Barefoot Sewing

Marvel Comics: Captain Marvel Costume

Marvel Comics: Captain Marvel Costume

Awards and Notable Mentions:
Featured costume, Marvel's Costoberfest, 10/27/15
First runner up, Elite Comics Halloween Costume Contest, 10/31/15
Costume Tumblr post shared by Captain Marvel writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, 11/9/15

 

In 2015 I fell in love with Captain Marvel. As I'm a blonde in the good Captain's general age range, I decided to tackle her iconic suit.

Part I: The Bodysuit

I had help from a friend to draft the bodysuit pattern to my exact measurements, then took over the design process and meticulously measured out the details. Because of where the lines lie on the main pattern, some of the pieces are smaller than a finger, but well worth the effort. Each piece of the pattern was cut out and carefully labeled, including a directional arrow so I could match up the grain of the fabric precisely. I used a silver gel pen to mark all the pattern pieces on the back of the fabric, since using chalk would have required me to press on the spandex, which could have stretched it out of position. If you're curious about the materials I used, I have them all linked on my Pinterest.

Sewing the bodysuit was a challenge, because the spandex was very slightly ribbed on one side. It grabbed and wouldn't slide in one direction, but slipped easily going the opposite direction, so I had to pin it within an inch of its life. I used a walking foot and jersey needle to ease the way. The two things I'm the most proud of, sewing-wise, are the piping (I've never done piping on a costume before, and this is spandex piping, which is extra finicky!) and how smooth and straight the zipper ended up. Faced with sewing a stretch fabric to a non-stretch zipper, I had an epiphany. I grabbed some of the tearaway interfacing I use for my embroidery machine, sandwiched everything together, stitched it, and tore out the paper, and it's the prettiest darned spandex zipper I've ever made. I'll never use any other technique for it again.

Another particular set of things to point out, if you'll excuse the pun, are the points on the star emblem. I had difficulty getting the angles at each point exactly right using the sewing machine, so I hand-stitched the points of every angle in the star.

Part II: The Gloves

The gloves were a big challenge compared to the suit. Not only did I have to be spot on with my seams regardless of the spandex ridges, I had to be very precise in the measurements I used to make the pattern, or the gloves would look floppy and sloppy or cut off my circulation. I started out by tracing my arm and worked from there; the gloves you see in the photos here are the third iteration of the pattern. (The other pieces in the photo below are the tops of the sleeves.)

Adding studs to the gloves posed a problem, because if the spandex stretched too much the studs would pop out, and the studs attached via prongs which could cause unsightly snags on the spandex. To make everything work I carefully attached the studs in the appropriate spots, then topstitched a piece of Peltex stabilizer not much wider than the studs to the inside of the glove. The Peltex keeps the spandex from stretching on the top side, and protects the other side of the glove (and my arm) from being scratched by the stud prongs.

Part III: The Pin

I'm rather proud of the pin, because I created it completely from scratch, starting with the 3D model. I'm not much of a 3D designer (unlike my husband, who creates crazy complex things), so it took me quite a long time to get it right, but the basic shape came out very nicely. I used drywall compound to smooth out the ridges, sanded everything smooth, spray painted it, and super glued a pin to the back.

Part IV: The Boots

The boots are ones that I found on clearance. However, the boots I bought were brown, not red! The original, unaltered boot is on the right side of the photo. The boot on the left has been carefully scrubbed with cotton squares soaked in acetone to remove the finish and make the boots more receptive to paint. I used Nu-Life crimson spraypaint after carefully taping off the soles and zippers. I used the same studs on the boots as I did on the gloves, and glued dots of leather behind each stud on the inside of the boot to keep the stud prongs from damaging the legs of my suit.

Just for fun, I also got scanned with a 3D scanner, so here's a full 360 degree view of the costume!

Finished costume photos by Shintaro Design.