SEPTEMBER 2013 – In August, Hulu launched the original animated series, THE AWESOMES created by Seth Meyers and Mike Shoemaker. I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to it except that I my friend Tom Feister, worked on the show. I wanted to at the very least check it out. HOTWIRE was a character that stood out to me because there’s a sense she might have some secrets behind that cutesy exterior.
I haven’t enjoyed a cartoon this much since the launch of ARCHER. THE AWESOMES is filled with unique characters and the first few episodes give a look into the journeys that some of the superpowered team have taken to get to where they are as a ragtag group of outcasts that want to fight crime. My favorite character is actually Concierge, the ultra-efficient administrative assistant that keeps the new generation of The Awesomes organized. Her cosplay would be simple ready-to-wear clothes and no one would even recognize it as a costume. The other female characters, Gadget Gal and Hotwire caught my attention immediately for their visual styles. I more closely relate to Gadget Gal, a senior citizen transformed into a 25-year-old version of herself. She’s a pulp dame with a spitfire personality. She even has a matching purse as Silver Age heroines usually did and I’ve often made matching purses for the costumes I wore to conventions; I need some place to keep business cards and camera.
It was HOTWIRE that I decided to create into a cosplay of my own because it’s a an adorable pink minidress with shorty cape. The dress reminded me of the STAR TREK minis. Plus, go-go boots with chunky heels. You can’t go wrong there. They’re so much better than stripper stilettos. HOTWIRE is voiced by Rashida Jones (notable for PARKS & REC). She’s only four years younger than I am so I figure if she can portray this rather young character, so can I. I also get fatigued by the constant call for “badass” women in comics. There are some. I don’t need to feel guilty wanting to be “cute.” Characters like THE GUILD’S Codex or SCOOBY DOO’S Daphne have that “cute” factor and I love them. If I want to feel badass, I’d do something paramilitary like Trinity from THE MATRIX or UNDERWORLD’S Selene.
I used a Kwik Sew commercial pattern for the dress. It required slight modifications. The pattern is for color blocking in either 2 or 3 colors and I was doing minimal blocking like the stripe for the bottom hem and the details of lightning bolts. The cape was modified from one of those “slutty” Halloween costume patterns. At first I made the cape exactly like the pattern required but I didn’t like the way it covered too much of the shoulders so I took it all apart and drafted different pattern pieces. The gloves were purchased, no mods. Boots were leftover from an old costume I sold and I stitched white spandex strips to them in a way that they could be removed if I want them restored later, although once vinyl is stitched the holes from the needle won’t repair.
To be honest, I’ve torn about 90% of this outfit apart three times before getting it remotely passable. I didn’t bother keeping track of my work hours on this because it was 30 minutes here, 2 hours there. It was done over the course of August.
The main part of the costume is a simple mod style sheath mini dress. I used KWIK SEW pattern 3633 and taped together the pieces that normally would have been for separate color blocks. I needed to shorten the bottom hem and then attach a contrast stripe along the bottom.
I tried it on and marked where I wanted the neckline on me. You can see how vastly different the bustline is on the dressform.
I added pieces of interfacing to the neckline and shoulder seams.
I installed the sleeves differently than the directions and instead did them the way I'm used to. The instructions called for stitching them to the front & back of the dress in one straight line then stitching them closed. I create the sleeves first then insert them into the armhole created by attaching the front to the back.
I created the neckline facings and attached.
I had an easier time freehand drawing the lightning bolt template. I cut 2 from the white fabric and 2 from interfacing and basted two sets.
Pinned the bolts to the sides to line them up. Then I removed pins 1 or 2 at a time to carefully slip double-stick hem tape in between the bolts and dress; repinned to make sure each was secure.
The lightning bolts were basted then zig-zag appliqued.
This shot is an example of the kind of stitching problems I had. I've taken apart these pieces 2-3 times. At a certain point, since this is just for me, I give up. It's not a spot that's visible, I live with the mistake.
I began the short cape with Simplicity patter 4015. I made it first following the instructions then testing it out to see how it would drape.
I didn't like the way the cape covered too much of the shoulders so I took it all apart and began drafting pieces for the sides.
In order to maintain that comic book look of a cape ever-so neatly folded over the shoulders, I basted the folds to secure it. I also made a narrow collar to finalize the neckline edge of the cape.
I attached hooks to the ends of the cape.
I hand stitched the layers of the ends together.
The eyes for the cape's hooks were hand stitched into the front of the dress at the chest section of the neckline.
I used a piece of muslin to draft the "H" logo which would cover the ends of the cape attachment.
The logo template was then used to cut out the "H" from a sheet of white craft foam.
Strips of white spandex were used to make the stripes for the top of the boots. Since I'm not sure if I'll need the boots for anything else, I didn't want these stripes very securely attached. In order to baste them onto the vinyl boots, I used double-stick tape to hold the white in place.
I used the zipper foot. I didn't put the white all the way to the top since there's a hem of the boot tops which doubled up the vinyl.
The fabric kept bunching up. It's not very neat but it gets the job done and is good enough for photos. I used the soft petal pink thread used in the cape so that if I want to rip the stitches out later it'll be a little easier to see.
The headband required a matching fuscia covering with a small bit of the dress fabric. I folded a strip lengthwise and stitched close to the edge and on one of the ends. I worked it over the headband. Then handstitched the open end close and used a few stitches to tack down the seam allowance of the other end.
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of AmberUnmasked.com and Vodka O'Clock Podcast. Author of The Farrah Wethers Mysteries, comic book short stories, prose, and non-fiction. Cosplayer and figure model.