Friday, February 4, 2011

Batgirl: Stephanie Brown

There are many incarnations of Batgirl, and this is the latest as worn by character Stephanie (I know she's had some tough storylines, now let her enjoy this costume) Brown!
I was asked to make the cape, bodysuit and utility belts. (you can never have enough pockets!!)

The Bodysuit:
 Since this bodysuit has  those purple side panels I was able to eliminate the side seams that would typically be there. 

This photo shows the front of the bodysuit being cut on the fold.
 I made proper pattern pieces for the side panels, but was going about making them a little differently. I figured the best way to get all of those horizontal lines on the side panels, as in the illustration, was to make that many seams.  
I cut the purple spandex into rectangles of equal size and stitched  them together keeping the proper length. One of the most difficult things was to figure out how large to make those pieces. It's always the little things that trip me up!
Carefully, without over-stretching, I positioned the pattern on top and cut the proper side panel shape with my trusty rotary blade.

The top of the bodysuit has this pleather yoke, the same fabric as the cape.
Like all comic book costumes, there are always slight differences between artists and between panels! Some illustrations showed this interested detail on the top of the suit, which I decided to incorporate this way.
This was the best place to put the pleather detail because it will not inhibit movement.
Also, notice the lovely way the purple lines up where the sleeves and the body meet. 

The Cape:
The outside of the cape is a black lightweight, tough to deal with, costume pleather. The lining needed to be purple that matched the bodysuit. Typically I would not jump at the idea of lining a cape with spandex (due to the potential "grow" factor) but this needed to match exactly, and attempting to match fabric colors quickly turns into a nightmare.
Here I've got the fabric spread on the floor to ensure even cutting, and that nothing was stretched out. I put down the bodysuit parts, but I did not cut those out. I was merely making certain that I would have enough fabric.
The fabric for the outside of the cape was not as wide as the lining and still managed to mostly fit on my work table.
The nice things about some of the pleather or vinyl fabrics is they have nice knit backsides that are easy to draw on. I like to trace the pattern and then cut when possible, it is especially useful on pleather fabrics which are no good to pin on.
The collar of the cape was just the pleather and closed with velcro.
Cat head!
Those pointy edges on the bottom tried my patience, but what bat-cape is complete without them?

 Utility Belts:
The utility belts were made of a medium weight vinyl, about the heaviest I'm willing to sew through. The reverse side is a nice solid knit, and easy to draw on. I used a colored pencil to trace all my pattern pieces. Each pouch contains two pieces for the flap, and one rectangular piece for the actual pouch. There is also the belt base. I had a limited amount of yellow vinyl leftover from when I made myself a new Batgirl belt earlier this year, so imagine my surprise when the leftovers didn't match the new stuff! Sigh, luckily I had ordered enough of the new stuff to make this costume, but barely. Matching fabric seems to be the biggest challenge I repeatedly face. 
Pouches all around! 
The pouch for the thigh is sewn to a piece of elastic, since that is a difficult spot to fit.  


  1. wow...i really love see your job! you showing all of the process...!

    Really great job!

    hugs from Brazil!

  2. Thank you!

    I enjoy my Brazilian followers!

  3. I love the cape and utility belt, amazing costume! Would you ever consider doing a commission for this costume? If so I would be very flexible with the cost!

  4. Indeed I do commissions! We shall discuss via email.

  5. Hey! Thank you for the tutorial. I'm working on a Batgirl costume of my own, and I hit a snag... Any advice on how to see the bat symbol on the chest? My bodysuit has some stretch to it, so the shape distorts if I just sew it on, but I can't figure out how to attach it while I'm wearing it.