Wanna be an astronaut?

Freelance costume design of a Russian cosmonaut suit for Wind and Foster, commisioned by First Light. The costume was for use in a short film. A super fun job, which even gave my sewing machine a little outing. Thanks Jevan for getting me involved.

And just in case you ever need to make a spacesuit yourself, here are the details of how I did it:

HELMET:
– A see-through plastic hemisphere from a model shop, bought to use for the visor, was also used to create two papier maché hemispheres. (I first covered the inside of the plastic hemisphere with Vaseline and then added lots of PVA glue and newspaper)
– The papier maché hemispheres were joined together to create a sphere and the shape of the helmet was cut out
– To even out the rough texture of the papier maché and give it a more professional look, a layer of padding was added before the helmet was covered in fabric
– The visor was sprayed with a very reflective metallic gold spray, applying primer beforehand. (I initially considered using window-tinting film, which would have allowed the wearer to see out, but it was decided this did not fit the desired look)
– A rim of foam board and paper was added to the edge of the visor with hot glue and tape, and the visor was attached to the helmet using clasps made of foam board and pins, held together with hot glue

SHOES – cheap, cheerful, comfortable:
– To make the shoes look more substantial and give them a thicker sole, 3 layers of thick felt were added underneath white Croc-like shoes using lots of hot glue and thread
– Strips of elastic were used to additionally fix the felt sole more firmly in place
– To increase durability, a sole of foam rubber was glued onto the felt
– A layer of thick padding was used to cover the top and sides of the shoe and sewn onto the foam rubber sole
– A final layer of white fabric was added and a 2nd sole of foam rubber was glued underneath the shoe (covering the fabric underneath the shoe)

GLOVES:
– Black ski gloves were spay-painted white

CAP (worn underneath the helmet):
– Sewn out of black fabric (designed like a swimming cap)
– An internet headset (headphones and microphone) was sewn onto the outside of the cap
– Padding and another piece of fabric was added to the top of the cap, covering the headphones so that only the microphone was visible

BACKPACK:
– Cardboard was cut into shape and held together with tape
– The resulting box was covered in white foam packaging material to hide any minor damage which may occur during filming – the script included rollerblading
– Backpack was covered in white fabric and arm straps were added
– Some plastic pipes were added to attach to the suit
– Plastic rings and rings of foam board covered in paper were added to hide the pipe ends which were glued into the suit and pushed into the sides of the backpack

SUIT:
– Cut and style of the suit were inspired by original cosmonaut suit
– Stripes of different widths were dyed blue and sewn onto the sleeves and trousers
– Patches of folded fabric were sewn in place for the knees, to allow easy bending and for an authentic look
– The whole suit was cut quite loose, so that a thick undersuit made of padding could fit underneath
– For an authentic look the shoulders of the costume had to be nearly as high as the ears of the actor
– Small props of foam board were created, which sat on the shoulders of the actor and were hidden under padding and fabric
– A ring of metal wire was sewn into the collar of the suit to increase the stability of a blue cardboard ring attached (at the collar) to the outside of the costume
– The blue ring was made of layers of corrugated cardboard and hot glued into place to provide a base for the helmet to rest on
– Zips were sewn on, coloured patches glued on and pipes connecting to the backpack were glued in place
– Voila! You are ready for lift-off!

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2 Comments

  1. Posted 30 November 2011 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    No offense, but i suggest adding a facebook like button for the blog!

    • Posted 6 December 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      You are right Debbie, I was thinking about it and then your comment came in. :o) Thanks for taking the time to mention it. I better get onto it.
      Cheers Jacqueline

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