DIY Harley Quinn Costume





Introduction: DIY Harley Quinn Costume

About: Hello all! I'm Michelle, a college sophomore studying Electrical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. My interests vary wildly, though, so expect to see quite the variety from me!

Hello Everyone! Welcome to this Instructable, where I'm going to show you my take on Harley Quinn from Batman: Arkham City.  This came about because I mentioned, rather offhandedly, to my best friend that she should  dress as Poison Ivy for Halloween because she'd recently died her hair redder than it already was. Somehow, this conversation ended up with me agreeing to be Harley Quinn for Halloween. 

I tend to take Halloween very seriously.

In here you'll find how to make the costume and do the makeup. I encourage you all to take the time and read through the entire Instructable before beginning, just so you know what it is you're getting into. There is sewing involved, and I'm going to go ahead and write this as if you've all done some sewing before but PLEASE if you haven't done any sewing or aren't sure of something, ask! I'll do my best to help you out. In total, I spent about 11 hours on the costume, but I did have some issues that I'll explain later, so if you're familiar with a sewing machine and how to put a pattern together it shouldn't take you nearly as long.

The costume bits start on the next step, and the makeup starts on step 8.

Last, but certainly not least, if you've found this Instructable useful in your Halloween pursuits, or just liked it at all really, please take a moment and vote for it in the Halloween Easy Costumes Contest! I would appreciate it very much! 

Now, on to making yourself the Joker's Hench-Wench, er, girlfriend. 

Step 1: Supplies

So, going into this costume I was determined not to make anything. I was going to scavenge bits and pieces from various retail establishments, embellish if I had to, and go from there. Well, after some thorough searching I couldn't find a vest / corset type thing that looked right and that was reasonably priced. So, the vest is made from scratch while the rest of the costume was bought and pieced together.

What you'll need to make the vest:
-Simplicity pattern # 3618
-1yd of red fabric (I used suede because it was on clearance and the right color)
-Red and black thread
-4 rectangular rings (I used brushed nickle, found in the purse hardware section at Jo-Ann fabric)
-6 purse feet (same as above)
-black ribbon
-10 grommets & tool
-separating zipper
Not Pictured
-Black Quilt Binding (in the section with bias tape)
-Sewing machine and associated accessories, tools, ect.
-Iron / Ironing surface
-Straight Pins

Not Vest Costume Bits:
-Black tank-top
-Black skinny jeans (Got the shiny sort of leather look ones that are popular now, and I thought they worked wonderfully)
-Black belt with large, silver buckle
-Red shoes / boots
-Some sort of red or black gloves
-Black choker

Step 2: Starting to Make the Vest

Before we start, I want to say that I had some major fit issues with this pattern, and that's what ate up so much time while I was working on this project. I'm going to explain what I did to make this costume, but if you can find a similar pattern to start from that may have a better fit, it may not be a bad idea.

So, we're going to make some alterations to this pattern. Instead of having it lace closed in the front, we're going to put a separating zipper in the back and let the lacing be purely decorative. It saves time and hassle when trying to get in and out of it, and from a costuming perspective, looks a little neater as the ribbon doesn't have as much of a tendency to get twisted that way. I also didn't line the vest, as it is a costume piece I was trying to make on the cheap and quickly, although the pattern gives instructions to line it. If you want to, by all means, go for it.

You need pattern pieces 6, 7, 8, and 9. Cut those out and if there are any alterations you know you need to make, go ahead and do that. I did, which is why after the first picture the original pattern pieces are replaced with kraft paper ones. I have a long torso, and the vest was rather short, so I added a bit of length to it as well as:

Add 5/8in to the center back.

You need this so you can add the zipper in later.

Pin down your pattern and cut it out, two of each, as usual. Cut the center back even though it says to place it on the fold. Again, a zipper will be going there.

Step 3: Put the Vest Together

Now, go ahead and follow the assembly instructions included with the pattern with these changes:

-Sew the two center front pieces together.
-Leave the two center back pieces apart.

Make sure you finish you seams if the fabric you are working with frays! Otherwise all your hard work will fall apart. Luckily, this suede didn't fray at all.

You should end up with a completed vest shape with the back open.

Step 4: Put in the Zipper

Next you're going to put in the zipper. Baste the center back together, press the seam open, and pin the zipper in place closed. Hand baste the zipper into the seam. Tear out the baste holding the seam closed, open the zipper, and machine stitch in place. Tear out the hand basting. If the zipper is too long, hand stitch around the teeth at the top of the zipper so that it cannot slide past the thread, and trim off the excess. 

Try on the vest, and adjust for fit if necessary. I had to take mine in and adjust it quite a lot.

Then go ahead and finish all the edges, folding them over 5/8in, pressing them, and then stitching them down. (If you are lining the vest, now would be the time to do it instead of just finishing all those raw edges.)

Step 5: Add Lacing

I already had silver grommets and didn't particularly want to but more, but I felt that the bright silver wouldn't look right alongside the other hardware. So, I dry-brushed a matte black acrylic paint onto the right side of the grommets, just so they wouldn't be so shiny. Admittedly, it was rather spur of the moment, but it turned out looking fine.

To mark the holes for the grommets, I measured 1.5 in on either side of the center seam, and made an 8 in long line. Starting at the top of that line I marked every 2 in as a place to put a grommet.  Then, put the grommets in where you marked them to be. Go ahead and lace it up with that black ribbon. 

Hey! It's starting to look like something!

Step 6: Add Buckle-y Things!

Measure from about half an inch from the grommets to the zipper. Remember this number,

Take that quilt binding and cut yourself four 2.5 in long pieces and four (your number - 1) in long pieces.

For the short side, fold one edge over 1/2 in, and stitch it down. Wrap the unfinished edge around your ring and meet the other edge. Stitch down.

For the long side fold one edge over 1/2 in and stitch down. Fold the other edge around the ring and stitch it down. Now you have your buckle-y things. 

You're going to have to find where, exactly, they sit best on you as it will be a little different for every girl. Mine sat right between the first and second grommet, and second and third grommet. They should reach from where you started your measurement to nearly the edge of the zipper. Pin them in place, make sure it looks okay, and then stitch them down. 

Step 7: A Few More Embellishments

We're going to add purse feet as rivet type things. Honestly, they were just the right look. Place one on each short edge of the buckle straps and a third underneath them, to balance it out. Make sure they're evenly spaced! All I did to add them was put a little slit in the fabric with an x-acto knife, slide them in, and then pull the legs apart. Simple, and it looks great.

Also, in-game Harley has a diamond pattern on her pants. From a scrap of the red fabric the vest was made from, cut four diamonds and baste them onto your pants just below the pocket, as pictured. This way, they can be easily taken off again and the pants can be worn for non-costume purposes. 

Step 8: Makeup Things!

Now we're on to the makeup. Here's what you're going to need:

-White Cream Makeup
-Makeup Primer
-Dixie Cup
-Translucent Setting Powder
-Eye shadow in shades of black and gray and purple
-Red Lipstick
-Black liquid and pencil eyeliner
Brushes I Used:
-Foundation Brush
-Cheap Powder Brush
-Better Powder Brush
-Dual Eye Shadow Brush
-Eyelash Curlers

Step 9: Start Clean Then Add White

Alright! First, you're going to want to start with a clean face and moisturize. Then, mix the primer and white makeup in the cup. I've found it spreads and smooths out a little better this way. I used two pumps of primer and a squirt of makeup. The picture probably describes it better than I can. 

Then just paint this mix on with the foundation brush, and get it as even as you can. Make sure to go all the way to your hairline and under your chin. Use your fingers and that better powder brush to smooth it out more and don't be afraid to add paint where you notice you need it. When using the powder brush go in circular motions. See the pictures for a better description  Try and avoid getting it in your eyes. It burns a bit and makes your eyes all red. Also, avoid getting it on your lips if you can. It doesn't taste particularly good either.

Then press on the translucent powder with the puff. This is likely to be messy. The stuff tends to go everywhere. Brush off the excess powder with a powder brush and you're all set. 

Step 10: Eyes!

For this, it's much easier to explain by picture, so follow the comments in the pictures!

Step 11: Lips and Cheeks!

Of course, I forgot to take a picture with blush, but you can see it in the full pictures. Add some light blush to your cheeks and add a purple tint to it with the purple eye shadow.

Add red lipstick or stain. Whichever you prefer. I happen to prefer stain.

Step 12: And You're Done!

Put your hair in pigtails, spray dye the ends with red and black, and get out there and make 'em laugh!

Hopefully, there will be more in-costume pictures as this weekend progresses. Lots of Halloween type things got pushed back due to Sandy. Good thoughts to those who got hit harder than we did.

That's it! Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed, please take a moment and click the vote button for me and rate if you don't mind. See you next time!



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    11 Discussions

    Nice.thank god i haven't buy costume yet , i will try that for Halloween 2016. becuase i thinks its cost is going to be in reasonable price,i bought beautiful<a href="">Puddin necklace</a> from amazon.Thanks again for the guide it will help me for the preparation of Halloween

    Is it possible to make without a sewing machine.

    What size did you make ur vest? Which did you make, or are all of the vests the same? What was the quilted binding for? and did you use a white as your lining?

    4 replies

    I either made a 14 or a 16, but honestly I can't remember. I'd suggest measuring yourself and checking the measurements against the ones on the pattern. There's only one vest included in that particular pattern set. There are aprons and skirts and things too. I used the quilt binding to make the straps on the side. I didn't line my vest, the white is the interfacing.

    This looks amazing but I think I am seriously intimidated about making it because I do not have any real sewing skills. I am a size 14/16.

    About how much would it cost to buy all of the materials for the vest?