Intro: Sally Jupiter Costume (Silk Spectre I) From Watchmen
My first ible! Be nice!
Also, I am a fairly inexperienced seamstress, and the machine I borrowed frequently breaks thread, so my self-taught methods are likely not the "correct" way to do things, and the final product does not look quite as good as I wish. Regardless, I hope you enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions, I've been rather tired and might have forgotten to explain something or left something crucial out.
There are some things about which I can be slightly obsessive. Costumes are one such, and I wanted to make this costume from scratch, the dress (with belt and neck pieces), wristlet, and I modified a glove and a pair of panties (into suspender briefs/garter panties).
Step 1: Planning Stage
I chose a costume that has no available patterns, or similar patterns to modify, so I spent a good chunk of time designing the costume in my head, the on paper, before I bought my materials.
When Planning, I made sure to account for each layer of both types of fabric and the interfacing I would need, and made sure to buy more than I needed, for security. If you are a more experienced seamstress than I, you should need less fabric.
This is what Sally Jupiter looks like in the movie.
Step 2: Design and Materials.
After I Planned the costume in my head and did a rough idea sketch, I began my designs for each piece of the costume, as each had to be made separately before being joined.
In my designing, I decided I would been a thicker, stronger interfacing for the belt than for the neckpiece and the wristlet, and, as such, I decided on two types of interfacing, hat interfacing and petticoat interfacing.
Based upon my design, I decided on mats:
~black satin "superhero" fabric
~yellow satin "superhero" fabric
~yellow thread of the same color as the fabric; already had black, which is also required.
~eyelets, pearlized shank buttons, and pearlized snap buttons.
~black satin lacing
~long black glove
~big black & gold buttons
~some clip-on earrings to deconstruct or clip-on or pierced earring bases.
~garter/bra strap elastic for the garter straps
~G hooks (bra hooks/bathing suit hooks/ garter hooks) for top of garter straps
~small section of velcro (or hooks & eyes, snaps, buttons, or zippers)
Other materials required for my costume: knee-high boots, thigh-high fishnets, and a metric ton of bobbypins.
You can use any fabrics of your choice. This fabric was what was available in my local fabrics store. Any yellow semi-transparent solid that has a nice gatherable hang to it can be used for the dress, and there's a plethora of choices for the black fabric, even cotton.
Step 3: Patternmaking.
This step is fairly tedious, and I suggest pinning your pattern pieces together when they're cut out and trying them on (Watch for pins!!) to make sure you're close to the correct size, keeping in mind your seam allowance requirements. This is also a good check for the angle required on your belt. My first time through, I discovered the belt would come down into a V shape in the back if I only did it in three sections, so I redesigned the belt with 5 sections, and the back two at an upward angle.
Since no patterns exist for this costume, I made my own, using a section of a large roll of brown paper I have.
Looking at the character from the film version (great improvement upon the comic, as far as this costume is concerned, in my opinion). I decided upon basic measurements for my pattern, and drew an enlarged version of my design on the brown paper.
Then I drew a line 1/2" around each, to provide a seam allowance when I cut the fabric. Next, I cut the brown paper on the lines I drew to make a pattern pieces.
Step 4: Cut Out the Pattern Pieces.
I pinned my belt, neck, and wristlet pieces to their respective interfacing and cut the pieces out. Then I pinned the same pattern pieces to my black fabric (folded in half to have two pieces, a front and back) and cut the pieces out.
Step 5: Pinning the Correct Sides Together.
This is where spacial dyslexia will get you in trouble!
Decide which side you want to be shown on the final product, right side or wrong side. On my fabric, the "right" side was shinieer, and I wanted that side to be the finished product on every black piece but the central section of the belt (the part behind the laces, to accentuate them).
If you want the "right" side to be the outside, pin it as follows [Wrong side out] + [Wrong side out] + interfacing. Or, if this is easier to understand, place right side against right side and line the interfacing up against either side.
I did this for the neck., the wristlet, and the four wrap-around sections of the belt. I did the opposite for the central section of the belt.
Step 6: Begin Sewing!
Assuming everything has gone smoothly, and you've gotten through the long and tedious world of pinning and cutting then placing then pinning again, you're ready to begin sewing!
Keep in mind your seam allowance. I planned a seam allowance of 1/2" on everything, so I sewed 1/2" from the side on everything.
Step 7: Beginning Neck Piece Sewing Strategy.
Sew along the top, all the way across. Sew the bottom across, leaving a ~2 inch gap on either side of the center point, where the yellow fabric halter will hang from the neck piece.
Make sure to sew a nice, sharp point on the bottom of the neck.
Trim the interfacing around your stitches and flip the neck piece right-side-out. Take a pencil/pen/paint brush/other dull pointed object (I suggest the point on a paintbrush, the opposite end from the brush part) and push the point from the indie, making sure the fabric is not tucked inside, and everything is laying flat.
After the point if pointed to your liking, press the neck piece with an iron and either set it aside or do as I did and proceed to push holes through the locations where you want your eyelets and insert them. If you choose to insert the eyelets now, you can lace the neckpiece and fasten the ends of the lacing to the back to secure them. You only need enough lacing to go through all the loops in the lacing pattern you want, as the neck does not tie or or have a bow. (The lacing is for show on the neck and belt.)
Step 8: Wristlet.
Sew all the way around, leaving a small gap on one of the long sides, trim the interfacing around your stitching, and flip right-side-out through the small gap. Push corners out from the inside with a dull-pointed object as before. Press wristlet and whipstitch or topstitch the gap closed. You can choose to poke holes and insert your eyelets now, since it is pressed. If you choose to do so, you can also cut your lacing to size. You need enough lacing to go through all four eyelets and then tie into a bow.
Step 9: Belt: Preparing to Sew, and Sewing the Central Section.
I did the belt in 5 separate sections, I think it's possible that it can be done in three, depending on your body shape. As I am a rather curvy gal, I made the belt in five sections to get the proper angle and ensure the belt would not come down into a V shape, as seen on the back of some wedding dresses and formal gowns.
For the central section: sew the top two sides, the bottom two, and one of the others, right or left, your choice. Leave one side open, with at least a half an inch stitch down the top and bottom of the open side. Trim the interfacing around your stitching, and flip the piece right-side-out. Push corners out with your dull-pointed tool once again. Decide which side you like better, and stitch the remaining parts of the open side. It does not matter what kind of stitch you use here, I don't think, as long as it is stable, as it will be underneath the side pieces and will not show. Stitch a row or two of topstitching all around the outer edges of this section for stability.
Step 10: Belt: Sewing the Remaining Sections
The remaining sections (in my case, 4) will be sewn in a similar manner; with a slightly different build-up. If you are making a 5-piece belt as I did, after insuring the pieces are cut at the correct angle, sew the interface pieces together for each side, and do the same for the outersides and the innersides. You will have three long sections for each side of the belt.
If you look at the first picture in this step, you will see the parts of the sides sewn together.
These long sections will be treated together as the middle section was, sewn, leaving the outermost side open, interface trimmed, piece flipped right-side-out, dull-pointer object pushing out the corners to their proper points, sewing the open side, and topstitching all around at least twice for stability.
You will need to push or cut your holes into their pieces and insert the eyelets now into the edges that will attach to the center piece, making sure to leave room on the inner side of the eyelets for stitching these pieces to the center section while keeping the correctly alignment.
After you hammer your eyelets into the fabric, go ahead and lace the belt, paying attention to the proper measurements between the two pieces. When laced at the proper distance apart, cut your lacing and secure to the back of these belt pieces, as this lacing is simply for show and does not adjust.
Then pin both pieces to the central section, as seen in picture two of this step. Sew these pieces to the central section on the outer edge of the eyelets. Due to paranoia, I stitched this at least twice, and three times on the very top and bottom.
Step 11: Yellow Fabric: Making the Reverse Halter Top.
Sew the edges of the fabric to protect from fraying, as this type of fabric can fray quite easily. I hemmed all the edges for security. (Do this in the same color as the yellow fabric, but don't forget to switch back to the black fabric before attaching this and the shirt to the belt and neck!)
I took two corners and pulled them together to act as the neck, letting the middle hang between. I used this as the basis for the halter top. I pinned the corners to the inside of the neck holes I left open for this part, and arranged the pieces the way I wanted them to lie against me. I then pinned that arrangement to the belt. I sewed the fabric to the beck and the belt (using black thread!!) and cut the remaining fabric from the belt.
Make sure to reinforce the connection with another topstitch and protect the newly-cut edge from fraying with a zigzag stitch. (And, if you are as anal retentive as I, hem this raw edge.)
Step 12: Yellow Fabric: Making the Skirt.
As I expected cold on Halloween, I specifically made my skirt much longer (especially on the sides) than the movie's costume skirt.
Cut the yellow fabric longways to a length much longer than you are around the hips. Also, made sure the skirt is a good few-several inches taller than you want the skirt to be (with an even longer section in a soft Vshape in the very front for the smooth point). Using the yellow thread, hem the bottom and each side of the fabric.
Using either color thread, do a long stitch across the fabric a couple or a few inches from the top, do not backstitch or otherwise secure the thread, and make sure to sew all the way to the ends and to leave a tail of thread long enough to grab on either side. This is where you will gather the fabric, by pulling the bobbin thread on either or both sides of the fabric (pulling the fabric away from the ends of the bobbin thread, and inward towards the rest of the fabric.).
When the skirt is as gathered as you want it, pin it to the bottom of the belt, gathered where you want, with the middle point in the middle, and sew to the belt all the way around (using black thread). Trim excess from the top. The first picture in this step shows the excess I trimmed from the top and shows the gathering I did on this fabric.
If you want the skirt to be wider around than the belt itself as I did, or if you are concerned there is not enough overlap, make sure to leave an overlap when you first pin the fabric to the belt, and then sew the velcro to the excess fabric's edge and to the inside of the belt on the other side (you can also use snaps, buttons, hook&eye clasps, etc).
As you can see in the second and third pictures, I added a little more yellow fabric to the skirt to have slightly more fabric in the back, and I did not do so until after I added fasteners (step 13).
The second picture in this step shows the extra fabric. As this is on the underside and will not show underneath the overlap I planned on the belt, I was lazy and kept the yellow thread on when I secured the velcro and reinforced the fabric at the top with several stitches.
The third picture in this step shows the velco I stitched (using black thread) to the other side of the belt where the extra fabric reaches.
Step 13: Finishing Dress: Edges and Fasteners!
Finish off the belt and neck pieces by folding over and sewing down the edges.
After you have done this, you are ready to begin attaching your fasteners.
For the neck, I used three pearlized snap buttons. For the belt, I used two rows of four each of the same pearlized snap buttons. You could also choose to make the neck shorter around and attach eyelets instead of snaps, but I liked how the snaps looked.
Make sure you have removed all pins, needles, and sharp objects, your dress is done!
Step 14: Glove!
Unlike her daughter's costume, Sally Jupiter's Silk Spectre costume only has one glove, but that glove had pearlized buttons down the side.
My costume glove was way too big on my wrist and the pinky finger was a bit long, so I flipped the glove inside out and modified it, sewing the wrist and pinky to smaller sizes and trimming the excess. You may not have to do this. Flip the glove right-side out.
Next, handsew buttons onto the side of the glove. I had placed pins down the side of the glove to mark the locations of my buttons beforehand. I personally used three different sizes of pearlized shank buttons down the side of my glove so the glove's buttons had a graduated sizing effect.
Step 15: Garter Panties / Suspender Briefs!
Step is Very much Optional. You can buy your own bodysuit with attached garters or garters/suspenders to use. I could not find any I liked, and could not find garters/suspenders with the Y-shape seen on hers, so I wore a black overbust corset to act as the bodysuit she wears, and I made my own garters for a pair of panties I purchased that looked somewhat similar to the pattern of the bodysuit she wears in the movie.
I measured the length from the bottom of the briefs to the top of my thight highs and added a seam allowance for overlapping, and cut pieces of garter/bra elastic to those lengths. I cut 4 more pieces. One pieces each to do with each of the other four, each of these pieces shorter than the originals, so that they would create a Y-shape when places at the proper angle and stitched together.
I put the tops of the elastic pieces through my hooks and the bottoms to my metal garters.
I then took pieces of the lacing I had left over from the belt, neck, and wristlet, and used it to make loops to attach to the briefs (to hook the garter straps to the briefs).
Step 16: Earrings!
Take your round gold and black buttons and remove the loop (shank) from the back. (This can be done with wire cutters, or even just pliers if you turn them at the correct angle and your buttons are plastic.) If your buttons are plastic, file down the raw edges left from this to smooth them.
I could not find earring bases anywhere in town, pierced or clip-ons, so I improvised and bought a pair of cheap clip-on earrings and removed the other parts, leaving the clip on and the base.
Glue the buttons to the earring bases and allow to dry. Use a serious glue, or they will fall apart easily, allow to thoroughly dry before attempting to open or close and wear if you used a clip-on. You may be able to wear them when the glue is still tacky if you are using pierced stud bases.
Step 17: Hair and Other Requirements
You now have the finished dress, glove, wristlet, garter panties/suspender briefs, and the earrings.
The rest of the costume you will need: knee-high black laced boots, fishnet thigh-high hosiery, and a metric ton of bobby pins for your hair (or a wig.)
For the hair, the easiest way to get her hairstyle is to do "Victory Rolls". The sides roll up and over, the back is up to you, and the front needs to roll under to give the look of bangs.
Some people do victory rolls simply with their hands, but most people need an aid, something to wrap their hair around and remove before pinning. You can find aids in the form of a "foam foundation" or those long flexible hair curlers that are completely smooth. In my experience, the foam foundation is easier to work with for victory rolls, even if your hair is very long (mine is past my bum, and everyone was amazed I could get it into this hairstyle).
Step 18: Finished Product!
So I'm quite embarrassed to post these pictures, I look beyond terrible in them, but what's an 'ible without a finished product pic? I will post better pictures next time I wear the costume.
I will also get better pics of the hair next time I do it, and maybe I'll do an 'ible on it at some point.
Let me know what you think, comments, questions, constructive criticisms.
Thanks for looking! :)