Friday, June 12, 2009

Silk Spectre II Dress Diary-Part 1

As promised, today is the first part of the Silk Spectre II dress diary; I'll try to document the process as well as I can, in case any of you out there is crazy enough to want to try this yourselves;)

First, a few reference shots, culled, for the most part, from The Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes (thanks, Maggie and various contributers!):

I've marked out a few seams that aren't readily visible in this photo. After staring at multiple images, I learned several things about her costume:

1. It is made of PVC rubber, most likely unlined, pieced together like a quilt. The front black pieces are shaped with curved bust seams, as the PVC would flatten everything without them.

2. There is a zip-front under-bust corset over the bodysuit, made to mirror the yellow and black suit underneath and blend in almost seamlessly. Again, without the corset, the PVC would flatten Malin's body and distort it rather unattractively, so the corset is necessary for shape. It also makes it more badass;)

3. The boot garters are attached to the corset, rather than the bodysuit. There is, however, a slider that connects the garters to the suit just beneath the lower edge of the corset:

Again, the back of the corset mirrors the bodysuit, though you can see the upper edge of the corset where it has shifted just slightly in this photo. The corset laces up the back, and the back appears to meet pretty closely.

Here I've drawn in the corset edges and the bust seams, which are pointed rather than curved. Most photos seem to show her rather prominent--ahem--headlights, suggesting a squared-off seam rather than a softer one. Again, a costumer's choice, to make her appear a little sexier. I mean, her costume is supposed to be based on lingerie, right? ;)
All right, down to the nitty gritty. I decided to start with two PVC unitards I found on eBay. Could I have started from scratch? Sure. But, the idea terrified me without the requisite experience dealing with this type of fabric, so I decided to give myself a little headstart.

Naturally, Viola had to get in on the action;) As you can see, I purchased a black suit that had feet and gloves, and a yellow suit without; I wouldn't need the legs or most of the arms of the yellow suit, so why bother? I also purchased a PVC zip-front corset, though it needs a lot of work before it's where I need it to be!

After covering my skin as much as possible in tights and long sleeves, I turned the black bodysuit inside out and started to put it on. As you can see, this unitard is PVC backed with a poly fabric side, which I thought would be easier to work with and draw on. Straight PVC would have been much tougher to sew.
The legs were the smallest part of the entire suit, and I had to really struggle to get them on. The rubber side goes on the outside for a reason!
Black suit finally on, I began to realize the Chinese definition for "unisex" means "does not fit either sex correctly". Skinny calves, short arms, and a hugely wide torso? What kind of people are these made for?
With my sister's help, we drew in the cutting lines, and a few other guidelines as well. I also drew where I need to cut the bust curves.
The crotch on this unitard is the worst part of it; it is several inches below mine, and though I specifically asked for one without this feature, the zipper goes all the way around. Ewww. I'm trying not to think about the intended purpose for that.

The yellow unitard was just as ill-fitting, if not more so; I only marked where the legs would be cut off, and the new sleeve seams. The rest will be patched with the black once that is cut out.
Next up, I'll be spending my entire Saturday trying to make sense of this. Stay tuned for the next part, most likely full of cursing;)


Julia said...

Holy moses, what talent! I loved her outfit :) Can't wait to see how it goes!

patn712 said...

I was looking for ideas on how to make the Silk Spectre II when I stumbled upon your site. Your work is amazing! Quick did you sew yellow and black pieces together? Did you cut out the yellow into pieces to fit with the black pieces and sewn them together or did you sew the black piece on top of the yellow piece?

patn712 said...

Love the costume!