Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Making a Linda Danvers Supergirl costume - the preparation

I will start by saying that I am in no way good at using a sewing machine, or good at working out patterns.  I am new to this.  Last year I made reusable wrapping paper and an apron.

Then I made (customised) this t-shirt for this costume, with copious help and advice from a friend:
This year I considered making a Captain Marvel maternity skirt but since doing the above t-shirt I expect that I'll end up just customising another maternity tee instead.

It took me a long time to build up to doing any part of this Supergirl top, because new things scare me.  I made a lot of mistakes along the way and I will try to share all of them so anybody else making something similar will hopefully not repeat my mistakes.

Choosing the t-shirt
I have been told by my friend that making tops is really hard as it's tricky to get the measurements across the shoulders, back, bust and waist right.  So I picked a white maternity t-shirt I already had, that I knew fitted me.  It's not exactly perfect. It should look like this:
I didn't want to wear another crop top so I'm happy with it being long.  I just could not find a white tee with a high neck.  The sleeves on mine are quite short, I think they are referred to as cap sleeves, and again, finding a white mat t-shirt with the right length sleeves was impossible.  So I settled for what I had.

Choosing the material
I bowed to the shop assistants knowledge here.  I went to Anglian Fashion Fabrics and explained what I wanted to do and the cotton/lycra mix of my t-shirt.  They sold me stretchy black fabric for the sleeves and hem, stretchy yellow fabric for the shield, and red fabric with barely any stretch.  As I'm a starter they said the non stretchy red fabric would be easier to work with as stretchy material curls and frays at the edges.  I think they were right.  They also sold me bonda web (a glue for material sold in sheets) to put the shield together.

I soaked the red and yellow material in warm water for half an hour to see if the dye would run.  I had to soak the black material overnight, and in the morning it was still leaking black dye.  I have no idea if it will run when I wash the finished tee, fingers crossed it won't.

Finding a pattern
I had no idea how to look up a pattern for the black bits, initially I thought they were called piping.  They're not.  But I did find a tutorial for sewing the S shield, here:
It is a pretty good tutorial, although not really aimed at beginners.  I found some parts of it confusing but I shall elaborate on that when I explain how to make it.  Given how nervy I get about doing new things I had to read it over and over and over and over before I felt comfortable starting.

Equipment needed
A good pair of fabric scissors, black, red and yellow thread, pins, iron and ironing board, a sewing machine, a ruler, a pencil (not ideal but what I used), a flat surface and lots of space.

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