Barefoot Sewing

Ender's Game: Dragon Army Flash Suit Costume

Ender's Game: Dragon Army Flash Suit Costume

Best in Show, Snowflake KC, 2/2/14
Best in Show, ConQuesT KC, 5/24/14
Best Workmanship in the Master Class, Archon St. Louis, 10/4/14

This flash suit from the 2013 film Ender's Game is the most ambitious costume I've attempted to date. Between gathering reference images, drafting patterns and construction, I spent more than 80 hours on the suit - and that doesn't include the armor!

The boot covers were made from scratch by a process known as draping. Simply put, I taped butcher paper onto a base shoe and duct tape dummy leg until it looked right, then drew pattern lines and used those pattern pieces to make the final product. The cover has a velcro closure, so I can easily tie the shoe underneath.

I'm still not quite sure how I pulled off the gloves. They were made from scratch as well, and I only used draping on the wrists to get the right shape.

A friend drafted a form-fitting leggings pattern for my Vanellope costume, so I reused it to make these pants. I drew the appropriate shapes on the pattern, cut them out, and used those as pattern pieces.

The jacket was based on Simplicity pattern 2341. I traced the pattern onto butcher paper, assembled it with Scotch tape, put it on my mannequin and traced out applique shapes, just like the leggings. The primary challenge with the jacket was its stiffness and bulk. I used Aleene's Stretchable Flexible Fabric Glue to attach Peltex (think super dense quilt batting that holds its shape) to the silver spandex, then appliqued each piece onto the base jacket. The darker gray, rubber-looking bits are actually pieces of a yoga mat stitched to the base coat.

The shoulder and knee armor were carved from Styrofoam and coated in Apoxie Sculpt to ensure a smooth finish. We then vacuformed the masters to make the final pieces, and fiberglassed the insides for stability. We used epoxy putty to attach the armor to the jacket and leggings.

The neck armor was made with a combination of papercrafting and wirework. After the master was complete, we vacuformed it as well. See a video of the vacuforming process here.

My husband designed the flash gun in Sketchup, then 3D printed all the components. He designed custom electronics to make the side spinners and the bulb at the end light up. Check out the video of the gun in action here.

The helmet was the biggest challenge of the whole costume. After my husband helped me make a plaster head cast, I used plasticene clay to sculpt a helmet. I then used Rebound 25 brush-on rubber to make a mold of the clay base, and cast the helmet in resin. We vacuformed the face plate, and the Dragon Army emblem on the back is a vinyl decal printed for us by a friend.

Visit my Pinterest board for reference shots and construction photos.