Italicised items also used elsewhere in costume, listed or otherwise
Materials used (belt): Cheap black belt, soft gel gloss*, black cardigan strap Buckles: 3D printer, silver paint Holster: Faux leather*, craft foam, thin card, aluminium foil, PVA glue Leggings and details: disco leggings, craft foam, buckle, black jewellery cord (similar here), silver beads (similar here), holographic fabric* *Please let me know if you’d like to purchase any offcuts for cheap! Cutting to the chase, here’s how I made them, in that order: Buy a cheap black belt to slot everything onto. Make extra holes if it needs it. Any excess can and will be hidden behind the holster. If you’re working with a very cheap belt that looks infinitely more like plastic than leather, as I was, you can do some work on it (especially if you’re also waxing your own denim! See Gamora Top) to give it a better (you guessed it) texture.
Such leather. Much genuine. Real-cow-look, wow. I like to think I improved on it a little: To achieve this effect, I put a tiny amount of gel gloss on my fingertip and smoothed it over the surface of the belt, just enough that a slight sheen was visible while the layer was still completely translucent. While still damp and shining, I basically attacked the belt, folding it vertically, horizontally, diagonally, you name it. Give it some good wear and tear, and the gloss layer will crinkle, settling into the creases you form and leaving them visible. Of course, as with many tips on this blog, this is an optional extra. Even if you’re going for screen-accuracy, in its typical sense, this isn’t necessary. But if you’re aiming for literal accuracy and closplay, I recommend some weathering like this. And if your leggings don’t have belt straps, as mine didn’t, you can make couple yourself by folding small tubes of another black/dark blue material and sewing them on about a centimetre from their top and their bottom.
The aforementioned cardigan strap was found in my house by chance as a decent quick fix for this loop:
Which is, of course, attached via the buckles.
These were 3D printed thanks to the glorious patterns of sni9er, available for free on thingiverse, and then dry-brushed with silver acrylic. One of the finished buckles was stolen and painted by an overzealous father, who shall remain nameless, and so is completely silver, as opposed to retaining some of the original black 3D plastic as I had planned, and as is illustrated in this video among many others. You can probably tell which one despite the low quality at the top, and if you can’t, it doesn’t matter…I know it’s there.
The buckle that isn’t supporting that one strap feeds into the holster.
This was made using several layers of faux leather to create individual pockets. The top layer is fun foam coated with PVA glue, and silver foil-over-card belt-end style embellishments were added, as on the boots. If you’re using material which is white on the reverse side, use a black marker to cover up any unsightly white edges – for the reverse of the holster, put on a back layer to hold the pockets in place, but face the leather side towards your body instead of outwards.
Note that the curve on the original is much more gentle and sloping than on mine. This was down to me not making a decent enough pattern and not leaving enough material uncut that I could smooth out that harsh little 100 degree bend I had before the holster met the belt. The top-most line, too, is nowhere near curved enough for my liking. It may also be wise to loop the belt through this last back layer, so the holster can support its own weight. At the front edge, where it links to the silver buckle, I made a non-permanent fastening using magnets glued to the inside of the buckle and the holster itself.
As well as the loop from the belt buckle, there’s a self-supporting loop around the thigh.
This, again, I made out of black craft foam, which we then spray-painted black for a darker, more leathery effect. From reference images, it appeared to be fastened at the back with a silver buckle – as I didn’t have any of those last minute, I used one of the black buckles that can also be seen on the boots. Functionally, this part probably supports the bottom of the holster, holding it flush with the leg, but in my case it was purely decorative.
Over on the other leg we have lengths of black cord. I’d imagine these come in handy, too, in much the same way as a paracord safety bracelet.
There are actually fewer loops of this than there appear to be; only the thread supporting the beads is an additional 3D element. Underneath that, ribbed leather is sewn into the costume. Altogether this creates the effect of lots of layers wound round the leg, which I attempted to replicate with the cord (without going so far as to create a makeshift tourniquet), since I didn’t have time to add extra leather detailing to the sides, front, knee, and lower leg (though I will discuss this detailing shortly).
Of course, this wasn’t anywhere near enough layers to replicate the desired effect, but the cords still could have helped me in a survival situation in the far corners of the galaxy. Apologies for the lack of pattern on one leg – again, this was down to time constraints.
Note that the cords are knotted in random places where they’re left to hang, so that they fall in a very angular, irregular way. Same colour, different angles, meaning the light has more to play with, and we get an interesting silhouette. Yep, texture again. It all comes down to texture.
I promised to talk about the extra layer I had to omit:
As you can see, the bulk of the upper part of the leggings is made with the same waxed denim as the waistcoat. Unfortunately, due to my current lack of dressmaking skills, I had to settle for pre-made leggings, which constrained me a little in terms of palette. I would have loved to make my blues a lot darker, but ç’est la vie. Down the outside seams of the leggings, there’s a strip of finely-ribbed leather which curves above the knee. On the knee itself, there’s more (very functional) leather padding, and the line of the ribs switches from vertical to horizontal. Finally, this overlaps the bottom layer of the leggings; more ribbed leather down to the boot, which is topped with a plain leather flap. I’m not overwhelmingly upset that I didn’t get to replicate this part of the costume, as I am shorter than Zoe Saldana by far, and wanted to avoid anything that would add bulk to my legs, as her legs are anything but.
And finally, the glittery details.
To quote the waistcoat post, “To me, Gamora’s detailing looked like a combination of a animal skin and a pixelated pattern; a natural material likely used in clothing and armour the whole galaxy over, and a digital-seeming fabric which was futuristic and alien. Either way, it stood to reason that this pattern should shine, be reflective, interact with the light around it as it seemed to in the promotional images. Even after finding out the print was 2D [painted with stencils], I was determined to stick to this [embellishment] interpretation; I was convinced it would look fabulous when captured on camera. After a lot of research, I decided on black shattered glass holographic fabric. This is comprised of very small, reflective circles, which allowed me to replicate the pixelated pattern of the on-screen costume with 95% accuracy.” I mapped out the patterns on photoshop, and they are all available for free right here. And that’s all for the bottoms. Comments and questions welcome as ever, and happy cosplaying!