Instructables
This instructable is a 'how-to' on making a body suit for a costume appear to be seamless.  One of the things I hate about doing body paint was that it was expensive and rubbed off, or it was time-consuming to apply, or there's paint brush marks, or any number of other issues.  Using a bodysuit restricts needing paint to only my hands, feet, face, chest and neck - ideal if I'm not competing in a costume contest.

I made a few of my own bodysuits to take the place of paint, but I hated that there was a seam along the side of my body and/or legs. This is fine for Spiderman or another character who wears a tight-fitting suit super hero suit, but a couple of my characters have skin tone that is not flesh tone, and a simple body suit was a quick solution when I want to wear say, Midna, but didn't feel like spending 2-3 hours on make up.  

This suit would also be good for Avatars, Shiva from Final Fantasy, Night Elves and any other number of revealingly dressed characters.

The motivation of creating this tutorial is to help you make a body suit even if you don't have a firm grounding in using a sewing machine.  You only need a straight stitch and a zig-zag stitch for a wide neck suit.  If your suit needs to be closer fitting at the neck than Midna, you may need either a zipper, snaps or possibly just an elastic band or velco in the back, if your back will not be visible while in costume.  If your back will be visible and you need a close fitting neck, you're stuck with a zipper, but you do have a few placement options depending on the character - You might luck out and be able to put a seam on one side under clothing or put it in the lower back to leave the upper back zipper free .  For the truly hard core, you can put the zipper along the *ahem* derriere, assuming that that is the only place that won't be visible.  This is even doable if making an Avatar, since you'd have a tail  - it's just a matter of how dedicated you are to having as few seams visible as possible. (I have not done one of these)
 
This tutorial will only be covering a basic bodysuit - no hands or feet - for beginners who just want some smooth lines.  Personally, I'm rather anit-covering hands and feet because gloves and a single toe foot covering just break the illusion that much more.  These suits are all about maintaining as much of the illusion as possible.  

With Midna, I studied a number of screencaps and finally determined that she is actually topless.  Her only clothing is a skirt and cloak, and her skin is dual-toned - both black and pale blue.  Her skin is actually more black than blue, but starting lighter and painting darker will work for you better than starting with black fabric and painting light on top of it.  I didn't saturate the black as much as I could have on the body, because I think it adds to the look of having dual-tone skin.

Since my body suit ended up 2 colors, I'll cover painting later on, but you may not need it.

if you need to dye your fabric, do so first, before cutting.  I was lucky enough to find this fabric on ebay, in the color I needed.  Rit dyes and Jaquard acid dyes work equally well.  

Needed for this project:
Sewing machine
Four way stretch fabric - Lycra, spandex or in that family
Scissors or Pinking Shears
Measuring tape
Matching thread
Knit or medium weight machine needle
Chalk

May need:
Lots of paper
Pen
Fabric INK (not paint)
paintbrushes
Sharpies of your color choice
Fabric dye


Pros:
Bodysuits are more flattering than bare skin, can give you a better waistline, smooth curves and it allows you to wear shapewear underneath ::cough:: should you feel the need to do so.  It's even possible to make a fake bellybutton.  They're fast and easy to get on, and it's simply a matter of matching paint to your skin.  Additionally, you can wear a push-up bra or other bra under a bodysuit.   Pasties do nothing for support, just sayin'.  A suit makes it easier to cross play - a male cosplayer can have fake boobs with little extra effort and a female can bind securely and the suit can still be nice and smooth.

Cons: no matter what you do, it will not look like real skin - but it can still look great in photos - and looks a lot better than smudged or fading paint.  In my case, I don't mind the extra 'help' smoothing out my curves.  Another con is that if you snag part of your suit, you have to either repair it or replace the entire suit to maintain the "seamless" look.  One good sized frayed snag will ruin the illusion.  Another disadvantage comes with bladder control.  You must have it for most bodysuits.  I can go 5-8 hours in this and not need to pee, as long as I don't drink anything.
 
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cismael9 months ago
I'm so sorry I've never sewn in my life!
cismael9 months ago
I'm so lost! Is the first picture of the pattern for the lazy way or the exacting way? Also could you show me a picture of how I could transfer my measurements to a pattern I can use?
arkhamite2 years ago
I'm going to try this for my White Violin cosplay. I used a leotard and stockings last time, but want to up my game. Thanks for being awesome.
Zanaji2 years ago
This is awesome, and I think i'm going to use it with one of my more revealing bellydance costumes.
fluffydragon (author)  Zanaji2 years ago
thank you !

You can totally do just the top part too, for your belly dance - it's easier to eliminate side seams when you don't have to do the full leg. If you don't already have something for it, you could get some dangly jewelry and have it hang down along the back seam to make it harder to see.
Cyber.Wolf2 years ago
Yay! Twilight Princess! =D
fluffydragon (author)  Cyber.Wolf2 years ago
^_^ shes my favorite to cosplay too. Though my Aayla is coming in at a strong second.
Nightfox172 years ago
i have twilight princess
jonikam2 years ago
Most excellent costume and construction. I too make cosplay costumes for my kids and their friends and a few have been unitards.The ones I've made are side seamed and have a single back seam but the leg seam is on the inside of the leg and joins at the crotch front (hope you understood that). It also provides no side seams but is a pain to alter the girth (measurement around shoulder down through the crotch, torso length if you like) Where did you get your pattern, are you one of these lucky people that can create their own? I can alter commercial patterns to suit my needs, but that's about it. This is the most recent cosplays Glados and Ladypool http://snowboardingtaco.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d486ane
and Ladypool, Headpool and Dogpool http://snowboardingtaco.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d486b3m
If you could provide info on your pattern, I'd greatly appreciate it as one costumer to another ;-) Jonikam

normalicy2 years ago
Wish I had seen this last year. Had to try to make a bodysuit for a pair of Tron costumes & these had seams down the front & rear. Didn't like the outcome. Not for the feint of heart.
This is a very good and informative instructable.
Thanks.
I have looked at your other ones also ,very nice .
You know I forgot all about the hook and loop closures like used on Braziers and corsets.
I don' think that I would want them to be in the crotch area though as it would be too bulky and uncomfortable to walk with and may also pinch.

Depending on the costume a body suit would probably be a good idea if the costume incorporated a lot of Chain Mail .It would help to keep from getting your skin pinched all the time.I don't know how it would hold up to the snagging from the metal Chain Mail though as they are just metal rings pinched together and woven.

My costume is pictured with my name above.
The vest is laced together on the sides and the front to give it the authentic look of the renaissance period.
It has a full length cape as I am 6' tall.

Me next project is ti find a way the make the fairy wings articulated via motors and such so that they could actually fold up just like the real wings of a butterfly. I would incorporate some strings of tiny little LED's within the wings themselves that are made of the cellophane type of see through plastic so that would be visible from either side. The battery pack would be located in the center of the back where the wings mount along with the motors and transmissions. I am trying to keep the weight of it all down to say 5-7 Lbs. so its not too heavy to wear all day.
It should really neat when its done.
The LED'S I'm using would be cannibalized from those LED garland ribbons you now see in the stores in the Christmas decoration stuff.
I seen them at Mills Fleet Farm stores here in Minn.
Open the garland ribbon up and pull out the led string.
Be careful of the very fragile tiny wires .
They run on 3 Volts DC so you won't need the power adapter that comes with them ,just a battery holder.
Same thing goes for the battery powered LED Christmas light strings you see at Wal Mart right now. They are the smallest ones that I have been able to find right now and are easy to hide the tiny wires.
Christmas is the best time of year to find custom costume stuff ,I think.
Halloween is the second best.
Such a costume would be great for some venues such as Halloween and Renaissance Festivals and the characters would be winged fairies ,elves , belly dancers and such.
I have never seen a body suit up close.
Are any made with the seams on the INSIDES of the legs where they are less visible??
For a tight fitting neck :
You were saying something about using an "entry" seam in the lower back or more so down and underneath?
Could something be made loosely based on the old time long underwear with the trap door on the back for using the toilet but with just a single seam?
How about an entry / exit seam that starts just above the buttocks and wraps down , through and underneath to the front side?
Most of the time , costumes would have this area covered by something else to give the appearance of covering the , err , unmentionable body parts ?
Yes , with such a costume you would need to be very agile and flexible to get into and out of it but you WOULD have the option of using the toilet if needed.
This is kind of how scuba divers get into and out of their one piece dry suits only their zipper starts at the neck in the back and down , around and back up to the neck in front.
They need help with the zipper , however due to the bulk of the suit.
What do you think??
fluffydragon (author)  Mechanic20112 years ago
You can adapt the pattern to have them on the inside. mine are not because my inner, mostly non visible leg is sometimes visible, if I have a photo taken from the side with the open skirt.

All you have to do is move your inner leg seams closer together and the outer leg seam further away - just measure around from the front of your leg to the back middle, and that's where your new 'center' is. It might even work better than having the seams in the back, depending on what your character is. it'll use more fabric because it'll be more of a rectangle than a square piece. You'll get a bigger 'V' shape along your butt that will look more like a panty line. With seams straight up the back of the leg, those seams will continue straight up and in until they meet or are stitched to the back where it comes together to make a middle seam.
fluffydragon (author)  Mechanic20112 years ago
Oh and as for the trap door idea, yes - absolutely, assuming you are using each body suit for one costume only, just position your opening where it will not be visible - the butt area usually is not visible, making it the 'safest' place to have the most seams and a zipper or other type of opening. Heck, Velco would probably work just fine too, or a bra/ corset type closure with hooks and eyes.

I haven't done one this way yet, but it would be an enormous help at conventions. I've been known to wear my costume for 8 hours at a time with no pee breaks, because I really can't. I just don't drink anything while in costume, and for a few hours before.
Very interesting technique, thanks for the info. I would love to see a picture of the finished crotch area or a drawing of how it's assembled for clarity, that seems as though it would be the trickiest area.
It really is, there isn't a good way to avoid seams in the lower back, unfortunately. But hopefully no one will be staring at the crotch. You basically end up with a \ / seam like an unfinished panty line in front for just a few inches, and the two seam lines wrap around under and back and should blend in with the natural leg/crotch line. The back area is very tricky. I ended up having to sew in an extra 2 inch tall x 4 inch long panel across the small of the back on this one - if my back were visible, I'd have to redo the whole thing, which would be a huge disadvantage. I've hopefully updated the pattern suggestion to reflect it.
WOAH
scoochmaroo2 years ago
Fantastic! Very clever. I had forgotten the technique for making belly buttons. It's surprisingly satisfying!