Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Purrfect Costume: Building a Catsuit (Part 2)

This year seems to be the year of "easy" costumes that I've previously made. For SDCC 2017, I used the same pattern for David Bowie's Blackstar as I did for SDCC 2015 --- the 10th Doctor Suit. Last month, I made myself a Ghawazee that I made myself years ago...oh, and TWO separate Doctor Who themed corsets.

For Catwoman, it appears to be no different. I am re-using my bodysuit pattern that I used for Shego. Lucky for me, the Catwoman outfit is a lot more straightforward than the harlequin pattern for Shego.

If you look closely at all the catsuits, you'll see that there's a center seam down the front and a seam at the waist. This indicates that for the front, there's at least 4 pieces for the front half (2 fronts, 2 leg pieces).

It's a little harder to tell with the back, but I suspect there's no waist seam there.

Given that information, I set to modifying my existing bodysuit pattern. The back didn't need any modification. I opted not to hide the back seam as I was using an invisible zipper and I'm guessing that they needed to hide the metal zipper teeth that would reflect light on stage.

While we were in the LA Garment District, I went looking for fabric that would look like what they used. I thought I found a decent substitute in a 4-way stretch black metal spandex. I bought enough to make at least two outfits, just in case...which I found I did need!

I found actual photos AFTER I bought the fabric and discovered that it was still being manufactured -- albeit as a 2-way stretch fabric that by various accounts is very uncomfortable to wear (from other Catwoman cosplayers)
(actual fabric from the costume)

But, for all intents and purposes, my looks pretty darn close. Plus, it's 4 way stretch that is extremely forgiving and very comfortable. (I'll take comfort over complete screen accurate any day!)

As always, I made notes before I started pattern modification.

I set about modifying my existing pattern and adding the necessary seam allowances for the different pieces.

I realized that the collar might prove tricky -- there's enough fabric to make it ruffle at the neckline while maintaining a smooth seam. It was a bit difficult to tell from screenshots if the collar was a single or two piece.

I was pleasantly surprised at how fast the entire body of the costume came together. Once I made test swatches using my serger (to find out the appropriate settings for this material), the body came together in half an evening.

I even made sure all of the seams matched, especially since these seams were going to be on a predominant area on my body!

In these photos, I hadn't yet cut out the collar / neckline for the Eartha Kitt version of the suit. I decided to cut out the extra fabric from the collar/neck area once I was comfortable with how the collar should go together. I didn't want to make a mistake -- better to measure a dozen times and cut once!

I was a little suspicious at how quickly it came together. I was worried I had done something wrong, but I tried it on and it fit, albeit a little more snugly than I wanted. The original Catwoman outfit wasn't quite form-fitting. You could see the fabric wrinkle in certain shots.

I took a look at the original fabric from which I created my pattern --- the original bodysuit fabric, and realized that THAT fabric was a lot thinner and stretchier than my Catwoman fabric. The metallic layer on the Catwoman fabric made it thicker and less stretchy.

I took a deep breath and told myself this first one was merely a mock-up and that I had been smart to buy so much extra fabric. I consulted with my Viking and we agreed that I needed to increase all of the side seams by 1/4", which give me 1/2" ease on either side. I made a second version, which fit fairly well, with enough fabric left over for all the other parts. I could always sell/give away the first body suit or use it to create a V-neck version of the outfit.

However, the main body of the outfit was very easy to put together. I had a deep foreboding that the last 10% --- the collar --- was going to be a pain in the rear, which, by the way,  IT IS!

I'll probably write another post on the collar itself because I'm quite frustrated with it and decided to go ahead and work on some other parts of this costume and come back to it later.

Read the other parts of this Catwoman Dress Diary!

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