Modifying Suit for Better Fit

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spandexsaurus
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Modifying Suit for Better Fit

Postby spandexsaurus » Sun Jan 01, 2017 8:44 pm

Don't know how it is, but some of the WORST-fitting zentai/unitards I've bought have been from custom measurements. Most of what I have now are stock sizes, the fit is usually decent, though some are a little baggy at the ankles or wrists.

Alone at home for the holiday weekend, I was using the opportunity to do some finger repair work on a stock size Chinese-made suit. This is not uncommon. Whenever I get a new suit, I run it through the wash twice on the "power wash" setting to get out any excess dye or chemical smells, and also to intentionally torture the seams a little so I can repair them well. Better to do this up front than find a busted seam later that spoils a good time. It's almost always the fingers, or sometimes the bottom of the zipper.

With the place to myself for the holiday weekend, and access to a serger, and since it wasn't an expensive suit, I decided to try a science experiment. Removed a bit of material from the wrists and ankles using the serger (magical piece of equipment, this simultaneously cuts the fabric and makes those stretchable seams that zentai have). Definite improvement in fit! Could be better though. So, as long as I was at this, decided I'd go all the way...

I put the suit on inside-out (the zipper is tricky, but possible). Then, with a big handful of safety pins, I worked along the outer seam from the feet, up to the armpits, and out to the wrist, pulling the material comfortably taut (not super tight, but snug enough to remove wrinkles) and then pinning it where the seam SHOULD be. Then I used a silver Sharpie marker (a wash-out fabric marker is probably best, but this was a black suit) and lightly marked a line where the new seam would go. Removed all the pins before taking the suit off (not wanting them to strain the fabric), fixed up any gaps in my drawing, then ran the whole suit through the serger...just two long contiguous seams, one up the left side, one up the right.

The fit now is amazing! Suddenly a cheap suit is one of the nicest-fitting I have, I don't want to take it off. It hugs so nicely, and no more baggy ankles! There had previously been a lot of tenting at the armpits, and I didn't expect narrowing the suit would fix that, but it did, and extremely well.

This would be a whole lot easier with a second person to help with the backwards zipper and all the safety pinning, if you have someone you're comfortable zentai-ing around.
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spandexsaurus
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Re: Modifying Suit for Better Fit

Postby spandexsaurus » Sun Jan 01, 2017 8:49 pm

I should add: this only fixes the width/girth of the suit, not height. You COULD shorten the legs this way if needed, but the torso and arms will remain whatever length they were. So it won't make every suit better, but if you have an "OK" fit and want it more body-hugging, this is a solution.
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Trevor
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Re: Modifying Suit for Better Fit

Postby Trevor » Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:35 pm

Spandexsaurus,

Well done and thanks for sharing!

Now that you have a "perfect pattern" and your own serger, perhaps you could make your own custom suits, using the fabrics of your choice?!

--Trevor
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spandexsaurus
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Re: Modifying Suit for Better Fit

Postby spandexsaurus » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:59 am

Very tempted to make my own at some point, yes! It's the fingers that terrify me, since those are usually done on a sewing machine instead of a serger. Spandex in a regular sewing machine is really tricky! Might try some unitards first.
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Re: Modifying Suit for Better Fit

Postby Spectre » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:58 pm

Thank you for the post, Spandexsaurus! I have a ton of suits that could use some slight modifications.
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Re: Modifying Suit for Better Fit

Postby Duckie » Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:37 am

spandexsaurus wrote:Very tempted to make my own at some point, yes! It's the fingers that terrify me, since those are usually done on a sewing machine instead of a serger. Spandex in a regular sewing machine is really tricky! Might try some unitards first.


I'm playing with some gloves for a costume I'm working on. I have a Brother sewing machine that actually has a 'stretch stitch' setting that works pretty well, but even then I'm only able to use that on the outside seams - I'm doing most of the inner fingers and such by hand.

There are several patterns out there, and even then you might have to make your own.

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