How It Was Made: The Flash
May 25, 2015
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The latest project in the lineup is a Flash suit from the new television show. I began gathering reference and the client’s measurements and got started on the pattern.

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Like most projects, this one began with the creation of the fitting mock up. In order to create this, I get the client to fill in a measurement card and send it back along with several pictures. I then create a basic pattern based on the measurements. The new seams are drawn on and this will become the pattern for the mock up.

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This piece is cut apart, traced onto paper and used to cut the mock up and will serve as the first draft of the actual garment patterns. Those patterns are then used to cut similar fabrics to the final – we need heavy-weight fabrics in some places and stretch fabrics in others – and the fitting mock up is sewn together. Since this mock up is in bright red and the camera kind of blew out the color, I’ve added some lines onto the images to highlight the seams and where the gold lines will eventually go.

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Seam lines at this point are not final. Some will be moved, some will be eliminated and some will be added. The main point at this stage is to ensure that the fit, proportions and planned structure will be correct for the client. The next step with this mock up is to add the collar and make a simple pant mock up. Then, these will go off to the client for a fitting.

In the meantime, in conversations with the client, we decided that we wanted to print some sections of the suit to get the pattern and color down. So, we collaborated on the pattern and have got it 90% finalized.

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Once we had the design finalized, the fabric was printed by Fabric on Demand and the faux leather was purchased. Here are the final fabrics for the suit.

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The fitting was completed with the client and the mock up was returned with notes and markings for some sizing adjustments that needed to be made. I began with the jacket and revamped the pattern to both accommodate the alterations and incorporate some adjustments to the seams based on my research library for the costume.

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With the new pattern completed, I began constructing the body of the jacket. The printed fabric is a 4-way stretch and is fairly thin, so I decided that the costume needed to be backed with ponte to give it some extra body. However, simply backing each piece and then assembling the jacket made the seams too bulky – especially where the gold piping was being inset.

The answer to this was to make some sections of the jacket as a single layer shell and then line that section with ponte. Going with this strategy, I decided it was best to assemble the jacket back-to-front.

I began with the center back pieces – single layer- and then the lower sides with the gold detail and the mid-sides.

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This entire section was made in just the shell fabrics and then a ponte version was made and flat-lined that to it. Next, I moved on to the rib section.

I wanted to try to emulate the dimensional effect of the ribs on the actual costume, so I tacked some headliner foam to the shell pieces with Super 77 and stitched the detail lines through the layers. The back section of this piece was cut from the shell, lined with ponte and attached at the side. The entire rib piece was then attached to the main back piece of the jacket.

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The next pieces to add were the chest pieces. These pieces were cut from the faux leather and backed with headliner foam to give them some added structure to support the zipper and resin emblem.

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These pieces also feature an overlap on the zipper and a curved edge on the left side for the emblem where the zipper is centered down the rest of the jacket. More on that to come…

In the meantime, the chest pieces and the center front stomach pieces are added to the rest of the jacket body.

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Here’s the jacket at this point.

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The next step was to complete the facing on the upper left side. The zipper is centered down the rest of the jacket, but the left side of the chest has to have an overlap with a curved section to hold the emblem. The facing was cut to match the shape of the left side of the chest and stitched down, turned under and top stitched.

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Once the facing was in place, the zipper was set in. I then moved on to the sleeves.

The sleeves have a segmented section in the back that accommodates the bend in the elbow. To create this area, I created a template of the segments on the paper pattern and used that as a guide. I cut the entire sleeve section from a solid piece of stretch ponte. Then, I cut 2″ strips of faux leather and, using Super77, tacked under the edges to create a finished 1″ strip. The strips were then stitched down to the base working from bottom to top and all the faux leather was trimmed to the proper shape.

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The shoulder and back piping were added next and then the front of the sleeve and the front section of piping. Lastly, the cuff with the thumb loop addition was added and the whole bottom edge was finished with top stitching. There’s also a 7″ zipper in the back of each cuff.

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The last major component to the jacket was the collar. The collar was made of faux leather with a section of the stretch in the back. The collar is also oversized for the neck so that it will accommodate the cowl that needs to fit underneath.

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Here is the jacket at this point.

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The last things to do on the jacket are small finishing closures on the collar and chest flap, the velcro for the emblem, finishing on the zippers and the binding on the bottom.

Before finishing the jacket, I wanted to get the pants together to make sure everything would line up properly. I began by altering the pattern according to the mock up that was fitted and started cutting the pieces. The upper sections of the front were assembled first with the piping that forms the top line of the lightning bolt. Next, the sections above the knee were assembled with their part of the bolt.

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Before joining these two pieces and completing the bolt, I wanted to build the segmented knee area and add the lower front of the leg. The segmented knee was built with the same method as the backs of the elbows. The first step was to make a template of the entire knee and lower leg from the base pant pattern. There are four angled segments on the knee that are cut, edges folded under and stitched to the ponte base.

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Once the template was complete, the ponte base was attached to the lower thigh and the segments were cut and sewn down. To make sure the segments had nice, crisp finished edges (and that the edges stayed under while I was stitching them), I lightly sprayed the back of each segment with Super77. I then folded the edges under (1/2″ allowance – my standard) and the open area on the back of the segment helped to tack it to the base and keep it in place while stitching.

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Once the lower fronts were assembled, I joined the thighs to complete the bolts and finished them off with all the top stitching detail.

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Moving on to the back, I began at the top and worked my down each leg. The upper back segmented areas were assembled first. Then the rest of the legs moving down to the segmented section that makes up the back of the calf.

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Finally, the fronts were joined to the backs at the outseam, the side panels were added and all the rest of the finishing (fly, inseams and waistband) was completed. Here are the completed pants by themselves.

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And with the jacket. Note that the bottoms of the bolts on the jacket don’t quite line up to the pants. This is why I didn’t want to completely finish the jacket before the pants were done. It’s a fairly simple process at this point to alter those seams to make everything line up, but it wold have been much more complicated if the bottom of the jacket had been finished.

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I fixed the angle of the trim to line up with the pants and then finished off the bottom edge of the jacket. The final details on the jacket were the snaps to hold the chest flap down, the velcro for the emblem and the zippers in the sleeves.

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With the jacket complete, I decided to take care of the gloves next. Using a basic pattern, I cut the upper hand and thumb from the patterned stretch material and the palm and inner thumb from the faux leather. These sections were stitched together to join the main pieces for assembly (note the solid red index and middle finger sections).

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Next, the thumbs were attached and then it was time to add the fourchettes. Fourchettes (when referring to gloves) are simply strips of fabric that attach the upper and under sections between the fingers. Here are the fourchettes sewn in and the completed gloves.

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The wrists were finished with a simple band of the patterned stretch fabric that extends up into the sleeve.

The next major component to tackle was the boots. The base shoes for the boots were a pair of New Balance Minimus trainers. I began by using some scraps of comparable faux to ‘sketch’ out the pieces for the boots based on my reference images.

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Once I had a decent mock up together, I was able to transfer the pieces to paper and refine the pattern.

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It was then time to begin cutting and assembling the actual pieces. I began with the toe detail. I backed the gold fabric with a heavy broadcloth for stabilization and stitched the red section to it.

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I then assembled the center front section with the gold detail. This entire section was backed with headliner foam to pad it and provide the dimensional detail.

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The inner sides with the zippers were next. Both sides of the boots were lined in the same faux leather to provide support for the shape. The inseam was stitched up 2″ from the bottom and the allowance was spray mounted down to the inside and rolled with a pin to get a nice, crisp edge.

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Once this was done, the zipper could be easily stitched in without worry of the faux stretching or twisting.

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The outer side was lined in the same manner and both sides were attached to the front. The center back was finished and the top edge folded over and finished. Here is the completed shaft flat and on the base shoe.

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Next the upper was attached to the shaft, the whole thing fitted to the base, trimmed and glued in place.

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The final piece of this puzzle was the belt. With the boots taped up and setting, I moved on to the pattern.

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The belt is solid in the back and attaches to the buckle in the front with about a 2″ gap. The lining of the belt has 4 snaps embedded into it that will hold it to the bottom of the jacket. Once the snaps were attached, the lining was spray mounted to the outer belt and the whole thing was edge stitched together.

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For the buckle, I decided to use foam. I created the template in paper and bevel-cut the flat shape from 1/4″ eva foam. I then cut a bevel out of the back down the center, ran a bead of hot glue down it and folded it slightly to create the crease in the front of the buckle.

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I then spray mounted faux leather to the front of the buckle and stretched it over all the bevels. Lastly, I glued and trimmed the allowance to the back of the buckle to finish it off.

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To attach the belt to the jacket, I created tabs with snaps that are stitched to the bottom edge of the jacket. These align with the snaps on the belt and ensure that it will not twist, fall or rise up during wear. The buckle attaches with industrial strength velcro.

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The client has the bolts that go on the belt, so he will attach those himself. Here are pictures of the completed costume.

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I’ll be posting pictures of the costume in action as I receive them from the client. Stay tuned!