Written by: The Geeky Seamstress

A question we often get is how to handle fuku-patterning for folks who fall outside of Green Pepper’s limited sizing on the Crystal Lake pattern. You have lots of options based on your patterning skills and expertise!

As we mention in our tutorial, you can grade the pattern using a number of methods, including slash-and-spread. Threads magazine has a great overview on this process! 

I used the slash-and-spread technique linked above to modify our collar pattern (drafted by Vickie Bane) to fit my shoulders!

If you’re new to pattern alterations and not quite ready for pattern grading, you can use several other leotard patterns with larger size ranges. Here are just a few in-print options that are available as of this posting:

  • Kwik Sew 3502: This one is a favorite of mine! It goes up to 45”-37”-47” and is very beginner friendly. Plus, it’s readily available at most major craft stores! This pattern does have side seams so if you will need to blend those out if you want a single back seam.
  • Yaya Han’s M7455: We’ve not used this pattern yet, but it looks like a great starting point for fukus! This pattern goes up to sewing size 22 (44”-37”46”) and McCall’s patterns have the benefit of being readily available at major craft stores (not to mention regularly going on sale!). This pattern has the chest armor built in, but you could blend out the underbust seam and use the chest armor piece to follow our tutorials if you so desire.
  • Yaya’s Ultimate Bodysuit (M7217) pattern can also be starting point for base leotards, if you desire a tailored bodysuit and have experience with sewing spandex. This pattern is also available in plus sizes and for male-bodied folks! Keep in mind, this pattern will require initial tailoring, then you’ll need to blend out several seams to make this work for a fuku, so it’s not a very beginner friendly approach.
  • Jalie Patterns: This Canadian company specializes in activewear for gymnasts and athletes, and the vast majority of their patterns are available as downloadable PDFs. The Tessa long-sleeve dress and leotard (Pattern number 3891) is a great starting point. To make this one work with our tutorials, skip the lace inset and drop the sleeves. They also have several plus-size patterns!
  • The Nettie Dress/Bodysuit by Closet Case Patterns: This one would also need a bit of work to fit with our tutorials, but it’s a great independent company with tons of helpful resources, many of which are linked on our site! To make this pattern work, go with the bodysuit view with the higher neckline, ditch the sleeves, and create a seam where you want the skirt to go. Sizing goes up to 46”-39”-48”.
  • Simplicity 8435: This is another one we haven’t used yet, but it looks quite promising! As with other major pattern brands, this one has an added bonus of being easily available at most major craft stores and regularly going on sale. To make this pattern work with our tutorial, ditch the sleeves, lower the front part of the neckline, and make a seam where you want your skirt to go. Also, the pattern maker has lots of great blog posts on how to work with this pattern!
  • Mood Patterns: Mood is one of our favorite go-to fabric resources, but did you know that they also have several FREE sewing patterns? Many of those patterns are available in up to sewing size 30 (58.5”-49.5”-63”). We haven’t used many of their (FREE) patterns yet, but they have two bodysuits that could work with our tutorials with minor modifications: The bodysuit portion of the Iris ensemble and the Davallia bodysuit. For either pattern, you’d need to drop the sleeves and collar and cut a neckline into the suit. For the Davallia suit, you would also need to cut straight up the back rather than creating a back cutout as instructed. Neither pattern has a skirt built in, so you’d also need to add a seam for that.

Once you have your leotard pattern selected, you’ll need to draft your chest armor (SparklePipsi has great information on how to do this in her fuku tutorial) or slash and spread our chest armor pattern to accommodate your size.

Do you have a favorite basic leotard pattern that we haven’t mentioned? Tell us in the comments!

Hey everyone, The Geeky Seamstress here. A question we frequently get in regards to senshi fukus is where we get our materials. We’re fortunate to live close to a great fabric district in Dallas that meets most of our needs, but not everyone has that kind of resource!

Today, we’re going to talk about where you can get materials for your fukus both online (or in-person if you happen to make it to Texas)!

Spandex Fabrics

When choosing a base fabric for your leotard, look for thick, opaque spandex fabrics that aren’t too shiny. Nylon fabrics are our top pick since synthetic materials are designed to wick moisture away from your body.

Here are a few great options:

  • SpandexWorld (online): white moleskin. This is an expensive option, but it’s what I use for many of my commissions!
  • Yaya Han’s fabric line at Jo-Ann (in-person and online): jumbo spandex. Again, this is a fairly expensive option priced at $34/yd in our area without a coupon. That said, if you have access to a Jo-Ann’s, you can probably find this fabric. Make sure to use a coupon using the Jo-Ann app or website!
  • CosplayFabrics International (online): We haven’t personally ordered from them, but they sell Yaya’s fabric line and we know many cosplayers outside the USA use this resource often! 
    • USA customers can access the same site here.
  • Golden D’Or (in-person): dritex. This is a great Dallas-based shop off of Harry Hines in the fabric district. This material is normally $13/yd and in the Spandex Room. We’ve had a few times where the material has factory defects right in the center of the fabric, so make sure to check your yardage before the employees cut it! They also have quarterly store-wide sales with 20% off your entire purchase coupons, so make sure to sign up for their mailing list!
    • 2021 update: Sadly, Golden D’or is now permanently closed.
  • We Love Colors: You might recognize this company based on our glove recommendations! They also offer a dull tricot in 1.5 yd cuts. We’re using this for our 2018 outer senshi build. If you’re on the smaller side, you can get away with a 1.5 yd cut with some clever pattern placement. Otherwise, you’ll likely need to order 2 cuts.
  • Fabric Wholesale Direct (online): matte milliskin tricot. This company sells tons of fabrics at some very great prices, and their swatches and products generally arrive quickly. Their customer service has been great any time we’ve needed help, too!
    • 2021 update: We have had several issues with Fabric Wholesale Direct recently, most notably that their customer service has degraded in quality, so they are now a last resort only. Please use caution if you order from them! We will update here if their services improve.

Satins

 

Bridal satins are a wonderful material for flowy fuku skirts and beautiful bows! A heavy bridal satin will wash well, iron beautifully, and look great in photos.

When shopping for satin online, look for matte bridal satin. Peau de soie is also a great option, as well as Duchess or L’Amour satin. If you have enough time, make sure to order swatches! They’re normally $2 or less and help ensure that you’re ordering the best material possible for your project.

Finally, a word of caution: please stay away from anything advertised as “shiny” or “costume” satin – this type of fabric is of terrible quality and is not recommended by us for fukus. 

  • Casa Collection at Jo-Ann(online and in-person): Matte Satin. This used to be the standard for sailor fukus, but unfortunately, many of the senshi colors are now discontinued. You can still occasionally find some fabrics that will work, like blues for Moon and Uranus and some good yellows. If you use this line, make sure to grab the regular matte satin – it looks great with fukus!
    • 2021 update: Jo-Ann now offers a fabric called “satin twill”. This fabric is gorgeous, but it is expensive and a little on the heavy side. It may be worth a look if you’re having trouble finding the right color, though!
    • 2021 update 2: Jo-Ann has also appears to have extended their shipping to Canada!
  • OnlineFabricStore (online): Peau de Soie. OFS has a HUGE range of matte satins available for fukus, even some in the stranger/harder to find colors like orange and teal. Plus, their peau de soie is normally about $5.50/yd. The only drawback to OFS is they can be hit or miss in terms of shipping, so make sure you order well in advance of your deadline!
    • 2021 update: OFS has still not improved their shipping, so we no longer order from them or recommend them.
  • Mood Fabrics (online and in-person): Polyester Satin. The selection here isn’t quite as large as OFS, but they have lots of beautiful materials! Mood’s polyester satins normally run about $8/yd and shipping is a bit on the higher end. I adore their Kelly Green for Jupiter. Keep in mind that they are also constantly adding colors, so keep checking back!
  • Fabric.com (online): They have TONS of great satin options here. The Duchess satin is very nice, but the color selection is somewhat limited. The Telio satins are WONDERFUL – I’m using navy Telio satin for my Sailor Uranus fuku, and it’s a dream.
  • Fabrictopia (in-person): Polyester Satin. This shop is on Perth Street in Dallas about a quarter of a mile away from Golden D’Or. If Golden D’or doesn’t have a good satin for a senshi, I check them out. They have a wide assortment of polyester satin for under $6/yd by the cutting table in the main room! Plus, they’re super generous with cuts.
  • eBay (online): Some of the fuku colors are really difficult to find in-person, so we’ve had to turn to eBay in the past to locate fabric. When searching, make sure to check return and sample policies. Look for: matte bridal satin, peau de soie, duchess satin, or l’amour satins. Some shops will send you samples or swatches if you ask! Quality can be hit or miss, so also make sure to check reviews of sellers.
  • Fabric Empire Store (online): We’ve ordered a few swatches from them, and they have TONS of colors in L’amour satin! They also have foam by the yard.
  • Michael’s(online): When Hancock Fabrics went out of business a few years ago, Michael’s acquired their fabric. We were so excited to discover that one of the fabrics they carry is peau de soie! Just do a search for peau de soie in Michael’s online shop to find a huge variety of colors.
    • 2021 update: Michael’s appears to have been scaling back on their fabric offerings, and sadly, the peau de soie is no longer available. They now only offer “costume satin”, which is not fuku quality. We are also no longer sure if the glitter satin is peau de soie or costume satin, so only order that with caution.
  • Fabric Wholesale Direct (online): We mentioned them earlier, but we’re mentioning them again because they seriously have a HUGE variety of fabrics, including competitively-priced peau de soie!
    • 2021 update: As mentioned in the spandex section, Fabric Wholesale Direct has fallen to the bottom of our recommendation list due to their degraded customer service.

Foam

We get LOTS of questions on where we get our foam. We used to get ours at Golden D’or, but since they closed in 2020, we mostly use the resources on this list.

Our advice for finding foam is to look for 1/2″ upholstery foam in WHITE. Green and yellow foam will show through the white of the fuku unless you use several layers of spandex. Additionally, sometimes the foam can oxidize and turn yellow. If that happens, add another layer of spandex over your foam pieces to prevent it from showing through.

Here are a few places you can order similar material (please note that we have not tested all of these sources):

  • Jo-Ann (online and in-person): Foamology Project Foam or Airtex. This is a great resource in a pinch. For my latest fuku commission, I was just barely shy of enough material to make the chest armor sleeves, so I tried this out. It works pretty well! It’s not quite as dense as the stuff I normally use from Golden D’Or, but it’s a pretty good substitute.
    • Since Golden D’Or is now closed, Jo-Ann is essentially the only brick and mortar option left in our area.
  • DIY Upholstery Supply (online): 1/2″ Foam
  • Michael’s (online): White Dacron Upholstery Foam
  • Fabric Empire Store (online): Foam padding by the yard

Other Notions

The vast majority of the other notions we use for fukus can be found at major craft stores like Jo-Ann’s, Hobby Lobby, or if your local Wal-Mart has a sewing section. That said, some of them can be a little tricky to find. So here are a few links for harder to find materials:

We hope this helps! Do you have a go-to resource for your fukus? Please share it with us in the comments below!