16-MAY-2012 This is the second MOCKINGBIRD costume I’ve had the privilege of making. The first was back in 2009. I thought I documented it at HeroFashions (on blogger) but because the suit was a commission for my friend Jen and she was going to debut it at a convention, the steps were never posted. I waited until I got her convention pictures and then made a short post about that. It was the same time Jill was a Rage Lantern with the Dex-Starr prop I helped her make. So even though I never got to go to SDCC, my work was there!


A few weeks ago someone on The Superhero Costuming Forum spotted one of Jen’s San Diego pictures in the vast photo library of costumes. Jen had courteously credited me with the bodysuit’s design and construction. Paul sent me an email to see if I could make a similar suit for his wife Marie. I am terrible about checking my SCF email through the boards so it was simply luck that it hadn’t been sitting there too long which would have made Paul seek help elsewhere.

Last week, everything I touched with my sewing machine was a disaster and I pretty much swore off doing commissions. I had an identical experience in 2011 and said I needed to stop for a while until my confidence and skills returned. Two days ago I had even tossed an almost completed suit into the trash; I fished it out the next day and maybe when I’m not in Hulk rage mode, I’ll rip out the stitches and fix it. This meant I was down right terrified to start Marie’s Mockingbird costume when the fabric arrived today.

Right off the bat, my the draft of the pattern that had made on muslin was ruined when I looked at it upside-down and therefore confused the shoulder opening for the leg opening and cut it wider. When I realized what I had done, I threw the muslin pattern in the garbage and resorted to using the spandex mock up instead. It meant that there would be side seams which I was trying to avoid. It was something critical that I had to decide: to try and make a suit like Jen’s without side seams and hope it would come together properly OR use a pattern draft that had more pieces, more seams but was closer to the original figure skater commercial where this originated (Kwik Sew 3502). This time the fabric came from Spandex World, Milliskin Shiny Navy.


I love this classic style of leotard from the boom of comics. Mockingbird’s modern full bodysuit is gorgeous too but I haven’t tackled that one yet. I really enjoy the simpler ones when it comes to knowing my sewing limitations. According to ComicVine, Mockingbird aka Bobbi didn’t receive her first real costume until the Bronze Age of Comics and it was full bodysuit which looks like a fusion of the leotard – using the same style top half and bell sleeves – with the modern version that is full length. Today, in stead of a bird themed mask, Mockingbird wears beautiful amber goggles (much like my own) and more tactical accessories. As far as I know, Mockingbird is still happily part of the New Avengers. She’s also available in the Avengers Alliance video game.

Designing = 2 hours

Cutting = .5 hr

Sewing = 3.5 hours

Since I had made a Mockingbird costume for my friend Jen in 2007, I was hoping I could use the same pattern. Marie's size was one up from Jen so I had to enlarge it slightly.
The pattern pieces for the body suit were created in the new size. The sleeves in the XS were still fine to use.
May 16, 2012 - The marathon began.

You can see how much fabric just one sleeve takes which is why this "little" costume still requires 2.5 yards of fabric.

I made the fold as lateral from the midline as I could get hoping to preserve some fabric. It didn't matter much. I could have put the fold right down the middle.
Laying out the back and front of the bodysuit. The front pattern piece included the middle section of the body which would be in a contrast color - in this case white. I folded that part of the pattern piece out of the way to cut the navy.
All of the pieces cut out including a small collar.
I backed the collar piece with interfacing and zig zagged around the whole thing. Trimmed off as much of the white interfacing as possible.
Simple hand stitching of the collar. It was folded in thirds so there would be no stitches visible from the front.
A look at the finished collar.
The collar was essentially a "tube" so I threaded a length of bias tape through the inside of it to use as a tie.
Each sleeve was stitched with an overlocking stitch along the long seam. The wrist side was hemmed first by putting in an overlocking stitch around the whole thing then folding over the hem and top stitching.
A look at the bell shaped sleeve.
Primary construction is done. The panels of the back are stitched & zipper installed; the front panels are stitched to make a solid front; the sleeves are ready to install.
The very exposed neckline of Mockingbird required that some top stitching be done along the vertical navy sides and the horizontal white chest piece.
The front was attached to the back at the shoulders and side seams.
A look at the costume almost completed. The sleeves installed to the bodysuit and the collar on display. The only part left is the installing the elastic around the legs.
Another look at it almost completed. Because the dress form is on a peg stand not hanging, there's no way to display anything once legs are stitched.
A view of the sleeve flared out.
A view of the back on display. The pattern used a 22" inch zipper.
The first step of installing the elastic is to cut the segments then hand stitch into loops. Second, install the loop of elastic close to the edge of the legholes using a zig zag stitch. Then fold over for a clean hem and top stitch.
The suit has to be hung to see the completed project.

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6 Comments on Tutorial: Costume – Mockingbird (Marvel)

  1. Hello! I’m gonna start out by saying I love this costume and the way you did it! Would you be able to explain how you modified the original Kwik Sew pattern? I’m hoping to start a Mockingbird cosplay of my own, and as far as I can tell, this post is the best/most detailed description of how to do that. Also, what fabric did you use for the white? Thank you so much, and again, I love your work! 🙂

    • To modify the pattern, I take cheaper spandex and cut out the pieces as they’re called for in the pattern instructions. Then mock up the pieces as they would need to be and cut them along the new lines of where the color blocks would be. Use those pieces as the pattern then but remember to add half an inch around them for seam allowance.

      The spandex I almost always use is called “milliskin.” I find that it’s not sheer and see-through like cheaper spandex.

      Good luck!

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