Fembot | Austin Powers : International Man of Mystery
Made for : Auckland Armageddon Expo 2022
Background : I have a bunch of red velvet in my sewing stash. I was sent it from Spotlight during the very first lockdown for another project, but they sent me the wrong colour, twice! So I’ve sat on it for a couple years now wondering what to use it for when it hit me – Austin Powers suit. Naturally, I had to make a character to match. Originally I wanted to do Felicity Shagwell’s crochet dress but it turns out I really don’t know how to crochet. So Fembot it was!
Things used :
- McCall’s M7397
- Simplicity 7141
- Kwik Sew 719
- 1m foil pink spandex
- 2m light pink chiffon
- 10m ostrich feather trim
I started by buying the pink chiffon which turned out to be the easiest to source. I tried to buy the feather trim locally but they were charging $8 a meter, I brought 20m on Ali Express for $10. Then there was the foil pink fabric for the gloves and underwear, Spotlight had stocked something similar for YEARS but of course, when I finally need some they no longer carried it. Luckily I found some at Arthur’s Emporium!
I made the underwear first using a vintage pattern Kwik Sew 719. I chose to make the high waisted ones as I’m very self conscious about my tummy area and they provided a bit more coverage. It was a super simple pattern to put together. I sewed a size 9 for myself which fit my thighs perfectly but I had to take it in by about four inches on the waist. I also attached the elastic for the legs and waistband differently. I sewed them first using a zigzag stitch and then rolled it over itself and repeated. I just think It gave it a much nicer/cleaner finish then how the pattern called for.
Next was the gloves made from the same fabric as the underwear. Honestly, I need to stop using this pattern (McCall’s M7397). The fit is so off and it would be easier to trace my hand and make a glove from that. Either I have incredible long fingers or whoever was the base model for the pattern has tiny hands as the fingers start at my second knuckle and I’m using the largest size. Other than the fit, it’s an easy pattern to put together. It’s two pieces, front and back, sew them together using the tiniest of seam allowances and you’re done.
For the “dress” part I was really excited to be making it from an authentic 1960s slip pattern. I only ended up using the front and back pattern pieces which I made from the pink chiffon and sewed the two sides together. I then glued it to an old bra and hid the glue by sewing a row of the pink foil fabric to the band and gluing the feathers to the bust. After trying the dress on for the first time, I realised it was far to revealing for my tastes so I added a panel to the top of the bra with more feathers for a little bit more modesty. I took about six inches off the hem, overlocked the edge and glued a row of feathers to it. I stepped back and realised it needed another row to make it even more fluffier.
I found a pair of shoes at the second-hand store which I glued feathers to the toe part of.
The wig was a cheap one from Ali Express. I styled it into a beehive by sectioning off some of the crown, back-combing it and then smoothing some hair over it, pinning it in place and dosing it in hairspray. I also had to chop the fringe by an inch or two. The hair feather is just a little bit of the feather trim wound together and pinned in place with hair pins.