Costume Notes: Batwoman

Photo by Scott Van.
Photo by Scott Van.

Completed: May 2015

Hours Spent: Approximately 20 hours

Debuted: Dallas Comic Con Fan Expo 2015

Why This Costume: My friends over at Gone Catawampus had the idea for a Gotham Girls group several months ago and asked me to participate. I hemmed and hawed over which character to make for a while since I’m not a big DC fan. Originally, I planned to make Zatanna since I figured she’d be a quick, easy make, but after reading a couple of Batwoman trades at my library, I switched over to Kate Kane. I love her simple, yet powerful design and she’s such a badass lady!

Photo by Scott Van.
The Question is Kat from Puku Cosplay Productions. Photo by Scott Van.

How I made it: This wasn’t a particularly challenging costume, but it did have a couple of unique elements.

The bodysuit is pretty basic, so I focused more on the fabric and tailoring it to fit well. I used my go-to Kwik-Sew 3052 and added princess seams to the front and back of the pattern. I used a gorgeous stretch vinyl. However, there’s not a lot of stretch to the fabric, so I had to size up and really pay attention to tailoring, especially at my bust and hips. I added the Bat logo out of red stretch pleather using my favorite applique tutorial.

tumblr_nmvncbFwPQ1sxq29yo1_500I had zero interest in even trying to make gloves this time around, so I ordered 2 pairs of red pleather gloves off of eBay that were a close enough match to my red pleather. I carefully seam ripped the outside seam of my base gloves and constructed the fins out of the 2nd pair of gloves. The fins are stuffed with craft foam to help them keep their shape.

Photo by Kristin Bomba.
Photo by Kristin Bomba.

My utility belt was pretty fun to build. I made 8 functional pouches large enough to fit my phone and my other con floor necessities. They have belt loops sewn on the back and slide onto thick webbing with a parachute snap in the back (Side question: Would anyone be interested in a short tutorial on how I made the pouches?). I think I’ll add snaps to the belt itself along with the back of the pouches to keep them from sliding around. The buckle was made by Callula Cosplay out of Worbla and painted by me.

The boots are my old Captain Marvel boots! I just cut off the buttons and painted them a few shades lighter to better match my red pleather. The bonus? Now they match my Captain Marvel better!

Best running joke leading up to the con. How many Bat-ladies can fit under my cape? Photo by Kristin Bomba.
Best running joke leading up to the con. How many Bat-ladies can fit under my cape? Answer: 4. Photo by Kristin Bomba.

My cape is definitely my favorite part of this costume. It’s by far the biggest cape I’ve made to date. To start, I used this general sketch from the RPF to help me figure out dimensions. In hindsight, I probably should have gone for smaller scallops, as the points near the top of my cape liked to fold over when I raised my cape up. I opted for a six-panel cape to cut down on the amount of fabric I needed to buy.

Probably my favorite Question/Batwoman photo EVER. Photo by Kristin Bomba.
Probably my favorite Question/Batwoman photo EVER. Photo by Kristin Bomba.

Pro-tip: anytime you have something cut on the bias (like this cape), let your fabric hang for a few days. The charmeuse I used for my cape lining stretched out a ton and was super slippery to sew with. I top-stitched the edges of the cape to keep everything in place. There are also BB pellets in the cape to weight it down a bit, and removable dowel channels on the outside edges for when I decide to act like a badass and intimidate everyone with my cape. Of course, I was a massive derp and left my dowel rods on my kitchen table the day of the con 😛

My mask is another creation from the very talented Kevin Dale. It fits beautifully! My wig is a gently used one I bought off of Etsy a while back. It’s okay, but I think I’ll order something from Epic Cosplay or Purple Plum next time I wear this character.

Photo by Kristin Bomba.
The ladies of Gotham! Photo by Kristin Bomba.

Thoughts on this costume: I…. had some issues with this costume. Mainly with my choice of fabric. I mentioned above that the vinyl didn’t stretch well, which definitely affected fit on my body. I was so irked that Yaya Han’s bodysuit pattern came out like 2 weeks after I finished Batwoman. It would have been perfect for this costume, especially those bust cups!

I also had a major issue with overheating. While the vinyl was gorgeous, it did not breathe AT ALL and I left my cold packs at home since I figured the convention center was cool enough to keep that from being an issue. I probably won’t wear this costume again until late fall or winter, but when I do, I’ll likely remake the suit and add mesh paneling on the sides like I did with Callula Cosplay’s Huntress. That will go a long way to help with the heat problem.

BAT-FAM! Photo by Kristin Bomba.
BAT-FAM! Photo by Kristin Bomba.

Overall, this was a fun build! While not my first choice of costume, it was fun to run around with my friends as a group.

Have you made a costume for a group that wasn’t your first choice? What did you think about the experience?

WIP: March 2015

Hello, spring! Weather in my area has finally cleared up into something resembling a season between Hoth-like winter and Tattoine-esque summer.

I debated on putting up a WIP post this month. Aside from Belle, I haven’t done much crafting this month. February and March have been more than a little hectic for me professionally and personally, so I haven’t been able to get as much sewing done as I’d like. Especially non-cosplay stuff. I have a new work Cambie sitting in limbo right now, which is such a bummer. Hopefully I can knock it out when I get back from Portland!

Still, I have been making some slow but steady progress on my summer cosplays. In order of planned appearance:

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All the spandex!

Gotham Girls: I’m working on several catsuits for a Gotham Girls group in May, including a Batwoman for myself. The other suits are a Huntress for Callula Cosplay, a Stephanie Brown Spoiler, a Stephanie Brown Batgirl for Mia, and possibly a Harley Quinn. I finally got all the fabric in, so my plan is to set up shop and knock out the majority of the suits next weekend. We’ll see how it goes!

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My quilted fabric for Margaret and some sample swatches for Lulu.

Margaret from Persona 4: Early this year, I mentioned that I’m joining some friends for a Velvet Room group. I finally found some quilted blue fabric in a good color, and I ordered my wig and contacts. I’ve been talking to other Margaret cosplayers to figure out the front panel of her coat/dress. Some people do it as an entirely separate piece that attaches with snaps, while others actually hand stitched the front panel on. I’m still debating how I want to handle mine since I don’t want it to be too bulky. Either way, I’ll more than likely have to do some *shudder* dyeing. Blargh.

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Baby steps!

Lulu from FFX: It has officially started! I’m still mostly in the materials-gathering phase, but I’m trying to knock out some of the smaller pieces of this costume so that it’s not too overwhelming come summer. After months of searching, I finally found a faux fox fur for Lulu and made the stole last week. It’s lined with poly purple haubuti I snagged from Golden D’Or at their last sale. Since I couldn’t pack my sewing machine for my trip to Portland, I brought my jewelry supplies and started working on her necklaces and earrings. Next up is the moogle and raiding ALL the local thrift stores for belts!

What projects are on your craft table?