DIY Superhero Costume

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Finley wants to be a superhero this year and I know I could buy a superhero costume for him at the store (complete with built in muscles), but I knew this one would be fun to make and I couldn't pass up the chance to use the tackiest, shiniest fabric I could get my hands on. 

This costume was pretty easy to make and took me about 3ish hours total. You'll notice above that he is wearing a headband rather than the mask I made. He hated wearing the mask. He hated wearing his mask last year so I should have had a clue. Anyhow, I made him a headband instead. I'm including templates for both so you can choose which one floats your kid's boat. 

I broke this tutorial down into three different segments: the t-shirt, the cape, and the headband/mask. You can make just one part or all three. 

What you'll need for the superhero t-shirt:
  • T-shirt in color of your choice
  • Two sheets of felt in contrasting colors - for washability and durability, I recommend eco-fi felt by Kunin
  • Fusible webbing - for this project, I used Heat n Bond lite
  • Lighting bolt template (or you can draw your own) - download here
  • Child's initial template. There are a lot of free comic fonts available online. I used comica bd. You can download the font of your choice and create your own template for the initial. (The initial template will need to be backwards because the image will be reversed once you've put your applique together).
  • Sewing machine/thread

  1. Take your lighting bolt and initial templates and place them under your fusible webbing. Trace them.
  2. Iron them onto your sheets of felt following the instructions for your fusible webbing. If you're using Heat n Bond, iron them for a few seconds on the wool setting (NO steam).
  3. Carefully cut them out.
  4. Iron the lighting bolt onto the t-shirt following the instructions for your fusible webbing. Again, if you're using Heat n Bond, you'll iron on the wool setting (NO steam). I like to place a scrap piece of fabric over the appliques on this step just to be safe. Make sure the applique is firmly adhered. Machine stitch the lighting bolt to the t-shirt (I used a running stitch). 
  5. Iron the initial on top of the lighting bolt applique. Machine stitch.

What you'll need for the cape:
  • You'll need a cape. There are so many great tutorials on the web (like this one and this one) for making capes and I didn't feel the need to reinvent the wheel. Laziness on my part? Perhaps. Both of the tutorials I linked also include instructions for the applique on the back so you can go with theirs or you can follow below to make one that matches the tee.
  • Three sheets of felt. One to match the color of your t-shirt and the other two to match the applique that you made for the the tee. Again, I recommend eco-fi felt by Kunin.
  • Lighting bolt template - download here
  • Child's initial template (use the same one you used for the t-shirt).
  • Fusible webbing
  • Sewing machine/thread

  1. Just as you did for the t-shirt, trace your lighting bolt and initial templates onto fusible webbing. Iron them onto the felt and cut them out. You'll also want to cut out a circle large enough to fit your lightning bolt and initial inside. I did NOT use fusible webbing on my red circle since the shiny cape fabric I used cannot be ironed.
  2. Iron the lightning bolt onto the red circle.
  3. Machine stitch the bolt onto the circle
  4. Place your initial onto the lightning bolt and iron. Machine stitch on.
  5. Since I did not use fusible webbing on my red circle, I pinned it onto the cape and machine stitched it on.

 What you'll need for the mask or headband:
  • Two sheets of felt. I used contrasting colors to match the applique on the cape and tee but they could be the same color if you choose.
  • Fusible webbing
  • Elastic
  • Sewing machine/thread
  • Template - download the headband here or the mask here. These templates are sized to fit my 5 year old's head - you may have to adjust accordingly. The instructions are the same for the mask and headband.

  1. Place your mask or headband template under the fusible webbing and trace.
  2. Iron it onto the felt.
  3. Carefully cut it out. Iron it onto the second sheet of felt.
  4. Carefully cut it out.
  5. Machine stitch together.
  6. Not pictured. Stitch on some elastic for the band (measure your child's head for best fit).

In case you were wondering, Oliver is going to be a bat. I made him some killer ears and a mask to match his wings but he won't wear them either (these kids!).

If you get hung up on any of the steps or have any questions, don't hesitate to let me know. Good luck!


Jo said...

maybe you have answered this questions on past posts but where is the best place to find the long underwear type tops and bottoms on your boys...american apparel?
thank you!!!

Grace said...

Hi Jo! I usually buy the tees and leggings from American Apparel because the quality is great. However, I'm pretty sure you could find some at Target or Old Navy. Let me know if you have any other questions. Cheers!

Jo said...

i figured that was probably where you got them...i haven't had much luck with target and old navy selling just plain sets. thank you!!!

mrs. olson said...

I would love to see the bat mask and ears you made. My 6 year old wants to be a bat for Halloween, too!



Grace said...

Hi Rachael! I'll post a picture when I get back into town tomorrow.

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