After spending a lot of time testing various materials of different thickness, I’ve decided to use a pure cotton base layer for the hexagonal print, and neoprene ‘panels’ for the armour. To get that tight look seen in the Tron Legacy film we’ll have to sew the foam to the underlayer. I bought 3mm thick black neoprene foam from eBay. It’s soft enough to sew and thick enough to hold electronic components without warping too much. I’d say the tight-fitted look is what separates the top 10% of Tron costumes out there from the rest of them which tend to use motorcycle clothing or leather jackets.
I used a company called Woven Monkey to print out 2 metres of the hexagonal print design. They’re a great company and I strongly recommend them.
And to get that tight-fitted look we have to sew the neoprene to the cotton. I’ve done a couple of test stitches and it seems strong. I’ve also tried bevelling the edge of the neoprene and that doesn’t work.
I then began making the vest. I cut a waistcoat-shaped piece of neoprene out and draped it over my shoulders. There’s no easy way to do this but you basically have to try it on, take it off, trim it some more, and repeat that until you’re satisfied with the shape. I also attached a zip to the front in order to simulate the tight fit.
The back of the vest should have ‘wings’ which wrap around your middle and connect with the chest panel at the front. I’ve been using Loctite superglue for these parts and reinforcing with stitching.
After that you’re ready to start creating parts of the underlayer. Again this isn’t easy. Start with the armpit/rib cage area. Try the vest on over a tight-fitting black t-shirt and mark out the area the vest exposes in chalk. Add an extra inch or two before cutting out the cotton panels as you’ll need these for hems.
I actually glued the cotton ‘windows’ to the inside of the vest before I started sewing. Carpet adhesive is great for this. But don’t get it on your fingers. Use rubber gloves, it takes ages to get off.