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Patternmaking & Sewing Notes
by Don McCunn

Creating a Custom Quorra Costume

Quorra Costume in Black Light

The movie "TRON: Legacy" (2010) has inspired an interest in the costumes worn by the principle actors. In February of 2011 I had the opportunity to create a Quorra lookalike costume for an Equity actress I have worked with, Alexandra Matthew. She used the costume for a corporate gig in the Silicon Valley.

When I started researching I was intrigued that the costumes were created using high-tech body scans. Even so Olivia Wilde, who played Quorra, said it took 11 fittings to create a costume that fit her and could do the required stunts. This in itself was enough to make me want too take on the challenge of creating this particular costume.

I knew some adaptation to the costume would be required. Olivia had wardrobe experts to help her into the costume and the batteries that lit the suit lasted only 12 minutes. Alexandra needed a costume that was wearable for at least 4 hours. The first decision the producer and I made was that we would use black light technology for the glow in the dark feature. This was instead of the electro-luminescence technology used in the movie. I also decided to use a combination of pleather, buckram, and Tricot bonded foam to create the "armor" like appearance of the costume. This was instead of the latex foam and spandex used in the movie.

It was extremely tricky to determine the lines of the costume because the movie was so dark. Fortunately, using a Google Image search, I ran across a woman, Briana Lamb, who had seen the movie a number of times and created wonderful annotated line drawings of the costume.

From these drawings I could see a princess line sloper would be the best approach. Fortunately I already had such a sloper for Alexandra. From a pattern perspective there really wasn't much to do except draw in the design lines on the sloper.

The challenge came in trying to figure out how the costume was to be taken on and off. There was no indication of any opening device. Also the neckline was so close fitting I knew that an over the head pull on would not work. I ended up using hook and eyes and velcro straps on the shoulders and under the arm. It also required a velcro closure at center front to achieve a neckline that was close to the original design--but not exactly the same. During one of the initial fittings we established that some on the closing devices I used could be eliminated.

Then there was wrap around skirt, leggings, and armor for the arms and legs. The final challenge was getting the black light paint to adhere to the pleather. I ended up using an undercoating of acrylic under the black light paint. In retrospect I think a regular paint primer would probably have required fewer coats. I was primarily concerned that the paint would not crack with movement.

The producer purchased the "identity ring" from Toys'R Us and Alexandra purchased the boots and wig.

Copyright © 2015 by Donald H. McCunn