I used applique, one of my go-to techniques for adding images to fabric, for Spider-Woman‘s bodysuit. However, working with knit fabrics for both the bodysuit and spiders made it a little different from standard applique.
I started by tracing a spider symbol I liked onto parchment paper. I also made note of where the edges of the fabric for my bodysuit pieces would be in relation to the symbol on the parchment paper. I went over the lines with a marker so I would be able to see them through Wonder Under. Whenever you’re drawing out things like this that should be symmetrical you can make sure they are symmetrical by only drawing half, then folding your paper in half, then tracing that half onto the other side. So after my parchment paper spider was drawn I traced it onto a large piece of Wonder Under for the front of the bodysuit, and Wonder Under with a seam allowance added in the middle for the back. My bodysuit has an invisible zipper going up the back so I needed to add a seam allowance for this.
Once the spiders were drawn out I ironed them onto my white moleskin spandex to fuse the Wonder Under to the spandex. The great thing about Wonder Under is it takes on the properties of the fabric it is fused to. So when it is fused to a spandex it will stretch with the spandex. After my Wonder Under and spandex was fused together I cut out my spiders by following the drawn lines on the Wonder Under.
With my spandex spiders cut out I could now fuse them to the pieces of my bodysuit after removing the paper backing from the Wonder Under. I pulled out my parchment paper spider to help me make sure I had everything placed correctly. One piece at a time I laid down my black spandex pieces with a white spider on them, then using the side placement lines for my bodysuit pieces I drew on the parchment paper as a guide I laid that over everything and matched up the lines and edges. I carefully adjusted each spider into place under the transparent parchment paper to match the lines on the parchment paper. I carefully pinned the very edges of the spider legs into place, took away the parchment paper, and ironed each spider into place. Make sure to follow the Wonder Under directions for a good bond. This includes using a damp press cloth. I found that as I worked with my pieces bits of spiders would still sometimes come un-bonded from my black spandex. When this happened I would just iron them back down.
Spiders could now be stitched down permanently into place once they were bonded to the black bodysuit pieces. I used a small zigzag stitch around every edge of the spiders. Normally I use a dense satin stitch around the edges of applique pieces, but with both fabrics being spandex I use a small zigzag stitch to allow the fabrics to stretch. The sewing machine foot I used for this step was my teflon foot. It is one of my favorite feet because it glides over fabric so easily.
It took me about eight hours work from start to finish to draw out my spiders, fuse the spandex and Wonder Under together, cut out spiders, get them bonded to my bodysuit fabric, and get them stitched down. Once all these steps were done I was able to then move on to constructing my bodysuit.
There were a lot of other steps involved in making my whole Spider-Woman costume, but I felt like the spiders deserved special attention. I hope learning about my applique process for Spider-Woman will help out some other costumers working on spandex projects.