I’ve been very fortunate so far with my kids’ choices of Hallowe’en costumes. A couple of years ago, Oskar wanted to be a snail, and most years he’s been happy to just throw on his Spider-man costume from H&M. This year, he wants to be a Bat. There’s a local supermarket chain offering bat costumes for about 8 quid, but no, he had a very specific idea of what his bat should look like. Luckily, it turned out to be fairly easy, involving little more than some felt and elastic, and it ended up being no more expensive than the supermarket costume. So I thought I would share with you how we made it.
You will need:
- one piece of black felt, aprox. 70cm x 100cm*
- two pieces of black felt about 20cm x 30cm big
- a piece of elastic, aprox 30cm long
- a measuring tape
- some chalk
- a pair of sharp scissors
- black thread
- ideally a sewing machine, though you could sew it by hand (it would just take a lot longer)
* These measurements are for a 7 year old, so you should measure up before starting to sew. If you are making this costume for a much younger or older kid, you will need less or more material!
Step 1: Take your measurements for the wings. Firstly, measure from wrist to wrist, with outstretched arms (it was just under 100cm on my 7 yr old so I rounded it up). Secondly, from the bottom of the neck down to the bottom of the buttocks, or longer, if you want the wings to be longer, then add on an extra 15 to 20cms to this, to loop over the arms to make the sleeves (for my kid this was 55cm + 15cm = 70cm).
Step 2. Fold the material in half lengthwise, so it is now half as wide. In the photo below, the fold is on the right hand side.
Step 3: Cut across the corner on the folded side – in the photo below, the measurement along the top is from wrist to shoulder (25cm in our case), and down the right hand side is the 55cm from neck to buttocks. When you unfold it, you will have a large semi-circle in the middle with the two ‘flaps’ either side to make the sleeves (sorry, I forgot to take a photo of the unfolded piece, me bad).
Step 4: Drape the piece of material across your kid’s back, fold the sleeves over the arms (from back over to the front) and pin them in place. I was originally going to keep this easy, and just sew straight across, but we found the whole thing kept slipping off. We found that it stayed in place much better, if it was narrower at the wrist end, so I ended up sewing it diagonally. I’m so glad I pinned it first to check instead of just sewing straight away! The photo below shows you how I did it. I pinned it at the wrist end and the shoulder end, then drew a line with the chalk to sew along (the chalk just rubs off afterwards). Then I trimmed the extra material from sewing along the diagonal – you can see it trimmed in the photo further down.
Step 5: Fold the material in half again, and with the chalk draw some scallops from the sleeves down, along the edges to the fold, to make the wing shape. The chalk rubs off easily, so I sketched it out first, in case I made a mistake (which I did!) so that I could correct it before cutting.
Step 6: Once you are happy with the wing shape, cut it out. It’s best to do this with the material folded, to make sure that both sides are symmetrical.
That’s the wings done! For the mask, you will need the two smaller pieces of black felt. I used my template from the superhero masks I made a couple of years go, and just added on ears. Unfortunately I don’t have a scanner at the moment, to make a new bat mask template for you, but here is a close-up of bat mask so between that and the superhero mask template, you should be able to sketch out a bat mask template yourself. The instructions for sewing the mask are exactly the same as for the superhero mask, except that I used black elastic instead of white.
The rest of the costume is easy – you just wear the wings over a long sleeve black T-shirt, and either black or dark grey trousers (Oskar is wearing his school uniform trousers). Done!
If you end up making your own bat costume, I’d love to see some pics! You can find me on Instagram and Twitter, if you want to tag me. Finally, I could not leave you without sharing a behind-the-scenes pic of Mr Fox photo bombing his big brother! This is his latest thing, whenever I’m trying to take a photo of Oskar, he comes barging in, laughing his head off. He knows exactly what he’s doing!
For other costume inspiration, check out my superhero mask tutorial, our DIY snail costume, the easy no-sew knight tunics, and my up-cycled doctor’s coat!