For those of you following along in my Catwoman Cosplay sewing, I’m happy to report that the Yaya Han body suit is complete! (Please ignore the fact that this is not a great photo – I took it “hot off the sewing machine”). Since I’ve already covered sewing tips on working with vinyl this week (you can read more about machine tension\needles and zipper insertion), it’s time to cover construction and fit!
Construction: Honestly, putting this pattern together was a breeze. Everything lined up well and the instructions were easy to follow… even the zipper went in well (especially considering I put it in on a stretch vinyl)! I am pretty sure that an advanced beginner could put this together with good results.
Fit: I’m going to start this off by saying fabric makes a HUGE difference in how this pattern will fit. My muslin for the bodysuit was a 4-way swimsuit spandex\lycra – it moved well and was extremely comfortable. The vinyl (even though it had the right amount of 4-way stretch) is definitely more form fitting (think of it as a stretchy corset) and requires a bit of assistance in putting it on (I’m not kidding, I can get both legs in and one arm, but I can’t quite manage to get the other one on by myself). With that said, the fit really is spot on, it fits like a glove and I have to admit, makes an awesome Catwoman suit! As a side note, I now know why book heroines\villians look really ‘busty’, because I look as if I might pop out of this suit and I’m not what you would call ‘well endowed’, plus there is no way they would be able to effectively fight crime\cause mayhem in these suits all day long! Now it’s time to figure out how to sew a cowl to complete this look!
The bottom line: If you’re interested in cosplay, I highly recommend this pattern – it fits and sews well and lends itself to lots of possibilities. Plus, without any modifications (and in a “cooperative” fabric), it would be very possible to create a finished bodysuit in a long day.
I’m just going to jump right into this post and say that I have a confession to make. I have committed a number of sewing “no-no’s” while inserting the zipper in my bodysuit:
- I tried. I really tried. I tried not to baste my seam together but keeping a neat and even seam on vinyl is tough. So, I used the thinnest needle (that would hold a stitch on the material) possible and basted the seam anyway. There were tiny puncture marks after I removed the stitches, but they are pretty minute and not visible unless you look for them.
- I pinned the zipper. I discovered that tape is extremely difficult to remove from the vinyl so I opted not to use this method and used thin, silk pins along what would be the topstitched area instead. As far as I can tell, you can’t see any permanent holes so I think I kept them fairly lined up along the sewing line.
- I didn’t baste the zipper. I tried to avoid making any extra holes in the material than what was necessary (and I feared sewing over the material too many times would tear\rip the vinyl) so I risked it and sewed the zipper directly from the front… very carefully.
- I used cooking spray. Yes, you read that right. I used Pam in my sewing room. I used a light coat as a lubricant to keep the presser foot from sticking when stitching on top of the vinyl (because I still haven’t purchased a teflon foot). It worked very well – too bad I didn’t know that before I stitched in the collar and left all that tissue paper behind.
What does that mean? It means the zipper on this body suit probably isn’t the best one that I’ve ever put in, but overall it looks pretty darn good, the seams are perfectly aligned, and it was a lot easier than what I had prepared myself for. If your decide to make this bodysuit with vinyl, I highly recommend using some (if not all) of the “no-no’s” listed above and definitely keep that Pam handy in your sewing room!
I love the challenge of sewing difficult fabrics, but I have to admit, this stretch vinyl almost stumped me. Before I started working on my bodysuit, I decided to test out stitches, needles, finishes, etc. on the fabric. It’s a good thing I did because every needle I tried caused skipped stitches – some were so bad (small size needles and Microtex were the worst) that they produced what looked like a straight stitch on the zigzag setting. To make a long story short, I got the best results with leather needles and increasing the pressure foot (from 47 to 60 on my Bernina). I still experienced a few skipped stitches occasionally, but it was far less than anything prior to my changes and generally only happened when going from sewing a length of straight stitching and transitioning into a curve.
The next issue I came across was sewing directly on the vinyl. My remedy? Tissue paper. I am here to tell you, this is a bad idea. While this worked great in keeping the pressure foot from sticking, I had a booger of a time removing it from the zigzag stitches. Unfortunately, I didn’t know this was going to be so problematic, so now the entire collar seam has bright blue paper still attached. No one will ever see it, but I know it’s there! This also means that I need to come with an alternate method of stitching in the zipper… which is where I have left off. It’s time to brainstorm this one!
I spent some time in the sewing room working on a muslin for the McCall bodysuit (7217). Typically, McCall patterns run at least 1 size too big on me so I spent some time debating which one I should cut. I went ahead and used the one that correlated with my measurements (14 with the A\B cup) because I figured that this one probably has negative ease (I never could find finished measurement anywhere on the envelope or pattern) and going too small would make me look like a sausage. As for material to muslin, I went with…. swimsuit fabric! Why in the world I never thought of using this type of material before is beyond me (although I am keeping this in mind for future costume designs) – it has 4 way-stretch and is at least 70% both ways.
What totally surprised me is how well this fits out of the package. Normally I have ‘long waist’ issues, but this fits perfectly (I am sure that the 4 way stretch helps in that area) without riding and is form fitting, but not too tight. I did notice some over stretching in the bust area – so I think I will play with somewhere between the A\B and C cup sizing to see if that fixes it. I debated on making the stirrup portion of is this pattern because I am concerned that my thighs might be larger than the pattern sizing – something to work on today.
Overall, this bodysuit is perfect beginning (and darn cute in a polka dot muslin, if I do say so myself) to a costume! Now, I’m anxious to see how it performs with a vinyl…. I’m thinking that if I don’t like it, I can always head to the performance\dance\swim knits and find something I like better.
One of my favorite things to make are costumes – it gives me the perfect excuse to play with (crazy) fabrics, notions, and trims that I might not otherwise have a chance to work with. For years I’ve been saying that I’m going to make a few cosplay garments and I have finally decided to get off my rear and do it (largely because ComicCon is on my bucket list and Bret said that if we’re going I might as well have something to wear, etc.). While I have 10 different ideas rolling around in my head I have finally decided Catwoman (Arkam City version) will be my first (mainly because I have been itching to use McCall’s bodysuit pattern).
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve decided to muslin this one first…. “Big 4” patterns have a tendency to run large on me and I want to catch any fit issues before I cut into my vinyl (as a side note, I am wishing that I would have gotten the matte vinyl instead, there is a lot of high shine going on there).
I’ve included all the details for this costume below. However, I fully expect that I will need to adjust this when it comes to the cowl (notions and I know for sure that I’ll have to purchase the goggles). With that said, considering the expense of some cosplay costumes, not too bad on price, eh?
Pattern: McCall’s Pattern’s 7217 (Yaya Han Zippered Bodysuits)
Fabric: Black stretch vinyl from Spandex House