Just me talking about costume-y kind of stuff
It's a Very Batty Christmas
Before Adam West died, he made his final appearance with Burt Ward at the Dallas Comic Con last year. There were a ton of celebrities going to be there that we wanted to see. Unfortunately, it was the same weekend as the opera and as we had a brand new director, and tons of prosthetic makeup in the show, I couldn't just take off. The whole family was dissapointed we didn't get to go. I had really wanted to do the 1966 Batman movie cosplay for that con, but it was a super busy year at work and nothing went according to plan, so it didn't happen. Then Adam West died and so did a bunch of other celebrities that were near and dear to my heart. So this year for Christmas I decided it was time.
Sarah as Catwoman
I got the leotard and gloves from We Love Colors. The mask and cat ears were from sellers on Amazon Prime. We use Smile so Kitchen Dog theatre gets the donations. The gold jewelry and belt came from stuff I already had (two grandmas worth of their old 1960's costume jewelry). I still plan on looking for gold fake fingernails to glue onto the gloves. And I finally found them at HEB. They were pre-painted with silver glitter and that would not do. Fortunately I had gold glitter glue leftover from Spamalot that I repainted them with. To do that I used Sarah's Play-Doh to make tiny fingertips to hold the nails in place while I painted them. Then I used E-6000 to glue them to the gloves. I shoved Sharpie markers into each finger so that the gloves were stretched out before I glued the nails on. It worked really well.
Sylvan as The Riddler
I got the unitard, gloves, and one yard of white fabric from We Love Colors. I made the belt first. The plastic mask came in a three pack from Hobby Lobby. The noses were all dented when I opened the package. I used a heat gun to reform the nose, then covered it in the white fabric using Elmer's Glue. I added gray felt to back the inside and attached that with spray adhesive. I put the unitard on a mannequin so I could position the belt before I drew the question mark on with black sharpie marker. I still want to get him green socks to wear under the unitard. After I went back and watched the movie again, I realized that there were many more ? on his costume: another giant one on the back of the chest, small ones all around his wrists, a larger one on the inside of his ankle, and a line of them up the leg on the outseam. So I went back and added all those back in.
Spray Glue 18.49
Seth as The Joker
This costume was the most difficult, because I couldn't just order a unitard from We Love Colors. I searched Amazon for a hot pink suit for a man, but guess what, nobody makes one, duh. So I found three seperate pieces. The pants are rayon/poly blend that were originally designed as Indian pajama pants for a woman. The vest was sold by a uniform site I used for the dance show, and they had them in every color including hot pink. The jacket is also designed for a woman, size 20. Seth isn't a big guy but he's tall so I needed the extra size for the sleeve length. I'd already bought the green shirt for Sylvan the year before to wear to his cousin's wedding. After the Doctor Who cosplay last year I realized to not ever put him in a suit again because of his sensory issues, so Seth got the long sleeved shirt/suit character, which Seth actually requested last year. He has a thing about wearing a suit and really wants a tux. The pants are supposed to be pin-striped, so I got the Sharpie marker and a yardstick and went to town. I guessed that the marker would bleed through the thin fabric so I put an empty bolt inside before I started, and I was right. Bled right through to the bolt. The green hairspray came from Wally's, the gloves were from Pillowman. They had accidentally gotten washed with Karturian's red shirt and were stained pink and ruined, so it all turned out OK in the end. I bought hot pink dye and made them the right shade of pink.
After the first fitting, the pants and vest were perfect. The jacket needed the most attention. It's supposed to be a tailcoat, but that wasn't to be found so I remembered a friend once telling me how easy it was to convert a regular men's blazer into longer period menswear years ago. I had a general idea of how to go about it but thought I'd google some specific instructions and the internet didn't fail me. Evelyn Kriete wrote instructions on Tor.com which I followed. Here's the website: www.tor.com/2009/10/29/how-to-convert-an-ordinary-suit-coat-into-a-tail-coat/ I knew it was too big and needed to be taken in so once I marked the cutting line in chalk on the front right above the patch pockets, I then ripped off the patch pockets and cut the side seams apart. The jacket was super cheap and unlined with no CB seam to begin with and the side seams were only serged together with the patch pockets serged into the seam on that side. So, the easiest/fastest way to proceed was to just cut off the serging to separate the side seams. Then I folded the back in half and cut up the CB to create a seam to take it in. Next I cut along the chalk line to create the shorter hem in front and the tails in back. Once I serged everything I cut, I put it back on Seth to fit the CB seam and side seams back together. I ended up taking it in a total of five inches overall. I cut tail extensions from the sections I cut off from the front and added them to the back. I used leftover green cotton to flat line the newly created tails and used a slip stitch to attach the lining to the tails. Once that was done, I hemmed the sleeves 2 inches. I started the jacket alterations at 5pm and worked till about 10pm and then got up the next morning to finish hemming the sleeves which probably took another 45 minutes. All it needs now is four sets of black buttons and it will be done. Buttons found and attached for the back and sleeves. I just need another set for the front.
In the meantime, I've decided that the vest is bothering me. The Joker's vest has a shawl collar in the matching pink fabric, not black. The neckline of the vest I purchased is very high and doesn't show any of the green shirt. So I've seam ripped the black collar off and I've marked in chalk the new neckline. I'm going to cut it down and then put the whole thing back together.This means cutting off two button holes and having to redo them to match in between the two remaining ones, but I can do that. This change will get the whole silhouette more in line with the original. Once I opened the whole thing up I realized that the manufacturer didn't serge anything, so I did that as soon as I cut the new neckline. Then I sewed the shoulder seams back together. I hemmed the front neckline in hot pink thread and just barely had enough left. Then I replaced the lining by hand using a slip stitch. The buttonholes were not standard, so I had to do those myself, rather than using the attachment that came with the machine. They were rounded off at one end and zig zagged over a thicker thread. Anyway, I faked that as best as I could, then sewed the other two buttons on. It's done!
Hair spray 6.94
KC as Robin
I think it's hilarious to be Robin. I was so in love with Robin when I was a kid watching the show for the first time. I wanted to marry Dick Grayson and now I get to be him! So again, the leotard and tights, and gloves, came from We Love Colors, the mask came from an Etsy seller called Goblin Worx Leather Company. I've included a photo of his card in case you want to buy his stuff, it's VERY well made. I had found a brown utility belt at Goodwill years ago that I was planning on using for something, and this turned out to be it. I painted it black with acrylic paint and then used mop and glow on it for the shine. I am using the yellow donated jail lycra fabric for my cape and leftover Three Musketeers fabric for my vest. The boot cover fabric is leftover from Pride and Prejudice. So I still have to pattern all of that.
Patterning and making the boot covers took two hours. Patterning the vest took 90 minutes. The first thing I had to do was make the size 16 mannequin 2" bigger in the boobs and 5" bigger in the waist. I draped a vest pattern, trued the seams, cut it out of the red twill, put in both sets of bust darts, hemmed it, and now I have to add grommets. Those I had to go to Joanne's and buy. I should have picked up some more Fray Check, but didn't think about it. Luckily if you run out you can always use Elmer's Glue or nail polish. It took me 2 hours to sew the vest together and hem it. Another hour to add the grommets. Grommets are annoying at the best of times, but as I get older my hands just don't work as well and they become exponentially harder to do.
I had to make the R applique. I went to Michaels and bought a white R, dyed it yellow with a fabric marker, cut out a circle of black corduroy and heat bonded the whole thing together with some sturdy interfacing. Then I used black thread to zig zag the circumference and trimmed away the excess interfacing. I heat bonded that to the vest and then also zig-zagged it onto the vest as well. It's not going to fall off now! That was the first time I'd ever made my own applique.
When I cut the cape out, I did the entire width of the lycra by one yard long. That's long enough for it to cover my butt in the back with room for hem. I folded the edges in to the middle so I could cut a neck opening in the front and slope the shoulder seams. I hemmed the front and bottom edges before I attached the collar. I patterned the collar in two pieces, with a collar stand and the actual collar. Not sure how I'm going to fasten it yet. In the mean time, I made gauntlets for the gloves out of the same fabric I used for the boot covers.
Applique R 1.50
Rob as Batman
The unitard, gloves, and 3 yards of fabric came from We Love Colors. The bat cowl came from Amazon Prime, it was not cheap, but way better than me trying to make one a week before Christmas. The applique came from Hobby Lobby. The police utility belt also came from Amazon and the spray paint from Home Depot. I could have bought a replica bat belt for not that much money, but it didn't actually hold anything and functionality at a con is vital. Rob has to have pockets for his phone, keys, money, credit cards, etc...so the police belt was the most logical choice, after looking at all the tool belts at Home Depot. I ended up having to order a belt case for Rob's phone separately, but made from the same black nylon, because his ginormous Sony phone wouldn't fit into any of the attachments that came with the police belt.
At this point, I realize I could have gone with a darker blue for the pieces I made, because clearly from the research, all of his accessories are navy blue, but the We Love Color color samples on my monitor looked too dark. I can always dye the cape, gloves, panties, and boot covers navy later on. I was really both surprised and disappointed to discover that We Love Colors does not sell dance briefs at all, which meant I had to make the Bat Panties. I used a pair of his underwear to pattern them. Today I get to pattern and make the boot covers; that took an hour. I patterned the collar and then realized it really needed a collar stand to bridge the distance between his neck and the cowl, since it didn't come all the way down. And then I realized I need to cut another two out so that the cape would have something to attach to.
Once all the utility belt parts arrived in the mail, I should have primed the nylon with Elmer's Glue but I didn't. I just went to town with the spray paint and the first coat got completely soaked up. Just did a second coat. I'll probably have to do three more coats to get it actually yellow. So I used up the whole can of spray paint and it's still not yellow, so I got a tube of acrylic and repainted the entire thing. I should have done that to begin with because there are too many cracks and crevices in the pouches and I can't spray paint around the velcro bits well. I should have just painted the whole thing with acrylic and a brush and then used the spray paint for the final coat. But I didn't do that, so now I have to go buy another can of spray paint and do it all over again once it stops raining and gets a bit warmer. I think in total there are probably three coats of spray paint, three more coats of acrylic and then two more coats of spray paint on the utility belt pieces. For the buckle, I used stick on velcro to the actual buckle, and then used sew on velcro on the foam buckle. I changed my design idea half way through when I realized that the bat logo on the buckle is not the same as on his chest. I cut another piece of foam, this time rectangular, and then also cut a separate bat logo as well. I glued them together and then primed it with Elmer's Glue on the front. Once that was dry, I used my Dremel tool on the back to scrape out the shape of the buckle where the other side of the Velcro would go, then I primed it with Elmer's glue. Then I did two coats of acrylic on the whole thing, and then two coats of spray paint. I was so excited when it was finally dry enough this morning to attach to the rest of the utility belt. It was the very last thing to be finished. Then I tried it on and felt it's power! Then I quickly stuck it in the gift bag before I got caught.
Phone Case 7.98
Spray Paint 7.96
Then I went a bit nuts. After all that work, I had to make the wrapping special too. Everyone got their own color-coordinated gift bag and tissue with a hand written label addressed to all our secret identities with a note inside that was appropriately punny. Bruce's card reads, "For your darkest nights." Dick's card reads, "For all your boyish wonder." Edward's card reads, "For your most enigmatic riddles." Selina's card reads, "For the most purr-fect heist." and Jack's card reads, "For your most jocular jokes." It's boxing day after 5pm, but I finally finished! Can't wait for the kids to get here so we can finally do this, but that won't happen till Saturday. Waiting is hard guys, but keeping a secret is even harder. Wrapping cost $31.73 for 5 big bags and 7 different colors of tissue paper.
Elastic needs to be sewn on and in some cases tightened. Batman's boot covers came out a bit wide, so taking up the CB seam about an inch will keep them from sagging. The Joker's jacket sleeves needed to be hemmed and The Riddler's belt also needs to be taken in on the side seams. The biggest problem is that the Bat mask needs to have the eyeholes enlarged, but I brought home my tailor points, so I'll just have to be careful doing it. That's it. Catwoman's gloves are a bit snug, but other than that, for not being able to try anything on during the construction process, everything came out really well fitting! And now that I'm looking at the photos, I don't think I'll dye any of Batman's accessories navy. I thought it would bother my OCD that they're not the same color as his mask, but it doesn't. I like the brighter blue and it fits in well with everyone else's brighter colors.
More Bat Gifts
Rob went a little nuts with the Batman mini figures and Lego people and other forms of Batman characters in our stockings this year and he didn't even know how funny it was to me when he bought all of it. I told him we were having a very Batty Christmas and he thought it was because of him. Rob says that he's going to make a Batarang and Bat Shark Repellant for his utility belt and he wants a key chain that says Keys to the Batmobile, so I've got some reference photos for him below.
Now we just need a con to go to. I am pretty sure that we'll be wearing these costumes to Dallas Fan Expo the first weekend in April. Hopefully there'll be professional photographers there so we can get really good pictures. We'll also wear them to Free Comic Book Day at Bankston's on May 5th this year, which happens to be my 50th birthday, as well as Geekfest in August. I hope to see you there! Stay tuned for our next adventure. Same Bat time, same Bat channel!
I knew that everyone wearing a unitard would need alterations to make going to the bathroom easier during a long day of con activities. For myself, I added a backing panel in Robin's vest so that it could be laced up once and never touched again, with the addition of a side zipper. I can still remove the lace to wash it separately so the red doesn't bleed onto it. AFter a full day of Fan Expo, even that wasn't enough. For next time, I'll cut my leotard in half and use hooks and eyes to reattach it. My vest will hide all.
or Batman's unitard I just cut a slit into the appropriate section and serged around the opening to create a fly. For the Riddler, that solution wasn't going to work because there's no "underwear" to cover the fly like Batman, so I cut the unitard apart at the waist, gave each half it's own waistband out of the white lycra, then added hooks and eyes to reattach it afterwards. The separation gets covered up by his white belt. There's nothing I could do for Catwoman though because she doesn't even get a belt to hide the cut.
Fan Expo, Dallas April, 2018
Because we were invited to the Greater Austin Comic Con and given a bunch of kids tickets to hand out, Sarah invited her friend Katryna. Well Katryna wanted to dress up with us, so Sarah had the idea of letting Katryna wear her Catwoman costume if I would make Sarah a Penguin costume. She said, "Penguin is my spirit animal" and it's true. She is the silliest girl and I love her for that. When I was her age and had to do a dance recital as a baseball player, I felt humiliated because I had to be a boy. Sarah embraces the weird. So, I got her tiny little tux pants, white vest, white gloves, purple bow tie and cummerbund. She already had a white button down shirt, I used the pregnancy pad that Rob had made for Medea for her fat belly. The shirt it was on was way too long for Sarah so I basically cut out the middle and sewed the top and bottom back together. I had to hem the pants 5 1/2 inches. The only thing we had to buy was a purple top hat and the tuxedo jacket, which I got from Amazon Prime. The hat was $4.87 and you'd think it would be crappy at that price, but the reviews were really good and when we got it, it was an actual hat and not just a cardboard party prop. The jacket cost $33 but I had to buy the entire suit, nowhere could I find just a jacket with tails. She is going to be hilarious. She's already been doing the voice and the walk. I guess I should have realized earlier, that she was way more Penguin than Catwoman. Katryna, however, is totally Catwoman. She even owns more than one set of cat ears already.