Sunday, March 30, 2014

How to make an Aquaman

At last... I am finding the time to write up the making of my Aquaman costume!

I fricking adore this outfit. I decided last year that I wanted to have a proper, comic accurate costume for LSCC 2014, and I that the thing I wanted was this version of Aquaman:
The only I was undecided on was whether to keep the hook or go with the waterbearer version of the character (essentially a watery blue hand).

I thought long and hard about how I could make the costume myself.  I could buy black leggings and sew green fishscale material onto the sides. I could buy a silver crop top and modify it to make the armour.  I could make the hook out of something.  I thought about how to modify the armour so it covered my left breast.  I bought a knitted yellow beard just for the costume.
After spending a few months dithering and talking to other, better, costumers, I decided it would be far easier to commission someone to make it for me.  So I had a look around facebook's cosplay groups and found a company called Too Many Heroes who were taking commissions: ( and  I emailed them and got a quote, and decided it was a really good price and that they would make a good, comic accurate outfit that I would never be able to replicate myself.

We arranged the commission and I felt really happy about it, and then I fell pregnant and realised that I'd be about 6 months gone at time of the con and would therefore be a completely different shape when it rolled round.  A quick email later and Too Many heroes were more than happy to continue with the commission and to make the leggings maternity wear.  Woo hoo!

I sent my measurements in January (the con was mid March), we discussed the specific design I wanted and the types of material to be used and in February (about 3 weeks before the con) I went and picked up the suit.  It fit pretty well, a few minor adjustments had to be made, which were done there and then, and I went away very happy with a new costume.

I had no idea how Too Many Heroes were going to make the costume - if I knew how to do it I'd make it myself!  - so when I saw it I was pleasantly surprised.  First, the armour part.
It's padded and attaches at the front with velcro.  I hadn't even thought about how it would do up.  Naively, I assumed I'd be able to pull it over my head, but as it's padded and needed to be tight that wouldn't work.  When I tried it on it was rather tight across my chest - the hazards of enlarging breasts when you're pregnant - but otherwise fit very well.  I was a bit concerned it might ping open during the day of the con.

We had a chat about how to deal with this and I decided that a new (flattening) bra combined with a modified crop top would probably solve the problem.  So I bought a grey crop top from ebay and set about hacking it up to fit under the armour and cover my bra.  I ended up with this, which worked perfectly:
I tried it on under the armour, drew around the bits I wanted to cut out and went to work with the scissors.  The advantage of this is I got to keep my cleavage on show (hoorah!).

If you look at the reference pic at the top of this post you'll see that the arm part of the armour is in pieces.  This was also replicated for my costume:
You can sort of see it.  Photography - not my strong point.

Now for the leggings.  The fish scale pattern was drawn on with a pen:
Again, I would never have thought to do this, but it worked really well.

The fins are padded (and probably my favourite part of the whole thing, fins!)

The A for Aquaman was hand stitched on when I was there for the fitting:

This left me with working out whether to wear a wig, how to do the hand and to have a think about any accessories I might want.

I had bought a yellow wig in prep for the con but felt ridiculous in it.  It's OK, it's probably pretty good for a wig, but I just felt awful in it.  As I mentioned in previous posts I was already feeling self conscious about not being slim/toned/tanned/make-up'd/pretty enough to be in costume and I just didn't want to wear anything that might make me feel more awkward.  Here's the wig:
It's more gold than that picture shows.  My boyfriend tried it on and looked a bit like a dodgy Rod Stewart, which didn't endear me to it (the wig, not the boyfriend).  As you can see in the picture I also bought a hook hand off Amazon to use.  Specifically, this one:
It didn't look so mottled when it arrived. I had some primer left over from when I made my Jay Garrick costume a couple of years ago so just needed to buy some gold spray paint.  It didn't go well. It went like this:
AWFUL.  So I didn't take it with me.  And yes, I am aware that Aquaman has a harpoon, not a hook, but I couldn't find a harpoon anywhere and didn't have time to make one.  So instead I went with some a blue glove I found on ebay:
It's not perfect, but it did the job well enough.  Incidentally, both the glove and the beard were really hot to wear.  I wasn't prepared for that.

For accessories, I considered making a headband with a shell on it, but wasn't convinced that would sit well on my hair.  So I made earrings:
I bought 10 scallop shells from ebay, a friend gave me the earring wires and showed me how to bend them round the shells.  They are gorgeous and I will wear them again and again.  I do need to varnish them thought so they don't deteriorate.

For footwear, when I first started planning this costume I thought I'd just wear socks.  Around about February time I realised that socks don't provide much grip and I really, really didn't want to risk falling over.  So I went for sandals instead.  They are comfortable, they support my feet and it strikes me that Aquaman would not be averse to wearing sandals.

The end result was this:
Ah, the pasty skin of a British woman in Spring time!  It's also interesting to me how my belly curves out at the bottom - pregnancy is bizarre.

For comparison, this is how it fitted the day after I bought it (about 3 weeks before the con):
You can see the difference in my bump.  To my mind, the fact that it still fitted and was comfortable when I was much bigger is a testament to Too Many Heroes costuming skills.

I will definitely wear this costume again, but next time I shall try to be more tanned, and I won't be pregnant so I'll have to have the maternity panel taken in.  I'll probably aim to have a six pack too, but I have my doubts as to whether that will happen or not.  If you are looking for a commission I can definitely recommend Too Many Heroes.  They did a fabulous job, were really flexible and really creative.

Costs for everything were:
Commissioned costume- £55
Knitted yellow beard - £4.99 plus postage (If you want your own, I suspect it was this one)
Grey crop top - £4.49 and free postage
Blue gloves -£5.95 plus postage
Shells for earrings - £1.99 plus postage
Hook (not used) - £1.88 plus postage
Gold spray paint (used on hook) - £4.99 ish, I think
Wig (not used) - £7.49 plus postage
Wig cap and hair grips (not used) - about a fiver for both items.

Sandals: Already owned

See my other posts on the con here (the other costumes) and here (the day's activities with just a couple of costumes).


SallyP said...

I think you look bump and all. I actually like the way that you painted the looks a little mottled and old and aged.

But I had no idea that the beard was knitted. That's so amazing!

Eric Stettmeier said...

Such a cool and 'less-traveled' version of Aguaman to cosplay, and being pregnant just adds an extra level of awesomeness and originality!

Saranga said...

Thank you both!