Superhero Hype Cosplay: Mystique Part 1 – Creating the Costume
Note From the Editor: As part of Superhero Hype’s ongoing cosplay coverage, our special corespondent, Ashlynne Dae, is back with a new column. This week, Ashlynne is walking us through the creation of her Mystique cosplay, which was inspired by the Uncanny X-Men comics rather than the live-action movies. Next week, we’ll have a full Mystique gallery from Ashlynne! But for now, we offer you a look behind the process of creating the costume.
This week, I’m going talk a bit about how I made my Mystique cosplay! Last time I talked about my Psylocke cosplay and how I went about creating the pattern for it. This time, I’ll show you a different method that I use when I want to add seam lines or just a different design in a costume. This method can work for all types of stretchy costumes, including bodysuits, leotards, bodices, and dresses.
First, we should look at what our inspiration pictures tell us! I decided to go with Mystique’s classic white dress, but I wanted to make it a leotard and skirt to get the look I was going for.
Creating the Seamlines and Hemlines
Some versions have princess seams on her dress, some don’t. I initially planned on including the seam lines in my cosplay, but eventually decided against them to save on time. More seams always means more time when sewing!
Because I planned on adding a princess seam, I decided to use the method I usually use for color blocking or weird design lines. That includes sewing up a quick mock-up in a color light enough to draw on with a similar stretch ratio to your intended fabric for the finished garment.
I used my block pattern to make this mock-up. but you can use a commercially available pattern that’s close to whatever you are making. Once you have that mock-up stitched together, try it on!
If it’s not something that’s already fitted to you, you can take the time to fit it now! Pin in areas that need to be taken in, make sure to mark it with a marker just in case those pins fall out! If you need to let an area out you can slash that area and pin in some more flat fabric.
However, I recommend cutting a size larger then you think you need if you are unsure, as it’s always easier to take in than to let out.
Cutting Out the New Hemlines
If there are a lot of changes, I would recommend stitching those in with a basting stitch so you know what you are working with fit wise. But if it it’s just minor tweaks you can leave it pinned.
Once the fitting is done, you can draw your design lines on while it’s on your body! This is the fun part. You may need a friend to help for the back, but I can usually make do with a mirror.
Drawing these shapes while on the body has the advantage of you knowing how the shape will look when it’s on. If you do this in the flat, then there is a chance your design might warp or not look how you want!
Ready To Add Seam Allowance
With this method, I’ve never had a problem with my designs or seam lines not turning how I want them. You can also use half of the garment for one design and half for another to maximize on time and materials if there are multiple characters you plan on doing. Provided both of their designs are symmetrical like I did.
Just make sure you remember what side belongs to what character/design! Once you have your designs or seam lines on, you can take it off and cut the pieces apart.
Patterns Traced on Paper
I would recommend adding some notches beforehand especially on the bust/chest apex. Cut your pre-existing seamlines as well. Don’t worry about the seam allowance, we’ll add that back in in a minute.
Take all your pattern pieces, place them on some pattern paper, and trace them, adding your notches and labeling your pieces as you go.
Sewing Together the Leotard
Once all pieces are traced out, take a ruler and add your preferred seam allowance back in to each edge that was cut. I typically go with 3/8 of an inch, but do whatever you feel comfortable with.
Once that’s all done your pattern is complete and ready to cut out of your fabric! After I had my pattern, I sewed up my leotard pretty quickly out of white matte stretch pleather, adding an invisible zipper in this one, and measured out a v shaped piece of white pleather for my belt and cut some extra rectangles for the skirt front and back.
Mixing the Resin To Make the Skulls
Then I set about casting 50 skulls for the belt using only 3 molds.
Finishing the Skulls
This took some patience!
So Many Skulls
I also discovered I’m allergic to resin during this process, so that was fun as well (hah)! I used Smooth In’s liquid plastic in bright white, it has a demold time of about 2 minutes.
Once they were all cast, I took them outside and gave them a little coat of white spray paint to give the distressing paint something to stick to. Then I gave them a dark wash, and painted the eye sockets black, glued them on to the belt, attached my skirts to the belt with some Velcro and boom! Mystique was nearly complete!
The Final Look
All I had left to do was grab some white pleather gloves I had from my Emma Frost Cosplay and some white thigh high boots and a red lace front wig!
If this was a non-COVID-19 era, I would have called one of my SFX makeup artist friends for a blue body paint job. But since I wasn’t going to be at a convention or even a photo studio, I used photoshop to change my skin and eye color to match her iconic look.
One day I hope to be able to wear this in the real world and complete the look with body paint!
And there we have it! Just a little peak into how I put together my Mystique cosplay! I hope you enjoyed this, and I also hope it helps you create your own cosplays! If you have any questions few free to contact me.
You can get this full set at ashlynnedae.com