Drafting New 52 Supergirl’s bodysuit. It took about 20 minutes. Used the pattern for my Turner Supergirl suit and extended the stomach — didn’t bother making it long enough/extending it into a leotard bottom or raising the neckline because I can just do that in the final draft. I just needed the main shirt so I could figure out where I need to put the action-figure seams.
The side seam won’t be on the final suit. Gonna see if there’s a way to diminish the shoulder/raglan seam as well, but it’s going to have to be there in some form.
Zipper is gonna go up the back. Womp womp wompppppp.
Also, after 6 years, I am almost finished with this hot pink spandex. I originally bought 6 metres of it at $2m on clearance and I’ve been using it for spandex drafts ever since. I only have one metre left. Finally.
Additionally, in the case of emergency, my crotch functions as a light source.
The more I’ve been thinking today about Supergirl boots, the more I’ve been thinking about how to make those batshit New 52 boots. As a general principle, I hate layers, and I hate things that fall down and have to be pulled up constantly, so I don’t want to layer boot over thigh-high sock to get that layered effect nor anything that will slide. I also don’t like thigh-highs in general, as they tend to fall the hell down. I’ve seen a plethora of awesome new 52 Supergirl cosplayers thus far, but I notice that a lot of them seem to struggle with the boots… so I’m hoping I can rectify that not only for myself, but for other future New 52 Supergirl cosplayers. (Assuming this goes well, of course.)
And look: I’ve said in the past that I don’t like this design. I don’t like super-diapers, I don’t like sixteen year olds in panties, I don’t like it when teenage super-heroines look like they belong in Strike Witches. I intend to make it because I love Supergirl and I’m gonna give it a shot anyway. HOWEVER, I do intend to do that with slight changes, for both aesthetic and functional reasons.
It starts with turning these boots into boot-leggings. I use dance tights with most of my costumes anyway, but this one I’m going to do similar to how I did my Huntress tights; sheer, flesh-matching fabric which attaches to the tops of the boots (and the knee-window) to keep them from falling down, to keep them flush against my skin (even when bent) and to ensure they are relatively “seamless”. The bodysuit will be worn overtop, which makes it relatively seamless (save the seam on the inside of the thigh) and it will make the whole outfit look a bit more “covered”. I mean, unless you’ve got your face up against my thigh you won’t be able to see too easily what’s going on, but it’ll do the trick. Bare legs look so vulnerable to me.
It will also have the fantastic perk of keeping the boot in place regardless of how I have my leg! This is one thing I have noticed with other cosplayers; it looks fine on a straight leg, but when you bend it, the /\ doesn’t stay against the thigh and instead sticks out in a spike. I’ve seen some rectify this with tape, but I would love to avoid that, because not only does tape damage the boot and your tights, it’s uncomfortable and hot and sticky and whatever.
So: there are some thoughts. Now we’ll see when I get around to doing this.
Look: these boots are very, very simple. Actually sewing them together is no problem once you’ve got it drafted.
It is, essentially, a sock. A sock with a fancy cuff, with a sole glued to the bottom. It is also zipper-free. You are going to make a sock that fits over a shoe, and you are going to use a knife to peel off the edges of the sole, tuck the fabric under, and then glue the soles back in place so you have a nice, clean edge.
You will need:
You can draft it yourself easily: take your scrap fabric and wrap it around your leg as I’ve pictured above in the pink, and pin it along the back. You want to make it snug, but not so snug that you can’t get your foot out of it either. POINT YOUR TOE WHILE YOU DO THIS. Additionally, wear the shoe while you pin it around your foot; it’ll need to fit over the shoe in the end anyway. Don’t worry about the bottom of your foot; it’s easier if you make the curve under your heel snug, and the front of your toes, but you’re not going to be closing off the bottom.
When you have it pinned neatly and evenly, trim the edges down. Leave enough excess for seam allowance along the back, and enough for tucking on the bottom. (Tucking into the sole, that is.) Take it off your foot and you should have some weird shape (like a mirrored version of the pattern I have pictured above.)
Now: if you trace that onto pattern paper and smooth out any raggedness you may have made in cutting, you have your basic pattern. Then all you have to do is alter the top of the pattern: a /\ point for Wonder Woman, a V for Supergirl, etc. Because we’re making Supergirl, here, you’ll want it to be in two pieces, as shown in the pattern above. Wherever you cut to change the design, be sure that you add seam allowance (as you can see on our bottom pattern.) Also make sure that the top edge of your sock is snug enough to your calf that you won’t have to constantly bend to fix them.
I’ve taken pictures of my and Christine’s patterns. Obviously, if you don’t want a seam down the front, you need to cut the fabric on a fold. You will need four of the top cuff and two of the “sock”; the top cuff is two-layered so it’s got a clean top!
Sew all the cuffs: in the last picture, that’s what they should look like. First, sew them all at the back seam. Then layer them together to sew the top seam, so that when you fold them right-side out, you have finished cuffs as pictured. Topstitch whatever you want.
Sew the sock’s back seam.
Sew the cuff to the sock. Be very careful about the corners, so that they are sharp. Again, topstitch whatever works.
Use the exacto-knife to separate the shoe from the sole. Don’t take the whole sole off — you don’t want to pop it out of alignment, or compromise TOO much of the shoe’s integrity. You just need enough opened that you can tuck the bottom edge of your sock into the space between.
Once your whole sock is finished, it’s time for the crazy part: put it on, with your shoe. Then, with the help of a friend or with the acknowledgement that your spine will hurt trying to do it to yourself, start putting the bottom edge of the sock under the edge of the sole, and gluing in place. We have found hot glue works best because it hardens/sets fast: anything else and you may be stuck sitting there wearing your shoes for HOURS trying not to ruin your work.
Now you have boots.
Go kick some supervillain ass, girl.
I was making a dumb face in one, hence GHOST FACE.
But yeaaaaaaah, we’re done! I mean, the hemming job on the skirt is hand-done/temporary stitches, but it’s hemmed, alright?
Cost-wise, this was made entirely from scraps/fabric left over from previous costumes. I literally bought nothing new to do this remake, and I’m hoping to do that a lot over the summer, seeing as I have the stuff to make quite a few things. I wasn’t really keeping track of how much fabric I was using, either, but it ended up being something like 1.15 m (or 44”). I still have enough fabric to make another Supergirl costume, too!
Idk, people, which Supergirl should I make next? I’ve done Turner, Animated, Classic, and 70s (and multiple versions of each). Send me a suggestion, or something, maybe I’ll do it.
I’m also not sure what to do with the old one. Battle-damage version? Sell it? Make it a short-sleeved version? Throw it out? Now that I have this version, I’m never going to wear the old one, so it seems like a waste to just leave it in my closet for eternity.
Top pic is a comparison between the new cuff and the old cuff. You guys don’t notice or care about these things, but these little details bother the hell out of me.
Next few pics are making clean “corners” between two different pieces of fabric. Christine figured out the best way to do it — sew one side, clip the corner, THEN sew the other side. Clipping the extra fabric is pretty much key, here. I’d hope that most of you already do that when you do things like that :)
Bleh bleh waistband bleh bleh.
Uhhhhhh what else do I comment on… oh! Christine had to catch a bus this afternoon, so we tag-teamed ironing and sewing and pinning the bands, so we did all the cuffs, assembling the shirt, waistband, and attaching the cape in about an hour and a half, including time we took playing with the kittens and taking pictures of them all. We’re good. I wish we lived closer together (or just plain together) so we could sew in teams all the time; we’d get so many more costumes done.
Anyway, this thing is finished now, but I’ll queue up another post for that.
Making the emblem. Pictures don’t totally match up, but this is the process.
You will need:
A printed-out template scaled to fit you. If you think you can free-hand it, you can’t. Be on-model, you’ll thank yourself for it later.
A double-sided fusible web.
A basic understanding of satin-stitching. There are videos on youtube on how to do this.
An iron. This is never optional, you should never sew without an iron!
HOW TO DO THIS:
1. Applique “negative space” pieces on using a double-sided fusible sheeting like Heat ‘n Bond or Steam ‘n Stitch. I’m told “Stitch Witchery” is the American brand name for it. I worked at Fabricland for six years (and was management for a time) and we stocked Dritz products, but we didn’t carry Stitch Witchery. Don’t bother cutting out the outer sides of the \S/; just smack it on the red and you’re good for now. MAKE SURE you use a kind that can be sewn through! If not, it will gunk up your needle, stick and jam your machine. Not fun.
2. Apply tear-away stabilizer to the back. This is to make it a zillion time easier. If you don’t know what this is, it’s basically thick interfacing-like sheeting you put on the back of projects when you’re satin-stitching or topstitching it. “But why would I spend money on something I am going to rip off and throw away?” you cry. Because you want this to look really neat and if your fabric has even a modicum of stretch, you’re going to want to cry if you don’t use a tear-away stabilizer. Use pins to keep it in place, because it doesn’t iron on.
3. What’s satin-stitching? It’s that fine, tight zig-zag stitch you do that looks like a constant line. Got some factory-made stuffed animals in your room with “cartoon” eyes? Pick them up and look at their eyes. Odds are some part of it is satin-stitched. If not, try a hoodie or something where the letters/logos have been sewn on instead of printed.
4. Satin-stitch it allllllllllllll! I didn’t do a perfect job; haven’t mastered corners yet, weh weh.
5. Tear the stabilizer off. Throw it out, or if you’re sad and desperate, salvage the bigger parts. On something this detailed, you probably won’t save much.
6. Iron it smooth.
7. Iron the whole piece to double-sided fusible web again, like you did with the gold pieces. Once you’ve ironed it on securely, let it cool. Cooling is a huge part of what makes it stick together properly, so if you don’t let it cool, you’re just going to hurt its ability to stick properly and stay where you want it to stay.
8. NOW take it to your cutting board (or scissors) and trim the edges to make that classic shield shape. Shield? Diamond? Whatever, you know what I’m talking about.
9. Very carefully line it up front and center on your shirt front piece. You should not have sewn the shirt together yet because the golden rule is to work flat for as long as possible. This is about making your life easier, baby.
10. Iron that thing down!
11. Apply more stabilizer to the back, because you love yourself and don’t want to make this harder than necessary. Use pins to keep it in place.
12. Satin-stitch the edges down!
13. Tear off stabilizer!
15. Well, would you look at that! A beautiful shield on your shirt! You go, Supergirl.
1. I choose to do my outer-edge in gold. This is because I find it makes it “pop” a bit more. If I didn’t use gold, I’d use red, like I did on my classic uniform. Why not black? Because you are not a cartoon. It looks bad in real life, in my opinion. You are not a cartoon, you do not need “lines”. Using a matching color (like gold, yellow or red) makes it look professional and cleaner (and prevents the heat-n-bonded parts from peeling) without making it look cartoony.
2. Gold thread can be awful. Usually, to get that metallic thread, you have to buy a metallic embroidery thread, which does NOT like machines. It is meant to be hand-sewn, but that would take a zillion hours and I am sooooooo not patient enough. So be patient with it on a machine. Don’t yank it, take your time while stitching, and keep your hands on the piece to keep it still as it goes through the machine. Really guide it, so you don’t get jams.
3. Oh my god, this looks worlds better than my old one.
I’m tired of sewing for the day. Everything is cut out, all I have to do tomorrow is assemble the top and satin-stitch the emblem. If you sew, you know that actually sewing the outfit is pretty much the fastest part of the whole thing. It’s the drafting, shopping, preparing, planning and so on that takes up the bulk of sewing time.
More sewing tips from this:
1. Sometimes you will come to hate your previous cosplay decisions. Having used this new fabric for the 2.5 costume, I really can’t stand the old version’s fabric. The blue is too shiny and too flimsy, while the new fabric is prettier and matte, as well as thicker. This is why it’s important to carefully look at your fabric options instead of buying the first thing you saw, which is what I did with my first two “Turner” Supergirl costumes.
2. Make mock-ups! If you spent good money on fabric and are going to spend a lot of time and effort putting it together, then you’re going to want to make sure that custom pattern fits nicely. I got this pink spandex for $2/m from Fabricland’s clearance bin back in 2006, and I bought several meters of it. From it, I have made mock-ups for at least a dozen costume pieces for different superheroes, from Cassie Sandsmark to Donna Troy to Supergirl to various Batgirls and so on. It is always helpful to have a cheap version of whatever your project’s fabric in your sewing room so you can whip up a mock-up to ensure it’s really what you want.
3. Also, check out that spinebreaking Tits and Ass pose. I’m a DC comics character!!!
4. When printing out emblems, vectors, and drawings and whatever for sewing projects, save ink by opening the picture up on your computer and adjusting the contrast until it’s a pale grey. On many printers, this will save you ink.
5. Hey look, a better shot of that whole “trace it out first and then cut” deal. Do this with spandex. It is a life saver and it makes the process a whole lot better, especially because it makes it a million times easier to just cut it with a rotary cutter.
5b. If you don’t know what a rotary cutter is, look into it! It’s basically a pizza cutter wheel for fabrics, used with a mat to protect your table/desktop surfaces. They’re cheap, the blades are easily replaced, and the mats are relatively inexpensive in small sizes. Many people I know have never gone back to scissors after learning how to use a rotary cutter. Downside: some of us are clumsy and cannot be trusted with an open blade. Don’t get blood on your costume!
6. I loathe making \S/ emblems, but I do them differently every time in hopes of finding a method that is less time consuming. I have yet to really find it, so I accept that making giant \S/ emblems is always going to be a hassle. Honestly, if they were fast to make, I’d make a lotttttt more Supergirl costumes. That shield is the one thing keeping me from pumping out Supergirl costumes like there’s no tomorrow.
With a lot of procrastinating, skirt is done (save hemming, which explains why it looks so long there.) Unpictured are the red shorts worn underneath.
More sewing tips:
1. Don’t pin patterns to spandex. Instead, carefully use pen/marker to trace the pattern directly onto the fabric. Spandex is a stretch, meaning it is very easy to drag/pull it when using pins, leaving you with very awkward pieces. While it may seem a little more time consuming, it’s definitely worth it, and it’s a lot easier/more comfortable to cut out later.
2. Belt loops are easy. Cut squares, fold in half, sew up long edge. Turn right side out, move seam to center, iron flat. Voila! Belt loops.
3. Whenever possible, pin perpendicular to the fabric. Not only is it easier for you to pull out as you go, but you can also actually sew right over them without any trouble. This saves time; no stop-go as you’re trying to take out pins as you sew. Of course, this advice is best for a regular sewing machine. I’m using my serger for most of the pieces here, which involves a blade — you do not want to sew over a pin in that case, because then it turns into a battle between your $0.01 pin and your $60.00+ blade, and it blows when the blade loses.
4. Supergirl’s skirt is a 3/4 circle skirt. While I daresay I may make a full circle skirt for her someday for a more Turner look, the more full it is, the more you’re going to risk panty shots on a skirt that short, even if it has a bit more visual interest. I like the 3/4 skirt because it provides some flounce and ruffle without being overly full. It’s a delicate balance.
The remake begins. As you can see, I’ve got a different shade of blue this time. In fact, I have never used the same blue twice: Supergirl 1.0 was “Princess” blue, Supergirl 2.0 was “Arabian” blue, Classic Supergirl was “Peacock” blue, and now Supergirl 2.5 is… well, whatever the fuck it is. Crayola blue? Yeah, let’s go with that. I picked it because it is a lovely match for Phil Noto's Supergirl.
Some general sewing tips:
1. Always keep your patterns clearly labelled and in their own ziplock bag or something. I lost my waistband piece and my belt loop piece, so I had to quickly redraft a new one. (I just realized I didn’t scale the belt loop properly, so that’ll be redone in a moment.)
2. Iron your pattern pieces before using them. When they’re perfectly flat and crisp, they’ll be easier to work with.
3. Iron your fabric before doing anything with it. Little crinkles can make your final cut piece look wonky as fuck. You won’t regret it.