How to Create a DC: "Harley Quinn" Costume

Introduction: How to Create a DC: "Harley Quinn" Costume

About: I'm a kid in a candy store when it comes to creating things. I love learning different versions of art, whatever medium it may be. Feel free to like the official site on Facebook to keep up with past, presen…

"There she is...The one... The Only... The Infamous Harley Quinn"

Dr. Harleen Quinzel was a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum and crossed a few ethical boundaries when she fell for one of the patients- The Joker. Since that time, shes been a bit off, but still has quite an ability to get into trouble. She is often paired as the girlfriend of the Joker, but has also close contact with the other ladies in the Batman world such as Poison Ivy.

For the 2020 Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, our group of friends wanted to go as a large Batman themed group. We had two ladies in the group who liked the idea of going as Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. I have seen several versions of the suicide squad Margo Robbie Harley, but I wanted to stick with a classic. Here is my tutorial for the Harley Quinn jester suit. Let's get started!


- Red Full Body Lycra Suit

-Black Full Body Lycra Suit

-sewing machine, thread, needles, clips

-cotton stuffing

-masking tape

-Clear wrap

-tape measure

-white fabric

-white small fabric balls

-large white fabric balls


-shoes (preferably flats)


-1.5-2 inch wide White ribbon (several yards)

-plastic mascaraed mask



-white face paint

-black lipstick

-make up sealer

-black eye mascara

-fabric fasteners

-blue contacts (optional)

Step 1: References

Before I ever start ANY costume, I look up a ton of reference photos from various sources and put it in a folder. The more pictures from different angles, the better. Look up:

1. Actual photos of the character from its source (movies, comics, action figure, etc)

2. Cosplay pictures. You can see what has been done, what you like, what you don't like, how to improve on a design. You can also start getting an idea of different poses you think you'd like to do.

3. I start looking at art work. I usually look up things via google images, deviant art, tumblr, etc. This way, you can see different renditions of a character through a new perspective and once again, start thinking about what you like, don't like, etc.

4. Use your own imagination. Think about what you want, how to make it your own original design, what are some tricks you think you'd like to incorporate.. perhaps you want to try out a new technique with this build, etc

5. If you can draw, I sometimes will take all my reference sources and start drawing out my own design.

Step 2: Body Suit

1. First, try on the suits and see how they fit. Most of the time, these suits are generic so they don't fit comfortably. Often times, there is way too much material. (pic 1+2)

2. Use your stitch remover to take off both zippers from the back of both Zentai suits. Set them aside as you will use them.

3. You want each of the suits to fit like a glove.. IF THEY DO NOT, turn the suit inside out and put on. Use your sewing clamps and close the back.

4. Cut off the head area very carefully around the neckline. Remember, you will be wearing a white bib over that area so it doesn't have to be super pretty.

5. Then cut off the hands from each of the suits. It is better to cut the suits closer to the hand area than the wrist, especially if the material is stretchy. You can also cut the feet off, but if you do, cut closer to the foot, as the material will ride up on you if you cut too for up the leg.

6.Bunch up the fabric around the arms, waist, and inner/outer legs.Clamp off the excess fabric

6. Using your clamps as a guide, sew new seams on the suits to make the suits form fitting. (pic 3+4)

7. Because they suits are form fitting, they should be relatively the same size now at this time. Put one of the suits on, and use your chalk to make on the suit where you are going to split it. This was a very anxiety provoking process for me considering i was probably 4 hours into the project by now. Once everything is mark, cut the suit apart.(pic 5)

8 place your pieces over the other suit and cut along those lines as well

9. Turn your suit inside out and arrange the pieces. Remember that everything is flipped at this time, so make sure you re sewing the correct pieces together once it is turned inside itself. (pic 6)

10. sew all your pieces together and try it on. (pic 7+8)

11. Once everything fits together, take one of your zippers that you removed in step 2 and resew it back in place. (pic 9)

Step 3: Cowl

1. You are essentially making a balaclava. Draw out your paper template. Remember, it is easier to go smaller and chop off fabric as needed. However, it is gonna look janky if fabric is too small. (pic 1)

2. Use your template and your chalk to draw the pieces onto some of the unused excess fabric you chopped off from the body suit.

3. sew together inside out.try it on and adjust the sizing as needed. If you need to make it more fitted, then just as needed. You can use the chalk to outline the areas you need to cut out around the face too. We had a hard time getting the cosplayer's head in the balaclava so we used the other zipper and attached it to the back of the head upside down so that the person could slide their head in, and zip down. (pic 2)

4. Now that you have the balaclava made, draw on your horns on a piece of paper and use your chalk to transfer onto more excess fabric (pic 3+4).

5. sew the pieces inside out so that when you wear it correctly, the seams will be on the inside. (pic 5)

6. Take your large cotton balls and sew them to the ends of the horns. (pic 6)

7. Stuff your horns with your cotton, put on the cowl, and then pin your horns in place. Use your chalk to mark their location on the cowl.

8.Take off your horns and create a paper circle that is the diameter of the base of the stuffed horn. The reason for this is you want things to be symmetrical when you sew/place them onto the cowl.

9. Using your chalk marks on the cowl to guide where you want that paper circle to sit. Do on both sides.

10. Take off cowl, cut out the fabric circles, and sew the base of the horns into the space the circles belonged. Doing it this way allows for them to be symmetrical. You can then choose to sew a flap on the inside of the cowl to prevent the cotton from coming out.

Step 4: Bib

1. Grab your clear wrap and make a bib around the persons neck/ chest. This is so that the masking tape will have something to grab on to.

2, Take your masking tape and tape up one side of their shoulder/ neck. I use a interweaving pattern with the masking tape so that it stays together when i pull the tape off. (pick 1+2)

3. From there, draw your pattern directly onto the masking tape. Note that the bib has a collar, and it has 6 total symmetrical drops (3 in the front and 3 in the back) that come from the collar.

4. Chop off the collar and set aside.

5. Transfer that masking tape template to a paper template and use it to draw out the 6 full drops (pic 4)

6. Transfer to your white fabric 2x and cut out.

7. sew together inside out. Flip it to its correct way so the seams are on the inside and then stuff with cotton stuffing to give it some substance.

8. attach the collar.

9. Now you can attach your 6 smaller white cotton balls and also some metal fasteners to sit in the back. (pic 5+6)

Step 5: Gloves, Wrist Cuffs, and Shoes


1. Have the person spread their hound out on a piece of paper. outline their fingers and then add a little bit of a border around it. (pic 1)

2. transfer it twice to the excess fabric in each color and then cut out

4. Clip each piece of the fabric hand together and sew together (pic 2)

Wrist Cuffs

5. The wrist cuffs were something i have never done before. No need to reinvent the wheel so i looked up someone else's tutorial. Here are a few different options. (one has super annoying music, so just mute it) (video 4 +5)


6. Ironically, the girl who was going to wear the Harley costume ended up needing foot surgery so she needed to wear boots that provided more support to her. So flats were a no go.

7. So she found me a pair of boots that she could wear and i used some of the excess fabric to cover them with the corresponding colors. Then i took some opposite color shoe laces for contrast. (pic 5+6)

Step 6: Mask and Make Up


-The mask is something i found from a a dollar store. I just cut it up to fit the shape I needed. (pic 1)

-However, if you feel so inclined to make your own, i have my former instructable for that right here.

Make up

- With make up, you will want to use some type of sponge to apply the white face cream. You want a nice even layer on your face

- You can add eye mascara, blue, contacts, and fake eyelashes..

- Don't forget your black lipstick.

-Once you are set, make sure to have yourself a few sprays of make up sealer so that your make up doesnt smudge.

Step 7: Finished!

That should be it. If you'd like to create a prop mallet for your costume, you can find my tutorial here.

I do think props are fun, especially when it comes to a character like Harley. It's almost a freebie to be as obnoxious as you want to be, as that's always what's expected of that character.

Practice your poses and don't take yourself too seriously with the costume. After all, you are in a court jester outfit. LOL. Find yourself a Mr J, Poison Ivy, or some other Batman family people and you should be golden.

Thanks for following the build and for more geeky goodness, feel free to find me on Facebook, instagram, tumblr, and youtube!

Find us at 9:07 in the music video

Other costumes/ props featured in this Instructable:

-Batman Thrasher suit


-Zatanna: Coming Soon

-Mr. Mxyzpltk

-Poison Ivy

-Carnivorous Plant

-Gotham Swat: Coming Soon

-Red Hood

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    2 years ago

    Great tutorial ! I especially love the cuffs :) they look very cute.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you very much! the cuffs were a very difficult part, but very much needed!