DIY Superhero Costume w/minimal sewing

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Halloween is fast approaching and I am preparing.  I have never been a big fan of Halloween.  As an adult, I always feel pressure to have a cool costume, but don’t want to spend a lot on something I’m going to wear for one night.  Even as a kid, I thought it was fun to go trick or treating with my friends, but never got super excited about costumes.  It was more a means to an end (candy)!

Now that I have two adorable boys, my attitude is shifting, but last Halloween, they were too young (7 1/2 months) to appreciate how adorable the dragon costumes I procured were.  In fact, they were pretty miserable and we have hilarious pictures of two hysterically crying dragons.  This year, I still think they will be mostly annoyed by having to wear a somewhat bulky, cute animal type costume, so I decided to make them superhero costumes that they will hopefully grow to love and reuse.

I have never been very good with a sewing machine.  I don’t really understand how to adjust the tension and stitch length or when to use a stitch other than the most basic one.  So, I wanted to make something that did not rely heavily on my ability to sew.

Sorry I don’t have good in progress photos.  The whole project was so quick that I forgot to get out my camera.  I also wasn’t sure it was going to turn out well, so I didn’t have it in my mind that I was going to post about it.

Materials:

  • 20″ of sweatshirt material (My boys are about 31″ tall.  This was more than enough to make two long capes with selvage on the bottom, perfect!).
  • red, black, and yellow felt (or whatever colors you want)
  • wristbands
  • 13.5″ of elastic (about 3/4 the circumference of your kid’s head)
  • thread/needle or sewing machine
  • fabric glue
  • rotary cutter/healing board (optional)

Step 1: Cut Capes

I picked sweatshirt material b/c it doesn’t fray, so you don’t have to hem it.  I could have used fleece, but we have a dog and fleece attracts her fur.  I don’t want furry superheros!

Your measurements (top width (neck): height: bottom width) will be at a ratio of 4:5:6, adjusted to however long you want your cape to be.  Since I want my boys to be able to wear these for a while, I made long capes and as they get older, they’ll be more like regular length capes.  My measurements were approximately 13″ (just over), 17″ (just under), 20″.

20130919_112010I measured out a 17″x20″ rectangle and used a rotary cutter to cut it.  Then, I marked the midpoint of the top and measured 6.5″ (half of 13″) to the left and right of that mark.  I then cut a straight line (using a ruler) from each of those marks to the bottom corners making a trapezoid, or cape.  Doing this was so fast that I forgot to take pictures, so here’s a drawing for you!

For the collar, I cut a 25″x2″ rectangle and sewed it on leaving a little edge on top because I like the way the material naturally curls.  I sewed velcro so that it would attach around my boys’ neck in the front so that it was snug with no risk of choking.  I cut the material longer than necessary because I don’t want to have to redo it later.  I figure I can just sew new velcro as their necks get bigger.

Step 2: Make Personalized Superhero Logo

I printed my kids’ names using cool superhero font I downloaded from the internet on paper in the size I wanted them to be on their capes.  Since the font has a black outline, I used both red and black felt for their names to achieve that effect.  First I cut the letters out with a rotary cutter and ruler by tracing the outer outline on the black felt and then the inner outline on the red.  (This is the key to cutting out precise letters and shapes when you are not artistically inclined.)  Then, I used fabric glue to attach the red to the black and the black to the red.

Then, I printed out action bubbles like this and sized it to be slightly bigger than the names.  I used a rotary cutter to cut that out in yellow felt and glued the letters on.

I sewed the logos (the yellow part) on the backs of the capes.  You could use fabric glue for this part too.

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Step 3: Accessorize

When my boys were trying on their capes, I realized that they needed some accessories, so I whipped up some masks with black felt and elastic.  I used this template without the lightening bolts resized for my boys’ faces.  I like when the mask wraps around the head a little, so the mask width was a little less than a third of my kids’ head circumference (about 5.5″).

20130926_132210.jpgCut out the masks (I folded the material in half and cut one side so they’d be symmetrical.) and attach the elastic.  At first, I tied knots and pulled through little holes I made, but I thought it looked messy, so I decided to sew the elastic and it looks much better.

For the wristbands, I cut out felt stars and glued them on with fabric glue.  Easy peasy!

The collar looked like it needed a little something something too, so I used some felt scraps and fabric glue to dress it up with my boys’ first initials.

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Summary

It took about 2 hours to make both costumes and I spent about $14 for material, felt, and wristbands.  That’s only $7/kid!  Not bad and pretty cute/tough if I may say so myself 🙂

I don’t like posting pictures of my boys on the internet because I’m irrationally, or maybe rationally, paranoid about creeps, but check this cutie out.  I wonder if he’s available for a playdate with my boys.  He seems like he’d be a good role model.

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One Response to DIY Superhero Costume w/minimal sewing

  1. […] of two toddlers, preparing for Halloween naturally revolved around making their costumes (see post here), but I needed something simple and comfortable to wear too!  I whipped up this inexpensive shark […]

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