Catwoman Costume Making Article

11 min read
Rei-Doll's avatar
By Rei-Doll
48 Favourites
27 Comments
52K Views
Catwoman cosplay

Hello!

I finally get to translate article about my “Batman Returns” Catwoman costume. And just right time for Halloween x)
I'm very sorry if there are mistakes in the text! And I'm sorry that there are no wip photos, I did not make them, unfortunatelly. But in this article I tried to upload the materials, that helped me to make my own costume.

Catwoman


<cut> Well, first of all few words about why I chose this version. I’m a cat person, I always had cats at home and I love them very much. So it’s not a surprise that I also love such an amazing character as Catwoman. And my first meeting with her happened, when I was a child thanks to Tim Burton’s movie “Batman Returns”. I was amazed by Michelle Pfeiffer’s acting and since then her Selina Kyle is the only one for me. She’s beautiful, dangerous and a little crazy, exactly how Catwoman should be. I always loved the stories about transformation of a good girl into a strong woman.
I badly wanted to make this costume, though I was afraid, because I have nothing in common with beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer. Movie cosplay is tricky as you should look like a real actor, but I decided to try ) In my defense, I also found this official comics adaptation of the movie, so it’s also a comics cosplay x)

Batman Returns Comics

  Fabric


First I thoroughly researched all the info I could find about the costumes production methods they used for the film.

Catwoman costume in museum

Rob Burman about Batman Returns Costumes


And yes, it should be latex, but after learning all the disadvantages of this material, I decided that I want the costume to be more comfortable and wear-resistant. Though I’d like to try working with latex in future.
By the way, during the filming Catwoman changed about 60 costumes and moreover it was very uncomfortable. Michell Pfeiffer could hear nothing in her mask even her own voice. So in the end for my costume I used water look spandex, as it’s rather shiny and wearable.

Costume: Bodysuit

As a base I made a full body suit, using the pattern of these leggings and form-fitting top. You can also look for some catsuit patterns, I have one but it’s in Russian and I unfortunately can’t find the same in English =( The top part looks like this, pretty easy.

Top

And don’t forget about sleeves and neck. Now I have many patterns that I use regularly. So if you once made the patterns of bodysuit keep them, it will save your time in future. 

Each time I’m making a body suit I try to do it as tight as possible. I don’t like any extra wrinkles, so first I must be sure it fits me like a glove. To wear the suit I have invisible zipper on my back, but it was too long and now it’s difficult to bend in this costume, so choose the zipper length depending on your measures and make sure it’s not crossing your waistline.
Don’t forget to use special needles for stretchy material on your sewing machine. My fabric was rather difficult to work with. I also very glad that I now have overlocker, all my edges looks perfect x) And it’s so easy to edge spandex!
And the last part here is gloves. I used my usual pattern, that I slightly changed for fitting my hands and fingers. I love when gloves fit perfectly.    .     

Gloves

Corset


Corset

This part was the most challenging for me as it has rather unique look. I asked for help in some corset communities, but they didn't help much, so I had to start my own experiments, which I don’t like, because I’m not sure in the result >< But there were only two options – do nothing or keep trying. Unfortunately I did not save the final pattern as I was in a hurry, and that’s my biggest mistake T.T
Before starting I made lot of screenshots of Catwoman costume in the movie, to know how it looks like from each side, then searched for many corset patterns, thank you google, and stopped my attention on this Victorian corset pattern with the side hip panels, just like I needed.

Victorian Corset

I started drawing the final pattern, making necessary changes. After five or six tries I finally had something acceptable. I used backing cloth for the first attempts. To make a good corset you should provide all the fit tests on the body of the person you’re making it for. And it’s much more difficult when you have to do it on yourself, as it’s not only should fit you, but also must have slimming and forming effect. The tightest part must be on your waist and not your ribs. So when the corset don’t have bones it makes many wrinkles on the waist which you should smooth to see if it fits you well. But there’s always a danger that you won’t see your mistake till the end. You’ll need time to make it right and see the difference. Search for different corset web-sites and making tutorials, before you start! 
To make stretchy fabric harder I used woven interfacing (I hope I used the right term). Though I guess I used not enough of it. If you’re going to make it yourself use 4-6 layers, depending on the properties of your fabric.
For corsets I always use metal spiral bones. If there are too many I can mix it with the plastic ones. On the picture we can see that there are not so much of them here. Though for better form I'd add more bones on the inside part.

Corset bones

And I’m also extremely happy to have grommet installation machine for the lacing, it’s so amazing! x)

Seams


This version of Catwoman costume is most known for the white seams, that covering the whole costume. For me it’s always was a mystery how Selina made this whole bodysuit using only one jacket x) But anyway I think it’s an amazing detail that makes the costume look so Burton-ish )

Catwoman conceptart Catwoman costume

On this picture we can see, that seams are glued to the costume, because latex won’t survive the real seams. Real latex must be all-cast or glued, you can’t sew it as a real fabric. But as I chose another fabric I decided to make those seams. I used cotton mouline thread in 2 layers, to make it thicker. Though as my fabric was rather thin, I had to make a backing pieces under each seam to control the thread tension.
I also had to make tons of screenshots to understand how seams were designed on legs, arms and back.

Mask


Catwoman mask

The most interesting part of the costume, but I was a cheater, I ordered one from Ebay ><

Catwoman mask

And of course it didn't fit my monster small head and looked like a strange helmet ) So each time I wear it I have to put padding under the hair net to make my head bigger. I enlarged the back cut and installed the hook-and-loop fastener. I also did not liked the under chin strip and cut it off. In the end I enlarged the eye holes to make it look more like in the movie.
I like that it’s made of rubber and in future I'd like to do such masks myself, now I’m learning all the materials I can find about this topic.

Claws


Catwoman

The craziest part of the costume, because all of them look different. And again lots of research work ) I found the picture of the claws used in the movie and also this 3D model, that helped me a lot. As you can see it’s the mix of thimbles, wire and metal sewing things.

Catwoman claws
Catwoman hand

So I bought 10 thimbles and looked for acceptable parts in my dad’s closet x) Claws themselves are cut of thin PET sheet. It’s rather soft and won’t hurt anybody on the convention and keeps the form at the same time. After I collected and made everything I need, I glued all the parts together, painted them and glued to the gloves.

Boots


I usually have problems with boots, because most of them don’t fit my long feet and thin legs. So I usually make them myself for cosplay. But this time I tried to find real well made boots, and ended remaking the pair I got x)

Make-up and contact lenses


In the end I tested my make-up with grey contacts, which I like a lot, I always wanted to have grey eyes x) I used this ones
Make up should be very bright and intensive. There’re lots of great tutorials on YouTube, just choose one that you like the most. Here's my favourite  


Well that’s all regarding the costume. It’s rather comfortable and I like to wear it a lot. I’m very glad that I had an opportunity to bring it to J-Popcon in Denmark and have a shooting there. Here are the photos

  Well Hello, Mr. Wayne by Rei-Doll  Hear Me Roar by Rei-Doll  Here's The Cat by Rei-Doll  Keep It Secret by Rei-Doll  Gotham Syren by Rei-Doll 

I’m also very grateful to :iconcosplay-gen: magazine redactors that they chose my Catwoman photo to appear on the cover of their 7th issue! 
Order the magazine here

CosplayGen 7

Here's also the video from the stage

I hope this article was helpful and interesting to read. Please ask if you have any questions! 
 </cut>



Published:
© 2014 - 2021 Rei-Doll
Comments27
anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
bladeshuffler's avatar
This is very detailed and interesting.  I did not know that it is not possible to sew latex.  I also did not know that stretchy fabric requires special needles. 

I did not see any translation mistakes.  I wish I could write in Russian as well as you can write in English.
Miss-Vampira-Vamp's avatar
Great job , you were perfect as Catwoman ! And the article is to be congratulated , you answers many questions ( I'm very grateful you have written it , hahaha ! <3 ) I searched on eBay mask Catwoman , but there are so many that appear ( and the seller never put more than one photo of the product) do not know which one to buy . You can send the link of the mask you bought? * - *
Thors-wench's avatar
Curious Rei what fabric did you use for creating the "seams"?
LordofPhoenixDawn's avatar
You did an awesome job on this one. All of your costumes are awesome but wow.....in the Here's the Cat shot I was like double taking whether you were the character....like for real. You were but yeah, excellent work. :squee:
TinyFlyThing's avatar
Thanks so much for putting all this together. I'm not a cosplayer myself and I have NO idea what work has to be done to make a costume as perfect as yours. And I absolutely LOVE your catwoman cosplay. I mean...i love all of them, but catwoman the most.
AngelsArcher's avatar
That was a very interesting read! Seeing how hard it was to make a replica, I am even more amazed by the work on the original costume. :love: You did a great job too :) 
VelvetPsychoKiller's avatar
Even without the W.I.P. shots, I'm sure this is gonna be very useful if I ever decide to realize this cosplay as well! So thank you very very much for your work... :heart:
Tin0men's avatar
glad this costume and you are getting such attention, because your catwoman pics are probably the best around, very stunning.
LatexHarley's avatar
I am really impressed by your article and your work. It is a lot more research then I had expacted.

Thank you for sharing it.
Rei-Doll's avatar
Thank you! I'm glad it was interesting to read ))
CarnalConcepts's avatar
Very interesting read, and thanks for sharing. I thought The Pfeiffer outfit was made from Vinyl not latex? 
Rei-Doll's avatar
Thank you x) Actually it was all-cast of rubber\latex as :iconaexalven: kindly reminded me below ) 
unwanted-13's avatar
God, I loved reading this.
Burton's Catwoman version used to be my dream cosplay until I realized how hard it was.
Now I know it's actually harder.

Well, this was educational and congratulations on achieving such a great result!
You should make these descriptions more often; I really enjoy these things.
Rei-Doll's avatar
Thank you! I hope this was helpful, because Catwoman is an amazing character and I'd love to see more cosplay of her ))
Yes, I already have some I made in Russian and I'm planning to translate them soon too ^^
paws4thot's avatar
I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy!!! {kow-tows}*

Ok, seriously now.
You don't look 100% precisely like Michelle Pfeiffer (but no-one looks 100% like anyone else), but you do look exactly like TIm Burton's Catwoman. You've even picked up a few details that fans like myself (like you, since the film came out) and professional modelmakers missed about the claws!

Also, I agree with you about Catwoman, to the extent that I think she's best written as an antiheroine rather than a villain.

* Wayne's World joke.
Rei-Doll's avatar
Thank you so much! ^0^ 
darkagesun's avatar
This is truly an amazing costume and I love all the photos you posted, have to give credit to the setting and photographer too. 
Burton's Batman is and always will be my fave Batman movie <3
Hope I can meet you one day in person, and maybe do a shoot^^
Rei-Doll's avatar
Thank you! )) I would be very glad, your works are amazing! *0*
darkagesun's avatar
OMG, thanks for watching <3 I'm so so happy *crying*
Lainedy's avatar
Your catwoman is such a great cosplay. The corset part was really instructive.
Thank you so much!!

Also you look truly good in the cosplay. Michelle Pfiffer would be proud.
Rei-Doll's avatar
Thank you very much! I hope this will be helpful for those who wants to make this costume too )
ThelemaTherion's avatar
Amazing and very thorough description, a very complex costume with no doubt. You did great ^_^
anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In