Author Options:

Anyone here familiar with costume design? Answered

I'm wanting to try dressing up for Wizard World Chicago. All of my friends have decided I should go as Psylocke. (I was thinking Blink, and might fall back on that if this doesn't work out.) However, I'm having problems getting started. I can't find very good resources. I need a place to find vinyl (pleather) and some idea on how to make her psyblade. Or even just some decent sites with free costume desgin info. I also need to find a swimsuit pattern to work from, as they don't seem to have patterns for anything a superhero would wear. ;) Here's so pictures of her, in case you all aren't familiar. Any help would be appreciated. I'm hoping that with all the talent on this site someone will have a better idea than I do. :P


i wish i would have known about this thread back then. i have a toy of the sword you could have used for inspiration... or you could have just carried it, only problem being its 1 inch long...


11 years ago

Well, how did it go? A friend of ours was at ComicCon in San Diego, and is recognizable in a photo that appeared in TV guide (just one of 100+ faces in the crowd at the panel, but still recognizable. Pretty cool. We got it autographed. :-) It sounded ... like way too many people for me to deal with. I'll stick to the less-than-10000 attendee Cons :-(

I have let the instructables community down, haha. I was so broke I couldn't go to Wizard World. The timing was crap, really. School was too close and I needed money for textbooks, blargh! But I would still like to try. I'll just have to keep brainstorming and attempt it in a period when I have some free time and extra money! :D

There is a famous bodysuit (Spanx) designed for women that is now mass produced (the woman on "american Inventor" came up with it). I'd say buy one of those in your size, and then get the right wolor of shiny fabric paint and silkscreen your design right onto the bodysuit. Check out some silkscreening sites. Get a mannequin from goodwill or some store that is being put out of business by WalMart, put the bodysuit on the mannequin, start taping orr the areas you don't want to screen over, then just use a silk screeners squeegee (basically a piece of 1/4 " thick rubber with a good clean edge on it) to squeegee the paint right on and into the fabric. You could do the legs, arms, swimsuit portion, etc. and then just hotmelt glue/attach the garter belts to the outside of it to make it look really authentic. you could do the same with the fabric at the top of the painted on "boots" to make that look very realistic as well. Then just get some CFM heels that match the color of the fabric paint (or paint them the same color) and you'd be done. Vwalla! Instant sex symbol anime' character


11 years ago

Um. If you get it working, post pictures...

How much experience to do you have sewing? I don't think a form-fitting vinyl thing is a very good early costume project. (and how much experience do you have WEARING something like that. Recall that guys are basically jerks. Even at Cons. (Comment overheard at BayCon: "Wow! Those are ... a nice corset."))

Suggestion 1) buy and modify some existing vinyl fetishware. (try eBay. This looks like a good starting point (but I don't actually see the leotard in their store.)

Suggestion 2) Check over on the Playalicious Playwear forum (this is where the Burning Man folk hang out and discuss costumes.)

Suggestion 3) Here are some possibly relevant online fabric stores:
Stretch House Spandex
Distinctive Fabric
Spandex World

The psyblade has all the difficulties of a light saber, plus it's supposed to originate from her fist? That's pretty tough...

(An oft-overlooked superpower is the ability to defy the laws of physics and materials science to permit a highly unlikely costume to stay on, in place, and undamaged through ferocious battles...)

Haha, I know that they can be jerks. But I'll have body guards. Three of them, actually. ;) I have a bit of experience sewing. I think I'd be okay. If I can't figure something out I have tons of pattern and design books. And thanks for the websites! I'll look there. I was thinking about modifying another piece of clothing if it wouldn't be that expensive. :) I'll definitely post pictures if and when I figure this out and it looks okay. If I feel I won't look good in it, I'm just going to scrap it, though. They don't need anymore frumpy badly done costumes at Wizard World, that's for sure!

Have you sewn strechy stuff like spandex before? That's a pain of a different color. Looking at the pics (except for the purple collar) Blink's costume looks far easier to do. You sure are determined to show a lot of leg!

Hahaha, not really. I don't even really like my legs. But I'm starting up exercising hardcore again, so weeeeee. And if it's possible that I can pull it off and look good doing it, I might as well show some leg! (and butt, if I go with Psylocke...) And I have sewn stretchy material. I haven't done any big projects, but I think I at least have a feel for it. :)

I recommend making a prototype out of scrap material first using a simple whip stitch that can be undone and redone until a perfect fit can be established. Then working on the final product from the more expensive final material(leather-pleather-vinyl). Another way to do it, is to fashion a spandex form fitting suit then having someone paint over it with latex (obtained at any reputable fetish shop). It is a one time use costume, depending on the pattern you develop. The arm and thigh bands can be directly applied to the skin and will not slip. The advantage to the Latex is, it comes in many colors. Stays in place. can accommodate any impossible design you can imagine. The downside to this method is it is very hot. Depending on your design, trips to the ladies room may not be possible. If you are sensitive to Latex this can produce a pretty nasty skin rash. And Finally, anywhere you directly apply it to your skin there can be no hair, or else there will be none when it is painfully removed. (you can shave or apply a light coat of vasoline) As far as the psyblade .....I have no good Ideas off the top of my head....but I'll think about it..... Good luck and I hope this helps spur more Ideas....

You have basically the same starting idea as me. I figured I'd find a pattern that worked and do it in a cheap fabric first. I don't want to start with an expensive fabric and screw it up or do all the work just to realize it doesn't work. That would be terrible. I hadn't thought of latex, though. That could be an easy way to do my arms and legs. I don't know if I'd want to use it otherwise. I think I'm just going to buy some thigh high boots from a costume shop. That will be the easiest part, haha. And yeah, the psyblade it the hard part. A friend of mine is a glassblower and he said that maybe we could fashion something from glass and maybe put a glaze on it so that it looks glow-y. But who knows?

I was thinking more about this and it may be easier to start with a one piece swimsuit and altering it. Material can be removed and added to reach the style you are comfortable in and looks the best. The swimsuit to start with would be a racing suit that comes up high on the neck. Check any Sporting goods store in their waters ports section. Usual colors are blue and black. The Latex thing is really cool to use for the armbands. I did a mask on a friend who was the Green Lantern one Halloween. (remember the hair thing....even the tiny arm hairs) Good luck, and I'd love to see the final product on this. If you don't want to post any, I understand.... Lextone

It's easier to start with a cutaway suit and add to it than to subtract from a full racing suit, as the stretchy fabric ravels easily and is often under quite a bit of stress. (Or it should be, to fit like you want it to.)

Here are some cheap starting points: this suit or this one are both cheap from Target; other usefully cutaway suits from Victoria's Secret start a bit higher.

Ditto Lextone on the hair thing, and be careful shaving arms! They're usually harder to do (more pointy bits, harder to reach) and the skin's not used to it.

One more latex tip. Stencil out the armbands with blue low tack painters tape to make clean crisp edges and apply 3 coats of latex. You can aid drying by using a fan or a hair dryer set on no heat and low. WARNING: give yourself a few hours of prep time doing this and be patient. Here is a site that stocks many colors of liquid latex. www.liquidlatexonline.com

Ha, maybe I should tape off segments and then shave inside them. I don't know that I'm into fully shaving my upper arms! ;)

I'm not sure that shaving bands around your arms would be preferable, though... having done the full arms before, I'd recommend just doing the whole thing.

There is a latex remover you can use that dissolves the latex. No shaving necessary. I never used it myself but I saw it on that site. Yet another option. ;o)

The only thing I'm worried about when it comes to adding to an existing suit is that I might not be able to match the fabric (whether in stretch or color), and then look like the Raggedy Ann of Psylockes. :P I would almost like to just buy a halter top swimsuit and add a turtleneck piece to it, though. Hmm. That might just work. If I could find a shiny black one... I just keep coming up with alternate ideas. Hopefully after I go to a costume shop and another fabric store this week I'll have a better idea of what is available. I was also thinking about maybe modifying some "adult" costumes, or modifying a ballet leotard.

I suppose I could even buy a cheap swimsuit that fits me well, and use it as a pattern guide. That might be a good alternative.

You know, canida's got a point. Maybe some shiny flesh colored material with the black parts sewn on top would work better. It would certainly be easier to re-use. . . and you wouldn't risk getting a rash in unconfortable places . . . and you wouldn't have to show as much skin.

If you actually use a real swimsuit as sort of "built-in underwear", it should provide a reasonably secure foundation to build on, and you can worry less about having to make something structurally sound. Probably more comfortable, too. This is going to be a "hall costume" - something you actually wear while walking around, and not just a masquerade "stage costume", right? You can get away with an awful lot on the latter.

Yeah, I'll be walking around in it all day saturday. So I really need to make sure it looks good from all angles. Or I could always wear a hooded cape. :P

I was figuring you'd cover the whole thing, including some of the previously-bare areas. You can pretty easily tack down or glue the top material, or even (again) latex parts. Also search under "bodysuit"- some of them start in the right vein, and most are black.

Idea on the psyblade--Plastic would be safer than glass, obviously, try checking the dollar stores for cheap "fiery" swords. Sometimes they have ones that look very close to the shape of the psyblade. Add a lavender LED throwie to light it up. Might look better if you fill with smoke or chalk dust and seal (something for the light to bounce off.)


11 years ago

Here's a few good sites for you to look at how people do superhero style costumes- some of them might require you to register to do a search but I promise it will be worth it- most of the people on these forums are extremely helpful. Some of these people are also a bit over the top so be prepared -and coming from ME that's saying something! :P


As for the blade you could make it using EL wire and power it with a 9v transistor battery. It's cheap to do and would look pretty cool. I'd make a thin flat handle just big enough to hide the battery and inverter in the palm of your hand and then have it extend back to your wrist for support so you can swing the blade around. The blade could be made from some acrylic tubing that has been heated up and flattened into an oval- it only needs to be big enough inside to fit the EL wire, which the largest size is around 5mm diameter. The EL wire would then go into the clear acrylic blade like an elongated "U" shape.

If you don't have the ability to heat/bend acrylic tubing then you could just use a clear acrylic rod for the center of the blade and loop the EL wire around the rod lengthwise so it formed the elongated "U" shape and then slip the rod and wire into some clear PVC tubing.

It sounds a lot more complicated than it really is- I'd probably have to draw you a sketch of what I mean. It's very similar to how people make their EL wire lightsabers. Here's a couple of places to check out to show what I'm talking about:

Hope this helps!

Those sites are wonderful! Thank you so much. I especially like cosplay.com - they have a good store there. I might be able to get a good wig! I'm seriously considering making a duct tape mold of myself now - after reading those sites it seems that a lot of people had success with them. I just think that way I'll get the most precise fit. And it seems like a lot of fun. I could also use it to make other things for myself. Weeeee! :D Also, a really good idea for the psyblade. I think I could definitely work something out with those sites. Thankfully I have friends with metalworking experience, as well. I'm feeling a bit more optimistic now!

Yep- cosplay is a great site. There's always lots of great costumes and ideas there. Every Saturday is Halloween in Japan! It's good to be optimistic. Every Halloween season I get a lot of people who say what I have planned can't be done for whatever reason and every year I do my best to prove them wrong. :P As I always say- you can have all the brains and talent in the world but sheer determination is what makes things happen. I once made entire 1960's style Batman and Robin costumes ( I was Robin) for myself and a buddy the night before Halloween- that same night I made a sheet metal armor arm for my other friend (he and his girlfriend were going as the Baz Luhrmann Romeo and Juliet). I guess they turned out OK because everyone thought we bought our costumes- even though my green felt Robin elf shoes were falling apart.... I remember we were running down the street in the snow and people were hanging out of cars yelling "It's the Dynamic Duo!" And I even got to use the line- "Holy a$$ grabbers Batman!" after a drunken woman pinched me.....