On Pins and Broken Needles

Zatanna Zatara

Character Name:
Zatanna Zatara
DC Comics
Costume Variation:
Adam Hughes-ish version
Debuted At:
Heroes and Villians Halloween Dance 2011
Awards Won:
Ad Astra 2012 Best in Class - Journeyman
Ad Astra 2012 Workmanship Journeyman - Tailoring
Ottawa ComicCon 2012 Best in Class - Journeyman
Ottawa ComicCon 2012 Workmanship Journeyman - Tailoring

Reference / Design Sketches

  • © DC Comics
  • © DC Comics
  • © 2008 Mark Brooks

Costumes Notes

Deciding on a costume for the Heroes and Villains dance is always a difficult. I'd like it to be comic-based, easily recognizable, and simple to dance in. Zatanna's costume fit all these criteria and gave me a chance to make a tailcoat.

The tailcoat started as an Uncle Sam pattern and then tailored heavily to fit. The sleeves were made smaller to fit closer to the arms, the tails started further back, the waistline raised, and darts added in the front to fit closer to the curve of my chest, to name a few of the alterations made.

I decided to make the booby version of the top because it was a more of a challenge than just buying a tuxedo shirt. (And, to be honest, there was a chance of free drinks at the dance.) The shirt was essentially an eight panel corset without any boning. The version worn to the Dance had my bra sewn into the top. A second version made for competition was independent of the bra. The top was safety-pinned to the bra for this version to be doubly ensure that it wouldn't fall down or shift inappropriately.

The vest was made of leftover silk I had from another costume (which is why I went with grey instead of the multitude of other colours her vest has been) and went through multiple modifications between its debut and first competition at Ad Astra. Originally it had a front enclosure with hooks and eyes. Unfortunately, that either gaped badly or threatened to come undone. The hook-and-eyes were replaced for another convention, but that didn't give the effect that I was after either. Finally, the front opening was sewn closed and a zipper was put in on one of the back seams which worked perfectly.

The bottoms were made from spandex leftover from a pair of boot covers. I traced the pair of underwear that gave me the best coverage and went from there. There are some elastic in the leg holes to ensure a close fit.

This costume was interesting to wear. I'm not used to exposing this much leg and I felt fairly self-conscious wearing it; but it's a crowd pleaser, quick to put on, and comfortable to wear so it gets pulled out frequently for events (ie. Free Comic Book Day) and conventions.


  • © 2012 Dana Wiseman (Free Comic Book Day at The Comic Book Shoppe - Bank)
  • © BahamutNight / Gary Thompson (Ottawa Comiccon)
  • © BahamutNight / Gary Thompson (Ottawa Comiccon)
  • © 2012 Thea Nikolic