Like many Twi’lek costumers, I started out with a decision that I wanted to be a
Twi'lek and very little idea of how to start. I began working on a lekku headpiece,
but I also had to figure out the rest of the costume. I had a pile of brown stretch
velvet that I wanted to use and I was quite fond of teal green at the time, so I
used Photoshop to make some sketches that would let me see what some different designs
would look like:
I decided on the top right shirt (minus the sleeves), and the bottom left skirt,
and I set to work. I made the outfit, then made a pair of shorts to wear under the
skirt because I was too shy to show so much thigh, and I took it to Celebration III.
Then, I floundered. The body paint was a nightmare because I tried to mix cake type
makeup into a liquid form that could be sprayed with an airbrush. I had found a place
online that offered the “recipe” for mixing paint that way, and it was a baaaaaad
idea. It took several hours, made a huge mess in the hotel bathroom, and the sticky
paint started rubbing off every time I moved. It snowed on me on the way to the convention
center, leaving water spots all over my paint job, I was cold and miserable, and
every place my clothes touched my skin, the paint transferred onto the fabric. I
had to wear the leftover piece of fabric as a makeshift shawl to hide the rubbed-off
paint, I forgot my bracelets in the hotel after all the work that I had put into
them, the back seam of the shirt started tearing soon after I put it on, and I had
forgotten my gold sandals at home and had to borrow a black pair from someone. To
this day, my camera still has blue paint all over it from that night. The darned
paint rubbed right off my hands within minutes, but it still sticks to the camera
years later! I was late getting to the Celebration Party, and I was terribly depressed
that everything was going so wrong.... but then I walked in the door, and everyone
was so kind and supportive that it was all worthwhile. Thanks to many of the other
costumers who were there that night, I had a great time.
Celebration III with Frank, Scott, and Brian
When I got home again I was determined to get things right, so I used what little
paint I had left (heavily watered down because there wasn’t enough), and I took a
few pictures so that I’d finally know what that costume would look like when it wasn’t
hiding under the shawl. The pictures I took that day went a long way toward keeping
me from giving up on Twi’lek costumes. I loved the way they came out, and I was
determined to feel that kind of success at an event, and not just while I was standing
in my own back yard. I lacked experience, but I was too stubborn to give up!
My next costume was Aayla Secura. It was a last-minute rush costume that I hurried
to finish in time for the premiere of Revenge of the Sith, and it took me right back
down to the bottom of the experience ladder. Once again I found myself fighting the
body paint, which I tried using directly from the cake this time. Instead of mixing
it into a liquid, I just used a damp sponge and rubbed it on the cake. The body
paint stayed on better this time, but it was dull and still splotchy. The costume
itself was something of a mess, since it had been thrown together with scraps and
pieces that just didn’t match; and when I washed the carefully painted “brick” pattern
on the shirt, the dye bled together and the pattern disappeared. Augh!
Scott and I were planning to attend Comic Con, so I decided that it was a good time
to start over with my Aayla costume. I made a new costume from scratch, which I
was MUCH happier with. I also invested in a few bottles of Ben Nye Liquicolor paints,
which made a huge difference in the quality of my paint job. I finally had a costume
that I could feel proud of! I have been wearing this costume ever since then. It
has come with me to Celebration IV and Dragon*Con, I wore it in a skit that took
second place in the WonderCon Masquerade, and I was able to get pictures with both
Jan Duursema and Doug Wangler while I was wearing it. Yay!
Dragon*Con 2008, with Scott and Thomas
This was a “just for fun” costume that I put together based on the “Twi’lek Bodyguard”
Star Wars Mini.
I’ve never worn this costume to an event... perhaps I should someday!
I put this costume together so that I’d have something comfortable to wear when I
got tired of being Aayla at Celebration IV. I wore my Aayla costume all morning,
then switched outfits for the afternoon. By this time I had discovered alcohol based
body inks, so there were no problems with paint rubbing off of either costume. I
had painted my feet and wore sandals with the costume, and I had to laugh every time
I overheard somebody commenting on my blue toes. I think the five-minute paint job
on my toes got more attention than my newest lekku sculpt that I had spent over three
When Scott and I went to Dragon*Con in 2008, I decided to give my very first Twi’lek
costume another chance. I repaired the torn seams, replaced the areas that had blue
paint stains, made a new lekku headpiece, exercised off a few pounds, and got brave
enough to toss the shorts aside. Then, I took it with me to Dragon*Con. A few years
worth of costuming experience has done wonders for my self confidence and the quality
of my costuming, though I still had a bit of a shy attack before I get up the nerve
to step out in costume, and I still can't pose worth a darn. But, here's my proof
that while most of us start out at the bottom of the experience ladder when it comes
to costuming... that ladder CAN be climbed. Sewing skills can be learned, body paint
can be mastered, and supply lists for each costume can help ensure that nothing gets
left at home. All it takes is some determination, some practice, and the knowledge
that even when you're just starting out there will be people who are willing to encourage
and support you.
We didn’t pay attention to the background when the picture was taken, but when we
got home we discovered that I had acquired a halo! I’m pretty sure that D*Con and
halos were never meant to go together.....
For Dragon*Con 2009, I decided to put together an Astraal Vao costume. Our plan
had been for Scott to wear a Shado Vao costume on the same day, but we soon realized
that we wouldn’t be able to finish his lekku headpiece in time, so he wound up making
a Flint costume instead. I’m happy with the way the Astraal headwraps came out...
I really had a hard time with those! The costume still needs a jacket and the shoulder
pads, but I went ahead and took it anyway. One less layer of fabric in Atlanta summertime
is a good thing!
I am currently working on a Darth Talon costume. It is an absolutely terrifying
costume for someone as shy as me, and I chicken out about it at least twice a day...
but I’m trying to work up the courage to wear it at Celebration V. Wish me luck!