Lady Gaga American Flag Costume




About: Former Instructables employee CHECK OUT MY WORK

I LOVE all the costumes in Lady Gaga's Telephone music video!  The American flag outfit at the end, however is my favorite!  

I have seen a lot of knock-off costumes for sale online but none of them do the outfit justice.  Follow these instructions to have an authentic looking Lady Gaga American flag costume!

Special thanks to Culturespy and frenzy, and scoochmaroo!

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Step 1: Inspiration

Lady Gaga and Beyonce are fierce in there American flag outfits in the Telephone music video.

Step 2: Materials

2 yds of muslin
1/2 yd red satin
1/2 yd blue satin
1/2 yd white satin
1/4 yd white lycra
1/4 yd iron on adhesive 

Pattern Materials:
Measuring Tape
Pattern Paper
Hip Curve Ruler 

Sewing Materials:
All basic materials including thread, sewing machine, pins, scissors, chalk, etc...

Step 3: Making Pattern - Bottoms


Taking Measurements (check diagram): At first I was just going to make a patter out of an existing pair of underwear but this outfit is not stretchy so I had to make the pattern from scratch.
Waist (W)- take waist measurement from around your hip bone
Side  (S)-  I used 2 1/2" as my side measurement 
Crotch (C)- hold the tape measure from the front-center of the waist, bring it between your legs and under your crotch, back up to the back-center of the waist.  

Making Pattern - make two separate pattern pieces, one for front and one for back.  Follow these instructions for both. 
  • Lay pattern paper flat - iron paper if it is wrinkled or curling
  • Draw a straight line that is 1/2(W), mark the center point of this line with an X
  • Draw a perpendicular line, length (S) from each end of the line you just drew
  • Draw another perpendicular line starting at the X that has a length 1/2(C), mark the other end of this line X'
  • Fold the paper in half on the line you just drew (X to X')
  • Only look at one side of the fold
  • Draw a line 1 1/4" perpendicular to the crotch line starting at X', mark the other end of this line D
  • Drawing the hip curve: draw a curve from the bottom of the side line to point D using the hip curve ruler.  This is why the front pattern piece and the back pattern piece are different.  Up to this point the pieces are made the same, but the front of the bottom garment has more of a curve than the back piece.  To figure out the curve. use a pair of your underwear and check to see what the curve is like and try to follow that in your pattern.
  • Cut out pattern piece.  Keep the paper folded when you do this.  This will ensure that the bottoms are symmetrical.

I found this great tutorial for making a corset pattern. Just plug in your measurements and it will walk you through the rest. After I completed the pattern I made a few of my own adjustments to make it look more like Gaga's top. Few adjustments to keep in mind:
  • Top of Lady Gaga's top curves at the breasts a bit more
  • The gap in between the red and white stripes and the blue and white stars.
  • This is a really short top, most of the torso is shown.

Step 4: Making Star Fabric

I couldn't find good quality star fabric so I decided to make my own.  It is super easy!!

Use a fabric that doesn't fray for the stars.  I used lycra fabric.
  • Cut a large piece of the lycra fabric and iron adhesive and press them together.
  • Use a pencil or piece of chalk to trace 25-30 stars on the fabric.
  • Cut out the stars
Adhere stars to fabric once pieces are cut out.

Step 5: Sewing Bottoms

Bottom Back
  • Using back pattern piece cut out one piece of muslin and one piece of red satin.  Leave 1/2" for seam allowance
  • Place red fabric on top of muslin and baste them together
  • Finish the edges by folding them under and sewing.  Don't fold the crotch and the sides.
Bottom Front
  • Using front pattern piece cut out one piece of muslin and one piece of blue satin. Leave 1/2" for seam allowance.
  • Press the stars on to the blue fabric before sewing anything.
  • Place blue fabric on top of muslin (stars facing up) and baste them together
  • Finish the edges by folding them under and sewing. Don't fold the crotch and the sides.
  • Place front and back on top of each other with colored sides touching
  • Sew one of the sides together.  
  • Finish the other sides by folding them under and sewing.  Sew snaps on these edges for easy fit!

Step 6: Top - Red and White Stripes

You will need two copies of the top pattern piece.  One will be adjusted for the red and white stripes.
  • On one of the pattern pieces mark off 7 sections as seen in the image.  It doesn't have to be exactly the same.  Mark each section with a number and a letter to indicate what color it will be (red/white every other piece).
  • Cut out each section along the curved lines.
  • Cut out each small section in muslin and the appropriate color (red or white).  Leave a 1/2" for seam allowance
  • Mark the section number on each piece of muslin.
  • Baste the muslin pieces to the corresponding colors
Attaching stripes together:
  • Sew each section together in numerical order.
  • Do this by hand first.  Because the edges are curved you will need to manipulate the edges of each stripe so the edges are aligned.
  • Finally, sew over this line with the sewing machine
  • Remove thread that you hand sew 

Step 7: Adding Boning

Use the original top pattern piece and cut out 2 muslin pieces.  You will want 3 pieces of boning: 
  • One on the center front 
  • One on the side of your body
  • One a couple inches from the center of your back.
Attach the boning to the muslin.  The featherweight boning already has a casing around it so you can sew it straight to the muslin.

Do this for both pieces of muslin.  One will be the boning for the right side and the other for the left.  Make sure the boning is symmetrical.

Step 8: Sewing Top

Use the original top pattern piece and cut out 1 blue piece and 1 muslin piece.  The top part of the garment is half blue and white stars and half red and white stripes.  The instructions in this step for putting each half together is the same.  Treat the red and white striped piece you made in the last step the same as the blue and white star piece.

**Attach stars to blue piece: refer to step 4

Baste the blue and white star piece to the muslin piece.

Place the blue and white piece and the corresponding muslin-boned piece on top of each other.  The star side should be facing the inside and the boned muslin piece should be facing the outside.  Sew all edges together except for the back edge (see image).

Turn the piece inside out through the open edge.  

Now create a small 2"x3" piece of blue fabric to attach the two top pieces together.  

Fold the open back edges over so it looks polished and attach hook and eyes so the top snaps together!

Step 9: Rock Out!

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    34 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Firstly, this is not a troll and I don't want to offend anyone, or inflame what is obviously a very contentious issue.

    That being said, I personally don't agree with anyone who wants to ban everyone from doing something just because it offends them personally. As such, I consider those parts of the Flag code that attempt to prohibit desecration or wearing of the flag, as patently ridiculous. The 2nd amendment is awesome. Every country should have codified in law the right to freedom of speech. How can a country, begun with such lofty ideals and with freedom at its core, dictate that a flag may not be hung upside-down, or burned, or made into a suit. It boggles the mind. No one has the right to not be offended.

    Of course, it's slightly disingenuous to say that wearing the flag, or a garment made from it is "illegal" when the law is unenforced and unenforceable. While technically true, when was the last time that it was enforced against a private citizen? In recent memory, Air Force General Richard Myers, once Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wore a shirt similar to the one Abbie Hoffman was wearing, on Memorial Day, in Washington DC.

    And of course, if you want to wear the Gaga costume and are arrested, just tell them it's the flag of Liberia but that you added more stars to "jazz it up". ;)

    3 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I do not agree with you and never will. It's our flag and a symbol of our country, it deserves respect. You can clothing made to look like the flag without an actual flag and mangling it. Should I be glad that you care so little about your country that burning it's flag is okay?

    I can assume that if the Taliban or any other foreign rebel group or terrorists should burn the US flag and feel it necessary to video it and send it to us, that that is okay, right? And it's also okay, by you, to graffiti the white house with spraypaint as freedom of speech, right?

    The failure of government or the people to enforce a law or code does not mean that it should not be enforced.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I agree with you that the second amendment is awesome. It states that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. However, it is the FIRST amendment that includes the right of free speech as well as freedom OF (not from) religion, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. That said, it's okay by you for someone to desecrate the flag. Does that freedom of speech extend also to my use of certain words to describe ethnicity? I'd bet not. This is the result of public school indoctrination. It's good to "stick it to the man" but the "man" is not allowed to return the favor. One day you will understand.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    In an ideal world, freedom of speech would extend only up to the point where it causes harm. There are real-world examples where speech can cause actual harm. A famous example usually given in these discussions is yelling "FIRE" in a crowded theatre. I think personally that whether or not racial slurs should be "allowed" largely depends on that sort of a test, i.e. whether there was intent to cause harm.

    The subject of racial slurs is a contentious issue, which is, I suppose, why you brought it up. Bravo. In an ideal world, you could use whatever language you liked. However, in an ideal world, they would have been no such thing as slavery, no Jim Crow laws and no need for the civil rights movement.

    Personally, I think that you should be allowed to use such language provided there is no intent to incite violence or cause actual harm, however there's a very good argument for any increased sensitivity in applying Freedom of Speech in the case of racial slurs. I.e. Because up until about 40-50 years ago, people were still being lynched in the U.S. because of the colour of their skin and the socio-economic after-effects of slavery & of Jim Crow laws are still being felt today.

    For another example, do I hate Westboro Baptist Church and everything they stand for? Yes. Do I hate their inflammatory, ugly, hate speech? Yes. Do I respect their right to say the things they do? Yes.

    "One day you will understand" very condescending of you. Not sure that fits in with the "be nice" policy. I don't know what you mean by "public school indoctrination". I wasn't even taught by the American public school system, let alone indoctrinated by it. (Thank Thor. :)

    The fact of the matter is that, for better or worse, the U.S. is a major super-power. It has the ability to start unjust wars and topple governments in 3rd world countries at will. It even has the potential to destroy the entire planet with nuclear weapons, if it so chose. The idea of it being so insecure that it needs to protect its flags from "desecration" is the most pathetic thing I have ever heard.

    If a student burns a flag in protest at U.S. foreign policy, do Obama and Clinton cry themselves to sleep? I sincerely hope not. It has caused no harm other than to someone's sensibilities. If that student is so much as arrested for burning that flag then they have been caused infinitely more harm than they caused. For that reason, yes. A thousand times yes, they should be able to "stick it to the man" and be protected from "the man".

    FYI, while I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this with you, nowhere in my original comment did I express any real desire to "Stick it to The Man" , I just wanted to A) point out how ridiculous the Flag Code is in any country that purports to be Free and B) point out that like most ridiculous laws, the Flag Code is unenforced/unenforceable.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    It's not okay to desecrate, burn, wear, etc the flag because it symbolizes America. Burning would be like threatening to light America on fire. Just because nobody cares doesn't mean that burning it is okay. If you think the flag is not that important seek to have the laws changed.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Its protected Free Speech, interesting how those Americans now whats really important, Freedom or simple icons of freedom.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    The instructable was well done. Anyone wanting to duplicate it shouldn't have no problem doing so by following your instructions.

    Unfortunately costume can be an issue for many, but not so much for use who have been taking note of what has been going on in the real world for years. At worst this is a facsimile of of elements in the USA flag, that are not assembled in a manner to depict the flag in entirety. I believe for some the original lady gaga costume was problem, was an issue because it was lady gaga, and that her costume may or may not have been made from an actual flag. I'm unable to find reliable information as to how the original was constructed. Country/western artists are often seen with borderline violations of the US flag code, but no issue is ever or rarely taken.In the event the current code was enforced literally, it would soon be revised, because the code as it is prohibits activities that many take for granted.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I remember when I was 18 and working with a 30 year retired master sergeant from the air force and while sitting in my car one day the Jimmy Hendricks version of the National Anthem came on and I thought he was going to explode. At the time I didn't understand the problem although 40 years later I know more about what he was feeling. As a scout leader I was horrified to notice a flag lying on the ground outside of a scouts tent. On further investigation I discovered it was a swimming towel. When I proceded to have a chat with him about respect for the flag he told me he felt the same way but his mother bought the towel for him and he didn"t want to dissapoint her by not using it. I think if the intentions are good it OK. If someone is trying to denigrate the country then I have a problem with that.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    sure. it is legal to burn it, but not make a bathing suit out of it. how old are you?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    We're talking about something extremely sensitive here. The US flag, or any flag for that matter, is a symbol that people feel so passionate about, that it's considered extremely disrespectful to fold a flag wrong, or even to throw away a tattered one.
    Perhaps you may not understand the value of the banner of my country, but that's exactly why it's just better left un-touched. You may not understand, but I do. Take a look at the case of Abbie Hoffman. Feel how you feel about politics, he got in trouble for wearing a shirt made out of an American flag, not for wearing a shirt with the American flag on it.
    It has been ruled that you can do whatever you want to our flag, legally. But that doesn't mean that it's any less of an important, treasured symbol. All I ask is that it not be desecrated. I'm not trying to start something here, and I ask that others try not to as well. I'm simply explaining why I feel that the subject at hand is sensitive.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    The supreme court to some extent.

    Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989) and
    United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    True. Your right. It is has only been ruled limited to burning that I know of.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    People have no clue what a flag means, or why it is important. No amount of explaining will teach them. It's illegal for a reason, and they'd never believe it.

    So yes, thank you for not making this out of an actual flag.

    Abbie Hoffman was arrested for making a shirt from a flag, but probably more so that he wanted to get arrested for it, publicity stunt for his neo-whatever movement.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    What scares me is that despite this instructable not using a real flag, it looks as though the original one worn by Lady Gaga was made from an actual flag. Perhaps not, but it's still unsettling.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    It is explicitly illegal to use the flag as clothing or to use parts of the flag as clothing as stated in Title 4 Chapter 1 of the United States Code. Title 18 Chapter 33 Section 700 lays out criminal penalties as well. I'm 39, how does that matter?