Originally posted back in 2014, I figured reposting it would hopefully help someone else doing a USO costume! This is in regards to Version 1. Everything still works, just don’t do 16 panels for the skirt, do 24! 🙂
As a side note, I’m in NO WAY affiliated with the actual USO organization. The costume is just a replica from the Captain America movie and is no way shape or form meant to represent them. This was made for fun and is not affiliated with the real USO.
I got a lot of ‘WHAT HOW DO???’ on the costume while I was working on her but really, I did a BUTTLOAD of research before and during construction. I also found out there’s a private FB group dedicated to doing one of these girls complete with member made patterns and resources but as of this post, I’ve yet to be admitted myself. So my resources were just looking at WIPs of other girls costumes and the movie itself!
Gals in the Movie
LEGIT costume from the movie
The BEST ref thread that really helped me. Comes complete with where to get the stars (CHEAP!), shoes and what type of fabric to use!
There are several different versions of the girls since they travel and over time, the movie shows their costumes getting more elaborate and more decorated. I honestly think some of the costumes are awful (not digging the stripped hats or red gloves) but I realized that the costume department probably make their work simple by making the costume detachable so that other elements can be placed on. It eliminates the work of making a whole new base dress for no reason.
As a note, I got my fabrics from Fabric.com and my local Jo-Anns. If you’re able to get your fabric locally then bring a camera with you and do a flash test on the pieces you want. You can determine there if the pieces are too shiny or not for your costume and it’s a good way to know if your costume will either look good or bad on camera.
With that in mind, I STARTED FREEHANDING MY PATTERNS for the first time! Using one of the WIPs I freehanded my own halter top which was actually harder than I thought it would be. Thank God for mannequins.
I’m usually a dumbass while making costumes, wanting to making everything too low so I had to keep in mind this was a costume of a 1940’s show girl. Once I secured the pattern, I attached the bra I wanted to wear with the costume onto the mannequin and made sure the pattern wasn’t too low that the bra would peak out from the front or back.
After I was happy with my pattern, I secured that shit down on some heatbond (you can also use interfacing) so that I don’t ever have to do that crap again.
Putting it together is pretty self explanatory except I had a problem once I lined it. Since I used a light fabric for the lining, it peaked out from the top. I didn’t wanna use interfacing (I still feel pretty newbie at this point omg) so I looked online for a sewing technique since mine are really basic and I found one. I quickly fixed my problem and BAM. Vest.
The lapels were made soon after. They were NOT sewn on like I originally wanted to. It was during the pattern process that I realized if I could make it detachable, I could later add on a sequenced lapel like some girls in the movie. Plus some girls lapels attached oddly to their vests
I couldn’t tell if the movie had it or not but I decided to go with what a majority of cosplayers were doing.
Using crap fabric, I drafted the skirt out of a single panel. At this point, there are only twelve panels and fit around my body nicely.
However, the fault with this is I can’t tell whether or not the pattern would look good or not. I went ahead with it, laughing as some girls had to do 24 (2017 update: DO 24 PANELS.) or so patterns and I only had to do twelve. I broke my back throughout that night doing panels panels panels god help you the panels are the WORST PART OF THIS COSTUME.
I was also running out of red thread so I decided to put white in the bobbin and red for the spool and it ended up making the damn thing look clean. This isn’t necessary since no one’s looking up your skirt. At this point I would have surged my edges but my serger isn’t working at the moment so it’s a damn mess under the skirt.
Look at that pathetic thing. I realized my panels were too big so I had to add four more panels making it about 16 panels. I made the top panels smaller by making pleats and since the red fabric wasn’t holding onto the iron that well, I sewed the crease in as close as I could to the edge so that it had a sharp crease forever.
I would suggest buying a petticoat if you aren’t familiar with making one unless you want to be daring. I threw math out the window and made a super basic, 1 tier coat. No one is allowed to look under my skirt, it’s horrible.
Awkward back after adding on my petticoat and attaching the vest and forgetting to finish off the zipper. Also the zipper is actually straight. My dress is on crooked. Oopsie.
Back of the cumberband.
Bottom of the lapel. There’s another snap on the otherside to attach to the dress.
Top of the lapel that snaps to the top of the dress. The top of the dress also has snaps so that I can ease into the dress easier.
fuck the hAAAAT. I read someone used wire for the inside of their hat to keep the shape. I thought that was a great idea after seeing their pictures and it really did help. I used buckram x2 and a light interfacing because I WANT MY HATS TO KEEP THEIR SHAPE. No more pics because my hat is really shitty. If I had more fabric I’d redo it. I redid the pattern 5 times and it still looks like crap to me. god help you with yours.
Insidethedumbasshat. Look at how shoddy that looks.
Looking for a wig and THIS FELL ONTOP OF ME. 1. I HAVE TOO MANY WIGS
2. I DONT REMEMBER HAVING A BARNABY WIG???? whateverit’s perfect
ohhh bae u in de army?
This was for a group and I wasn’t actually supposed to make the cumberband since another person was going to do it but I was afraid the red they used wouldn’t match my costume so I made it as a back up. I whipped it up in 20 minutes.
Don’t look at the bra peeking out ahhhh oopsie
Stars came in about 4 days later hohohn
It’s the first time I’ve worked with pretty fabric like this in a long time and I learned a lot of new things with this cosplay. It still feels simple to me but dem panels. I’m just proud I’ve kind of got the idea of nice lining down right so my pieces won’t look as shoddy anymore. The only thing I really hate about this costume (minus the under skirt since it needs to be fixed with my SERGER) is the hat. If I had extra fabric I would redo it but at the moment that’s not an option. PoooOOOPs.