harley reference

Harley Quinn

Source: Batman Animated Series/Harley Quinn Comics

Completed: October 2007

I can never remember where I first saw her, but Harley Quinn is the earliest memory I have of wanting a costume. Years ago, before I was a SW fan - I just loved her look. After I had made a few costumes, I started to get more into Harley - her comic series, and episodes from the Batman animated series. Then I found out Bruce Timm (co-creator of Harley) would be at our local convention - I knew I would finally make her costume. It took a fair bit longer than I had originally planned - due in part to getting distracted and making a Joker costume as well. But in the end, I'm really happy with the final costume. There are a few little things I wish had had more time to do a little better, but I really enjoyed learning a lot as I went.

- Black Lycra undersuit -
For hiding undergarments, and just giving a 'smooth' finish to the costume. I used Kwik Sew 3052, a pretty good pattern that needed only minor changes to fit me better. I used Nylon lycra, with a small zip in the back.

- Black and Red bodysuit -
Again I used Kwik Sew 3052 - it was well suited for Harley Quinn because of the front seam. I ended up making it from the 'bottom up', with black and red 'Manhattan knit' fabric. I sewed it up with the bottom colours being right, then worked out where the cross seam would sit on me, then cut it at that point, then sewed the top up in the correct opposite colours, then sewed the two halves together and added sleeves. The diamonds were carefully cut out and applied with 3M spray adhesive - this held incredibly well, allowed the two layers to stretch together and meant I didn't have to sit for hours handsewing them all on! The bodysuit does up with a small zip at the back.

- Red and black gloves -
I knew because of the red, I couldn't just buy red and black gloves - the colours wouldn't match, and it's pretty hard to find red gloves that aren't satin. I tried using a Vogue glove pattern, but my hands are too small. Instead of spending ages adapting the pattern, I simply traced around my hands and sewed them out of my manhattan knit - worked well.

- White Collar -
Spent a while drawing squiggly shapes on newsprint and holding it around my neck in the mirror. Just a progress of seeing what looks right in terms of shape and size. It took a while, but I'm very happy with the shape. I originally planned to make it from white satin, but it didn't sit flat at all - so I used a white cotton drill. It ironed completely flat, and looked great. It is made as two identical shapes - front and back, sewed together across one shoulder, and it closes shut on the other shoulder with little snaps. I hand sewed small pom poms I bought to each 'squiggle'. To finish I sewed a small strip around the inside neck so it would form a little collar around the neck.

- White writst cuffs -
I took a strip of white cotton drill and sewed it into a tube inside out - this fitted exactly around my wrist. I then did the same with a really long strip - and sewed it in a zig zag onto the small wrist band. This took some time to do with my machine, but I love how it turned out. They dome close around my wrist with little snaps.

- Black and Red soft boots -
These took me ages. I originally tried to make them from vinyl then cover them with my bodysuit fabric, but the vinyl sat horribly. In the end I cut 2 'v' shapes out of vinyl, and covered them with the red and black fabric - they dome closed around my ankles, as a separate piece to the boots. The boots are basically pointy toed socks made in three parts - sole, top right and top left. I cut the sole again out of vinyl and placed this inside the sock to give some flatness to the shape. It all worked surprisingly well.

- Red and Black hood -
One of the most important aspects of this costume for me was getting her hood right. I already had a basic hood shape (from my Barriss Offee costume), but Harley's had to fit tigher, and has a 'flat top' to the face opening. It took a few tries, but I got a shaped that worked well enough (I didn't get the 'squarish' angles around the face that I wanted, but it looks okay). The ears were sewn up like cones seperately, stuffed with polyester toy fill and hand sewn onto the hood - took help to get the placement right. The pom poms were slightly larger than the ones on the collar, and hand sewn onto the ends.

- Accessories -
For her mask I bough a cheap white plastic face mask, cut it to a more correct shape. I stretched the black manhattan fabric over it, and glued it in place, folding it over the edges. I used thin clear beading elastic to hold it in place. Kryolan white makeup and black lipstick finish it off.

My husband made Harley's oversized gun for me. The handle part is from a cheap toy gun but the barrel etc is made from pvc pipe and styrene. He then sprayed it silver, and hand painted the grip black. It looks great.

The Joker

The Joker seemed simple, but I ended up putting more time into it than I probably should have. I used the McCalls 8701 costume pattern, and changed it a bit. I shortened the tails and made them end in a point. I tend to get picky with silly details, and even though nobody would ever really see it - I decided to line the whole thing. The pattern didn't include lining, and I'd never lined anything (except the sleeves for my Jedi costume, but that's easy). I spent ages figuring out how to turn bits inside out so no stitching showed... but I managed to do it. Only the lining on the tails is visible, but I like knowing the inside is all tidy. I had fun playing around with the automatic buttonhole function on my new sewing machine - and added a few on the sleeves (trying to copy the look of one of Matt's suit jackets). Added buttons on the sleeves and front.

The costume pant patten was for huge elastic-waist baggy pants, so I trimmed them down each side and added a small invisible zip down the side. if I'd had the time, I probably would have found a proper men's pants pattern, but seeing as I was only really making the Joker to go with Harley, I thought adapting the existing pattern would suffice.

I made the shoe covers by drafting newspaper over Matt's shoes - then sewed the same as Harley Quinn's collar - white drill, inside out and ironed. They attach with elastic under the sole, and hook and eyes around the back. The cummerbund and bowtie were pretty easy - just some purple satin back shangtung. It took ages to find a green shirt - the one I bought was the only one I found. We got some green hair colour spray, a fake green flower, gloves, white face makeup, and some of my lipstick. I got a screen grab of the Joker's blueprint to kill Batman, and Matt drew it onto a large piece of blue card.

Worn at - Armageddon Auckland 2007.

Flickr set - Flickr.com/photos/mattandkristy/sets/72157610880171084/

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