The Royal Handmaiden Society
The Royal Handmaiden Society in the 2007
Tournament of Roses Parade
RHS member GentleBant was invited to march in the 2007 Tournament of Roses Parade by Lucasfilm Ltd, and was assigned a "flame maiden" gown from the LFL archives. Here is her summary:

Here are smaller resized pics of the gown, post parade, so I'm a little worn out. This is just a basic analysis. Also, I'm completely ignorant of most of the proper terms for the pieces I'm describing, as well as all the fabric names, but here's a preliminary stab at it.

Flame Gown: one-piece underdress

The layer1 picture (above) shows just the underdress, which is all one piece. The sleeves are sewn into the gown up at the top of the arm, where the outer flame sleeve also meets the rest of the gown. The waist is elasticized. The top of the gown (the bodice section?) is lined in a creamy/metallic looking medium heavy, satiny feeling material, which continues throughout the flame part of the sleeve. The skirt is unlined. The front of the skirt is all one panel/piece of material, which differs from the gown seen on screen and at the FIDM and the fashion shows. The flame sleeves' shape is more complicated than I had originally thought (more thoughts and pictures on that to come) and is dyed differently from the front three panels compared to the rear two panels. The red undersleeves snapped close.

Flame Gown: the red underhood

The layer2 picture shows the addition of the red underhood. The hood fitted snugly under my chin at the top of my throat and flared outward beyond the neckline of the undergown. I chose to wear it on top of the base gown so that if the overhood slipped forward, the red would show and not the neckline of the gown underneath. The visor/brim of the hood was not rigid, but reminded me of either a few layers or one thick piece of interfacing, perhaps? This piece met the rest of the underhood at my temples and a little above my hairline. The back of the hood tied shut with three set of thin (approximately 1/4") ribbons.

Flame Gown: the overhood

The layer3 picture shows the addition of the final piece: the overhood attached to both the red obi/sash piece and the front panel. The obi was sewn the back of the panel. The only seam on the hood was at the very top, while the front panel seemed to make the bottom of the overhood opening just as noted in the fashion show pics. The underhood and panels were lined with a bronze/brownish/metallic colored satin-like material (differing from the lining of the underdress). Interestingly, the obi was more of a satiny feel than the hood and undersleeves, though I might be remembering a bit incorrectly. Also, the way the obi was constructed, it had its own flare to it over my hips. The obi fastened with hooks at each end and on the outer and inner edges. The gathers faced upward. The obi was lined with a satiny/silky material in the same shade of red. To my eye, it seemed that the obi/sash on this gown was a bit shorter than the ones seen in the films and at the exhibits and I don't think it was necessarily attached in the onscreen version. My thoughts behind this are:
  1. I'm only 5 feet tall, with very short legs, probably much shorter in the lower body than the actresses/models used, and it "hit" higher on me than it appears on the films.
  2. In the films, when the ladies turn or move in the gown, the obi didn't seem to get tugged along with panel the way my gown did. As I was constantly turning to the right to wave, the whole piece would gradually turn, too. I could be wrong on this, but after comparing the way the gown fit me with how it looked in say, the Air Taxi scene, it seems at least plausible to me.

The Back of the Gown

The layer3 back view shows all the pieces together. There is a zipper and hook and eye closure for the back of the undergown, colored a sort of light-muddy color, which begins at about the top of the tailbone. The back of the flame sleeve is also darker than the front.

Overall, up close, the gown had much more of a mustard and brown/rust undertone to it than I expected. However, in the light, or from a few feet away, it looked much more the yellow to orange we see onscreen. Also, the main material seemed to be a velour/velvet with a thicker but not too thick pile.

Note: the "handmaiden's helper" in the above picture is GentleBant's son Noah.


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