This shirt is where I got the idea for going to the 2015 Baltimore Comic Con as Diana Prince. My brothers have the same type of shirt but it’s Superman, same concept. I was looking for an idea of dressing like a superhero but not being in a spandex unitard or bathing suit. I would have totally done that in my college days but at 35, I’ve gotten a bit, ehem, curvier and was trying to find a costume that would flatter a plus sized body.
I wanted to do Diana Prince from the 1975 TV series Wonder Woman starring Lynda Carter. Season one took place during WW2 and then they changed seasons 2 and 3 to the 1970s. I wanted to do the WW2 version because I used to do WW2 reenacting. Plus, I already had the perfect shoes.
These are the images I used for inspiration.
I ordered a US Navy uniform, hat, and lapel pins off of eBay. At first I ordered the wrong kind of pins, I ordered the ones for a Naval Chief. My father informed me the ones she was wearing were actually from WW2 for what they called female naval officers, Navy Waves. It was a gold anchor with a silver propeller behind it.
I was able to find two on eBay but they were more expensive than I intended on spending because they are antiques and made of sterling silver. I found out later my dad ordered me a set so I was able to pick the two that looked the nicest out of the four. My dad also ordered me a patch that she wore as a Yoeman Petty Officer First Class. We aren’t sure if it’s the exact one but looks like the one she wore.
I ordered this badge from bestnamebadges.com. They told me they couldn’t make a badge using the US Navy logo on it but when I explained it was for a costume and would have a picture of Lynda Carter on it, they let it slide. It was perfect! And it only cost me $29.06.
This is the hat I ordered off of eBay. I cut the black semi-circle off of the top so it looked more like her hat.
This is the jacket and skirt I got off of eBay. I checked a Navy uniform website to get the approximate size I would wear.
I had to remove the red stripe on the sleeve.
I ordered this corset off of corsetdeal.com. I got it on sale for only $30.00 and it is made so well! I was so impressed with the quality. It was steel boned and satin. I’m never going to make another corset again. I’ve already bought another from them to make a dance hall girl costume for the Wild West reenacting I do.
Now I had to make the W for the front of the corset. I didn’t want to go with the fabric route, yet again. I wanted it to look like a breastplate made of metal, like this one. I thought of cutting metal but it would be sharp and uncomfortable. I was thinking of fiberglass but then fellow cosplayer, Kris, told me about the wonderful world of Worbla. If you haven’t heard of Worbla yet, it’s this amazing thick plastic that becomes extremely pliable when heated and keeps it shape when cool. You can sand it, paint it, and one side has a glue so you can stick it to itself.
Here is the W after I molded it to fit the curves of the corset. I have it in two pieces that overlap to give it a little more dimension and to create the 3 W’s. I also used two pieces of Worbla with a piece of craft foam, cut slightly smaller, encased in the middle for the back part to give it some stability.
Then I painted two coats of gesso to give it a smooth texture. The worbla is kind of rough if you paint it without a base and since I’m planning on painting it shiny gold, I wanted to get it as smooth as I could. Once the gesso was dry, I sanded it to get it as flat as I could. It could have used some more time on this step but I was impatient and wanted to get to the shiny part!
Here are two videos of me working the Worbla. I was making a tiara that I didn’t end up using but will someday find a use for it, I’m certain.
This is a good shot of the back of the Worbla. You can see the color it is originally, which is a tan-ish color. Also note the thickness of the back piece and you can see where the foam is. When I was sandwiching the two pieces together, I had the glue sides together and pressed them around the foam. I had to make sure the “right side” didn’t show the foam bump. I did have a few places that I didn’t accomplish this and tried to paint some extra coats of gesso to build it up. Because the corset laces in the back and has hook and eyes in the front, I decided to make the W detachable by using velcro.
I used my trusty E6000 glue to stick the velcro to the Worbla. This is the best stuff you can have in your craft closet because it sticks to anything. All the velcro I own is for sewing so it didn’t have glue already on the back. Can you believe I just happened to have red velcro in my sewing studio that was the exact shade as my corset?! I never get that lucky.
Fun bit of trivia. The word velcro comes from the French words vel(ours) and cro(ché) or “hooked velvet.” One side is like velour and the other is tiny crochet hooks. Neat, right?
So, I glued the velour side to the Worbla and sewed the hooked side to corset.
I tested four paints on the unprimed worbla to test the reflectiveness. The gold leaf paint had the best luster but the spray paint would be much easier to apply an even coating and it was almost as good as the gold leaf so I decided to go with the spray paint. I wanted to avoid brush marks as much as possible.
After multiple coats of gold spray paint (with enough time to dry in between, of course) it turned out much better than I ever expected. It had more luster than I thought i was going to be able to get without using metal.
You can see the problems I had on the bottom peaks of the W. That was from the upper W being just one layer of Worbla thick and gravity kind of pulled it down over the back piece as it set. You can also see on the top, right part of the wing on the back piece where you can see the foam edge. You live and learn, right?
Next I worked on the lasso of truth. My dad had the idea of using the lasso as a gold braid that goes around my arm and attaches at the shoulder like this:
I bought the gold braid from Joann’s and was intending on just using it by itself, maybe braiding it to itself to make it thicker.
Instead, my husband was able to find some EL wire on amazon that lights up and has a removable battery pack. It was 16 feet long. The wire had three settings: on, slow blink, and fast blink. I folded it in half and braided it together with the gold braid.
My skirt had two small pockets in the front so I was able to tuck the battery pack right in. The only thing left was to sew a small belt loop above the pocket to hold the coiled lasso.
I included a snap so I could remove the lasso.
Lastly, I bought some cheap, novelty glasses from Amazon. I bought a white button up shirt that I tacked on some velcro so I could rip it open, slipped on the shoes I had from my WW2 reenactment days and, voila! my costume was complete!
The con was a blast! I met a lot of great, creative people, bought a bunch of awesome memorabilia, and even got 3d scanned, and am waiting on my very own 3D model of myself wearing my snow white costume (I wore that on Sunday). I was very surprised to get a few confused glances and even got a “look, it’s flight attendant Wonder Woman”. I realized that most people under 30 didn’t grow up with the Lynda Carter TV show so they weren’t familiar that she was ever in the Navy.
I entered my Diana Prince costume in the costume contest. I didn’t win, but I didn’t expect to. There were so many incredible costumes by some extremely creative people. The ones that won truly deserved it.
When it was my turn to walk across the stage, I walked on with my white shirt velcroed shut, saluted then threw off my hat, and while spinning in place like Lynda would do on the TV show, I took down my hair and ripped my shirt open. It was funny because I just got polite applause when I initially walked on stage but after I did my performance, I got a much better response.
This costume was a great experience for me. It made me feel sexy, but not slutty. I got to work with some new materials and best of all, I got to connect with other cosplayers by doing what we do best.
Post Script: Never EVER leave Worbla in a hot car!
Spread the word!