Suit Up!

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4 suits, 4 bodies, 1 pattern.

Or: An ode to Kwik Sew 3052.

I typically save my commission posts for the end of the month, but since I’ve been working on several Gotham-themed bodysuits lately, I thought I’d share a few extra tips and tricks on working with them (P.S. You can find more spandex tips in my Spandex 101 series!).

My go-to pattern for a basic catsuit is Kwik Sew 3052. View A is a perfect blank slate for pretty much ANY superhero suit you can think of (and yes, with a few tweaks it will work for dudes!).ย A basic, single-color suit using this pattern exactly as drafted takes me approximately 2 hours from cutting to finishing the last seam. It really is a super simple build and a great introduction to working with catsuits. That said, most superhero suits aren’t a single color and often have all sorts of funky design lines on them. So let’s talk about some of the alterations you can do to this pattern.

My first step with this pattern is typically to move the front zipper to the back. You can do this by subtracting the seam allowance for the zipper from the front seam and adding it to the back seam. Voila! Back zipper.

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Obviously, this isn’t Spoiler, but I took a similar approach when drafting out the pattern for my Captain Marvel. I used the same pattern bodice to figure out the general curve of the side seam for the front and back. Don’t worry if you fudge up a little. The stretchy factor will help conceal it!

One of the issues you might run into with this pattern is fitting. Since you only have a front and back seam to work with, it’s easy to look like a giant garbage bag. Adding side seams is a good way to give yourself more flexibility for alterations. I did this for Spoiler since her suit in the reference images I used had a very prominent side seam. This also makes setting your sleeves much easier!

I turned to Kwik Sew 3154 for guidance on how to draft the side seams, since this Spoiler is much smaller than me. Sadly, this pattern is OOP, but you can still find it on Etsy and eBay!

Your curves doesn’t have to be exact. The big idea here is to give yourself a curve for your bust, waist, and hips. Most of us aren’t straight up and down!

Batgirl! I opted for princess seams on Batgirl instead of the the straight up and down strip of purple she's drawn with. Curves are more flattering to those of us who live in 3D!
Batgirl! I opted for princess seams on Batgirl instead of the the straight up and down strip of purple she’s drawn with. Curves are more flattering to those of us who live in 3D!

Another option for fitting on a basic suit is adding princess seams. Princess seams run over the bust and give you a lot of control over your bust and waist. I opted to add princess seams to my Batwoman and Mia‘s Batgirl suit for a more flattering shape. I used a stretch vinyl for my suit which has a limited degree of stretch, so I needed more seams for tailoring.

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Bathroom selfies are the worst for showing seams, but I promise, they’re there!

To add my princess seams, I tried on one of my old muslins and figured out where my bust apex (i.e., the fullest part of your bewb) was. From there, I just drew in the curve I wanted. Once that was done, I transferred the line over to my pattern piece and added a seam allowance. And that’s it! I mucked up a little on Batwoman since I didn’t wear the bra I intend to wear while drawing on myself. I haven’t decided yet if I care enough to remake it. Always wear your intended undergarments when drafting, kiddos!

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Callula Cosplay modeling her Huntress mock-up. We take ourselves very seriously in the cosplay biz ๐Ÿ˜›

For more complex superhero designs, I like to make a muslin out of cheap fabric and draw on my designs. For Callula Cosplay‘s Huntress, I did just that. To start, I made a quick mock-up, and once we tweaked the fit, I pulled out a Sharpie and drew all the lines she wanted to add while she was wearing it. After we finished, I labeled and cut all the pieces, added a small seam allowance, and went from there. If your suit is symmetrical (like this one), you only need to mark up one half of the suit.

A note: it is vital that your muslin has a similar degree of stretchiness as your final fabric. Otherwise, this is going to be an exercise in futility.

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The process of building Huntress.

Hope that helps for all you aspiring superheroes! Check out my Spandex 101 series for additional information on working with spandex. I’ll post more tips and tricks for all you wannabe vigilantes as I continue working on Batwoman.

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8 thoughts on “Suit Up!

  1. I know this is way late but I just found this post and figured you may have the wisdom Iโ€™m looking for๐Ÿ™‚. Iโ€™m working with Kwik Sew K3661, and as a newbie I didnโ€™t realize that the bodysuit has a center back seam, whereas I need it to be in the front to more easily create a deep V and for aesthetics. The back seam has shaping to it, so I canโ€™t just place it on the fold. Do I somehow transfer that shaping to the side seams? I was going to measure between my new straight line and the old curved lines to see how much I added and where, and then take out those measurements from the sides. Is my thinking way off? Any tips? Anything special I should do with my new front seam besides adding seam allowance? Thank you in advance!

    1. You could transfer it to the sides, but that will definitely require a mock-up! If you don’t mind leaving the seam in the back, you can easily add one to the front. I’m assuming the CF is cut on the fold? If so, scoot your pattern piece away from the fold and add a half inch seam for alterations. Otherwise, nothing special! Hope that helps ๐Ÿ™‚

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