Black Widow - Black Widow Movie (2021)

The minute I saw this costume, I fell in love with it and wanted to create it, but it seemed out of reach and far too difficult for me to make. It wasn’t until I looked at a doll version with this costume that I realized it was just intricate paneling and something I had the skills to make. So I started researching and finding photos of this costume, which was challenging because the movie hadn’t come out yet, and the fact that there were two different versions of the suit; the concept art and the movie version. I wanted to do the movie version, but most things had the concept art, so I ended up having a few photos that I based my design on. This costume is the most intricate thing I have made, and I am so proud of it. Every time I see the actual costume, I am blown away by how close to accurate I was.

MaterialsFour-way stretch, EVA Foam (2 mm), PLA, elastic, velcro, buckles, foam core
Date Complete7/6/21
ProjectIndependently
DesignReplica

Process

After a bunch of research and drawing out the final design, I started patterning. I did this by taking a bodysuit pattern I already used for my Avengers 2012 Black Widow costume, making half of it in muslin, and drawing out the panels on it. After thoroughly marking where things went, I cut everything out and traced it onto pattern paper with the seam allowance. With the pattern done, I decided to make a mock-up with muslin to make sure it looked how I wanted it.

Because I didn’t have the fabric just yet, I started making some accessories in CAD to be later 3D printed. I started with her bites, which did not go well. It was fine in CAD, but it would not print right.

After some time off on the project, I received my fabric and started the final bodysuit. I cut everything out of the correct color fabric and started making the trim. After the prep work was done, I started with the sleeves because they seemed to be the best thing to test everything out. At first, I sewed a panel wrong, but I was off to the races once that was fixed.

I then started on the back because it intimidated me less, and I was still new to working with the material and piping. I got the two back panels done, then went to the two front panels.

When all of my panels were done, it was time to put them together. I started by adding the zipper in the front. I decided this time I would make it an actual exposed zipper, unlike the zipper that I cut the excess off on my Avengers 2021 Black Widow because I thought I should, and it would be more noticeable if I didn’t. I watched a video, tested it out, and then did it on the real thing. I then connected the backs together.

Now it was time to put it all together. I will be the first to admit that I did not do this right, and I don’t know why I did it, but I sewed just the top, curved part of the sleeve in, then I closed up the sides. This caused me some issues when making it and also caused some restrictions when wearing it.

With the suit being wearable, I tried it on to find something weird. The bottom part of the legs is twisted, so the side seam is curled around the leg when worn. I have no clue how this happened, but the good part is I am wearing tall boots with the suit, so it is less noticeable. I also had a fit issue with there being too much fabric in the chest area, so I had to fold some parts over to create a hidden dart-type thing. After that was fixed, I also added the lining for the collar, using the top part of the affected pattern pieces. Later I realized that I sewed the wrong seams together in the lining piece, but it still ended up working, so I didn’t change it.

Now with the suit done, it was time to work on the accessories. I started by patterning out the harness, bracelet part for the bites, and shoulder, knee, and elbow pads. I also changed the CAD file for the bites, making them wider so I could print them on their side with supports, then vertically as I did initially. That ended up working great because it made them more accurate. Also, the supports were not taken out because I could easily glue them to the bracelet part later. I also 3D printed the pieces I made for the belt earlier in the process. They are made with holes in the middle so the belt can easily slide through.

I then cut the pattern pieces out of 2mm black EVA foam, glued them together, and painted everything. I ended up having to paint the foam black because the original foam color was too light, and it looked weird with the suit. I also ended up having to cut some details like holes and lines in a few things. With that, I finished the knee, shoulder, and elbow pads, the bites, and the harness. All they needed left were closures and ways to wear them with the suit.

Then it was onto the belt/holster. I painted the 3D printed parts and, based on my calculations and measurements, cut out all the pieces I would need out of the same 2mm black EVA foam. I started adding line details to the pieces with one of my favorite foam techniques; scoring the line/detail into the foam with a knife and then putting a heat gun on it, making the foam shrink, causing the cut detail to become more prominent. I then started gluing the foam and 3D prints together. I took elastic and a buckle to close the belt and sewed that to the foam with enough foam leftover to cover the buckle. I did the same thing with the parts that wrap around the thigh, just with smaller buckles. I then had an issue with the excess flipping up, so I took elastic and velcro and glued them to the excess to easily attach that together. To finish them up, I had to add the gun holders and decided to put pockets behind them. The pockets are zipper pouches that I put a piece of cardboard in to give them support. Those pieces were then velcroed together, and the belt/holster was finished.

I finished my bites by adding velcro to the ends of the bracelet thing. I also decided to make gloves for the costume because hers are very different from those I already own. Unfortunately, my first round did not fit, so I decided to put that part on pause because I was nearing my self-imposed deadline, my birthday, two days before the movie came out.

I then got to work on closing my harness. I decided to use velcro and elastic. It isn’t pretty, but it got the job done, and the idea is that the backpack (that I will make someday) will cover it. I then found a way to attach the shoulder pads to the harness with elastic and velcro.

My finishing touches were to add velcro to the knee and elbow pads to attach straight to the suit. I also made new gloves using a new pattern based on a pair I already made because I couldn’t find that pattern. With that, I got what I wanted to get done. What I didn’t do were the batons and the backpack. The batons have been started. I am using a 3D printing file I found online. I am just having some trouble printing it, slowing my progress. I also want to get those done before I start the backpack, so hopefully, I can find a way to fit the batons in the backpack like in the movie.

What I would change:
I would change a lot even though I am really proud of it. First off, after I finished the suit, I learned the best way to make piping is by putting some form of rope in between the fabric pieces to give it more shape. I also would have put the piping in farther down, so it wasn’t as prominent. I would also change the harness because it seems too big, and also, I don’t think that the closure on the back looks that great, so when I make the backpack, I will probably also remake that. This is a costume that I feel I might remake after I finish college to see how much I have progressed.