Monday, May 02, 2011

CGS Supershow Costume Challenge - The Black Widow (Claire Voyant)

My plan was inspired by 24-Hour Comic Book Day. I’m had a booth where I constructed my Black Widow (from The Twelve) costume right at the booth and hoped to get it finished early enough to actually have some time wearing it. Since I couldn't do 24 hours straight, it was spread across the two days of the show.

I arrived in the nick of time on Friday with five minutes to unload my gear from the car. Ten minutes before the show began on Saturday, I turned on the sewing machine to make sure everything was ok. ERROR MESSAGE! Oh no. I started to panic. I told one of our hosts Bryan Deemer that things weren't working. Luckily, I just had to rethread the machine and it worked. The pre-party at Third & Spruce was great. That of course gave me a bit of a hangover for the project right off the bat so my hashtag on twitter was "#hungovercostume challenge."

First I stitched the interfacing to the collar and stitched the collar closed lengthwise just to get something simple out of the way.

Saturday was all about the bodysuit and the bulk of my day was spent in a frustrated struggle trying to get the spider logo appliquéd to the matte spandex. It seemed like it was centered but when was all was done, it's a little off. I used a ton of straight pins to hold it in place. I zig-zag stitched around the spider with black thread. I hated the way it was coming out. The zig-zags weren't wide enough or tight enough and since the fabric shifted every few stitches there were so many sections that looked pretty awful. But I formulated a plan. I covered the black thread with grey thread and a better embroidery style stitch. At first, I couldn't figure out why the grey stitches were coming out bad; changed the needle and problem solved so one spider in particular is a bit terrible.

I struggled for so many hours with just the spider part that I was sure I wouldn't finish the challenge. At a certain point, I knew that I was at least a few hours behind where I wanted to be. I wanted to have the cape started on Saturday but had to accept that I'd be lucky if the bodysuit was completed.

After the appliqué, I made the sleeves, another easy step to make me feel like I was accomplishing something.

Then I basted the two back pieces together and installed the zipper. The problem this is that once a stitch is placed and then removed, the holes show up in this fabric. I wasn't really concerned since this was the back of the suit and it has a cape. I would have been really annoyed if I had been making this for someone else. I'll have remember to use doublestick tape instead when I do the Huntress costume out of the same material. After the zipper was done, I stitched the remainder of the back bottom together.

The rest of the construction went without any problems: I had to attach the front piece to the back at the shoulders and crotch. Then install the sleeves and collar. The whole bodysuit was completed by 5:30 on Saturday giving me a couple of minutes to walk the show floor.

I was stressed and exhausted. I kept introducing myself to the same people because I was forgetting that I had met them. :/ I was stressed for other personal reasons too but please accept my apologies if I had one of those flake out moments with you.

Saturday night was all about the main party at Third & Spruce in West Reading. I got to be front row to see Kyle of Kirby Krackle sing a few of my nerdy favorites! Woohoo!

Back to the show Sunday. Very hungover. My booth also became the con daycare. I love that some of the kids were actually interested but most of them just wanted to know if I had free stuff; luckily I had leftover tattoos and buttons from Wonder Woman Day.

This particular plan was to make a single layer cape which I'm not a fan of. Capes look better lined because it hides the seams. This character's cape is supposed to be filmy and translucent. The lavender crepe material is also $21/yard. By not lining it, I was able to keep the cost down but then I had to accept that I wouldn't be totally thrilled with the final result.

I hemmed around the hood (which you can't see in any of the pictures). Then had to stitch the four panels together of the cape. This fabric wouldn't work with a clean overlocking stitch; I had to straight stitch the whole thing. The hood was a struggle to attach. I was tired, hungover and stressed. The gathering wasn't going well. I even topstitched the hood to try and make it look a little bit better. The clasp was the last part of sewing and I did it by hand. The length was way too long; I cut it a bit but it was still constantly stepped on and tangled in my boot buckles.

I put on the costume (the suit has a spot where it bunches in the back and should be fixed but I didn't care); donned the wig (another issue as the original long one looked awful so I went with a short one that looks nicer but is way too short); added extra black shadow since mine had been sweat off hours ago. Then toured the floor for a couple minutes before heading to the only panel I saw, the Quick Draw competition.

I think my total construction/sewing time was 10 hours. I'd have to go back and check my notes on how long I spent on the design and cutting/prep stage. The cape fabric was $70; black matte metallic spandex $13/yd *  2 = $26; grey spandex $8; interfacing, zipper, cape closure, etc. was probably around $10; wig $43 (plus the wig I didn't like $45); boots & tights were already in my wardrobe.

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