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I thought I would try to leverage the benefit of the experience of this board by suggesting the plan I am thinking of going with for my costume. I must confess that my constraints are that I have no abilities or time to construct items myself so my plan has to involve no sewing by me and no props manufacture. I am also trying to get the best value for the money I spend but realize that a proper suit will be expensive. Here's my plan:
1. Cowl - Chuck Williams. Accept no substitute. I am planning on going with the Deluxe Cosplay version. It is not quite the authentic pantone but close enough, is a little cheaper and I understand that the specialty dye on the limited edition version may not stand the test of time as well.
2. Cape/Trunks - I have bought the Lynne Williams patterns. I live in Westchester County near NYC and have reached out to Frankie Steinz's Costumes to see if they will sew the cape and trunks for me. I have been having some trouble finding anyone willing to sew costume items. I found one tailor who sounded on the phone like they were willing to let me part with my cash; but didn't sound terribly competent to me. Anyone want to weigh in on how difficult the cape is to sew if you have Lynne's patterns? The local tailor would likely be less expensive than Frankie's but Frankie's does "appointment only" fittings and claims to have worked on 66 Batman costumes in the past. I plan to order a "midnight navy" mid weight, nylon satin from e-bay for the cape and order fabric from Chuck and Lynne Williams for the trunks. I will order a sample of the cape fabric before buying the whole fabric.
3. Gloves - I am torn here between buying the Williams fabric and sending it to Gaspar to have them make the gloves and just buying the gloves from Action Costumes in Argentina. The latter route would be about a third of the cost. The pictures of the gloves on the Action Costumes website look decent. The Action Costumes gloves have leather palms and they claim they individually size them. Anyone think the pantone they use would be way off? Is this a corner I should cut or should I go with Gaspar?
4. Insignia - I have no skill to make my own. I was going to buy the "iron on" chest insignia from Action Costumes. The Williams no longer sell one and the one at Action Costumes sells for a very reasonable price. I have heard the criticism that Action's version is too symmetrical but my eyes can't see the difference.
5. Boots - I called Duran Shoes today and their price is 50% higher than the one listed on the website for the Batman boots. I was therefore thinking of going with Action Costumes for the boots which are about 20% cheaper than Duran's price. I wonder if Action Costumes still offers a discount to Forum members? I'll ask.
6. Utility belt - Matty Collector website.
7. Tights - On Stage Dancewear. There are online coupons to be had to get as much as 30% off. I am trying to see if I can use the online coupons but order live over the phone for in store pick-up since I live in the NYC area (thus saving on their shipping costs). I will dye them using 2 boxes of pearl grey Rit and 1/8th teaspoon of purple RIT in my washing machine.
I know many of you would find the suggestion of using any providers other than WilliamsStudios2/Gaspar/Duran/On Stage/CY Productions as blasphemy but I am trying to save a little bit where I can. Any advice would be appreciated.
As for the Duran price misquote, I'm afraid they suffer from a very old web page / site that I think nobody there knows how to get rid of or change the existing pages. Either way, I think their boots are still the best.
Gloves- Gaspar all the way.
But if you want to know what pieces I think "sell" the look of the costume the most to get you you close to your goal. They are:
#1- Cowl (This is the crowning piece of the assemble)
#2 - Utility Belt (Don't second guess how this one goes over. I've had only a few over the years but jumped at getting a Chuck one when I finally could. I wouldn't go with the Matty at all.)
#3 - Boots (these help create the "line" of the Adam West Batman look. If they are off, you'll look off)
#4 - Gloves (People notice when you shake their hands if it's a quality glove with leather palms. Especially kids. They might not say anything but they do stare.)
#5 - Cape (Come on. Where would Batman be without his cape?)
Years ago an old man said to me, "When you buy quality, you only cry once. When you pay for it."
Lived by that ever since.
Good luck on you quest.
But since you are mainly constructing this suit from bought pieces, this topic has been moved to the Merchandise Section (as the big red rules in the Craft Section states.)
One, I agree that you can go with someone making your cape from the Williams Patterns as long as you scope out good fabric and good tailor (capes are trickier than most think). Same goes for the trunks if you got the stretch material handy.
The Matty belt that I saw at SDCC in person just looks like a very nice toy belt. Very nice, but still reads "toy" to me. Maybe because of all the plastic. The buckle lacked the curvature, thickness and etched metallic feel. I won't even get into the lack of accuracy with the actual belt strap, the dimensions of pieces but to simply say that not one piece of it was accurate or at least read "true". Not even the color. If Williams Studio2 isn't offering them, then I recommend CY at this point. Leather, metal and wood just says 66 Batman to me. If you must start with a Matty belt. Fine. I'll applaud you just the same. People will see it and go "Adam West Batman!" No worries from me. Heck, they've done that since my first and least accurate suit. But I'm sure you'll want to upgrade soon after you put the whole thing together based on your other pieces. That's all.
As with all things regarding the costume and most everything else, it's always trickier than it seems and you get what you pay for.
It all depends on what you are going for. If "near authentic" really is the goal, that is going to narrow the field quite a bit.
I just suggest that rather than spend money on "close enough" and I'll upgrade later, if your schedule allows, save your money and get the best you can afford from the get go.
The resale on "close enough" is getting less and less as time goes by.
You should get as much of the fabric from the same source as possible - i.e., if you get the cowl from Chuck, bite the bullet and go ahead and get the trunks of matching color, too, and - if he still sells it - enough matching fabric for the gloves. Then you only have to source one other fabric of a matching color, that for the cape, from somewhere else.
Like you, I am also in the NYC area, with easy access to the fabric district in midtown, and even given that fairly vast resource, I found matching colors proved tricky. There are a GAZILLION different shades of navy blue. I looked at dozens of satins in different fiber contents, weights, and color before finding the best match I could for the cowl (which, by the way, I brought with me everywhere so I could match it in person).
I would not suggest you hire just any old tailor to make the cape. If you are not Adam West size, alterations to the pattern will be necessary, and not every tailor will have the experience to do that. Frankly, your best bet - short of a professional costume-making shop - is someone who specializes in bridal stuff. They have experience with big drapey satin things.
As for gloves, if you try to buy gloves from Action Costumes they won't match ANYTHING you have from another source.
Hope that is helpful. Good luck in your efforts!
We are back to conservation mode with the vintage original fabric.
They both work together pretty darn well .
I can vouch for what Rick is saying regarding color matching.
Navy blue is open to a wide interpretation!!!
We have had to track down dye lot batches from manufacturers of cape satin to maintain the color consistency from roll to roll.
One drop more or less on any of the colors involved in a dyebath can be a deal breaker.
Color matching like on our friend Gordons custom sized cape pictured here doesn't happen by accident.
As a footnote, the Mattel cowl matches our cape fabric color very nicely!! They did a good job of matching our cowl color.
If you are not Adams size, custom sizing (to a certain degree) is included in the cost of our cape.
As is the saving of your time to find a good color and weight of fabric, and the time saved in finding someone with the skill to sew it together.
It's just not enough to simply say "it's just like the original" and hope no one notices.
These are what I regard as close to the original. No cutting corners.
Yes it does cost a bit more to do it right but you never have to "upgrade" later.
Most of you have seen the first photo but I just ran across the second...
My motto is and always will be "Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten."
And there there is of course this: