Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Shego Costume: Making a Bodysuit (Part I)

One of the things that I have not made for myself is a bodysuit. Spandex fabric has been my anetham and I have avoided it for a long time. However, with a lot of costumes using bodysuits, I knew that it would be inevitable that I would have to suck it up and make one for myself. (It's been over 20 years since I started costuming so it'd have to be inevitable that I would need to make one). Previously, I had made "do" with commercially available bodysuits.

A few pattern companies have patterns for bodysuits, but as this item needs to fit me extremely well, I was  was a bit worried about having to make multiple mockups from a pattern and have it fit me correctly.


So, I asked a few friends who have specialized in super hero body suit costumes as part of their cosplay, and they gave me excellent suggestions!
  • Go to a dance store and buy a bodysuit that fits you. (BLOODY BRILLIANT!)
  • Take it apart and use it as your pattern. (AMAZINGLY SMART!)
  • Make sure that the bodysuit is a 4-way stretch and that your fabric is also 4-way stretch. (I didn't know this part.) A 4-way stretch fits better to a human form.
So, not only will the bodysuit will fit me from the start, I won't have to struggle with fit too much. Plus, the cost of the bodysuit would be well worth the time and effort trying to fit me from a paper pattern.
I went online and bought a bodysuit that were for my measurements from a dance store.

Long Sleeve Mock Unitard from Baltog

I bought two on sale -- one black for future use and one a bright fluorescent green that I wouldn't mind taking apart. I bought the green because it was hideously colored and so I could easily see the stitches, which were all done on a serger. So I spent two evenings taking apart the bodysuit with a seam ripper and binge watching the show, Young Justice.

With a bit of care, everything came out well, and I took a few notes on the construction order.


I copied the patterns onto paper so that I could have a master pattern I could use for any bodysuit.

I had made initial drawings of the bodysuit patterning that I wanted to use. I did this for the front and back. Notice the asymmetrical lines? The outfit has a harlequin (NOT Harley Quinn) feel to it.
I proceeded to sketch out the markings on the master pattern, including all of the color coding that it required.

I traced out all of the colored pieces and added additional seam allowance as needed. (Note: The original pattern already has the seam allowances included. The colored pieces needed seam allowances where it attached to each other.


Once I completed all of the colored bits, I laid them out on the original master pattern to ensure everything lined up correctly.

And now all I have to do is create the bodysuit. I bought enough fabric to make at least two versions, just in case I make a bunch of mistakes on the other one.

And no, the green of my fabric is not the same as the fluorescent green of the original body suit. Now, it's just a matter of cutting out my pattern pieces and do some "swatches" with fabric scraps.