DIY Cosplay: Captain Marvel
Let's take our lazy cosplay to the next level. We're going to transform a piece of Urban clothing into Captain Marvel's new uniform. Just follow these simple and easy-to-comprehend steps. I would like to preface this post by saying that blogging is a completely different skill set from technical writing. —Christina
First, research the character. Between multiple artists, cartoon or movie appearances, costume updates, or fan recreations, there will be several different versions of your character's costume. If you have trouble getting a full view of the costume from official art, try checking out fan art, toys and statues, or other cosplayers. (Checking out other cosplayers may all help you figure out tricky parts of the costume. These characters tend to have idealized bodies wearing fabric that fits in impossible ways.) Here's what I found for Captain Marvel:
The costume's primarily navy with yellow and red accents. It has raglan sleeves with red piping along the sleeve seams. She wears gloves that reach mid-forearm; each glove has five gold buttons on it that go from the edge of the glove to the wrist. There are two matching buttons on the collar. She has an eight-pointed star on her chest that is matched by the medallion closure on the sash. There are two yellow stripes that go around the upper chest, back, and arms. They form a V in the front and on the arms. There is a black or navy gap between the stripes and around the star on the chest.
The gold V on the back mimics the shape of the front. The red sash rides high on the right hip and low on the left hip. Here the boots are high heels and reach mid-calf.
In this picture, the raglan seam and the piping are lower on the side. The gold zipper is long; it reaches from the bottom edge of the collar to the crotch. She has flat red boots with seven more matching gold buttons. (It's six gold buttons on the very first picture of this post.) Unlike her previous costume, the ends of the sash are short.
Next, be honest with yourself. Decide which one you like best and which one would be best for you. I don't believe in that bullshit that you should only cosplay characters that match your body type/skin color/gender/whatever. At the same time, cosplay can be a lot of work and a lot of money. Don't bother working your ass off on a body armor bikini if the idea of showing that much skin in public makes you freak. Also use this time to decide if you want to carry any props such as weapons. It's a different skill set from making a costume and you may need to budget more time.
Being honest with myself, I do not have the time nor the money to make the full Captain Marvel costume. Especially not the money. I don't even really feel like making the sash, the medallion, or the gloves. So, we're gonna keep this one easy. We're taking a hoodie and adding some cheap fabric and notions to it. Imagine Captain Marvel on her day off, hanging around the Avengers mansion in her sweatpants with Spider-Woman. That's the look I'm going for.
Now let's make some stuff! I'm going to use a sewing machine but if you feel more comfortable painting on the fabric or hand sewing or knitting, do that instead. The point is to have fun, not to drive yourself insane. We're going to use this BDG hoodie as our base:
BDG Speckled Raglan Zip-Up Hoodie
I would take a picture of myself wearing it, but I haven't showered in three days. I look and smell like Swamp Thing.
Besides being super warm and comfy, it already has raglan sleeves and comes in the perfect shade of navy. The zipper is white and silver instead of gold, but zippers can always be replaced. Same with the drawstring. You will also need:
1/2 yd each of red and yellow knit fabrics
pencil and paper
pencil and paper
The rectangle on the sweatshirt is a packet of red piping, meant to highlight the raglan seams. As I went on, I decided against using it. I felt like ripping open seams was a little too much work for lazy cosplay.
Get out your pencil and paper and start sketching. With my ruler, I measured the different pieces of the sweatshirt: front, back, and sleeve. Be sure to mark seam allowances, fold lines, the top of the pattern piece vs. the bottom, etc.; mark anything that will help you keep the pieces straight and will help you remember how they go together.
This is my sleeve. For me, the sleeve was the trickiest part of the sweatshirt. I bet it's really easy for you, isn't it. I marked the fold line (top of photo) and I added a 1/2" seam allowance (bottom of photo). Seam allowances are usually between 3/8" and 5/8". Make sure you keep them all the same width.
This will be the part of the project where your cat will get angry that you're not paying attention to her. She does not forgive and she will never forget.
When you have your basic pattern pieces drawn, that's when you start color blocking. Keep your research materials close by. We have the red shoulders, a yellow star, two yellow stripes, and the navy/black gaps. I started with the star. It's the part of the costume that grabs the eye. The problem, of course there's a problem, is that I couldn't get the star to look how I wanted. The angles were all wonky and some points were longer than others. Thank God for the internet.
I Googled "captain marvel star" and printed out a Marvel cover in three different sizes.
I cut out all three and pinned them to the sweatshirt one by one until I decided on which one I liked and where I wanted it to be on the sweatshirt.
Measure from the top of the zipper tape to the top point of the star. Use that measurement to properly place the star on your pattern piece. Remember that the star is split vertically by the zipper, so you'll only be tracing half of the star. If we go back and look at our research, we see that stripes don't match up exactly with the points of the star. The center gap doesn't match up with the concave part of the star either.
As you can see, I drew the star and the stripes before changing my mind and moving it all a few inches lower. Don't be afraid to make a mess of your pattern.
To make sure that the stripes line up, I cut out the pattern pieces (last chance to add seam allowances!) and matched up the seams. You can line up your ruler with the stripes and just continue you them onto the sleeve. Because of the angle of the stripes and the fold line of the sleeve, the stripes will automatically form the V shape. Do the same with the sleeve and the back pattern piece.
I deleted the photo that showed the next step because it was blurry and never took a better shot. You see those stripes? Imagine them even longer and going towards the right.
For the gaps between the stripes, we're gonna use negative space instead of cutting narrow strips of fabric. Using your ruler, draw parallel lines next to your stripes to form the gaps. Mine are 1/8" wide. Do the same for the stripes on the sleeve and back pieces and the star.
I colored in the lines to better visualize the negative space. At this point, you may also want to mark which pieces are red and which are yellow.
Cut out your red and yellow pattern pieces, leaving the negative space behind. Fold your fabric in half and lay out your pattern pieces. If they move around a lot, you can pin them to the fabric or weigh them down with soup cans.
All of the back and sleeve pieces will be cut on the fold. Remember to cut two of the sleeve pieces. The front pieces will not be cut on the fold; you will need two of these pieces are well. Starting with the red pieces, pin then sew them together and then pin them to your sweatshirt.
Do you guys see the error I made? Like I said earlier, the sleeves were the trickiest part for me. The sleeves ended up being pointy at the neck seam and slightly too big.
See? Too much fabric on the shoulders. If this happens to you, feel free to either redraw and recut your fabric or dart the hell out of it. If you dart, your seams will not line up like you hoped.
Not only did I feel like Pinhead, I stuck myself so many times with these pins that I ended up bleeding. I suffer for this blog.
Using the pins, I marked 1/8" from the bottom of the red piece. I recommend pinning the star in place next. Mark 1/8" around the star. Sew the pieces of the top stripe together then pin that whole piece to the sweatshirt. You may have to re-pin the star and the stripes several times to get everything in the right places. Take your time. What's your rush? New York Comic Con's not until October.
Sew the top stripe in place. Mark 1/8" from the bottom of the top stripe.
No one wanted to model this for me. Note: get different friends or get much better at selfies.
Did you know that sewing professionals don't use pins? When you're a pro, pins just slow you down or break your machine.
Sew together the pieces of the bottom stripe then sew it onto the sweatshirt. Finally, sew on the star.
At this point, your cat will enact her revenge by farting on your sewing machine table and stinking up the whole room. What a jerk.
And we're done with the sweatshirt! Mostly. You can keep working on it by trimming any uneven stripes, finishing the edges with a satin stitch or some other embroidery stitch, adding buttons, or using a scarf as the sash. Make it as complicated as you like. I'm stopping here so I still have time to play Tomb Raider.
So dainty with the drawstring.
This kind of looks like a Captain Marvel Romper.
To finish the Captain Marvel look, try styling you hair with VERB Sculpting Clay and pinning it back with Hershesons Get A Grip Hair Pin. Her makeup is pretty light. Try bh cosmetics 28-Shade Neutral Eye Shadow Palette and NYX Extra Creamy Round Lipstick in Chic Red or Ulysses.
Now that I've made this semi-prototype, I'm pretty sure I'm going to make the full suit for Halloween. It feels right. And I want those boots.