Thursday, May 19, 2011

Arachnia, Queen of the Spider People!

The list of costumes for the Las Vegas Star Trek convention just keeps growing. I rewatched the Voyager episode "Bride of Chaotica!" earlier tonight and thought, "Hey now, Arachnia has one spiffy outfit! I should make that!" The first problem was instantly obvious...all the scenes featuring the costume are in black & white, so I have no idea what colour the costume is! There were a few things I could tell, though. Like, that is alloooooot of beadwork. The entire gown is nothing but beads. But look how fantastic it is! It's so 1930s villain in its fabulousness.
Being totally beaded, the style of the dress itself is pretty simple. (Thank the costuming gods for that one.) There are appliques on the front and back of the bodice, as well as on the shoulders, where they support those crazy feather...thingies.
I was thinking of making the dress either red or purple, when I ran across the image to the right. It was red! Or, so I thought. I then managed to find the Christie's auction listing for this very costume, which described the costume thus:

A black gown covered with copper beadwork, sequins and elaborate black metallic bead trim; a high beaded plastic collar piece, black shoes with sequins, feathered shoulder pieces, and other accessories with corresponding costume and makeup notes -- worn by Kate Mulgrew as Captain Janeway playing Queen Arachnia, "The Bride of Chaotica" in the Captain Proton holodeck simulation (4)

The costume was originally expected to go for between $600-800, but it brought in a whopping $4560! I wish there were more detail shots, but at least there's a good basic description and a colour photo. So, the dress itself is black, and the beadwork was copper, not red. Hmm...time to hunt for wholesale beads.
Thank the costume gods for Panda Hall. They sell beads by the pound, and they sell 'em cheap. 5 pounds of copper seed beads in size 6/0 will run me a whopping $6. Of course, 5 pounds is 5 pounds, and coming from China, shipping will cost a pretty penny. I think an order of 5 pounds ended up costing $45 in shipping. Yikes! Still, you couldn't buy that many beads in the store (an amazing 22,500 beads in 5 pounds!) for $45, so it'll be worth it.
My next step is to build myself a nice big bead loom. Logically, it can't be too difficult to construct...I just need some wood for the frame, some nails, and a pair of long springs. That'll happen in the near future, after my current commissions are taken care of.
In the meantime, someone online (I lost the link, if they're yours, let me know and I'll credit!) complied a bunch of shots of Queen Arachnia that show some good detailing, so I'll share them, too, in case someone else needs the references! :)


  1. I've SO wanted to make this for a Halloween costume (for several years now). Thanks for finding some real (full length shots)! The beading, however, is very much beyond my amount of free time.

    I'm curious what loom technique you'd use? The nonuniform way the beads lay seem to reflect being sewn directly to the base dress or remind me a bit of the peyote method. I suppose it could just be the weight and drape of it... (now you've got me thinking crazy hard)

    I can't wait to see your process/results!

  2. Yeah, that's the one thing that's kept me from actually starting this project. It definitely looks like it's all applied directly to the gown itself, and isn't woven after all. ~headdesk~ Figures! lol Though, now that you mention it, it really does look like it could be woven peyote style. my wheels are turning. lol
    I already know I'll have to postpone this costume until next year's Vegas convention, but if I do, then there's no reason I shouldn't have it finished in time. :D Now I just need to find someone to be Captain Proton!

  3. Making one of these myself. Should be a bit of an adventure. Thinking about applying all those beads is about enough to make me swoon, but I'm also eager to give it a go. Thanks for your post, it's actually been extremely useful. Keep us up to date!

    1. Best of luck on the project! I am considering starting on this one pretty soon...I really want to get my pic with Kate Mulgrew while decked out in this costume!
      Glad my post is useful! :D