Around mid-September every year, our family begins the annual tradition of brainstorming costume ideas for Halloween. It's an evolving process as we weigh the the coolness factor, degree of difficulty, and relevance of each potential costume.
My son's ideas for his costume this year were driven by his immersion in the new Batman Arkham Knight video game. He was considering many of the key characters from this game, starting with the Scarecrow, which changed to Batman, and ultimately ended with Red Hood. My wife and I had never even heard of Red Hood, but thanks to Google, were soon able to get a clear picture of what would be involved.
He assured us that he could take care of the rest of the costume (shirt, mask and guns), but the jacket would be more complicated. Mad sewing skills were required. It was time to call in my wife.
Step 1: Gather You Tools and Materials
The most critical components are the red and black jackets. We shopped around at multiple second hand stores with no luck. We even considered finding a red hooded jacket and sewing all of the black and white panels onto it. This would have been very time consuming, and would have presented some challenging sewing tasks.
Luckily, we ended up at Walmart and found two polyester jackets that met our requirements. The Red Hood character jacket is designed such that it is characterized by a black and white body with red trim at the waist and along the zipper to go with the red hood. By finding a black jacket that fit on over the red one - we were in business.
Be flexible when looking for these jackets. We were about ready to give up, but then found what we were looking for in the women's section. Note the look of pure joy on my son's face upon finding sizes that fit!
* Red Hooded Jacket
* Black Jacket (preferably with no hood)
* White fabric paint
* Red fabric paint
* Source image (we used images from a similar jacket you can buy on Amazon for over $200!)
* Sewing Machine
* Fabric Scissors
Step 2: Prepare Your Jackets or Sewing
Start by layering the jackets. Our son put on both jackets and my wife made sure the sleeves were not twisted around inside of one another. With the jackets removed and on the table, the zipper and waist band were removed from the black jacket, thus revealing the red fabric below it.
A light line was marked on the red jacket approximately 1" from zipper on both sizes. This is used to position the the edges of the black jacket. The jackets were then pinned along the zipper and waist in preparation for sewing.
Step 3: Sew Them Together
Start sewing the jackets together. Be sure to sew along the waist, by the zipper, and along the neck. It is helpful to also hand stitch the sleeves to one another in a few places to prevent them from getting twisted around when worn.
Step 4: Adding the White
The third main color in the jacket is white. We originally purchased a section of shiny white fabric with the intention of sewing it on to the jackets. My wife soon realized that it was very difficult for her sewing machine to penetrate through the three layers of fabric. She resorted to plan B, which was to paint the white onto the jackets with fabric paint. It required multiple layers, but in the end this didn't take very long at all.
My wife found the mannequin to be very helpful during the painting process. It allowed her to see the jacket in three dimensions, and also allowed her to apply each coat of paint to the entire jacket - thus saving time.
Step 5: Add the Bat
This wouldn't be a Red Hood jacket without the bat symbol. We found a picture of the symbol online and printed it to fill the width of an 8.5" x 11" piece of paper. This served as our template. Once traced, it was painted on with red fabric paint.
You'll note that this is not the conventional bat symbol, which is something that my wife and I wouldn't have noticed. Be sure to search 'Red Hood Bat Symbol' to get the right one.
Step 6: Wow Your Friends at Halloween!
We weren't quite sure what to expect when starting this project. There were many unknowns about how these jackets would sew together, or how we would accomplish the white overlay. In the end, the result of my wife's handiwork was very gratifying. The white and red fabric paint had a sheen to it that looked almost like leather. The jacket was instantly recognizable to anyone who is familiar with the character. My son loved it and wore this jacket with pride on Halloween night.
We often ask ourselves during these costume projects, "is it worth all of this time and effort for something that will be worn only once, and only for a few hours"? But our doubts are always erased upon seeing the end product, and seeing the joy it brings to our kids on Halloween night.