Reeve's Superman Blue Fabric Project

Got Maul

Official Licensee
Hello everyone,

A side and passion of mine has always been Superman (Christopher Reeves, God Rest his soul) but the holiest of grails has always eluded... finding not only the right fabric but the right color of the correct spandex blue.

A long time ago, Chris King and I used to talk extensively about this and I was one of the first to piggy-back off his work and with some research into fabrics be able to find something somewhat close. While color was 85-90% correct, the weeve and weight was totally off and when worn, just did not have the right look. In fact, it was way too light and when light bounced off, it shimmered too much which was not the case on original Superman.

Fast forward to many many many years from that point. Obviously, Star Trek uses quite a bit of jumbo spandex, double knits and dye. From the past few years, I've become quite a connoisseur of mass dyeing and finding vendors who could supply different weights, weaves and patterns of spandex, obviously for our production needs.

I think now is the time when two worlds are about to collide and finally, my grail of "finding" the right fabric is now closing and the grail of "creating" the right fabric is about to open and I want to do it old fashion style with an active project.

The goal is this : Create the right Superman Reeve's fabric... and that is it. Construction is up to you folks, but if anyone is as huge of a fanatic as I am, anyone will know that the fabric is half the battle which no one has gotten right.

If you're in, no matter your level of expertise, you're in the same boat as I am because I am proposing this :

1. Deconstruct the current myths
2. Start from Scratch with no preconceived notions
3. Post as many pictures of screen used or production photos as possible
4. Speak in a constructive manner

If we can achieve this, I will be able to use my connections to get our fabric custom made.

So how about it? Thoughts? Will this work? Who's in ...

Christopher_Reeve.jpg
 
Hi Jose,

Exciting to see you taking this project on! I've got some GREAT close-up photos of the ORIGINAL stuff but they're too big to host here so I can email them to you.

According to Noel Howard (R.I.P), he convinced Yvonne Blake (costume designer) and Reeve that the fabric he'd chosen for the costume was the best. Apparently, Blake and Reeve took some convincing but they finally warmed to it.

Noel said that the fabric was custom woven by a machine in Germany but sadly, only a few years ago - the machine was decommissioned and no other fabric supplier has been able to do it. Also, no accurate dye mixes were kept written down for the fabrics so it's a miracle that they were able to keep making it correctly. The exact same type of fabric was used for the Judge's costumes from Stallone's Judge Dredd movie.

Noel also said that all three colours were the exact same type of fabric and the yellow emblem on the cape was also the same as the yellow used on the chest emblem.

Also, the final fabric that was used for my last costume was 99% colour matched to Propstore's original Reeve costume which was displayed at The Movieum (now the London Film Museum). I've found a small sample of the fabric used for the blue, red and yellow and can send some to you to get things started regarding the colour.

Cheers,

Chris
 
i would be well up for some fabric.

I have an amazing custom made reeve suit (not action comics). the only thing that lets is down is the fabric which is close, but no cigar.

If you can make this happen, you will definitly have me as a customer
 
After years of searching down obscure fabrics from around the world on my own for the '66 bat costumes, I applaud your quest and would like to one day purchase enough for a suit.

All the best on your worthy quest!!!

Chuck...
 
Cool project! :thumbsup

Although I have no plans for a Supes costume, I understand what a holy grail this is to some and Jose is certainly in a good situation to make this happen.

edit: I forgot to mention my memory of Chris and his great work to nail this costume. With the two of these guys working together on this, good things are likely to happen.

BTW - If you're crazy serious, and I mean crazy serious, you could always spend time researching what became of the machine that was used to manufacture this stuff. It could be sitting in a surplus equipment place, a shop somewhere else on the planet, or may just be rotting in someone's yard. It's not necessarily true that it has been destroyed.

KC[/QUOTE]
 
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I am actually beginning to think I know exactly what kind of equipment was used... I have to see the pictures though.
 
I've sent 3 emails to you Jose. (Each email contains LARGE reference pics of the original fabric / original costumes).

Hopefully they will be useful!

Chris
 
Let me know what you need photographed and I'll see what I can do. I'm not sure which movie each piece is from, but I know that the bodysuit and belt are not from the same movie, and the cape may be from another as well.
 
First photos thanks to CKing are up

1. Take a look at the texture, ignore the color for right now
2. Is this spandex...or perhaps some sort of double knit nyon
 
Without knowing the thickness of the material, those photos do have the texture of jumbo spandex. I doubt this is what it is, as jumbo is only a 2 way stretch.
 
Yes, jumbo spandex has a similar weave and the original Reeve fabric was only 2-way stretch.

However, the weave texture of jumbo spandex isn't the same as the original fabric. From a few inches away, the original fabric appears to be made up of tiny little squares. Difficult to describe but you should be able to see it from those pics - especially the close-up of the belt.
I've got a pic of modern jumbo spandex sitting directly on top of the original fabric and they're not the same. I think Jose will post those pics too.

Chris

Without knowing the thickness of the material, those photos do have the texture of jumbo spandex. I doubt this is what it is, as jumbo is only a 2 way stretch.
 
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I am still leaning towards a double weave when I See this pic. Jumbo Spandex is what I eat and breathe lately (Trek XI) and I don't think that's it. Although .. it would make a great second alternative and would be my choice if I ever had to do the re-dye and make another one.
 
Hi Jose,

That's not the pic I was referring to. Didn't I send the close-up pic with the jumbo spandex sitting on top? I'll send it to you later if you haven't got it already. The pic you've posted shows 4-way lycra on top of the original stuff.

I agree that jumbo spandex is not the same as what they used for the original, but it does share some of the characteristics and would be a good alternative if dyed to the correct color.

Chris

LOL - I wasn't sure if you wanted me to post that one. I am posting it now.
 
However, the weave texture of jumbo spandex isn't the same as the original fabric. From a few inches away, the original fabric appears to be made up of tiny little squares. Difficult to describe but you should be able to see it from those pics - especially the close-up of the belt.

Chris

Noted..I was just looking at a swatch of milliskin I have, it looks like little tiny squares when stretched, comes in 2 and 4 way stretch, and as a plus, some are matte finished. It's thicker than normal spandex, but not quite as jumbo. I prefer it over regular and jumbo spandex combined.
 
Here's the Jumbo spandex shot. Its really not that bad at all in fact. The only thing I fear is that it might be too shiny.

Jumbo has a shiny side and a dull side. I am thinking the dull side is so far the best candidate.

BTW- the blue is off on this :) I have a feeling on the original they did NOT use white dye optic. In otherwords, if you start out with White jumbo spandex, you are using something that has already been dyed and treated with Dye optic (makes it sheeny white). Therefore, if you are matching to something that has been natively dyed (without dye optic but from the natural color) you will never achieve the same color because essentially you are dyeing on top of a dye which under certain lighting conditions will be perfect, but others totally off (e.g. sunlight vs indoor light)

We learned this the hardway the double knit trek stuff.
 
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