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Zam bodysuit assembly

  1. #1
    formerly Shiruba SeattleZam's Avatar
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    Zam bodysuit assembly

    Hello Zammers and TDH peeps!

    After collecting parts and enthusiasm, I am officially launching the Zam in Seattle project. (And a major thanks to MonCal for the cool parts, awesome work, and JD Fett and others for parts and advice. You all rock.)

    I'm starting with the bodysuit, so I'll know the clearances I have on the gauntlets and straps and other parts.

    I have 20+ years of costuming sewing experience, although this is my first time with neoprene or more accurately, the Stretchhouse fabric, which isn't a true neoprene. I was studying the pics on the ref disk (thanks!) and I have a theory that might explain the saddle in the middle of the pants.

    Theory: Those saddle "seams" are just two decorative lines sewn into the pants. They aren't separate pieces, just extra lines of seaming put on top of the existing pants.

    Might also be the case with the second line - instead of a welt, those outside double seams may just be a regular singular seam with a decorative second one on the outside.

    Now I'm ducking, because if it looks right, y'all are going to hate me because you did all that amazing work putting a saddle into the pants. I'll try it, take pictures of it, and post it, and you can tell me what you think.

    Also, I have a second controversial theory that the crop top was shortened to prevent the neoprene from rubbing over the chest, and a black shirt-like fabric was attached to it that tucks into her pants (that also has the hose connections on it). That's lighter for heat and weight as well. Your opinion?

    And I'm using a Green Pepper racing suit pattern as a starting point, which I'll mod to put the seams in the right places.

    Hey, let the debate begin, I want to hear what you think. I may have some sewing experience, but I'm new to this fabric and to the Zam effort, and many of you have already suffered/worked on this. (And whoa, what a lot of work this costume is!!)

    Deunan Shiruba
    Jedi Knight gone Bounty Hunter

  2. #2
    formerly Shiruba SeattleZam's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Oh hey, one other thing I noticed, am I seeing things?

    The ref pics up close of those saddle seams, you can see the lines in the grain of the fabric all match up 100 percent between the saddle seams. Elsewhere on the costume they don't. That's what led me to believe that it's not a real seam, just a row of stitches added after the pants were assembled.

    Am I seeing things??

    Deunan Shiruba
    Jedi Knight gone Bounty Hunter

  3. #3
    Admin Staff MaulMaus's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Shiruba... you're not the only one to offer up those opinions! No rotten tomatoes will be thrown your way.

    As to the first part - Most here think the pants are made up of separate parts. Me personally - I'm not 100% convinced the saddle parts are separate either. Though, I was thinking they were more of a thin piece of lycra appliqued onto the pants with a faux welt seam added for decoration. (I really really wish we had the actual costume to look at on this... *sighs* )

    As to the cropping of the shirt - I think someone else brought up that a black shirt was added to it to help hold it together - at least at some point. That would make sense to me. I don't know about attaching the hose connectors to it though... you can try it. See how it works out.

    On the saddle seam picture seam - which picture are you talking about?

  4. #4
    formerly Shiruba SeattleZam's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    MaulMaus,

    Thanks! I guess it doesn't matter how you put it together as long as the final look is as accurate as possible, right?

    Personally, the Stretchhouse fabric does a nice job of rebounding just like a welt seam without it being a welt seam, so I may skip that step. I did a test strip and it looked fine to me, but we'll see as I get further along here.

    Picture: DSC04246

    I zoomed in on that and saw that the stitches are fairly visible and the grain is a perfect match, which would be darn nigh impossible, even for Trisha's Extremely Talented Crew.

    Also, do you think anyone would have a heifer if I didn't have the traditional arm sleeve seam right over the shoulder? I'm starting with a wetsuit pattern, and it's easier to move the arm if the sleeve goes all the way to the neck, with a seam across your clavical bone to the armpit (think diagonal bat-wing type seam).

    Going to test the inner shirt theory. I think what I'm seeing in those pictures - and we all have our own theories, of course - is that they peeled the purple lycra back and seamed it off high up, so it wouldn't show behind the sides of the vest and where the connectors feed through the vest. (I think there might be holes in the vest, so it wouldn't pull on it.)

    The underlayer of her foam/lycra combo was black, so you see black fabric after that.

    I saw the fold back of the purple lycra was too thin to be the full material above the lacing side of the vest. Picture: DSC 04286 That seam is too shallow, flat, thin, to be the full foam folded back.

    That would explain a lot, about fit and stuff.

    Anyway, just a theory. I'll know more as I put mine together. It's a learning process already.

    And thanksgiving... jeez. Now I need to do a "300" thing and lose some serious weight.

    Deunan

  5. #5
    Admin Staff MaulMaus's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Yeah... it's kinda like UFO's or the Kennedy assassination... we each have our pet theories here!

    IMHO I think you should do what works best for you, your costuming situation and body-type. Regarding the sewing of the costume... Unless one of us has the chance to kidnap Trisha Biggar and question her ... erm... at length, and/or we can snatch an original Zam suit, I don't think anyone really knows how this suit was put together.

    I don't even want to talk about the Holidays and trying to fit into a lycra/neoprene suit!

  6. #6
    formerly Shiruba SeattleZam's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Progress!

    The bodysuit parts are cut out, pinned, tailored, and just waiting for a few decorative seams on the outsides before assembly. It's very comfortable, actually. Warm, but comfortable.

    The key was cutting the sleeves diagonally "on the bias." I saw that in the ref pics. I also cut the middle torso top on the horizontal bias, giving the stretch for breathing, and the pants the same way.

    I changed the seams on the top of the shoulder to a standard wetsuit seam, so the sleeve goes all the way to the neck. It makes it easier to move your arms and you don't get a seam rubbing on the shoulder point constantly. This is a departure from Zam's pics, I know.

    I also am going to use the dreaded "pintuck" seam to make the piping/seams on the outside of the arms, legs, and in the saddle. We tested this yesterday and it looks hauntingly like the ones in the pictures. I will post pics when we have it picture-worthy. With my head cut off, it's tradition.

    Questions:
    1. When wearing this, did anyone have problems with the neck stretching out from repeated motions of pulling it on and off your head?

    2. How are people washing their Zam suits?

    3. How are people storing their Zam suits? This stretchhouse stuff wrinkles up like mad. How are you transporting it to troop events?

    Thanks!

    Deunan

  7. #7
    Admin Staff MaulMaus's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Shiruba said: View Post
    I will post pics when we have it picture-worthy. With my head cut off, it's tradition.


    Looking forward to the pictures - I'd like to see how that looks. I never thought of cutting the sleeve on the bias! When I made my muslin I didn't do that - it was tight...maybe I'll try the bias cut on another muslin.

    I should think cutting the fabric on the bias would keep it from wrinkling... strange. I should think an ultra-low heat steam iron when you troop should get out any bad wrinkles.

  8. #8
    FANGS's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Can't wait to see what you come up with! I'm especially interested in the saddle seams. I'll have to take a carful look at my pictures....which I fully admit to not really doing yet.....before I sew mine. I've got 16 days off over the holidays...I hope to get lots of progress on Zam!

  9. #9
    formerly Shiruba SeattleZam's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Hey there Zammers!

    Okay, bodysuit is complete. I still have to handstitch the super thick seam joins at armpit and waist.

    As discussed, these saddle seams are fake - they are pintucks, done with a 6.0 pintuck needle, 6.0 tension, 2.0 or less stitch length, and you must use Guterman or Medeira (German) thread to prevent breakage. Pintucks are placed on the RIGHT side of the pattern. The sides are pintucked too - just did a regular seam first, then pintucked on the right side of the fabric right over the top of it. Then assembled the inner seams.

    The grain is the killer. Get the grain horizontal on the legs and torso and diagonal on the arms. It's actually comfy. A bit constrictive - tight, and I wouldn't want to wear it more than eight hours at a stretch (bad joke) but not bad. Also, I changed the pattern from the accepted and canon sleeve pattern to a high sleeve inset, like they use on wetsuits. This allows the sleeve to move better and you don't get that seam rubbing on your shoulder. It's my Known Departure from How They Did It, but I need to wear it a long time, so comfort is job one.

    Stretch house fabric doesn't have to have the edges finished, it won't unravel. Purple pen marks on the suit are leftovers from my "24 hour fabric pen" - they will fade off in the next 24 hours. An absolute must for marking those fake seams.

    Note, this is me pre-fitness program (starting P90x later this week). I'll have to make another pair of pants and another shirt 90 days from now!

    Also, this was shot in extreme flash.

    Pics: (with the traditional head cut off):








    Alleluia, the bodysuit is done. Now on to leather skirt, vest, belt, and resin bits. Shoot me questions if you need more clarification on what I did.

    Oh, forgot to mention, I'm adding black fabric by gluing it to the top near the sides, where the vest will show through, to imitate the "peeled back" purple lycra in the pictures. My personal theory is the neoprene went all the way down her front, to be comfortable on the chest parts, and they peeled back and hemmed just the purple lycra on the top, to prevent it from showing through on the sides for the vest and the middle for the hose connectors (they attach to the shirt under, not the vest, the black stripes show right through.

    Personal theory. I know we all have one. And that's cool. This shirt will velcro down to the suspenders or the underarmor shorts to keep it from skating upwards. And these pics are not doing the pintuck seams any justice; they are really poofy in person. I'll see if I can get a shadowed shot of them to help you see. They are 1/4" wide, and about 1/8" high.

    Deunan Shiruba
    Seattle Zam Project
    Jedi gone bounty hunter!
    Last edited by SeattleZam; Dec 9, 2008 at 4:04 PM.

  10. #10

    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Very nice work, so far!

    G-Fett

  11. #11
    FANGS's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Good luck with P90X! It was SO hard but SO worth it and you'll feel amazing after each workout!

    Nice job on the undersuit!

  12. #12
    Replicant Shadow's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    P90X rocks! Going for it again January 09'! Jumpsuit is looking killer Shiruba!

  13. #13
    Admin Staff MaulMaus's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    It looks great! Looking forward to the finished costume!!! I don't even think you'll see the sleeve differences under the vest anyway.... unless someone is super-picky.

    On the closeup of the sewing... what part are you sewing?

  14. #14
    Blue's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Looks great!

  15. #15
    formerly Shiruba SeattleZam's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Thanks everyone! The encouragement helps. THe seam I'm doing in the closeup is the fake sleeve seam on the top of the sleeve. THat one was actually my first attempt, and I made it a 1/8" wide pintuck, and later took it out, and put it back in as a 1/4" wide pintuck instead. The standup Zam I have is the same height as me, and her seams are 1/4".

    Suit update: I'm looking into adding "wetsuit seam tape" to the insides to fold down the seams permanently. ANyone tried this stuff before? I guess it's made for neoprene for just this sort of thing. Right now, the seam edges are irritating.

    P90x. I'm telling ya, that's one heckuva program. I'm learning to cook clean food. And the before pictures were brutal. It'll be worth it though!! Did anyone here try Lean P90x vs. Classic P90x?

    Next I'm tackling the skirt and vest. Wish me luck, I've never sewn leather garments before.

    Deunan

  16. #16

    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    looking nice and purplely

  17. #17
    Foxbatkllr's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Shiruba said: View Post

    Suit update: I'm looking into adding "wetsuit seam tape" to the insides to fold down the seams permanently. ANyone tried this stuff before? I guess it's made for neoprene for just this sort of thing. Right now, the seam edges are irritating.
    I believe that's why most people do welt seams, right?

    Or are you talking about the inside seams?
    Last edited by Foxbatkllr; Dec 11, 2008 at 3:58 PM.

  18. #18
    formerly Shiruba SeattleZam's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Thanks Bryce!

    Foxbatkllr, I'm talking about the inside of the sleeve where the fabric is against your arm. The sleeve seam leftovers on the inside are driving me batty. Of course, I'm actually on a mission to make this costume comfortable (call me nuts).

    Got my vest leather today, trying out - and this is seriously the name of it - "Orthotic Cow Split". Sounds like a bad gynmanstics move. Anyway, it's cheap, 4-5/foot, white, and has the same surface appearance as the pics.

    If anyone wants patterns from the neoprene parts, just give me a yelp or a PM.

    Deunan Shiruba

  19. #19
    Foxbatkllr's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Do you actually have a pattern for the saddle seam? That would be quite helpful if you made one available!

  20. #20
    FANGS's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    I did classic P90X. Get use to not being able to move a new body part each day.....hahaha

  21. #21
    Admin Staff MaulMaus's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Well... on the seam issue... you could wear an "undershirt" I suppose. Would be warmer though. How much seam allowance do you have? Can you do something with it to make it more comfortable? (Or just wait till you do the next one?) Can you iron it to flatten it? Is it too tight? Not enough ease? I dunno....

  22. #22
    formerly Shiruba SeattleZam's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Hey gang,

    To answer some questions in the thread, the pattern I used is by Green Pepper, and it's called the Willamette Racing Suit. It's a spandex, full body bicycle racing suit for 4-way spandex stretch, and I made one in spandex first to figure out how they did it, then modified the pattern (cut the shirt free and made the Zam fake saddle seams), and cut into the stretchhouse fabric.

    For the seams, I'm learning that as you wear it and break it in, it gets more comfy, and I'm going to "tape" the seams down with bias, ultrasuede, or the wetsuit seam tape. That will flatten them. They are snug because the suit is snug. Although P90 will change that. Holy cow, guys, you warned me. But the food is fantastic.

    THe saddle doesn't work as a pattern because it's proportional to the girl wearing it. It's a few inches shy of the top of your kneecap, and two thirds of the front of your leg. Have a buddy figure it out on the backside. (That was highly entertaining.)

    Also highly recommend the 24 hour fabric marking pen, which will vanish from the stretchhouse fabric.

    Okay, I'm on to the vest and belt patterns now.

    Deunan Shiruba

  23. #23

    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Hello Shiruba,

    That costume looks great, and not having to put the saddle in separately will save a lot of work. Thanks so much for sharing your insight and processes.

    Kind regards
    Wendy

  24. #24
    formerly Shiruba SeattleZam's Avatar
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    You're welcome, Wendy.

    Deunan

  25. #25

    Member Since
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    Re: Zam bodysuit assembly

    Has anybody made the undersuit out of spandex besides neoprene, and if so what color number is it on the chart from the stretch house. I called the man and he said the that neoprene didn't match any of the spandex colors extactly. Need help. I live in NC and it gets hot sometimes trooping so i think the spandex will be a lot better for my wife to wear.

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