My First Cosplay Convention Costume: 80s ‘V’ Shocktrooper. #2 From Paper to Fabric…

After obsessively studying ‘V’ on DVD and pics online I was feeling pretty confident I could put a costume together. So, armed with greaseproof paper and lots of optimism I set about making a pattern for the overlay and the cuffs. Time was ticking on an eBay auction for the helmet and gun, so I had to get cracking and find out for sure whether this was going to come together…

My first eBay purchase for the costume had already arrived. The visitor emblem. It was red, not the orange it should be, but as I’d already decided on red for the boiler suit I was glad it would match.

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To start on actually making the overlay I took a fitted shirt to get the shape around the neck and the line of the shoulders in the hope that my costume would sit right on me.

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Dean cat ‘helped’ by sitting on everything, jumping on things, and running off with things. No wonder the V aliens ate fur balls like him… He’s lucky I love him.

After a few mismeasures and wrong shapes I ended up with this.

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Not bad, huh? I tried it and it fitted. I’ve made mine to come a little lower on the body to cover more of the boiler suit as I wasn’t sure how the zipper would look on whatever suit I would end up getting.

Then for the cuffs. I was able to find some decent pics of these online as they are quite hard to see in the show.

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I made it to measure my wrists. Which was a reminder of how skinny I am 😦 Then I had to figure out the diamond quilting pattern.

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All set, I went in search of material. I found black pleather, which was too textured, thick and heavy, and black vinyl which was too shiny, thick and heavy. Then I found something the guy in the haberdashery (yes, a haberdashery–get me!) showed me some thin black PU he had left. It had a soft sheen and a subtle texture. Not perfect, but the show was made in the 80s so I wasn’t hopeful of finding the exact material. It was all he had, and he didn’t have anymore and couldn’t order it either. So I grabbed it. All of it.

Then, with a sewing machine borrowed from mum, it was time to get cutting the material. And that’s when I realised I wasn’t living in my very real world. The cats went MENTAL when I laid the fabric out and when I got cotton out, and I didn’t realise how hard it was to cut material, it was going all ragged. We live in an open plan flat, so it’s hard to shut the cats away without feeling evil, and I have very little machining experience.

I decided I needed a tailor or a seamstress, but not quite sure which I needed. I tried a seamstress near me, armed with my paper mock-up and photos. She was really friendly, didn’t look at me like a weirdo interrupting her wedding dress alterations and other ‘serious’ seamstress work, and she said she could do it. For £30. Which I thought was great. I wasn’t sure what I’d end up with because of my mock-up, but I did not expect this…

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I was really impressed. REALLY impressed. It looked perfect for me. I was so pleased. I did my best to rein the geek in though. Didn’t want to scare my seamstress…

You can see all the quilting lines I had drawn on–well they look so crisp and straight. I’d never have been able to do that. I’m so glad I didn’t try. Actually, the lines were tough to figure out from the show. There aren’t many clear shots of the back, but I think the red overlays are essentially the same as the black so I managed to find some references of those and figure it out. Any aficionados might notice the front does up a different way and hasn’t got the detailing on the overlap–my plans weren’t the clearest, but I’m happy with it. And any ‘V’ costumer who points it out will be fed to sandbeasts.

So, the main bit of my costume that needed to be made was done. Thankfully, as I’d had to buy the helmet and the gun off eBay in the interim. I’d been worried I might end up with a fairly expensive buy in the helmet and gun, and then not have a costume to go with it, and–no spare money for an alternative costume.

Luckily it was all working out… And then the gun and helmet arrived, and while they looked the part they had poor finishes on them. I would have to rework them. Yes. Sand down and repair a £130 worth of purchases… What could go wrong…?

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