Costume Breakdown: DC Bombshells Catwoman

I haven’t done a tutorial or dress diary post in so long! I used to love writing these, but between my job and photographing a lot of events, I just haven’t had the time. However, I have been trying to take progress photos regardless, and I just uploaded a bunch from my DC Bombshells Catwoman build last winter. I’m really pleased with how that costume came out, so I wanted to share how I made it.

Inspiration Images
My primary references were these two images. The first is an illustration by Ant Lucia, who did most of the designs for the DC Bombshells.
41776429045_b20a161210_z

The second is a photo of the statue that was produced based on Lucia’s art. I also own one of these statues, so I could take a look at it in three dimensions.
41957504854_8deea67d51_z

I also looked at the sketches that can be found in the book, The Art of DC Comics Bombshells. Based on these references, I broke down the costume into its component pieces: the dress, the hat, the gloves, the jewelry, the shoes/stockings/garters, and the props.

Dress
The biggest part of the costume is the dress. It’s a pretty simple sheath dress with puffed sleeves. I used as a base the same pattern I used for my Stephanie Brown Robin dress, McCall’s M6886. It’s a great pattern, with different length, neckline, and sleeve variations.
Pattern

Here’s my mockup. I only tested the body pattern pieces, as I knew I had to draft new sleeves later. Other than being a little too long, the pattern was ready to go.
DC Bombshells Catwoman

Time to break out that serger!
DC Bombshells Catwoman

For my fashion fabric, I used a medium weight black spandex double knit, which had a lot of stretch and recovery. I lined the body with black swimsuit lining fabric.
DC Bombshells Catwoman

Ant Lucia added some really cool purple piping details to the side seams and neckline of Catwoman’s dress. They are not on the statue, but I knew I wanted them for my costume.
DC Bombshells Catwoman

So I cut strips of purple spandex moleskin that I had left over from my Balent-style Catwoman costume. I used those strips as piping in the side seams and to finish the neckline. (I did not bother putting any elastic or cording in the piping to fill it out, as the fabric was already thick enough on its own.)
DC Bombshells Catwoman

DC Bombshells Catwoman

Then it was on to sleeves. I took the short sleeve pattern from M6886 and slashed and spread it to make it poofy at both the top and bottom.
DC Bombshells Catwoman

DC Bombshells Catwoman

The finished dress!
DC Bombshells Catwoman

Hat
I started with the pillbox hat pattern in the book Period Reproduction Buckram Hats: The Costumer’s Guide by Crystal Herman. It worked with very little adjustment.
DC Bombshells Catwoman

DC Bombshells Catwoman

After cutting out the pieces in buckram (I used two layers for each piece, stuck together with fusible webbing strips), I reinforced them with millinery wire and covered them with cotton flannel.
DC Bombshells Catwoman

DC Bombshells Catwoman

Then I covered the pieces in black cotton sateen and sewed everything together. This is the part of making a hat where I usually stab myself five million times with pins.
DC Bombshells Catwoman

Testing out the pattern for the ears. These were just folded pieces of cotton sateen. I didn’t stiffen them with anything.
DC Bombshells Catwoman

I sewed down the ears, then covered the outside of the hat with a pleated strip of cotton sateen.
DC Bombshells Catwoman

Then it was time to add a lining.
DC Bombshells Catwoman

Done! The brooch is a lucky vintage find. The feathers are just tucked into one of the pleats on the outside of the hat, then held in place by the brooch. That way, I can remove the feathers to pack the hat in a suitcase. I skipped the veil, as I thought that would be annoying to wrangle.
DC Bombshells Catwoman

Gloves
Just like the dress, Ant Lucia also added purple trim to Catwoman’s gloves. I dutifully decided I needed to do the same, even though I was running out of time to finish everything by Awesome Con. I pulled out my favorite glove pattern, McCall’s M7397. However, that pattern does not have a separate thumb, which is counter to Lucia’s art. Furthermore, I was afraid that having piping around the thumb would be really bulky. So I needed to change the pattern to put a separate thumb piece in.

I used the same fashion fabric as for the dress, and the same scrap purple moleskin for the piping. Sewing these was pretty fiddly. I did it by hand, because I was sure I would mess it up by machine. I had to baste down the piping first, then sew everything together.
DC Bombshells Catwoman

Jewelry
The Ant Lucia illustration has a pretty pair of earrings, a pearl necklace, and black glasses.
DC Bombshells Catwoman

For the earrings, I started with these two pairs of costume earrings. I took the dangles off the ones on the left, turned them upside down, and attached ear clips to them. (I don’t have pierced ears.) Then I took the pearl dangles from the ones on the right and attached them to the first pair.
Earrings

DC Bombshells Catwoman

The only trick to the pearl necklace was finding pearls in enough different sizes. I ended up using 16mm, 14mm, and 12mm pearls.
DC Bombshells Catwoman

For the glasses, I bought these cat-eye frames from Amazon. I popped out the lenses so they wouldn’t create reflections in photos. I opted not to use sunglasses, as those would be annoying to wear inside.
Awesome Con 2018

Shoes/Stockings/Garters
I purchased a pair of black seamed stockings (be careful, they get runs very easily!), black shoes, and a garter belt from Amazon.
Awesome Con 2018

Props
I bought a simple black Halloween prop cigarette holder and some fake cigarettes, also from Amazon. The cigarette holder had some silver writing on it, which I was able to get rid of with a swipe of acetone nail polish remover.
Awesome Con 2018

I also got a stuffed animal cat for photos. The whiskers were a little bent when it arrived, but I was able to straighten them with a hair dryer.
Awesome Con 2018

I already had the whip due to my many Catwoman cosplays. 🙂
PAX East

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s