HOW TO SEW A BUNNY SUIT

DIY

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE ENTHUSIASTIC COSPLAYER


Here are some basic instructions for creating the bunny suit of your dreams! In addition to being adorable for cosplay parties, they make an excellent base for a variety of costumes. There’s a ton of room for customizing- you can easily switch the laces out for a zipper, change up the neckline, or add color-blocking to bring your design to life.

There are a few different ways to build a bunny suit. You can add a floating lining to any of these methods for comfort.

  • One layer with boning tape
    • Easy and comfortable, more of a lingerie look with the channels on the outside
  • Two layer with boning tape and a smooth exterior
    • A straightforward way to make the most commonly seen cosplay bunny suit design with a smooth front- great for embellishing and color blocking! It is more prone to wrinkles than designs with the boning channels sewn through all layers.
  • Two layer “sandwich” method with bones between the layers
    • Top-stitching through all layers secures the panels in place for less wrinkles over time. Eliminates the need for separate boning channels but requires a high level of sewing accuracy because each layer must be exactly the same size.
  • Two layer method “roll-pin” method sewing boning channels between the layers as you go
    • Constructing both layers at the same time makes it easier to eliminate wrinkles as you sew and makes very secure seams. All seams are enclosed which leaves a very clean finish but makes tailoring impossible. Use this only if you are confident about the fit of your pattern.

Materials

  • Dense, sturdy fabric like coutil (fabric specifically made for corsetry) or duck canvas for strength
    • Enough for the final suit + a mockup
  • Fashion Fabric for the outside
    • I use silk dupioni in all of my example images, which works great
    • If it is thinner than your strength material, isn’t woven on the grain or has any stretch, you will need to bond it to woven interfacing or coutil
  • Lining material (optional, but nice to add)
    • Cotton works great because it absorbs sweat and is comfortable against the skin. It won’t be seen so this is a great place to add a fun pop of color.
  • About 5 yards of spiral steel boning *
  • Either 6 or 8 flat steel bones ~18” *
    • More bones make for a sturdier corset with less wrinkles. For more support, double the bones and add an extra on the center of any panel wider than 2”
  • Woven Interfacing (like Pellon sf101)
  • 36 Grommets or a Metal Zipper
  • Twill Tape for a waist tape
  • Boning tape or more strength fabric to make boning channels
Custom Pattern
Measurements

Measurements

Start by finding a willing volunteer to help. Accurate measurements are a huge step towards getting a suit that hugs you perfectly. Wear an unpadded bra and tights.

Tie a ribbon or piece of elastic around your middle, and bend from side to side so it settles into the smallest part of your waist. Its also helpful to wear a tank top with seams that line up on your sides or mark side seams with some tape.

It’s time to measure! I like to use a flexible ruler for the horizontal measurements and a hard plastic ruler for the vertical. Use the ribbon as the starting point.. There are a lot needed for your custom pattern, but that’s how I know where to put your curves. :-)

Overbust- Across the top of breasts, from armpit to armpit
Bust- Around the fullest part of the breasts
Underbust- Ribcage under the breast
Waist- Smallest part of the squishy part of the torso- between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the hipbones, at the ribbon
High Hip- At the hipbone
Low Hip- Widest part of the hips and butt
Rise- Crotch measurement from front waist to back waist
Front Rise- Front waist to center crotch
Back Rise- Back waist to center crotch (over the butt)

Take the measurements listed for your pattern with a flexible ruler or a piece of string and a yardstick.

The Pattern

If you received a digital pattern from us, print it out at 100%. Do not autoscale! Measure the 2” scale box to make sure everything sized correctly. Line up the sheets on the dotted lines, tape together your pattern and cut it out. Buy a custom pattern here.

If you are using a commercial pattern, iron it flat then cut out the pieces. Measure the panels and compare them to your own. Adjust the length per their included instructions.

Custom Pattern
Mockups

Make a Mockup

Start by making a mockup. Seriously, y’all, it will take you a few extra hours but it is worth it! Everyone’s bodies are different and little tweaks on a piece of clothing that is so personal like a bunny suit makes a big difference. Plus you’ll get a little practice before cutting up your nice fabric.

Use material that’s a similar to your final version. Using extra coutil is perfect but duck canvas will work in a pinch. It is best to make your mockup as close to the final draft as possible, with the bones over the seams.

However…

Sometimes I add boning channels to the center of the panels at this stage then assemble it with the seam allowances facing outwards. It might not be quite as accurate but makes fitting a lot easier.

Pin your pieces together at the waist and work outwards, then sew them together from the top to the bottom.

Insert your bones and baste the channels closed.

Add grommets. It can be helpful to make a separate lacing panel that can be basted on and reused for future mock-ups.

Have a friend help you adjust your mock-up. Start by fitting the waist, then the hips and bust. Pinch any excess fabric and open seams that are too tight. Mark your neckline and check the leg opening. If you need more coverage, use masking tape to extend your mock-up, then continue the panel seams onto your tape.

This is also the time to plan out additional seams, color-blocking and other embellishments.

Cut the mock-up on the seams and transfer any alterations to your pattern.

Sew the Final Draft

One of the most straightforward ways of making a comfortable bunny suit is to do sew it in three layers:

  • A strength layer made of coutil or other sturdy fabric with boning strips
  • A fashion layer made of designer’s choice fabric bonded to woven interfacing or another layer of strength fabric for the outside
  • A lining layer made of cotton for the inside

Start by fusing woven interfacing to your fashion fabric, following manufacturer’s instructions and using a press cloth. Let it cool completely before handling. This gives a little bit more strength and eliminates stretch, reducing wrinkles. For even more support, fuse your fabric to coutil with Heat and Bond Lite. You will also need to apply 2.5” of interfacing to the back center of the strength fabric where the grommets will be installed.

Trace your pattern onto of your strength fabric and fashion fabric, taking care to line up the grain. Accuracy is very important, so transfer sewing lines to the pieces with a clear ruler. Mark your notches and clearly label each piece.

Carefully cut out your pieces with sharp scissors or a rotary cutter.

Cut out your pattern from both your fashion fabric, your strength fabric, and lining fabric. Be mindful of the grain line and clearly mark your notches. Cut 2 of the center front strength layer.

Layer the 2 strength CF pieces and sew 2 boning channels through the center of the panel. Stitch the bottom of the channel closed to secure the bones.

Attach the next panel, matching the notches at the waist and lining up each seam from the center outwards. Wonder clips work great to hold heavy material together but hand-basting the panels together before you sew is best. Sometimes a little bit of hand sewing can save a lot of seam ripping.

Fold back the 1.5” seam allowance in the back center.

Press the seams away from the center and notch curves. Press. Topstitch and trim the excess seam allowance.

Baste your waist tape onto the strength layer with the bottom edge on the waistline marked on the pattern.

Sew boning tape over the seams. Check to make sure the bones slide in smoothly then remove them until later.

Sew the butt seam together. (This has to start at the widest part of your hips or you won’t be able to get into your suit.) Open the seam allowance, press and topstitch.

Sew the crotch seam together. Topstitch. Press. Trim the seam allowance.

Sew together the fashion fabric pieces, taking care to make it exactly the same size as the previous layer. Notch curves and carefully press. Add applique or other adornments at this stage if desired.

Repeat this a third time with your lining fabric. Attach padding to the assembled lining.

Sandwich your fabric layers together with the boning channels facing the inside and hand baste them in place along the edges.

Body Suit
Body Suit

Boning

The bones for the center front and 2 center back channels need to have stiff, flat boning for support. All other seams get spiral steel bones to hug over curves.

Trim bones to length (Don’t forget to leave room for the bias edging.) and grind down the tips with a file or Dremel. Cover the ends with tips. Teflon tape and Plastic-dip both work great.

  • Note: I personally like the look of boning the seams all the way down, but sitting down is difficult. Some makers prefer boning bunny suits to the hip. If you do as well, make sure to close the channels so the bones don’t slide around. This is something great to sort out when you do your mockup!

Pliers can be very helpful for inserting bones into a tight channel.

 

Finishing

Finish the leg openings with a strip of fashion fabric cut on the bias. Fold and press. Topstitch it now or hand sew it with the other bias later.

Next, sew along the very edge of the back center opening, and then add the boning channels on either side of the grommets. (This is the trickiest step of the whole bit.)

Now insert the bones! How exciting. Wiggle them down into the channels so you don’t break a needle.

Take another bias strip of fabric and carefully sew it along the top edge of your suit. Fold it over, press, and finish to your preference. You can hand stitch from the inside (slip stitch for invisible stitches, whip stitch for something quicker) or carefully top stitch from the top.

Install grommets at 1″ increments in the back of your suit between the flat bones.

Wonderclips and bias tape
Wonderclips and bias tape

Victory!

Now you can *finally* try it on! Can you see why making a mock-up is so important for something like this? Have a friend lace you in from the bottom to the top, and tuck the extra laces into the top of your suit. Go blow kisses at yourself in the mirror, you did it! <3


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