Eric always had a preference for the classic, more colorful, goofy blue and grey Batman and Robin. We also wanted to make sure these retro-inspired costumes looked handmade like the honored grandmothers of the day would have fashioned. ;) We didn't use any fabric store patterns this year, and we were surprised at the ease in creating these costumes using ready-made t-shirts from Wal-Mart along with a few slightly altered pieces of fabric from our local fabric store.
When all was said and done, we probably spent about $30 per costume. Happy Hearts.
Here are the materials we used:
- Red, yellow, and grey plain t-shirts
- a green t-shirt we already had
- grey girly stretch pants from Wal-Mart
- yellow tights
- blue and green soccer socks
- cowboy boots that we already had
- 1/2 yard each of yellow and green Spandex
- 1/2 yard of blue "stretchy velvet"
- black and yellow felt that we already had. One sheet of each color would be plenty
- a very talented grandma who can crochet a batman hat, and the blue yarn
- blue button for cowl
- black foam masquerade mask
- yellow Duck Tape
- 4 AA dead batteries (we suggest you let them die of natural causes)
- about 20" of 1" wide black nylon strip
- metal belt buckles
Step 1: Tops and Leggings
For Batman's top we purchased a grey long-sleeved t-shirt and leggings from Wal-Mart. (The leggings were in the girls' department, and our boy is too small for those sizes, so Momma ran a seam up the outsides of the pants to make them smaller. Your little Batman may or may not require this step depending on his size.)
The only alteration needed to the top was the trademark Batman symbol. We began by using a scrap piece of paper and free drawing the logo. Once it looked right, we pinned the paper to the felt and cut the design through the paper and felt. The oval was then cut to fit the bat.
Lastly, we added some of that granny nostalgia by hand-stitching bold embroidery thread around the bat and Robin's "R". This is how we attached them to the oval and the circle. We then used quilting thread to hand-stitch the Batman symbol and Robin "R" to the shirts.
Robin's leggings are yellow footless tights which were purchased in the girly section of Wal-Mart.
Robin's red sleeves had to be removed first so that it would begin to look like a vest. We simply turned in about a 1/8 inch seam and sewed so we wouldn't have a raw edge that could fray. Secondly, we pinned an overlap down the center of the shirt and stitched it into place so it would look like two pieces of cloth coming together and fastening in the front.
See above for instructions on how we made Robin's "R" symbol. The yellow "fasteners" on Robin's shirt were simply made by cutting rectangles out of felt and stitching red embroidery thread around the edges and then hand-stitching with quilting thread onto the shirt.
Robin's green shirt is simply a green t-shirt that we already owned, and it's worn under the created red vest.
Step 2: Bloomers, Gloves, and Boots
We didn't feel comfortable having our boys run around with their undies on their outies. Therefore, we made our own. Yes.
We messed up. We made our first ones out of fleece. The pictures that you see will all show fleece. The thing about fleece is that it is very forgiving if you're a sloppy stitcher (which I can be), but it DOES NOT STRETCH. Ever tried to put on panties that don't stretch? Yikes.
So, we ended up making stretchy, Spandex-y things.
First, fold your fabric right sides together (which means you're putting it inside-out basically..with the parts that will be outside facing each other on the inside of your fold), and lay it out so that the fold is on the bottom. Get a pair of your wee one's undies and lay them flat with the crotch on the edge of the fold. Trace around the undies with a marker, leaving about 1/8 inch of a seam allowance on the sides ONLY. The sides, which will lie on the hips, is the only place which will require a seam. Cut.
Next, with right sides still together, sew that 1/8 inch seam allowance up the sides of the eh-hem - bloomers.
Turn the bloomers right side out, cut to make the leg holes a tiny bit bigger in the front (just like the undies) and voila!
Again, the thing about the fleece. It's bad for this stuff.
Fold your fabric right sides together again, and cut a shape which is two inches wide, four inches long on one side, and one to two inches long on the other. (See picture. Because that really doesn't make sense.)
Sew the shape only on the vertical part. Don't worry about a seam allowance. It's stretchy! Once sewn, it's a cylinder with a point that will be a thick bracelet-type thing. The point points towards the elbow.
Our boys are Okies with awesome cowboy boots. So this was easy. :) We put the boots on, put soccer socks over the boots, and folded them back down like one would over a shin guard. Yes, they walked on the socks, and the socks wore through, but only on the heel which made for a cool effect.
Step 3: Capes and Belts
To make the capes, we measured our boys from their shoulder to where we wanted the cape to hit on their leg, as well as from outside edge of shoulder blade to shoulder blade. We used these measurements to draw a triangular shape for the outside cut of the cape. The triangular shape was, of course, rounded at the top, as the top would be the front flap or collar on the cape. We used the inside circle on a roll of Duck Tape to trace a hole to cut out for their heads. STRETCHY! We love stretchy. It goes right on and isn't too big of a hole, sagging way down their backs.
The Batman cape hits just above the ankles and has arches and points cut across the bottom. The Robin cape hits about mid-calf and is a straight cut.
Robin's belt is a piece of nylon with brass belt buckles which can be found at the fabric store. I used a lighter to melt the raw edges of the strip so it wouldn't fray. I wish I had pictures of how to do this, but I had already made it for the boys because they need belts for their pants anyway! If you buy the moon-shaped buckles, the directions are on the package. Super easy. One seam and you're done. Really.
Batman's belt was done entirely out of yellow Duck Tape. We measured our boy's waistline to get a sense for length. I pulled out a length of a tape about 5-6 inches longer than the waist line, and then very carefully folded the tape back onto itself (while on the roll) and bit by bit pulled out another length of tape while sticking it back to itself. I ended up with a length of tape I needed for the belt with no sticky side showing (it was stuck to itself). Using the same sort of technique, I fashioned a couple of loops to the belt at one end. This way the opposite end of the belt could thread through the loops and then double back into the first loop to cinch itself (typical belt fashion). I wish I had taken some better pics to show of this process (sorry!), but with a little bit of creativity and a dash of ingenuity it isn't hard to create a sort of belt piece out of Duck Tape!
For the logo buckle, I began by sticking several pieces of tape sticky sides together and overlapping them to create essentially a piece of material the size of the buckle oval. I then cut out the oval shape and drew the logo in Sharpie on it.
For the utility pieces, I rounded up 4 dead AA batteries we had lying around. I wrapped them in Duck Tape and then used some extra tape to attach them back to the belt. If you need help figuring out how to work with Duck Tape in this way, look up one of the many Instructables on putting together a Duck Tape wallet. Same techniques apply here.
Step 4: Masks
We sewed on a blue button which connects to any of the holes in the crochet on the other flap. Lastly, the ears wouldn't stick up very well, so we found a couple of plastic forks which we broke and sewed the handles inside the ears to keep them upright.
Robin's Mask was a foam masquerade mask which we cut to look like a Robin mask. He doesn't really like to wear it. Keeps pulling it up onto his head and saying it's his "hairband." Cuteness. Anyways, we may end up painting the thing on so he can't take it off! :)