Jul 25, 2012, 8:52 PM - TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
Ok. I waited a couple days and it hasn't popped up yet and I can't keep hush hush anymore, so I'm just going to start this since I've heard a couple fellow RPF ladies also express interest in the costume.
I'll admit it, at first, I hated it. As in, loathed with the burning passion of a thousand suns. To me, it did not look like Catwoman. It was too basic. Tight, black, matte leather. It wasn't exciting or original...it simply failed to impress upon first impression...
Then out comes the movie...and the way the character was written and wonderfully executed amped up the everything. The suit seemed to take on a life of it's own when embodied with the Catwoman persona. It was probably the quickest change of heart I've ever had.
And so here I am planning for it.
Ladies ( or anyone ), feel free to hi-jack this thread and add your own build progress or any info worth sharing!
( Also, please be gentle, I just bought a house and am trying to keep more within almost impossible budgets than I usually do! x_x )
At the moment I'm simply sourcing items that I can modify. Mainly the boots. I tried to go cheap and found a pair on e-bay in a softer finish synthetic leather...but the platform was wrapped. I literally sat here in my chair for a good half hour just THINKING about these boots. Then I realized 1) shipping to Canada made these cheap e-bay boots not so cheap and 2) her boots actually have a slight tread on the bottom, with a visible platform and having a covered one just wouldn't to.
Then I remembered I had found a pair in my stockroom this past winter that were RIDICULOUS ( as in...thigh high hooker boots ). Lo and behold, I searched them up online, they were still available and were basically perfect.
Stiletto heel - check. Front platform - check. Slight tread - check. Front seam - check. Thigh high - check. Within budget? -$65 - check. ( They are the style Tauarez from ALDO Canada. Some similar styles on the US site are Bullins ( genuine leather but has some more seams for folding the top down ) and Brang ( genuine leather but just over the knee ) both for under $100 )
This was my initial e-bay option.
I did consider leather ( of COURSE I did...but at the moment, I've got most of what I need for the costume at $100...and the boots alone would have been around $195. And still not perfect. So that was that. )
I have a few ideas for modifying the heel to look like a serrated blade but I'll tackle that once they're here. Ideally they'll LOOK legit...but will be safe for me to go party in without being forced to go barefoot in a club.
Here's a great read full of fantastic pics of her boots and more importantly, the heels which are a clear acrylic cast and then painted.
Another important factor in choosing the boots that I did is that the heels are quite thin and I knew they'd be thin enough to build up around. ( They don't look that high or thin in the photo, but having tried them on in store...they are killer. )
Next up, gloves.
I cheaped out. Got a pair of synthetic leather opera gloves for $12 off e-bay. Again considered leather...but couldn't stomach the price to slice and dice them ( since they have her bodysuit material on the upper of the hand ) with the slew of bills on the way.
At this point, as well, synthetic leather at least I knew would be similar enough to the finish of the boots to keep some coherency. I've bought cheap Halloween gloves before and I know they'll need some TLC once they get here, but still a bargain if I do say so myself!
For the mask, I'm following a 'leather look craft foam' tutorial that was posted by the ever so informative MattMunson! And I can't wait to get started on this. I'll be seriously attaching plastic buckles to the sides for the band to go through to lessen the tension on the actual foam....not that I plan on wearing it too tight anyways. No one likes mask lines.
For the goggles, I considered a few options. Ski goggles ( figured they'd be too big/chunky, especially on top of the mask ). Motorcycle goggles ( which I loved the look of...but didn't have one large lens ). ... Giant sunglasses. I think I've settled on this pair of motorcycle glasses which are not only appropriate given her mode of transportation for a good part of the film, but they have one, single curved lens. I'm going to buy a transparent red vinyl to adhere over the smoke tinted lenses to have them dark red. ( Maybe an extra layer of black too ). Again, MattMunson helped me out here in directing me to an automotive store for some rubber trim which I'm going to apply around the edges.
Again, I'll tackle the LED fixtures once I have them on hand. ( Also, can I just say I HATE how her lens looks like cheap bendy plastic? BOOO! )
I believe her goggles have a bit more of a harsh corner on them, but if my cat ears are slightly more curved, I'll be ok with that. I might be able to put some extra foam along the sides closer to the face to make them look fuller when they're on top of my head...'cause let's face it. That's how they're going to be worn 99% of the time. Well...maybe a lower percentage than that since I'll be way more amused than I should be when shining my LEDs at people.
The belt I haven't started planning yet... The actual belt is a leather strip, which you can see in some hi-res shots and I think I have some leftover from attempting to make my Angelica ( PotC ) belts and baldric...but hers is REALLY thick ( I'd guess almost 10mm? ) so I may just buy a new strip.
I might attempt the pouches via leather look craft foam but I have to do some more research here into what would work best. I'd ideally like something more solid. You can buy carbon fiber adhesive vinyl off e-bay for cheap for decorating. ( I really. REALLY. love the carbon fiber detailing. )
And then the biggest and scariest part...the bodysuit.
Some say neoprene ( but I've heard this is a bad idea to wear out of water for extended periods of time ). The costume designer said it was a layer of screen printed material and a slightly shiny fabric ( I'll link this when I find the source again ). It's strange because it looks almost unquestionably textured...but then in the above photo, over the crotch area, it looks smooth under the lighting.
You also have to squint like mad to try to see if anything is raised at the edges...and you usually can't. Is it some optical illusion? Is it some weird puffpaint screenprint? Any insight here would be wonderful!
I considered photoshopping the pattern and having it printed on lycra...but the two issues here is that it would be flat ( texture and finish ) and when stretched, it maybe have splits visible in the print.
I searched for stretch vinyls, pleathers, embossed spandex...everything I could wrap my head around basically. And then considered leather. Again. But again, I can't afford it. And I REALLY like the textured look.
I don't know how I remembered this...but I bought this athletic material for the undersuit when I was planning Quorra ( Tron ... way, WAY on the backburner ) and realized, though not perfect, it's 'free' since I already have it and should have a very similar look. The other plus is that it's stretchy and breathable and because it has nylon in it, it does have a slight sheen. The costume designer also said the material they went with, they did so because it was flexible looking. Something she could sneak around in. In terms of realism, I think my fabric will work alright in that department too! My only concern here is that it's going to have to be a VERY specific fit so as to not overstretch and look transparent in photos.
Here's a photo of the fabric less stretched;
and on a sleeve/glove/unfinished...thing;
( It's not actually overstretched here...it just looks pinkish because of the sheen and my room being...well...very pink. )
The seamlines are also incredibly awkward on the costume...attaching where the ribbon lines the silhouette and having no front center pant seam and no back seam. It's literally going to be a puzzle piece pattern and it's going to take a LOT of trying on and adjusting to get the perfect fit. Or just a really good pair of spanx. Which I'll probably get to sharpen my waistline anyways.
Oh, but I AM going to get real leather for the collar! Ha ha, I know, I know. Big spender.
Planning to have this done for Halloween! POSSIBLY Fan Expo in Toronto...but with moving, I somehow think that is a slightly overly ambitious goal.
DEFINITELY looking forward to the overall comfort of this costume ( cozy, cozy stretchy jumpsuit! ...hopefully! ) and the fact that I literally have the exact same hair cut/colour. Yesss.
Not looking forward to cutting back on the sweets to trim up the legs. Oh well! High heels work wonders... >_>'
Last edited by aelynn000; Jul 26, 2012 at 1:42 AM.
Jul 26, 2012, 1:17 AM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
I really loved how throrough your search was, it looks like you've put a lot of love into this n.n I had the same hair length and color and STUPIDLY cut it shoulder length, even though i was considering cosplaying her, i'm brilliant, I know.
Just one little thing that bothered me, that first pic isn't actually her, but a photoshopped pic of a Lara Croft cosplayer :3 just that. Other than that, I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE YOU IN THIS COSTUME, RIGHT NOW >.< and the fabric you have is a perfect replace for that "oh let's make an impossible-to-replicate textured fabric for this otherwise very simple catsuit"
Jul 26, 2012, 1:39 AM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
Wow. Thank you! Edited to remove!
Haha, obviously my research was not that extensive.
But in all seriousness...one of the things that I disliked about the costume from the beginning was the plainness. It'll be everywhere this Halloween and every one of them will look good. It's also the reason I want to do it though ...and pay such close attention to the details wherever I can and budget allows. I'm happy with the pieces and plans so far, I'm just hung up on the suit material and wondering what else I may possibly be able to use...hmm.
Jul 26, 2012, 2:14 PM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
I went to see the movie today (today was the premiere day here in Argentina) and im SO IN FOR THIS ***** Y'ALL. So i'll pay a lot of attention to this thread and your progress :3
Jul 26, 2012, 7:44 PM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
Such a fun costume... what girl *doesn't* need a pair of blade stilettos?
Jul 26, 2012, 10:43 PM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
Really thorough research and planning! And i felt the same way you did about her character, complete turn around once i saw the movie :P Can't wait to see your progress with this!
Jul 27, 2012, 12:44 AM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
Looks great so far! You've got serious attention to detail, and your costume will only benefit from that. Look forward to seeing the final product!
Jul 27, 2012, 1:01 AM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
Not for this costume buuuttt...I'm picking this bracelet set up from work tomorrow and stranding myself a necklace. For $7.50, I think it'll be a cute prop to have for some photos!
But more importantly, Eddie Yang, who designed the goggles, posted this some amazing concept photos ( 1, 2 ) and video! INCREDIBLE reference for putting a set together. Can't even express how giddy I was when I watched it! I mean, mine will be nowhere near as technical...but just seeing the mechanics of it makes things so much easier to assemble it.
I've also been thinking about the suit and I might order a metallic black zentai to wear under the textured bodysuit. I'm going to try to find a sample of a similar material and stretch them out together and see if the shine will ...shine through. If it does...well...YAY! If not... I have a few other methods I'm going to try to get the athletic fabric looking a bit shinier...
Jul 28, 2012, 1:58 PM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
Yay! Glad to see others are about to attempt this suit! I've started researching casually...Will be able to really dig in once Dragon*Con is over. I'm going the neoprene route, so most of my research has been on that so far. ^^ Can't wait to start seeing your progress, Aelynn!
Jul 28, 2012, 4:17 PM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
I also had the same feeling about her character. Very skeptical before I went in, then came out of the theater last night absolutely loving the character and Hathaway's performance. It almost looks like the suite is textured on the underside. I wonder what MCL34N's puff paint technique would look like turned inside out.
Congrats on the house!
Jul 28, 2012, 5:23 PM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
Found this interview with Lindy Hemming, one of the costume designers. FYI, there are some minor spoilers outside of this paragraph if you read the whole article
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Costumes Designer Discusses The Look Of Bane & Catwoman
Hemming: Well, the tech in the fabric is our own creative tech. It’s not a special fabric. We made it ourselves by screenprinting the underlayer and putting a very thin silky overlayer on, because wanted to keep her very, very lithe, very, very creeping about, not robotic or anything like that, and we didn’t want it to be rubbery, shiny like the previous Michelle Pfeiffer suit, we didn’t want it to have any implication of it being a bondage or a sex kind of suit. It was to be something functional that you wear when you’re trying to creep about in the dark and not be visible basically.
Last edited by faille; Jul 28, 2012 at 5:27 PM.
Reason: add spoiler warning
Jul 28, 2012, 5:57 PM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
Well that does answer some questions...but she is being pretty vague about the process for the texture.
Some really good points here:
-Anne wasn't stitched in, which means the center front zipper is fully functional.
-The suit was formed to Anne and is very lightweight and breathable.
-The texture was screen printed on the underside of the fabric.
-The boot heels are metal and they used a rubber heel for the fight scenes.
This statement confuses the heck out of me though: "We made it ourselves by screenprinting the underlayer and putting a very thin silky overlayer on..." O.o I'm translating that as there are two layers flat lined together. The underlayer or layer closest to the body has a thick(?) screen printed layer and then the thin layer is flat lined on top...Which I'm imagining to be a stretchy and sheer-like black fabric with a drape like silk charmeuse or something similar...
Jul 28, 2012, 7:34 PM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
Forgive me for saying but I kind of like it.. Looks a little like the 60s catwoman..
Jul 28, 2012, 7:35 PM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
Yeah...the construction process of the fabrics is just boggling my mind. I really wish I had enough funds to experiment and knock it out of the park since I hate settling for 'close enough...but gotta make ends meet somehow. =\
The heels actually look to be some sort of acrylic, somewhere up in my first post around the boots there are photos of them prior to being painted from the shoemaker who created them for the movie. They had the metal pole for support and strength like all heels do, but the actual 'knife' is just painted plastic. Unless there was an actual metal pair that wasn't mentioned...but the site has the wedges, far-shot ( maybe fighting? ) boots and the cast heel ones.
Speaking of boots...got mine! They're more fitted than hers, being synthetic instead of leather but...and also an inch or two shorter than I would have liked ( on the leg ) but...otherwise, they're really close! I'm happy with them! Can't wait to start modding the heels!
Jul 28, 2012, 7:45 PM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
Its grab to see other woman here, you have a great selection of costumes
I should post some of mine and see what you think
Jul 29, 2012, 2:28 AM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
Ooo...I totally missed that. Thanks, Aelynn! The designer mentioned a "metal" pair and a "rubber" pair, but she was already being really vague in that interview...so she must have been referring to the clear resin or acrylic heel that was later painted to be chrome. I'm wondering if that would be too brittle for convention wear??
Jul 29, 2012, 3:23 AM - Re: TDKR Selina Kyle build/costume study ( pic heavy )
I think you'd be totally fine if you're building over an existing heel! I plan on sculpting with either model magic or sculpy over the heel and brushing it with a few coats of resin. The weight and support will be on the regular heel, the style will just be built up and fixed around it.
I don't think you meant this, but for anyone reading, I wouldn't recommend sawing a heel off and trying to cast something as a feasible heel...unless it's done with the metal pole through it like in the photos with the clear cast heel and assembled properly through the sole ,( which I'm no shoemaker...so I couldn't do, personally lol ) I would doubt the strength of it to support 100something pounds.
Did some more googling and came across this:
" The suit is made of embossed carbon fiber laminate. It is made up of two layers, the outer one being polyurethane-coated spandex with the texture of a carbon fiber hexagonal weave. "
The first line there doesn't make much sense...carbon fiber laminate isn't a wearable material as far as I know but I think they were re-wording/summarizing the next part. So...PUL fabric is easy to find and does look accurate...just the texture embossing part to tackle now. I found some embossing powder that you take a heat gun to, but I think the suit is more of a pressed embossed pattern than a printed on...then again, that is what the designer said, that it was printed...
I'm wondering if she was being purposely vague and confusing...LOL In a lot of the display pics, you can see the texture under her gloves so it is a raised pattern and not printed...
The pattern itself is strange too...for the most part it looks like sets of little bars...but at some portions it definitely looks hexagonal. I think I'm going crosseyed staring at it...
Another interesting thing with the textured suit is that the sleeves end just below the elbow from what you can see through the gloves. ( Haha! Reminds me of my Returns Catwoman...I cropped the sleeves and legs so I wasn't in head to toe layers of PVC. )
BTW, you can totally purchase carbon fiber laminate on ebay to cut and apply for the belt and goggle portions, however.
HMMMMMMMMMMMMM now...If I could get the TEXTURE from my athletic stretch onto the PUL I may be headed in a better direction...I do think some swatches are in order.
Might order these boots to compare with the ones I already have and see if they're any higher...
Last edited by aelynn000; Jul 29, 2012 at 3:28 AM.
Jul 29, 2012, 2:41 PM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
I think the pattern looks hexagonal in places where the bars are more vertical. I noticed the "safe" picture the orientation of the bars at the shoulder and back are different.
I also did some more googling into embossing fabrics. I found this stuff called "CAD-COLOR® Solutions™ Vintage Puff Digital Media" that puffs up when heat is applied and gives a reverse embossing look. The smallest amount I've been able to find so far is 5 meters for $113
Here is a link to a video that shows how it is done: CAD-COLOR® Solutions
I wonder if it would be possible to do the bars using this on a base layer, and then somehow apply the spandex over the top. Are there heat-activated stretchy fabric glues out there?
Jul 29, 2012, 3:00 PM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
I love those shoes! This is a costume I'd love to do myself but I'm a bit too tall, especially in heels :P Not quite outgoing enough to be 6" above everyone's heads!
Jul 29, 2012, 4:11 PM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
All I can say is that I envy your boyfriend or husband....
And, I look forward to your progress as you do phenominal work!
Let me know if you need help with the LED's. I have a VERY cheap solution.
Last edited by Jedifyfe; Jul 29, 2012 at 4:20 PM.
Jul 30, 2012, 1:37 AM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
Jedifyfe, Thank you!
Right now for the LEDs I'm planning on buying a bunch of little tea-light candle things...they're used for wedding centerpieces and such...gonna rip'em apart and try to just attach and hide the wiring on the underside or in between layers of the mask, depending on the route I take to make it. You can get 8 or 10 or something for like $5 on e-bay ( and I'm sure, locally, too ) so that's within budget for testing and possibly failing.
I'd love to hear your suggestion, though!!
I'm thinking of just buying the PUL fabric...as soon as I figure out a way to make some sort of textured plate or surface to iron it over. HMMMMM.
You know, I'm really quite contradictory... I want to stay within budget and work with minimal materials...but I'd rather just buy all the fabric I need instead of waiting for a small swatch and going from there. Ahh, I need to work on my patience.
Jul 30, 2012, 2:10 AM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
At my local 99 cent store they sell these LED "lazer swords". they have several LED's in them and run off of tiny 1.5v watch batteries. I would buy 2 of those for $2 and use them.
Jul 30, 2012, 8:49 PM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
Here's a good angle on the puff style used. Got it off a catwoman mag in the comics section at books a gillion lol
Jul 30, 2012, 8:50 PM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
Jul 30, 2012, 9:41 PM - Re: TDKR Catwoman build/costume study ( pic heavy )
I can't wait to see your mask and goggles!!! Are you gonna make the goggles so they will turn into cat ears??
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