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There's a lot more to becoming Aayla for a day than just putting on the lekku. While her costume is quite a nice design, it is also a difficult one to recreate accurately. My Aayla costume is the result of a lot of trial and error, and a great deal of time spent researching and searching for materials. Learning to use the body paint has been a big challenge as well.... but it was all worth it!

 

My advice? Be patient... and don't give up!

 

 

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The Shirt and Vest

 

 

 

 

I began by purchasing two long-sleeved t-shirt blanks from Dharma Trading Company.

First, I washed and dried the shirts. ALWAYS wash new material before you sew! It WILL shrink. Then, I began by putting on the shirts (the inner shirt inside out) and drawing lines with a piece of charcoal. In addition to the main lines for the neck and arm, I also marked the front and back center so I could take a few inches off, angling the seams so that the shirt became fitted. Sewing the two shirts together and making a nice curve to the neckline was difficult, but I like the way it came out.  Iíve also made a shirt with a single layer of fabric, but I like the look of the double-layered shirt better, so itís the one I always wear.  It has cleaner lines and a sturdier look to it.  The side of the shirt opens beneath the right arm.  It has velcro and two snaps (top and bottom) to hold it closed.  Opening the shirt at the side makes it a lot easier to put it on without damaging the body paint on my shoulders!  The spots were hand painted using fabric paint that I purchased at the crafts store.  Itís fairly thin and soaks in to the fabric very well... but it was tedious work to paint all of those spots and make sure that the paint didnít soak through to the other side. It took a whole day! The spots looked very dark against the plain white shirt, so after the paint was set I soaked the shirt in a very light gray-brown dye bath.  That did a good job of shading in the white areas.

 

 

I used a textured lambskin to make the vest. Lambskins are often available on e-bay for a reasonable price, but you must get one in the right color since most are already dyed and processed, so you cannot change the color once you buy it.  Lambskin is thin, and very easy to sew on a standard sewing machine. For a pattern, I used Butterick #3385 for the basic form, and then I made a lot of modifications as I tried the vest on. It closes on the right side with a strip of velcro.

 

 

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The Pants

 

 

 

 

The pants were also from Dharma. I wasnít sure what to use, so I purchased two pair.  One was a pair of cotton yoga pants, and the other was a pair of cotton lycra leggins.  For the yoga pants, which are shown above, I started by narrowing the legs and replacing the drawstring with an elastic waistband.  All I needed to do with the leggings was to dye  them, since they already fit perfectly.  I dyed them in the same blend of colors that I had used on the shirt.  I like both versions of the pants, and tend to switch between them, though Iíve found that the lycra leggings tend to look the best.

 

 

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The Belt and Apron (aka Mud Flaps!)

 

 

 

 

The belt was a 2" belt purchased from Tandy Leather. I attached a flat buckle blank to the back, which is hidden inside the rear flap. To make the patterns on the apron flaps, I sewed together layers of leather that were cut from two different lambskin hides (one smooth, one textured).

 

The "movie version" Covertec belt clip for hanging lightsabers is fairly easy to find online.  They are often on e-bay, and can also be found with a google search.

 

 

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The Headpiece

 

 

 

The lekku were the most difficult part of the headpiece. I'm very happy with the way they came out, though. It is best to paint the lekku with an airbrush to avoid streaks.

 

After painting, I used rubber cement to hold the leather straps in place.  Rubber cement holds the straps on securely, but it also peels off easily when itís time to repaint the headpiece.

 

The chin strap is permanently glued with contact cement on one side, and has a piece of velcro to hold it on the other end.  It is snug but not tight, and it doesnít hold the lekku on at all.  Its job is to hold the ear covers tight against my cheeks with pieces of velcro.  Without the velcro on the chin strap, the ear covers tend to lift away from my face and reveal my ears hiding under them.  

 

The ear buds stick through holes in the leather that goes around the back, of my head.  That piece of leather is held on with pieces of velcro: one piece in the back, and two pieces on each cheek strap.   

 

The leather that covers my forehead just wraps around and has a piece of velcro in back to hold it on.  I used rubber cement to hold the folds of the leather together over the forehead.

 

 

 

Please Note:  The back piece was set too low when I took these pictures.

It shouldnít be that far down to my jawline!

 

 

 

 

 

It took one lambskin to cut the strips that wrap around the lekku, and the  forehead wrap was made from another.  The wrap that goes around the back of my head was made from scraps left over from the forehead wrap and the vest.  The skins arenít very big, and you have to keep in mind that theyíre an odd shape, so youíre limited to how many large pieces you can cut from them.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aayla
 Secura