This Instructable has received considerable edits recently (7/27/18.)
At this time it covers the construction of the vest Harley Quinn wears in Batman: Arkham City. I hope you enjoy!
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)
-10 grommets & tool
-Black Quilt Binding (in the section with bias tape)
-Sewing machine and associated accessories, tools, ect.
-Iron / Ironing surface
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 Buckles and Be Done!
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.
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.
That's it! You've completed the vest! Hopefully it is a great addition to your costume!