In addition to my DIY tutorial below, I have a vlog discussing the general ins and outs of my costume & another for the makeup process. Note: There are SO many ways to approach this costume, probably better ones exist than what I discuss below, but if you know how to do a straight stitch, glue and have some crafting skills, you can totally make your own version of the costume! If you have additional questions about anything, please leave a comment!
Costume Design and Creation
Step 1: Research, Plan and Think Creatively!
This costume has so many layers and components associated with it, so I had to spend some time searching for ‘reference material’ (like the image above) to give me views of the entire costume (front, back and both sides). Sometimes it was hard to see detail in the different photos of Quorra online,but I cam across an ESCELLENT costume drawing by Art of Briana Lamb (hers is definitely better than mine below). Once you have the reference material & design in mind, think about how you might create this costume from items you already have or that you could find at a second hand store 🙂
My plan: Find a leather jacket (for vest & just remove arms to make the upper arm cuffs), find a leather tunic or skirt, thin stretchy pants (or faux leather leggings), long black gloves and knee high leather boots (wedges ideal, but whatever I found first that fit), frisbee, wig, reflective vinyl and repurpose my under armour shirt.
Note: (my initial plan was NOT to have a lights because I didn’t want to deal with the whole cost of energy source issue… but when I brought my costume to my mom for tips on dealing with leather, she INSISITED I have a lit costume, so she bought lights and made white sleeves for them 🙂
Step 2: Finding the items for your costume
Goodwill Halloween season started at the end of August, so I went a few times to search for leather clothing that fit me. I recommend carrying your notes/pictures with you in case you find an inspiration piece that would work! For me, it took 3 separate trips, but eventually I found the soft & supple leather jacket, skirt, boots and spandex leggings. Later on I went to Target and purchased long black gloves, a frisbee and lights and finally to a craft store to purchase a small felt hat for my hub. Since I already owned black and white acrylic paint, I didn’t have to purchase any to paint the frisbee. I already owned a black long sleeved under armour shirt, which was one less thing to buy!
Craft and Sewing Supplies:
- Black & white thread (or clear fishing line type thread for ‘invisible’ look)
- Heavy duty sewing needle & pins, anything too fine will break with leather! Use a thimble too!
- leather glue
- black snap buttons
- black and white acrylic paint
- optional: 3/4″ clear tubing (Hardware store) if you are using strung lights (need 5 sets of 8″ length lights with independent power source, i.e. batteries)
Tip: If you have old clothes you don’t wear much anymore, start there! Then supplement as you need by visiting second hand stores (cheaper) for items to repurpose. Lastly visit craft/fabric stores for any additional items needed.
Step 3: Repurposing the Items
1. Vest: My mom removed the arms of the leather jacket to make it a ‘vest’ by cutting the threads at the shoulder seam and gently them pulling apart. I wish I had taken more pictures of her doing it! It is better to remove anything at the seam if possible (unless you have excellent cutting skills) since it comes out much cleaner.
Tip: use leather glue on edges and fold under, see arms example below.
2. Arm Covers: She has thicker sleeve layers over her undershirt, this is my design interpretation.
- I undid the sleeve at the underarm seam to refit the sleeve to my arm.
- I used my arm as a guide to figure out where to cut and sew the upper arm band area (end just above elbow). I sewed the upper arm band to fit my arm and then glued all the edges under for a finished look.
- Using the design as a guide I chalked lines to delineate the cut lines, with an extra 1/2″ to fold and glue under later. I used the outer seam as a guide line to go from my upper arm to my middle finger (as a guide for sewing the white on later!)
- Finally I sewed the lower arm strip to the black gloves I purchased (just ‘basted’ them into place, I didn’t go through the leather completely, just the upper layer).
Tip: To help secure the upper arm, I sewed a snap to the upper inner strap and the matching piece to the under arm of the under armour shirt.
3. Under Armour under shirt: I cut the sleeves at the shoulder seam about 1/2 way around the top (this was sewn with a surger and too hard to remove like I normally would) and then sewed them into place.
4. Skirt: My mom helped me with this tricky piece! If you look at the drawings and photos carefully, you will see the skirt is asymmetric on both front and back. Hard to describe, but my mom had to draw on the leather skirt with chalk (on under side where it was more like suede since chalk doesnt really stick to the slick leather side) while I was wearing it. After, she cut it about 1/2″ below the chalk line and used the leather glue to ‘clean up’ the bottom skirt edge. Note: Quorra’s skirt/tunic is EXTREMELY short in the back, so I opted for a bit of a longer skirt since I didn’t want my butt hanging out (even if covered by black leggings!).
5. Hub & Frisbee: For the Hub, I used a small sturdy felt hat (about 4″ in diameter), and cut a hole just large enough for the hat to fit through. Then I glued the rim of the hat to the inside of the jacket to secure it in place. To prevent the battery packs from falling out, I cut a large piece of leftover leather out to fit over the inside of the hub and attached 5 snap buttons to the leather and hat rim to secure it in place.
For the disc, I traced a circle on the underside of the frisbee to have a diameter slightly larger than the felt hat and then carefully cut it out with a knife. Later, I painted it with black and white acrylic paint with the Tron disc design (looking back, I should have used a primer since the acrylic is starting to peel off the slick frisbee surface). To attach the frisbee to the hub, I cut a strip of leather (folded & glued edges under), sewed the top edge to the jacket above the hub, then sewed snap buttons to the inner portion of the straps (so the frisbee could hang there).
Step 4: Adding the Lights (or white and/or reflective material if you don’t want to deal with lights)
To save yourself some time, if you don’t want to light up your costume, there are reflective vinyl strips that exist (some can be ironed on, just be sure to read directions so you don’t burn the leather!) which you could easily cut to the right shape and be done! Or if you want to cut white fabric and glue it on, go for it! I highly recommend these options if you want to make a race costume, just get a long black sleeved wicking shirt (like my under armour one) and apply reflective vinyl or white fabric strips! I had to measure approximately how many feet of fabric I needed using the drawings as a guide (for arms, vest, and leg I needed about 16 feet worth of fabric total, a couple inches wide. Not continuous, but I needed 5 separate pieces: 2 arms, 2 for vest and 1 for leg. The ones for the vest were the longest).
White fabric ‘tubing’: My mom sewed 5 separate 2 inch diameter tubing in about 3.5 foot strips (with sewing machine), so that I could use them to hold the plastic tubes with lights.
Round plastic tubing: We got 2 x 8 foot 3/4″ clear plastic tubing and originally made long slits in order to place the wires inside. I opted for less bulky look, so I cut the tube in half and wrapped the wire to the tube with thread.
Apply lights to garments: I sewed the fabric tubing ‘empty’ in the design I desired on each garment and then place the light wire wrapped plastic tube (cut in half) through the sewn fabric at the end. This worked for the leg and the arms, but I had to apply this method in stages for the vest.
- Arms: Sewed the lights along the line up to the lower part of the wrap around arm cuff (above elbow) and then tried to do the angular design, which turned out to be more of a soft S curve on each arm. Then pushed the lights through.
- Skirt & Pants: I didn’t want to sew to the skirt directly since it formed slight wrinkles when worn, so sew the white fabric tubing to a shaped leather strap (about 120 degree angle), to give it support since I wanted the portion that would have been sewn to the skirt, function more like a strap, which attached to the lower underside of the vest. Plus the lower part that was sewn to the stretchy leggings held the rest in place. Note: I opted out of the angular design along the leg since it was easier to have the lights go straight down.
- Vest: This was the hardest thing to do. I had to think about where to put the battery packs and how to insert the lights around the circular parts. My solution? I had the left vest battery pack (right, if wearing the vest) in the hub, the other in the other pocket and added the tubing/lights in stages. Fortunately each side of the jacket is continuous, so I could do one side at a time. I started with the left side and placed the battery pack in the pocket, sewed the empty white strip up to the top where you see the first circle. I left the edge open, wrapped the lower part of the lights to the tubing (long enough to be continuous through that vest line and shoved it up the sleeve. Once at the top, I made a cut to push the lights through to go underneath the circle (read about circles next). I continued this pattern along the back, making an arc around the hub, pushing the lights under the next circle and ending back in the front. It was also helpful to do this in stages since I could pin and sew the white pattern of her jacket as best as possible to the actual design. For the other side of the jacket, since I wanted the pants battery pack in one vest pocket, I had to work backwards. I started at the lower part of the jacket, having the battery pack in the hub, using the same methods as before to end in the front.
- Circles: There are 6 circles, 2 on bottom front, 2 on top front and 2 on lower back. I couldn’t figure out how to add the lights to the circle, so they don’t light up. I took some short tubing and cut them into about 6 inch segments, pushed them through left over white fabric tubing, sewed the ends together and then sewed the circle to the vest areas.
Hair and Makeup!
Hair: I purchased a wig online and it came with weird waves even though it was advertised as a smooth bob. So I drenched it in hot water (sat on a large glass jar in sink, no touching!) to ‘straighten’ it out. My cosmotologist friend cut the wig while I wore it and used the above image as a guide. I think he did a great job!
Makeup: Even though I have a farily light complexion, I do have freckles. So I used a few products to get a more porcelin look and then used heavy eyeliner, eyeshadow and fake lashes to make my eyes pop. Here are the products I used:
- White Wet n Wild Costume Makeup
- Maybelline Dream Nude Airform
- Maybelline Fit Me Foundation
- Bare Minerals mascara
- Revlon Luxurious Eyeliner
- Sephora Liquid Eyeliner
- NYC Dark Shadows Eye Shadow
- KISS False Lashes
- Wet n Wild Blue Eye Shadow
First I applied this white ‘costume makeup’ all over my face to give me a sheer ghostly look to give me a whiter look. Then I applied my normal makeup, this this nude foam foundation to make me not look so pallor. Finally I applied this sheer Maybelline Fit Me Foundation powder all over to really set the makeup and hide my freckles. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough for makeup I already owned! Oh and I made sure to blend into my neck since I didn’t want it to look like I was just wearing a mask!
For the eyes, I used the Revlon thick black eyeliner pencil, Sephora liquid eyeliner and NYC Dark Shadows (darkest gray). I basically applied everything thickly around both lashlines, and the inner corners of my eyes. The pencil wasn’t perfect, so I blended with my liquid liner and dark eyeshadow to give a continuous black look around those areas.
Once I got the eyes defined, I then applied mascara and put on the the false lashes just above my natural lash line. This helped make the look appear more dramatic. To finish off the makeup, I used the blue Wet n Wild around the edges of the black lines. Lastly, I put on the wig and was done!
P.S. You can click the image to the left which will take you to the image page where you can look at it full sized!
Photos! (when I get the chance to take better photos, I will update this page!)