Introduction: How to Make a X-Men: "Rachel Summers/ Phoenix" Costume

About: I'm a kid in a candy store when it comes to creating things. I love learning different versions of art, whatever medium it may be. Feel free to like the official site on Facebook to keep up with past, presen…

Rachel Summers (aka Rachel Grey, Phoenix, Marvel Girl, Hound) is the daughter of an alternate future counterparts to Cyclops and Jean Grey. The girl has super telepathic and telekinesis powers and was even host to the Phoenix force. Rachel spends some time doing some space stuff, but eventually finds her home back with the X-Men on earth.

This costume was made for my then-girlfriend for the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo of 2016. I enjoy making costumes that are unique, that challenge my skills set, and would compliment the wearer. Well, my then-girlfriend agreed to cosplay at Rachel Summers and little did she know that this costume would be what she wore when she became my fiancé.

*This costume involves a lot of sewing at a moderate skill level. My then-girlfriend actually got me a sewing class just so i could add clothing making to my cosplay skills. Ironically, no one else showed up to the class so i essentially got private tutoring.

Well, let's get started!


- yellow and red stretch fabric. (best if it is 4 way stretch fabric)

-red faux leather fabric

-knee high boots (thrift store)

- craft foam

- sewing machine

-EVA foam

- modge podge

-acrylic paint

-fabric pen


-Heating gun

- exacto knife

-silver thumbtacks

-weights or fabric clips

- red thread

-yellow thread

- red fabric for lining

-fabric scissors

-pink insulation foam

-sander or dremel

-Jacket pattern (B6103 Butterick Jacket pattern)

-Leotard pattern (1036 simplicity batgirl pattern)

- red lipstick

-hoop earrings

-plastic buckles

-hot glue

-wood glue


-silver metal ring

-silver metal snap fasteners

- seam ripper

- Red hairdye (optional)

Step 1: Leotard: Legs

With any costume, i always look up a ton of reference pictures. Rachel wears a jacket, but underneath, she seems to wear a leotard. (pic 1)

1. When you take out your pattern from the envelop, sort out which are the legs and which will be the shirt. the template i used is listed above. (pic 2)

2. I started with the pants. In looking at the pictures, rachel as these yellow thigh designs. I was taught that you can actually draw your own design on the fabric pattern, so i drew two strips on the leg pattern for where i want the yellow fabric to be. once that is done, cut out the pieces of your pattern

3. If you need two of the same piece (i.e., two leg pieces, two sleeves, a left and a right side, etc), take your fabric and fold it in two, so you only have to cut the pattern out once.

4. take your pattern, place it on your 4 way stretch fabric. You have to position the pattern on the fabric correctly so the fabric will stretch in the right direction when putting on your body.. So, if you only have a 2 way stretch fabric (it only stretches 2 ways, instead of 4), then think that the fabric should stretch AROUND your thigh. It doesn't necessarily have to stretch to the height of your body, but rather around the girth of your body..

5.From there, you have to think, "well, if i have an entire red leg, and i cut out two red sections to replace with yellow fabric, i need some type of allowance so i can sew the fabric together".. I i added 1/4 inches on each side i cut. Most patterns already have a seam allowance, BUT if you are making changes to your pattern (like adding the yellow designs), you have to add your own.

6. Once positioned correctly, place your weights on top of your pattern so that it doesn't move when you are drawing it out.

7. Using your fabric pen, draw the pattern on your fabric

8.Take your fabric scissors and cut your pieces out. As you are cutting, take more of your fabric clips and start clamping your fabric pieces together so they don't move. Remember that since you folded it, you should have two of the exact pieces you need (Left and right leg)... Don't forget to cut in all the little grooves and indicators that illustrate where to line the pieces up when close up the leg.(pic 3)

9. sew your yellow designs to your red pieces so you have a full leg piece (pic 4)

10. Once you have both legs constructed, sew them both together and that should give you pants! (pic 5+6)

Step 2: Leotard: Shirt

The process is the same as the legs, but just applied to the shirt

1. I was fortunately enough tho have a black shirt laying around so i took some chalk and drew the pattern directly onto it while the person was wearing it. this is so i could see where things would have to sit. (pic 1 +2)

2.take the shirt off, put the template onto of the black shirt and draw out your alterations on the pattern itself. (pic 3)

3. draw on your fabric, and make sure to add a 1/4 inches allowance to any side you are altering to compensate for the area you sew together.

2. For rachel summers top, she has this weird pattern around her front. I laid out the pattern on my fabric, cut out the pieces, and sewed it al together. You can se the fabric clips all around the cut pieces (considering i needed two of each (pic 4-9).

3. for the back, i added a long zipper. this way, the person can get inside and the jacket will cover it. (pic 10)

3. Once you have the top done, sew the top to the legs you made. (pic 11). It is important that you lock stick our pieces at the beginning and end of sewing two pieces together. to lock stick with a sewing machine, sew into the fabric, reverse a little bit, and sew again. Do this when you start and end each piece and that way, it won't unravel.

4. Once done, sew on your sleeves (pic 12)

5. I also made a collar for this. There was no pattern so i just improved a bit. don't forget to add a zipper. This zipper is completely for show on the follow. (pic 13)

6. I took a metal ring and attached it to the zipper. I also took metal snap fasteners and attached them to the front of the shirt. (pic 13+ 14)

Step 3: Belt and Boots


1. cut a strip of foam from your EVA foam to whatever length you need it to be for a belt. I think i made the width 1.5 inches.

2. I used a pice of paper to create a template of how big i wanted the pocket to be.

3. I used the template to cut out as many pockets from EVA foam as i needed to fit around the belt. I went the extra step of sanding off the tread from the back of the eva foam. I like doing this because it allows for the pocket to sit flush against the belt strap.

4. From there, i created the top flap of the pocket by cutting out another piece of foam.

5. I used an exacto knife to cut in the grooves. the trick is to only cut partial way through and the apply heat from a heating gun to open up the cut. (pic 1)

6. I added some small black clips to the back of the belt so that it could fasten and no one would see it. (pic 2)

7. used worbla to create the bucket. (pic 1)

8. Because EVA absorbs paint, i prepped it by heating it first with the heat gun and then applying modge podge

to it. I painted the whole thing brown and then added silver thumbtacks to each pocket as a button (pic 3)


Step 4: Boots + Kneepads

1. take your knee high boots and put them on. i like having boots that have the zipper along the inside.

2. Take a hair dryer or heating gun and warm some craft foam. It will then bend and mold to your boot within reason.

3. Cut the shapes along the natural seam of the shoe as you glue your pieces.

4. Later, take a thin piece of foam and glue it over the seams to make it appear as one solid boot. (pic 1)

5. make a template of your knee pad from paper and then cut it out of EVA foam (pic 2)

6. use a heat gun to soften the EVA foam and then shove it into a bowl to create the kneepad shape. (pic 3)

7. I added several layers of foam to create some depth.

8. Once satisfied, glue kneepads directly on boot onto the boot (pic 4 + 5)

Step 5: Gloves and Gauntlets


1. To make your gloves, put your hand on a piece of paper and spread your fingers. Draw out your glove. remember to give yourself a little leeway so that you have some fabric to sew on.

2. now take your drawing, but this time, cut off the thumb portion from your drawing.

3. cut out the templates from your fabric for the hand and thumb (pic 1)

4. sew the hands together and then sew on your thumbs. The thumb portion is difficult to sew on with a sewing machine, so you make have to hand sew it.

5. took some craft foam, cut out circles, covered them with worbla, sprayed them silver and glued them onto the knuckles.

6. took EVA foam, cut out a shape for the back of the hand, modgepodged it, painted it, and glued it onto the back of the hand. (pic 3)


1.1) Get your scratch paper and cut out a rectangle that will be the length of inseam of your elbow to your wrist.. the width would be enough that it can overlap.(pic 4)

2) wrap the paper around your forearm. Adjust as needed for the length. You want a good ranger of motion here.

3) Since the paper is around your forearm, you can cut it to fit your arm pretty snug.

4) cut the template out of your EVA foam. (pic 5)

5. add layers of EVA foam around the top and bottom of he forearm gauntlet to give it some girth. (pic 3)

6) Close the gauntlets using little plastic buckles.

Step 6: Elbow Pads

1) take your measurement and cut out the template from a piece of paper.

2) transfer that piece of paper onto the fabric and cut out (pic 1)

3) sew ends together (pic 2)

4). for the elbow pad itself, draw out a template and cut out of EVA foam. I made two layers to give it some bulk. (pic 3)

5) sand off the tread from the back of the EVA foam.

6) prep the foam, modgepodge it, paint it, and then glue directly onto the elbow

Step 7: Jacket

1. Looking at rachel's jacket, it looks like a short sleeve leather trench coat with these tails at the bottom. (pic 1 + 2)

2. get out your jacket template from the envelop and lay them all out. The original jacket template looks like pic 3. It is listed as butterick B6103 (pic 3)

3. The jacket i need was going to be significantly longer than what was provided so i had elongate the template. So first, i cut the piece at the waist line of the templates (pic 4)

4. I measured how far i wanted the jacket to go down and then took scratch paper and elongated the template pieces so they were the sizes i needed. (pic 5)

5. draw the pieces onto your fabric, cut them out, and sew them according to the original jacket instructions.However, I did not sew the pieces together from the waistline down, which gives you the tails of the jacket (pic 6)

6. I also sewed in a liner on the inside in the event someone could see inside the jacket. i did not want the white showing. (pic 7)

7. For the tails themselves, I took more of that faux leather, used the same templates and covered them up. I used the little sewing clamps to hold them together (pic 8)

8. When sewing the tails, i just worked down each one and tucked the fabric inside of itself. (pic 9)

9. Also, i did not need to have full length sleeves for the jacket.

10. The jacket should be technically done at this time. Pic 10 and 11 show the front and back

Step 8: Shoulder Armor

1.looking at rachel's jacket, she has these spiked shoulder armor pieces. 3 layers with 3 sides in descending size. (pic 1)

2. draw out your template on paper and cut it out of EVAfoam. (pic 2)

3. use a bowl and a heat gun to create the concave of that will fit around the shoulder. (pic 3)

4. i did this 6 times, and glued the shoulder in layers. ( pic 4)

5.I used pink insulation foam and cut out different sized spikes. You can do this with an exacto, and then gently rub them with sandpaper to get them smooth.(pic 5)

6. cover the spikes with worbla to make them nice and hard. (pic 6)

7. I took my worbla'd spikes and placed them against the EVA shoulder armor and used a sharpie to mark off where they would be.

8. i took my dremel and created a shallow hole in the armor so that the spike could sit inside of it.

9. Then i took some craft foam to make a layered circle around the top spike.

10. to attach the shoulder pieces to the jacket, i used metal fasteners. (pic 7).

11. i sewed together a few straps. one short one that would sit at the top of the shoulder pad, and a longer one that would fit around the arm itself. (pic 8)

12. i took the corresponding fastener and attached it to the jacket itself, 1 at the top of each shoulder, and one on the inner part of each sleeve. (pic 9 + 10)

Step 9: Makeup, Hair, Jewelry

Make up

1. Rachel has these lines across her jaw line. We ended up using red lip stick. It's a fairly good solution, but be cautious about smudging it. (pic 1-3)


1. Rachel seema to have different variations of short hair, based on the artist who draws her. Sometimes it is really red, and sometimes it is more of a red-ish orange. (pic 1-3)

2. If possible, i advocate using your own hair and getting a haircut and a box of dye.


1. a few of the pictures had rachel with no earnings, but i found one with her wearing big hoops. those seemed to go well with the outfit. (pic 4)

Put it together and you should have Rachel's accessories done. (pic 5 + 6)

Step 10: FINISHED!

OK! That should be it! consider some fun poses. We figured that since rachel was a telepath, should should be holding her head for something. (pic 1)

Consider finding some X-men cosplayers, specifically Cyclops, Jean Grey, or Cable.

This costume was a lot of fun as it was a new challenge for me in learning sewing. But it was well worth it as I proposed to my fiancé in her Rachel Summers cosplay at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. My friends were gracious enough to hold letters asking her to marry me. If interested, the video to the wedding proposal is here

Please feel free to find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr for more current projects.

Additional tutorials for other costumes featured

- Judge Anderson

-Agent Venom