Adventures in BSG Costuming

November 2, 2008

by spacepug

Never before have I tried to dress up like a character from one of my favourite shows on TV. Granted, I’ve never run a fan club before either, so this is all new territory! I’ve never had much of a costuming bent and I’m more likely to hurt myself with a sewing machine than actually put two pieces of fabric together using one. Alas, I decided that my husband and I would attend the 13th Colony’s “Halloween on Caprica” party as the Chief and Cally.

Luckily, I started planning several weeks in advance. The first step was to acquire as many screen shots as I could. Many thanks to Galactica BBS for their wonderful galleries.

The orange jumpsuits were ordered from Gostwear in Quebec. You pay a little more for ordering orange, but you save on taxes & import duties when you buy within Canada. The BSG patches from ScifiGeeks.com Both were ordered early to allow for shipping time, but honestly, everything arrived quickly. The next trick was trying to find reflective tape for the stripes down the side. I found it at a local industrial safety store, but for the 30ft we needed for two costumes, it would have been $54 for one roll. I went down to local legendary fabric store Dressew and bought the same length of reflective ribbon for $9 and a $1 package of reflective tape big enough to make the squares on each side of the chest.

Luckily I have access to a grommet tool at work, so we were able to put grommets in the legs, though they aren’t nearly as large as the ones on the actual costumes.

It was the toolbelts that were the hardest. We figured out early that they must be affixed to the jumpsuits with snaps and once again Dresssew had packages of 10 large snaps with tools to apply them, for $3.50 Each costume used 14 snaps. Six on the front of the toolbelt, four on the back, and two on each wrist cuff.

It was really tough to find a soft vinyl with ridges. After looking in several places, we settled on a roll of rigid vinyl flooring from Home Depot for < $20. No amount of glue would affix the pockets, and I don’t have access to an industrial sewing machine, so I had to sew the pockets on by hand, using an embroidery needle and a metal thimble. After one day, my fingers were bloody. Later on, someone suggested using needle nose plyers to pull the needle through the vinyl. Good tip. Wish I’d thought of it earlier….

Finally, just because I’m a little twisted, I decided to go to the party as “Popsicle Cally” instead of just “Happy Cally.” Some blue eyeshadow and eyebrow pencil gave that fresh out of the airlock look, a liberal application of silver glitter for ice crystals and there you have it. The centurion in a noose was a great conversation starter…

It was a challenge but it was very rewarding. Still not sure I’ve caught the costuming bug, but at least now I have a great reason to con my husband into coming with me to Dragon*Con next year….. “But dear, we have such cool costumes to wear…”



  1. I wish my own costuming story was this interesting, but alas there were no bloody fingers involved. All in all, sounds like you had a good time of it though.

    It was nice seeing you at the party and getting to meet some of the other fans. Also, thanks for telling me about this blog. Now I can at least try to keep up to date on all the 13th Colony News.

    See you later,

  2. Holy Frak! That’s a kick-ass costume. I exclaimed, “Hey, she’s dressed as Cally” before I even read the post. Great job getting it together.

  3. Hi! I stumbled across this page while looking for deck crew costuming tips and wow, your Cally is amazing! The hanged centurion was a nice added touch =)

    I was thinking of purchasing a pair of coveralls from Gostwear myself, but I’m a little unsure on how to get the proper fit. Would you mind at all if I asked how you decided upon the sizing of the coveralls?


    • Thanks Evy! For a measurement, I just went with bra size plus a couple extra inches for insurance! If your hips are the widest part of your body, I would suggest doing that measurement and adding an inch or two to get the size. They are a very straight cut and that way, the coveralls are a bit loose and easier to put on. Since there is no waist really, you have to watch the temptation to put too much in your pockets or it pulls the whole outfit down. I’ve never had a comfortable con costume before and I’m looking forward to trying this one out at Dragon*Con in September.

      • Thanks so much for the reply, and have fun at the con! I’m rather jealous; so many of the cast members are going to be there this year. If only I had the time to go!

  4. Great job! How’d you get the ribbing on the vinyl to go up and down? I bought the vinyl flooring you recommended from Home Depot, but it runs the opposite direction!

    • Thanks! My tool belt ended up being two pieces, joined in the back by snaps, so the relatively narrow width of the flooring wasn’t an issue. My husband is a bit wider, and his ended up being three pieces joined together, the two sides, and then a wider band in the back. You can see a bit of the back detail in this photo… http://www.meetup.com/Vancouver-Battlestar-Galactica-Fan-Club/photos/473417/#6187688

      • Ah ha! Thanks a ton! That’s what I was thinking of doing anyway, glad to see I’m on the right track.

        Also: for those of you in the US thinking of doing this, Dickies actually makes pretty nice cotton coveralls that come in orange. (http://www.dickies.com/product/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3A%3Aprd_id=845524441761594&ADD_CART_ITEM%3A%3AATR_Sku_Size=_) It comes out to be cheaper than shipping it from Canada (also, you can find some good coupon codes for Dickies.com, I managed to get 20% off!)

      • P.S. – I’ll post again when I get the coveralls with a full report on whether others should consider them.

      • Thanks Andrew, great info! And do let us know how yours turns out. One other benefit….we didn’t have to worry about being visible walking the streets of Vancouver on Halloween night last year, definitely high visibility!

      • Well I got the Dickies coveralls in and I gotta say they’re very comfortable. Lots of pockets, perhaps more than you’d like as there are more than in the original, but overall it’s very good. Just about done with my costume!

        Goop (a kind of glue) is VERY good for glueing the vinyl by the way. I used it to glue the various sections together as well as glue on the snaps. I also used it to glue on the reflective ribbon and patches. What can I say? I’m too lazy to sew!

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