Introduction: Practical Superhero Costume
Comfortable. Easy. Last minute.
Last year I needed a superhero costume on short notice for a 12 hour, overnight relay. I wanted something that would be comfortable and warm, and this is what I came up with.
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Step 1: The Game Plan
Most well known and original heroes' costumes can be represented using only a few solid coloured elements. If you wear a matching colour shirt and pants/skirt, with a large logo in a contrasting colour on your chest you will look like a superhero. No spandex required.
Enhance this by adding boots and a belt, mask and/or cape.
Step 2: Base
Start by finding a set of clothes to serve as base for your costume. Raid your closet or a thrift store for comfortable, colour coordinated clothes.
Go for solid, bright colours and clothes that fit tight to the body. Baggy clothes and any logos that can't be covered up will ruin the illusion.
Step 3: Accessorize
Buy some felt or fleece and fabric glue, or a needle and thread, to make boots, a logo, a cape, head band, mask and or belt. Keep a look out for colour coordinated gloves.
You will need:
- Felt (get creative and use an old fleece vest or blanket*)
- Basic sewing supplies (needle, thread, pins) and/or fabric glue
- Rubber bands or hair elastics
*Felt is easier to work with.
Step 4: Symbol
Decide on a symbol for your hero. If you are replicating a well known character then simply print off a drawing from the internet. If you are designing your own symbol keep it simple and use only two colours.
Cut the symbol out of paper and use that as a pattern for cutting the symbol out of contrasting colours of felt. If you are not planning on converting your t-shirt back to a normal shirt after Halloween then glue the felt directly on. Other wise glue more intricate designs on to a single large piece of felt and loosely sew that to you shirt. If you shirt stretches when you put it on, make sure you are wearing the shirt when you pin the felt on.
Step 5: Boots
To make felt boots use newspaper to make a pattern over your shoes. First wrap a single sheet of news paper over the shoe and tape as shown. Trim the newspaper so that only the outside of the shoe is covered. Carefully remove the tape and you have a pattern for the bottom half of a boot. Cut the pattern out of felt (leaving an extra tab on one side for gluing) and glue the boot bottom along the back seam. I highly recommend sewing over this seam by hand quickly to reinforce it.
For the upper portion of the boot follow the same steps. Wrap your leg in newspaper to make a pattern and glue the felt together.
When everything is dry put on the boot top, boot bottom and your shoes. Arrange everything how you want it and trim the excess fabric. Pin together the seam between the top and bottom pieces of the boot. Carefully take off the boot and glue the seam without removing the pins. This is necessary to make sure that you will be able to put the boot back on.
When everything is dry sew a cut rubber band or hair elastic across the bottom of the boot from one side to the other to hold the boot to your shoe.
For wearing indoors find a pair of colour coordinated knee high socks. This would also be an easy solution if you have a pair of shoes in roughly the right colour.
For indoor parties, just make the top half of the boots and wear them with matching coloured socks.
Step 6: Cape
Adding a cape to your costume is a great way to add warmth. You can easily fashion a cape out of a towel or old fleece blanket. Here I used a 30" by 40" piece of fleece.
Start by draping the cape around your shoulders in a pleasingly heroic way, then instead of tying the corners across your neck, use safety pins to pin the cape down to the shoulders of your shirt. Now that the cape will stay where you want it without choking you, pin the corners of the cape together with a broach. Or use a safety pin and make a fake broach out of felt.
For a superman style cape, fold the top corners of the cape as shown. Pin the corners, making sure to lock the folds in place, to the shoulder seams of your outfit.
Step 7: Mask and Belt
A mask and belt can be made following the same method.
Cut a mask shape or a strip for a belt. If you are using self adhesive velcro, start by pasting the fuzzy side of the velco to the inside of the end of one side of the mask or belt. Then stick the hook side of the velcro to the fuzzy side and put on the mask or belt. Wrap it as tightly as you want and stick the exposed adhesive of the hook side velcro to the other strap. Sew the velcro on, because the adhesive won't hold very well on the fabric. If you find your mask slipping down, use bobby pins to hold it in place.
If you don't have velcro, just use a safety pin.
Step 8: Head Band
I cut a flame shaped head band out of felt and sewed it loosely to a dollar store head band.
Step 9: The Finished Product
I reprized this idea for Halloween this year and ended up spending about $28 dollars. As a bonus I got a nice shirt out of the deal and tights that I can wear as long johns.