Marvel’s MOONSTONE as MS. MARVEL from Dark Avengers
AMBER LOVE 27-APR-2015 As with all my tutorials and step-by-step recaps of costume construction, this includes the things that went wrong. Every costume has a lesson to be learned, even costumes I’ve made before. I made it before for a friend but wanted to do change gears in my daily routine so I thought about what I could sew. The problem is of course trying to not spend any money I don’t absolutely need to. This is where my “planning for the future” past has helped. The last couple of times I ordered spandex from New York, I would add a couple extra yards to have for unknown projects. (UPDATED PICS: At the end, I’ve posted some updated pictures and explained the changes I made to the fitting.)
THE BUDGET = $0
Last week, my scrap bin of of this extra fabric was beckoning me. I have white, black, red and some blue with some small amounts of other things. I didn’t have enough to make two of the costumes I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I thought about the colors, searched through Comic Vine, and then consulted my friend Ally Cat. I had narrowed the decision down to either the black and gold Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers) or the black and red (Moonstone). Everything was stuff I had on hand and can repurpose. I have black boots, they may not be perfect but they’ll do. I hope my old mask from years ago is still good, but I haven’t checked. I have a long blonde wig but I don’t know if my dark blonde with Rogue highlight hair is that unacceptable (let me know what you think) and if I can avoid wearing wigs, that’s ideal. The spandex fabric, zipper, elastic, muslin and interfacing were things I had left over or bought extra of when I could afford it. When you can, over order things as long as you have the room for storage. I like to get threads, zippers, interfacing and muslin whenever possible. The red scarf is also something from my wardrobe.
MOONSTONE VS. CAROL
I was leaning towards Moonstone and that’s the one Ally voted for too. I have made both before but sold them. But no matter which I chose, I’d have to design all over anyway because I’d need a bigger size than before. I already have a blonde wig and the mask is somewhere. I don’t get picky over boots being exactly right. When I was reading AVENGERS and it became DARK AVENGERS, I didn’t expect to like it; it wasn’t eventful or memorable but Moonstone and Namor were in it.
Moonstone, as Ms. Marvel, stood out. She defied the legacy of Carol Danvers in how she handled working on a team that hated each other; how she owned her sexuality and slept with whoever she wanted; and how she bravely took over the role of Ms. Marvel when all odds were against her for not being the well-respected Carol.
It’s interesting that I’ve made Ms. Marvel suits three times already, but I don’t own any of them. I’m not that familiar with the character Carol Danvers. I have finally read the first arc of CAPTAIN MARVEL though. As I said, Moonstone was my strongest connection to the Ms. Marvel mantle. I honestly don’t know the difference between the 2012 costume I made for Panda, which was Ms. Marvel from an animated series, versus Moonstone’s Dark Avengers version. They look like the same costume as drawn by different artists but there’s nothing significantly different about them.
STEPS AND LESSONS LEARNED
I “finished” the suit yesterday, April 26. Tried it on and one of the changes I made didn’t work out well. I have to take the bottom part of the suit apart stitch by stitch and try again. Nonetheless, I took some pictures while I was testing the fit. Like with the animated version I made in 2012, this costume began from the Kwik Sew 3502 commercial pattern. I’ve used this pattern as the starting point for a lot of superhero costumes.
1. Using the commercial pattern, I placed muslin over the pieces and traced the XL size and markers for things like where the zipper should end.
2. On the muslin, I drafted where the color blocking would be.
3. Pinned the muslin pieces to the fabric pieces and remembered to add extra seam allowance on the “new” sides where the colors would need to be stitched together (commercial patterns already have seam allowance but when you’ve created a new side to a piece, you have to remember to add seam allowance).
All of my seams were basted first, then when I thought they were okay, I went over them again with overlocking stiches.
4. I stitched the black pieces together that would be joined – the bottoms front and back, the chest/yoke front and back at the shoulders.
5. I assembled the sleeves. You can see one of the differences between this design and the animated version I made in 2012 is that I added the black forearms to the sleeves. Ms. Marvel wears long opera length black gloves. Since that part of the sleeve would normally be covered by gloves anyway and I find that long gloves are hard to keep in place, I prefer the illusion of the gloves. This way, I whatever gloves whether long or short, will look just fine.
6. I stitched the red torso pieces together at the side seams.
7. The red was stitched to the top black yoke and black bottoms, lining up the side seams as best as possible.
8. The collar and zipper were installed following the Kwik Sew instructions (only took me 8 years to understand those).
9. The sleeves were installed (same as other seams, they were basted then overlocked). The tricky part is trying to get the color blocks to line up with where the black and red on the suit are.
10. I made the star on the chest out of the same leftover gold vinyl I used on the black & gold version. I backed with fusible interfacing as best as I could, but vinyl is sluggish on the sewing foot that I have (you can get Teflon ones that I heard would solve this); so the vinyl and the interfacing needed to be pulled apart and basted. You can see another change here where I made the chest star smaller than the other one from 2012.
11. I trimmed off any excess interfacing from the star. Pinned to the bodysuit to find a good placement for it. I marked the points on the suit with disappearing ink where the star points lined up best. The problem here is that I placed it and marked while the suit was stretched over the dress form. This is what you’re supposed to do, but — when you take the bodysuit off the form, none of the points will line up with the dots made. It’s there for guidance. I pinned the star to the closest position I could get to the dots and basted in place going all the way around in a matte gold thread that matched the vinyl.
12. I zig zag stitched (satin stitch) around the star borders in the matte gold thread. Then I did the same in metallic gold thread TWICE. I find that necessary to fill in any gaps from the satin stitches. Exact satin stitches are close together, but I set my machine usually around 1.6 otherwise it doesn’t advance forward and tends to jam. I’d rather avoid jams and do it a few times. I’m also not great about pivoting with zig zag stitches so the star points and corners aren’t the best they could be. If someone is that close to my chest to notice, they better buy me dinner first.
13. Sewed the crotch and installed the lingerie elastic. Now, because I was doing this with only supplies on hand, I didn’t have enough of exactly the same width and type of elastic. I had two widths of lingerie elastic, which is what I prefer to use but it is more expensive; 1/2″ and 3/8″. It’s practically the same. I didn’t have enough to do both legs with the same exact width, so I went ahead and did one leg in each. It doesn’t matter.
Here’s where the current trouble is. I drafted this version to be higher in the hip than the commercial pattern pieces. I was experimenting. I didn’t know if it would work. The leg holes are now too high for the type of Spanx I wear and the elastic isn’t tight enough. I have to rip out all the elastic, cut off an inch or two of it, and install it again. I’m not sure if taking the crotch seam in a little will solve the hip height problem. I may have to remove the entire black bottom piece in the front and make a new piece that matches more closely to the original so that undergarments aren’t seen. Anyway, I took a couple of pictures while doing the fitting.
04/28/15 – In order to try and rectify the problem of my Spanx showing at the legholes, I was able to take in the crotch seam 3-4″ (because I’m so short, the torso is still bunchy and too long). Then I cut the elastic loops so they’d be smaller; the problem is I think I made those too small. I had to stretch the elastic while sewing it back in and you’re not supposed to do that. 🙁 Yes, there are closeups of my butt so you can see how the elastic didn’t lie flat this time. But no way in hell am I ripping out all these stitches again. It took 4 hours to get the elastic out over the last two nights. It’s bothering me because the original elastic installation was the best I ever did without my machine jamming. Now I think the suit is “fixed” but looks worse. It’s a Catch-22.