Introduction: Leeloo Dallas Costume - Thermal Bandages
Leeloo Dallas Multipass! The Fifth Element by Luc Besson is my all time favorite movie, and Milla Jovovic my big crush. Who doesn't want to be the supreme being - if only for one night...? This is a fairly easy costume to make, not very expensive, but you do have to be thorough taking the measurements and fitting it as you make it, so it stays in place while you are wearing it. Depending on your body type, you may need to adjust the width of the bandages so you feel comfortable wearing it. It needs to fit snuggly, but not too tightly - after all the Supreme Being is able to move like a ninja wearing it, so should you be. Ready? Let's start!
You will need:
For drafting the pattern:
Some kind of paper - a roll of brown paper, larger sheets or just tape several sheets of regular printer paper together if you dont have large enough sheets to draw out your pattern.
A pencil/pen - I really like the kind that fades away by itself after 24 hours. If you use a normal pen, make sure you draw on the wrong side of the fabric so you dont mess up the right side with pencil marks.
An old sheet - optional, but will save you a lot of grief. Or use any scrap fabric to make a mock up of your costume that you can pin/stich together and fit on yourself before starting cutting into your actual fabric. If you do get the good, thick twill, it will not be very cheap so you might want to use the old sheet to mess up before cutting into your good fabric... I had to adjust quite a few things before making the final version. Just saying....
For the costume:
A sewing machine. I guess you could hand stich this, but a machine will make your life sooo much easier.
Fabric: NB! I would advice you not to buy the fabric before you made your mock up and can lay your fitted pieces out to see how much fabric you will actually need. DON'T FORGET TO ADD THE SEEM ALLOWANCE!!!! You want a snow white, preferably somewhat stretchy (two way stretch if you can get it), thickish cotton fabric, like a stretchy cotton twill, the kind a pair of thinner, stretchy cotton pants would be made of. Ideally this is what you would use, but if you can't find it, you can probably make it from a non-stretch meterial. It will be more difficult to get to fit snuggly and you will be less comfortable though. So I would invest some time in finding a suitable fabric.
Sewing utensils: Measuring tape, thread, pins, needles, good pair of fabric cutting scissors, an iron is helpful etc etc...
A dowel rod (not Ruby Rod, although you can never have too much Ruby Rod in your life! Super Green!) or something similar, about 1,5cm/1/2" thick, to help you turn the bandages inside out.
Velchro - the iron on kind is easiest to use, white. I got the one that comes in a small sheet and cut out my pieces so they exactly fit my needs.
Some sort of (double sided) fabric adhesive. I used the kind called Vliesofix that I could iron on. Talk to people in the craft or fabric store in your country to see what you have available there.
(An orange wig - I used very diluted wood glue and hairspray to make dread locks on it. In retrospect, mine isn't as messy as it should have been and I could have thinned out the wig more than I did. Oh well, next time. I used acrylic paint to paint the roots at the parting lighter, to make it look lke Leeloos hair.)
Step 1: Taking Measurements - Boring But Necassary
OK, I've uploaded some pdf files that you can print to help you figure out where you need to take the measurements and schematics of the costume to see how it should look in the end. The one called "LeelooMeasurements" has lines indicating where you want to measure and you can fill in your own measurements. If you have a friend who can help you with this, it'll be easier, but since I lived in the middle of nowhere when I made this I did it myself. The trickiest part, if you ask me, was to get the panty-bit to fit well. I ended up sacrificing a pair of old panties that had the fit I wanted, cutting them at the sides so I could lay them out flat and see what shape the "diaper" shaped piece between the legs should have. You definately will want to make a mock up of this piece and the lower waist piece/upper part of the panty that you will attch it to so you can see it covers up enough of the areas you'll want to keep private, but not too much so you'll look like Supreme Granny instead... :-) I actually wore a pair of no seem small lycra thongs that didn't show under my custume - just in case there would be a malfunction of some sort....
Mind you, I went clubbing in this costume and danced all night with a giant cymbal-clanking monkey, it still held up and covered up what it needed to the whole time, with a few adjustments of the bra-part now and again after some particularly vigorous moving around. If needed, double sided skin friendly tape could be used to stick the bra-bandage to your boobs, because of my moderate boob size I didn't and still managed to keep my dignity intact.
Step 2: Draw Up Your Bandages
Get out a large sheet of paper or tape some printer paper into larger sheets and draw out the pieces you'll need according to your measurements. See attached pics (or PDFs if you want to print them) for more tips on sizing etc of the bandages - although you may want to adjust these to fit your body. These are the measurements of the bandages I used. I'm 161cm tall and a smallish person, you'll want to scale it up and make the bandages wider if you are not as tiny as I am... Supreme Beings come in all shapes and sizes!
The width of the vertical thigh pieces should cover most of the side of your leg and almost go all the way to the "diaper"/panty piece. It should be somewhat tapered, wider on top, nerrower by the knee, but the width will of course depend on your measurements.
The "diaper"/panty piece needs to be a little longer than the measurement from the bottom edge of the waist band and between your legs front to back of course since it will be tucked in between the two sides of it waistband when sewn in place. Add about 2 cm extra there so you can adjust this piece as needed in the end.
Make the horisontal bands a little too long at first so you can adjust them when you try the costume on.
Step 3: Make a Mock Up - Optional But Makes Things Easier in the Long Run
So, now that you have all your pieces drawn out on paper, transfer them to a scrap fabric, old sheet or similar, and cut them out. NB! Do not add a seem allowance along the edges for the test pieces, only at the ends! Also, you only need to do this on single layer fabric of course.
Stitch, duct tape and/or pin the pieces together and try the costume on. Remember to leave the neck, chest and upper waist bandages open on one end so you can get into it and adjust the length. Again, getting into the costume and adjusting it is easier if a friend helps you, but it can be done even when your alone, although there will be a lot more cursing along the way.
Once you are happy with the fit (make new pieces if you change something to try it on again so you are sure about the change), you can lay out your pieces to see how much fabric you will need for the costume. Remember that you will use a double layer of fabric to make the bandages sturdy, a little stiffer and not too see through...
Now go buy your fabric! Hope you'll find a good one! And get a snack while you're out. Chiiiickeeen - goooooood!
Step 4: Cut Out the Pieces and Start Sewing!
All my pieces are double fabric. I drew out my pieces, adding 0,5cm seem allowance all around, even at the ends, on the double layer of fabric pinned together so it wouldn't move around while I was cutting them out.
Now, sew all the thigh pieces, the upper waist band, the bra-piece and both the vertical front and back pieces together front to front like a tube. Then turned them right side out, sometimes using a wooden dowel rod to help you do that.This is boring, put on a good show, I watched the excellent Warehouse 13, too keep you company while you do this.
What I did so I wouldn't get too many layers at the ends of the fabric (if I folded them double there I might be visible lumps along the seems on the costume and I didn't want that) so I used an iron on fabric adhesive that both keeps the fabric from unravelling and sticks it in place so the pieces stay closed and you can adjust where you cut the piece somewhat even after gluing it closed. Here in Europe it is called Vliesofix - and it's an iron on, double sided fabric adhesive. You iron one side on, remove the protective paper, and iron the two pieces of fabric together. It forms a strong bond, but the fabric still stays somewhat flexible. You could also use some other type of fabric adhesive of course to glue the ends closed.
The neck piece is difficult to turn inside out if you sew both sides together at once because its so narrow at the sides, but if you leave an opening along the upper edge you can turn it right through there and then hand stich the opening shut.
The lower waist bandage/upper part of the diaper/panty piece: Put the pieces front to front. Sew along one, what will be the upper, side. Fold the lower edges up at the seem allowance, and iron them so they stay in place.
Sew your diaper/panty piece and turn it right side out.
Step 5: Assemble the Pieces
Assemble and sew the thigh pieces, horisontal and vertical, together so they are finished.
Fold the waistband double, make sure the lower edge that you folded in and ironed stays folded in, and stick the upper part of the panty, front and back, between the two parts of the waistband. Pin it in place in front and in the back. See tip-pics in previous step for an illustration.
Wait! Dont sew it closed yet - the top of the vertical side thigh pieces go in there too before sewing it closed. Pin those in place too. If you dare - its a good idea to try this piece on before the final sewing together. Try to wiggle into it and not get pricked too much by the pins. I found I had to adjust the length of the thigh piece a second time at this point.
I used the double sided fabric adhesive to glue the vertical bandages in place at the inside of the lower waist band at the front and back. You will have to adjust the exact length of them at the top the last thing you do so make sure you dont cut them off too short to start with.
Pin the upper waist bandage, the boob-bandage to the INSIDE of the front vertical bandage. Try it all on to see they are at the right height. See the PDFs with tips in one of the previous steps.
While still wearing the costume, pin the right end of the waist and boob bandage to the INSIDE of the vertical back piece. The horisontal band should end half way in on the vertical band, the other end of it will be meeting it there and that's where you'll glue the velchro for opening/closing the costume. You could overlap, but I found that made the costume look too bulky there.
Now, wiggle out of this prickly contraption and glue all the pieces into place. Wait for the glue to set. The glue alone will not hold up very well in the long run, we'll be stiching along the edges of all the pieces with a zigzag soon so its permanently stuck together. Now put on the costume again (sigh...I feel I was half naked most of the time making this costume. I ended up sitting in my robe sewing it to be able to try it on easily...) and fit the collar/neck piece in place. It should be pulled a little tight by the verticle bandages, but not to a point where it's uncomfortable of course. The vertical bands go in UNDER the collar. Use Velchro at one of the ends at the back to make the closure. I used the iron on kind.
Now, last thing to do is to zigzag the whole costume along both edges of all the bandage pieces - se the pics of my costume. This will both be a decorative feature, but will also secure your bandages for a more permanent adhesion than with the glue only. Almost there, hang in there!
Ta da! Done! Wait for your invitation to Phloston Paradise to drop down into your mailbox and time to go party!
Step 6: Super Green! Finish Up Your Costume and Go Clubbing!
Add an orange wig, lenses (Leeloo has greenish eyes, mine are brown) and an optional Multipass to complete your costume. (I had a monkey friend who laser cut one quickly out of acrylic for me, I photoshoped some pics and painted it. It was a pretty quick thing. Don't seem to have any pics of it for some reason... There are tutorials on that alredy out there if you search for them. 3D printing one might be even better.
Just throw yourself quickly through the autowash, than go and enjoy your costume and let me know if you have any questions! And remember - don't push the red button!