Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Catsuits and shiny shiny fabric

For my Spyro costume, I decided that the main thing that I should wear should be a full purple catsuit, complete with Spyro-esque gold chest piece.

I made my first catsuit for my astronaut costume (see previous posts) by following a set of fantastic instructions I found on a fabulous website called Somewhat Stretchy.  Basically, a very bright Englishman takes you through step-by-step how to measure yourself up, do the calculations and finally make the paper pattern for your catsuit.  It's a great website, if you're interested!  Anyway, so that is how I started out making my white catsuit for my astronaut costume.

According to the instructions on the website, I started off by doing the pattern pieces for a raglan-sleeved zipless suit (one where you get in to it by wriggling through a overlapped gap in the shoulders).  Quickly, I realised that I didn't actually need to make mine that complicated, as I could have a circular hole at the top of the back (to get in and out of) which would be under the little collar so fasten up that way on the collar.  A bit like a gymnastics or ice-skating leotard; a turtle neck with a keyhole back.  So I adjusted the pattern accordingly and it all fitted brilliantly when I tried it on!  The only problem was, I'd done things in a funny order so I hadn't been able to hem the wrists and there was a slight catch in the crotch, so I knew what I had to change for my next one.

Starting my second, Spyro, catsuit...

I bought 2 meters of purple, 4-way stretch jersey and half a meter of  gold lamé 4-way stretch leotard fabric and was left with plenty of both.  I bought them both from my local Fabricland (a fantastic, great value fabric shop in the South of England but they do also have a website!) for about £14.

The main body and leg piece, pinned onto the folded edge of the fabric with seam allowance.
Cutting out...
The raglan sleeves piece, already cut out.
You may notice that there are some gaps in my step-by-step style photos, that's because I get really into what I'm doing and totally forget to take photos! :s I'll try harder next time...
This is the chest piece pattern I drew.  My idea was to do pin tucks to get the banded effect he has, so I cut my gold fabric an inch longer for every pintuck, so in this case I think it was 20" unsewn.
The pintucks are pinned into place, but not yet sewn down.
After I sewed the pintucks, I then cut it to shape using the pattern piece and appliquéd it to the unsewn purple body piece, turning the edges under and topstitching it with straight stretch stitch in gold.

This is where my photos end, because I am useless. I did however, manage to get the whole thing sewn together in one day (my first ever one day project)!

After appliquéing, I could start sewing the body together.  I used a machine straight stretch stitch in purple to match the fabric.  These are the steps I followed:
  1. Hem ankles, keyhole on back and wrists - If you don't do this first, they wont fit on the machine over the smaller base because they are too narrow!
  2. Pin and sew the legs, right sides in up to the middle of the thigh.
  3. Sew down the back seam.
  4. Carefully align the top of the legs with the back seam to create the crotch then pin and tack(!) being very careful not to catch too much fabric or to go too close to the edge of the seam allowance.  Turn it inside out and check that it lies flat before you machine it.  Try it on if necessary.
  5. Machine the crotch and trim all seam allowances to stop them curling.
  6. Sew the arms together, and trim the seams.
  7. With the right sides in on the body, and out on the sleeves, sew the sleeves on to the body, matching up the notches as you go.
  8. Cut a collar to fit your neck and sew on two pieces of velcro, making sure they are fully secured.
  9. Sew the collar on to the catsuit.
And voila! A catsuit!

I'm not going to show you a photo of the finished catsuit on me just yet, we'll do the final reveal at a later date, but this is what it looks like flat...


 Ta daa! Next time... Horns!

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