process. The bodice and sleeve patterns were very simple modifications from the slopers - just add seam allowance and sleeve fullness. Then for the the skirt panels, I went off of a tutorial for a Hobbit-style full gathered skirt I found online that suggested a skirt circumference of 3 to 3.5 times your waist circumference. I made some panels based on this (panel width = (3 x waist circumference)/4) and sewed them to a makeshift belt to try on. The skirt looked a little too full and the panels too wide compared to the comic images, so I cut 4 inches off the width of each one and was pretty happy with the result. So that makes the final ratio of the skirt circumference to waist circumference 2.5. I made each panel long enough to go from my waist to almost the floor when barefoot so that there would be plenty of wiggle room for hemming. 



Before I make something that I developed myself, I like to do a test run on muslin to validate my pattern (or pattern modifications) and process. Yes, it took a full day yesterday and a few hours today to make a dress just for practice, but doing this brings my anxiety way down and my confidence up before going into the real thing. I'm pretty happy with how this turned out (except for looking like I belong on Little House on the Prairie), and I'm ready to start the final dress! Note: the bottom of the center back is a little funky and has a small gap because we just pinned it shut. This should be better on the final dress with the zipper.

20220906_192551.thumb.jpg.81d2f5828044ed246b011dea8690281d.jpg 20220906_192616.thumb.jpg.9b3e4fa95e79092bc1256f785b0abecc.jpg 20220906_192627.thumb.jpg.f90f4a28881af979a813868a0108f0e9.jpg

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Very slow progress (I've been dealing with extremely painful tennis elbow in my dominant arm since early September), but I've finished the dress!


Here's the materials I used:

Black fabric: Rayon challis (black) from Fabric Wholesale Direct

Maroon fabric: Rayon challis (burgundy) from Vogue Fabrics

Zipper: Invisible separating zipper from Amazon


A couple notes on the fabric: rayon challis frays SUPER easily, so French seams are KEY. But it's very comfortable and drapes and flows just like the dress in the comic, so I think it's a really good match for fabric type. Also, the burgundy fabric is not a perfectly exact match to the comic (it's just a tad darker), but it's probably closer that I could get trying to dye match exact and saves me a ton of stress. I say it's close enough!



Here are the photos of the completed dress. Note: the cell phone camera doesn't capture colors exactly as they appear to my eyes, and the shot with the skirt panels in the air is a still from a video, so it's way off (but it was fun to take and looks cool). I'm going to be shooting submission pictures with the DLSR and studio lights, so those will be much better! There is a little gap between the two back skirt panels at the zipper, which was pretty unavoidable, but this will be hidden by the leather vest since the bottom goes below the waistline in the back.

20221209_182645.jpg  20221209_182655.jpg  20221209_183206.jpg  VideoCapture_20221209-182843.jpg



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I finished the leather vest today! The pattern was pretty simple -  basically the same as the dress bodice, but with larger armholes and added length to the bottom with double-ended darts to make the vest form-fitting over my hips, belly, butt, and lower back, as shown in the comic.


For the material, I used 2/3 oz veg tan leather in beige color (but it actually looks more like a tan color) from Tandy. The color is fairly close to the comic (which bugs me a little since I tend to obsess over matching colors exactly, but I'm not about to start messing with mixing leather dyes to get it closer). Plus it's pretty much an exact color match to the CRL.



I used 3/4 in wide adhesive Velcro in a beige-ish color for the closure. Velcro makes the most sense to me since there are a couple panels in the comic (one example above) where the vest is open only in the middle section of the front opening (where Mara tucks in her blaster) and appears to stay closed at the top and the bottom.


I also added a topstitch around the bottom edge and up the center front to match the topstitch or groove in the leather shown in the comic.


Finally, the weathering. I was lucky that the leather I purchased had some scrapes and imperfections in it already (yay natural weathering!) I added some additional wear to the edges, side seams, and darts using a Scotch pad - a tip I picked up from one of Adam Savage's videos when I was looking into how to weather leather.


Finished product:

20230129_143102.jpg  20230129_143146.jpg


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