Costume Notes: Batwoman

Photo by Scott Van.
Photo by Scott Van.

Completed: May 2015

Hours Spent: Approximately 20 hours

Debuted: Dallas Comic Con Fan Expo 2015

Why This Costume: My friends over at Gone Catawampus had the idea for a Gotham Girls group several months ago and asked me to participate. I hemmed and hawed over which character to make for a while since I’m not a big DC fan. Originally, I planned to make Zatanna since I figured she’d be a quick, easy make, but after reading a couple of Batwoman trades at my library, I switched over to Kate Kane. I love her simple, yet powerful design and she’s such a badass lady!

Photo by Scott Van.
The Question is Kat from Puku Cosplay Productions. Photo by Scott Van.

How I made it: This wasn’t a particularly challenging costume, but it did have a couple of unique elements.

The bodysuit is pretty basic, so I focused more on the fabric and tailoring it to fit well. I used my go-to Kwik-Sew 3052 and added princess seams to the front and back of the pattern. I used a gorgeous stretch vinyl. However, there’s not a lot of stretch to the fabric, so I had to size up and really pay attention to tailoring, especially at my bust and hips. I added the Bat logo out of red stretch pleather using my favorite applique tutorial.

tumblr_nmvncbFwPQ1sxq29yo1_500I had zero interest in even trying to make gloves this time around, so I ordered 2 pairs of red pleather gloves off of eBay that were a close enough match to my red pleather. I carefully seam ripped the outside seam of my base gloves and constructed the fins out of the 2nd pair of gloves. The fins are stuffed with craft foam to help them keep their shape.

Photo by Kristin Bomba.
Photo by Kristin Bomba.

My utility belt was pretty fun to build. I made 8 functional pouches large enough to fit my phone and my other con floor necessities. They have belt loops sewn on the back and slide onto thick webbing with a parachute snap in the back (Side question: Would anyone be interested in a short tutorial on how I made the pouches?). I think I’ll add snaps to the belt itself along with the back of the pouches to keep them from sliding around. The buckle was made by Callula Cosplay out of Worbla and painted by me.

The boots are my old Captain Marvel boots! I just cut off the buttons and painted them a few shades lighter to better match my red pleather. The bonus? Now they match my Captain Marvel better!

Best running joke leading up to the con. How many Bat-ladies can fit under my cape? Photo by Kristin Bomba.
Best running joke leading up to the con. How many Bat-ladies can fit under my cape? Answer: 4. Photo by Kristin Bomba.

My cape is definitely my favorite part of this costume. It’s by far the biggest cape I’ve made to date. To start, I used this general sketch from the RPF to help me figure out dimensions. In hindsight, I probably should have gone for smaller scallops, as the points near the top of my cape liked to fold over when I raised my cape up. I opted for a six-panel cape to cut down on the amount of fabric I needed to buy.

Probably my favorite Question/Batwoman photo EVER. Photo by Kristin Bomba.
Probably my favorite Question/Batwoman photo EVER. Photo by Kristin Bomba.

Pro-tip: anytime you have something cut on the bias (like this cape), let your fabric hang for a few days. The charmeuse I used for my cape lining stretched out a ton and was super slippery to sew with. I top-stitched the edges of the cape to keep everything in place. There are also BB pellets in the cape to weight it down a bit, and removable dowel channels on the outside edges for when I decide to act like a badass and intimidate everyone with my cape. Of course, I was a massive derp and left my dowel rods on my kitchen table the day of the con 😛

My mask is another creation from the very talented Kevin Dale. It fits beautifully! My wig is a gently used one I bought off of Etsy a while back. It’s okay, but I think I’ll order something from Epic Cosplay or Purple Plum next time I wear this character.

Photo by Kristin Bomba.
The ladies of Gotham! Photo by Kristin Bomba.

Thoughts on this costume: I…. had some issues with this costume. Mainly with my choice of fabric. I mentioned above that the vinyl didn’t stretch well, which definitely affected fit on my body. I was so irked that Yaya Han’s bodysuit pattern came out like 2 weeks after I finished Batwoman. It would have been perfect for this costume, especially those bust cups!

I also had a major issue with overheating. While the vinyl was gorgeous, it did not breathe AT ALL and I left my cold packs at home since I figured the convention center was cool enough to keep that from being an issue. I probably won’t wear this costume again until late fall or winter, but when I do, I’ll likely remake the suit and add mesh paneling on the sides like I did with Callula Cosplay’s Huntress. That will go a long way to help with the heat problem.

BAT-FAM! Photo by Kristin Bomba.
BAT-FAM! Photo by Kristin Bomba.

Overall, this was a fun build! While not my first choice of costume, it was fun to run around with my friends as a group.

Have you made a costume for a group that wasn’t your first choice? What did you think about the experience?

15 thoughts on “Costume Notes: Batwoman

  1. I’ve made costumes specifically for groups a few times, and it’s actually been hit or miss. If it’s a costume that I either care enough about or is easy enough, it’s really fun! But if it’s a lot of effort/time/money for something I don’t care as much about, it kind of sucks some of the fun out of it. Thankfully that hasn’t happened too often! 🙂

    1. I was at a cosplay panel at DCC, and one of the celeb guests said that when it comes to groups, always pick a character you’re okay with doing solo. I’m definitely taking that to heart in the future!

  2. A great costume with a lot of nifty ready to wear changes! And I can not agree enough with you on letting bias cut fabrics hang for a while! At least a day, a week is even better – otherwise hemming is a real PITA…

  3. This costume looks so amazing. I’m sorry that it was a bit uncomfertable to wear.
    I’d love a utility belt like that for everyday wear :p None of my clothes have pockets, and a purse isn’t allways practical.

  4. I have a question on the cold packs you mentioned. What are they? I made a vinyl jacket for my daughter(13) for the New Batgirl 52 and the blasted thing is giving her heat rashes at the crook of the elbow. I’ve 2 weeks to Fl Supercon and I’m desperate!

  5. Probably when I was in a local cosplay group – I made quite a few cosplays that weren’t my first choice, like Jessie from Team Rocket. I also made costumes for soldiers from Mulan; that turned out to be a lot of fun.
    Your Batwoman looks great.

  6. Hey, I know this post is a bit old, but im planning out my own batwoman costume, and I’d like some advice? Because of the cape, getting all of the black fabric in even the cheapest vinyl/pleather is making the price of the whole thing skyrocket. I found a charmeuse fabric that has the shiny look that would give the same visual effect as leather, but i was wondering if the fabric would even work in a bodysuit? assuming i took your advice and hung it out for a couple of days, of course. would it be too slippery or stretchy to make the whole suit out of it? its only my second time making a bodysuit, and im only really starting to dive into bigger cosplays. i would really appreciate the advice. thank you for your time!

    1. I will say that charmeuse can definitely be super slippery to sew. If vinyl is out of your price range, I’d recommend looking into a nice heavy weight bridal satin instead. has peau de soie for $5.45/yd and I love working with it!

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