(from the fabricating table of Alvin Duong and Rachel Elsten of Unicorn Sushi)

How We Made The Green Turtle

green 3

Fabrics Used:
6 yds of lightweight olive green satin (3 yards for the outside fabric and 3 yards for the lining)
1/2 yd of regular black spandex
1 1/4 yd of olive green stretch twill
1/4 yd of a thick red knit fabric
1/4 yd of yellow milliskin spandex
1/4 yd of black stretch fake leather
1/4 yd of red felt

Other Materials:
1 green invisible zipper
packet of 3/8″ black elastic
packet of 1″ non roll elastic
two gold buttons
craft foam


Step 1- First, get some pattern paper and trace the cosplayer’s hand and forearm, like when you make those turkey hands for Thanksgiving. Make sure when you do this step, you spread your fingers as far as possible so you have enough room to add ease and seam allowance.

Step 2- Add about 1/4″ ease around the whole pattern, and then add another 1/4″  for seam allowance.

Step 3- After you lay out the patterns and cut it out (if the fabric isn’t a 4 way stretch like ours, make sure to have the stretch going horizontally across the pattern), sew
it up and do a quick test fit.

Step 4- Fix any fit issues you have, then add 1″ wide strip of yellow spandex and another 2″ olive green strip on top of that. Don’t forget to add seam allowance to the colored strips.


Step 1- Measure the cosplayer’s head circumference and then measure your canvas wig head to see if they are the same.

Step 2- Then, make a pattern by draping fabric onto the wig head form until you get the shape and size you want.

Step 3- After the pattern is made, cut out the fabric and do a test fit.

Step 4- Alter the fit some more (until it fits!), then add the black mask on the front of the cowl.  Mark where the eye holes will go while your cosplayer is wearing it for the final test fit.

Step 5- To finish the cowl, add an invisible zipper to the back, facings to the face opening and hem, top stitch all of the seams down.  Then add the two gold buttons.



Step 1- On the pattern paper, make a half circle that has a radius of 54″ (get your radius measurement by measuring the distance from the base of your cosplayer’s neck to the floor), and another half circle in the center to the straight line that was the same measurement as his neck.

Step 2- Cut out two pieces for the cape — one side for the outside and another for the lining (on the inside).

Step 3- Draw half of the turtle on a piece of paper and mirror the drawing

Step 4- Tape down the drawing onto manila paper and make sure there are bridges that don’t fully connect the turtle outline — so when you cut out the turtle with an xacto knife, the whole turtle stencil won’t fall out.


Step 5- Center the stencil in the center of the cape and carefully brush paint onto the stencil.



Step 6- For the collar, cut out out a rectangle on pattern paper and modify it by placing it around your cosplayer’s shoulders and cutting slits.  Then cut out two pieces of red spandex and one piece of red felt — the felt is stiff enough to keep the collar’s shape and hold it up better.



Step 1- Place briefs on top of pattern paper you traced and outline it with an added seam allowance.

Step 2- Place the pattern on top of fabric, cut them out, and sew it together.

Step 3- Do a test fit and alter to make it more accurate.

Step 4- Add elastic to the top and bottom of the underwear.  Add velcro to the front and side of the underwear to attach the belt and keep it in place.



Boot Covers:

Step 1- Wrap the cosplayer’s leg below the knee with saran wrap, including their shoes, cover it in tape, then cut out the rough pattern.

Step 2- Copy the rough pattern onto pattern paper and add seam allowance.  Use that pattern to cut out the boot covers and sew them together.


Step 3- Do a top stitch so the seams will be more flat, and add fabric to the front and back of the shoe cover on the sole.


Step 4- Add two layers of yellow strips to the top of the cuff.


Finding fabric for this outfit was difficult. We needed fabric that is light weight for the cape and fabric for the cowl, gloves, and boots that will stretch to be a perfect fit. Unfortunately, we could only find 1 1/4 yards of stretch twill fabric that would match the color of the cape fabric.

The gloves were one of the most difficult tasks, because it was hard to perfectly fit the fingers without them being too loose or tight. What made it more difficult was the limited amount of fabric to work with.  We found a resolution in sacrificing the appearance of the gloves, adding more seams to make them fit better.

The cowl was also difficult because it was a new task. When fitting the cowl, there were lumps that made it difficult to fit without making the mask too tight and still make it look good.

The photo fit is still not complete. There are some things we are still working on — we are painting the turtle on (that’s why the photo is pinned on — we do not want to sew in the lining and let the paint bleed through), adding the lining, sewing the collar  on, adding trim to the boot covers, adding elastic to the bottom of the boot covers, cutting out the buckle out of foam and painting it, and the final glove is being altered for a better fit.


(You’ll be able to see The Green Turtle, the protagonist of Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew’s new graphic novel The Shadow Hero, in his finished costume and in action at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend!)