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23 Apr 2009 - 09:3513230
Zentai or Lycra - which is easier to sew.
I'd love some opinions from people who've used these fabrics before. Admittedly I've used neither, and am trying to decide on the best one to use for my Polaris X-Men cosplay.
I've heard that Zentai is nice and cheap, but that its colour can rub off on your hands. Is it easier or harder to sew (by machine or hand) than Lycra? I want opinions before I go ahead and buy something! XD


23 Apr 2009 - 09:3913231
Now dont quote me but zentai tends to rip during saweing. Me and my friend are in need of the full suits *for kamen rider/gray fox* dependant on the quality catch 22 is that zentai is cheap and difficult to recognise the quality just from a pic. if im frank i would consider lycra as the easier sewing option though i know not where you could get a suit of it.

sorry for lack of help. (im sure someone will have more for you)

ps:kudos on x-men cosplay.


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Last edited by Captain_Marvelous (23 Apr 2009 - 09:40)
23 Apr 2009 - 12:0813241
I have NO idea! It depends also on the finish you want for your costumes I suppose. I usually don't like any stretchy fabric as it is, let alone making an entire suit out of one (I recently made my Chun Li catsuit from Lycra).

I've always said that, if you get some practice in, Lycra is probably one of the most useful fabrics you can get. Problem is most places sell for about £5p/m and if you need it in awkward or long shapes then it can get pricey if you haven't tried using stretchy fabrics before... I'm sorry I can't be much help!


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xx Tetra xx
23 Apr 2009 - 12:2313248
would you post a reference image please ^^' just tried google and †heres a few different images.

zentai from what i understand is a suit rather than a material, I could be wrong

if it is a full on suit i would of gone for the ebay route and bought a suit and adapted it. I can post an amazing link for zentai suits for £20 : D It was made of Lycra and used it for my Anti-Spiral Nia costume

if its the leotard version i would suggest buying Kwiksew ice skating (leotard pattern) Kwiksew is the best/most easy to use pattern company to use in my opinion.

and lycra is quite expensive from my local fabric land it is £7 a metre. it is a little fiddly at first but as long you remember to stretch the fabric

hope that helps a lil (i wud of post links but work computer denies D: !)



Last edited by angel aiko (23 Apr 2009 - 12:24)
23 Apr 2009 - 12:4813256
Thanks guys for your advice

ooh yush Aiko post links please!

I'm doing the purple costume version: http://www.cosplayisland.co.uk/costume/view/8444 Unfortunately I can't post any images other than what's on my Cosplay Island profile for her at the moment - my work won't let me on the sites that have the pics I want ^^

I may go for the leotard pattern and use lycra.. it seems more durable, even if it is a little more expensive (Would you recommend hand sewing or machine work for lycra by the way?) But I'd still LOVE to see links for that £20 Zentai suit place XD


23 Apr 2009 - 13:0213262
sewing machine, zig zag stitches all the way

i shall post link about 7 tonight for you as works Mac confuses me D:


23 Apr 2009 - 13:0313265
cool, cheers!


23 Apr 2009 - 14:0813273
I thought "zentai" was the name of the suit too- it's a catsuit type of cosplay isn't it? I thought that perhaps you got confused and used the word "zentai" for either a cheaper substitute for Lycra or that shiny stuff that can appear on zentai cosplay. I am no expert in this field though, I work on wigs and non-stretch fabric costumes and armour mainly XD


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xx Tetra xx
23 Apr 2009 - 14:1713274
just a few pointers

firstly Chevi is right using a zig zag stitch allows your stitching to stretch with the fabric

Lycra can be fiddley and tends to slide even when pinned, you can put tissue paper between layers to make it easier to sew

try not stretch the fabric as you sew or youll end up with a lettace hem

Using a ball point needle wont pick the fabric as it pushes its way through the waft and wefot of the fabric

thats pretty much anything i can think of


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23 Apr 2009 - 14:3713277
Quote Missytetra:
I thought "zentai" was the name of the suit too- it's a catsuit type of cosplay isn't it? I thought that perhaps you got confused and used the word "zentai" for either a cheaper substitute for Lycra or that shiny stuff that can appear on zentai cosplay. I am no expert in this field though, I work on wigs and non-stretch fabric costumes and armour mainly XD


yea it is the words a corruption zenshin taitsu full body im assuming ^^ as in the tight itself. when i first heard of em I thought it was to do with sentai as they all wear skin tight stuff LOL


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23 Apr 2009 - 15:2713280
oh i see! Someone once told me that zentai was a type of material like lycra, not a type of body suit! Oh dear... Thanks for clearing that up guys


27 Apr 2009 - 11:0513483
Also be carefull when machine sewing, lycra can be a biyatch for puckering underneath and getting stitched that way, (even when it is tacked or pinned) - you don't realise usually until it's too late ..when you've just finished a long seam - which then has to be all unpicked if you want to remove the horrible pucker. My advice is sew a bit then stop to look at the underside and make sure it is all going ok, then sew a bit more, etc.


28 Apr 2009 - 14:3113558
Yes that's so right Ranma 1/2 ^___^
Also, with the zigzag stitch it can look a bit weird on long seams if it's a seam that's going to be down the side of your leg or something. I used a loose straight stitch on my Chun Li lycra catsuit for that bit to keep it smooth (but it was all measured correctly and the lycra isn't THAT stretchy anyway. I might consider replacing it with a zigag but I didn't like my test piece ;P)

Also, do try to mess around with a scrap before making the suit-- getting used to the way Lycra behaves under a machine is a pain ^^


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xx Tetra xx
28 Apr 2009 - 15:3213563
yeh indeed practice!!

ive got 3 half made leotards that have gone wrong from not stretched enough or overly stretched ^^;

(oh and one covered in pink hair dye....)


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