Since ’92, Harley Quinn has been a fan favorite for DC Comics lovers and casual fans alike. And with her recent live-action portrayal by Margot Robbie in Suicide Squad, her popularity exploded to unforeseeable levels.
To help celebrate her, cosplayer Uncanny Megan teamed up with Costume SuperCenter to bring you an easy, DIY step-by-step guide to creating your very own Harley Quinn cosplay to wear at the next convention you attend, on Halloween, or really at any time!
This tutorial will help walk you through the steps of making a simple Harley Quinn costume. It will highlight all the construction steps and include links to anything you might need!
When making bodysuits, it’s easy to turn to McCall’s M7269 bodysuit pattern. This pattern has everything you could ever need when it comes to bodysuits, including a front and back zipper catsuit as well as what we used, a Harley Quinn suit!
While you could use another bodysuit pattern, or just trace your body and make your own, we used this one for the following tutorial.
For this costume, we used generic black and red spandex. It’s super easy to find in any fabric store or online. Feel free to use any fabric you want, as long as it’s four way stretch. You don’t want to end up going through all this trouble just to not be able to put it on in the end.
Once you’ve laid your fabric out nicely (watch for wrinkles), it’s time to start pinning and cutting out your pattern pieces. It might get a little confusing, but please double check that you’re cutting out the right direction pattern piece for each color! Which part is which color is up to you, but keep in mind that Harley Quinn is typically left = black, right = red on top and left = red, right = black on bottom.
If you’re wondering why the pattern pieces look weird, it’s because we traced them out on those cheap shower curtain liners to prevent from messing up the original pattern paper. You can find them at stores like Walmart or Target, no issue.
Now that we’ve got all the pieces cut out, the first step to sewing the costume together is pinning the shoulders together! Pin red to red and black to black, shiny side in.
Now that the shoulders are pinned together, it’s time to sew! We used a serger for this, but if you don’t have one, a simple zigzag stitch on a sewing machine will work just as well! If, however, you are using a serger, we highly recommend using a stretch thread! It really makes such a difference while sewing spandex.
Next step is pinning and sewing the sleeve to the sleeve hole! While you can attach the sleeve at any point, we found it much easier to attach it at this point during the construction. The pattern itself shows the costume with opposite color sleeves, but Harley Quinn’s actual suit has matching sleeves. We attached the matching colors, but ultimately, what color goes where is up to you!
Before you can do anything else, it’s time to hem the sleeves. You can do a simple fold and stitch hem or something a little fancier. We added opposite color trim to each sleeve by cutting a small rectangle of fabric, folding it over shiny side out, and attaching it to the end of the sleeve.
Once the sleeves are finished, you can pin and sew the outer sides of the costume together. (Make sure your fabric is turned in the right direction) If you’re using a serger, don’t forget to add a safety stitch to the end of your sleeve to keep the thread from coming undone.
Now that that’s done, you can start pinning and sewing the outer sides of the leg pieces together. You want to sew red to red and black to black. As always, make sure the fabric is facing in the right direction!
Once both your top and bottom sides have been sewn, it’s time to attach them together! You’ll be attaching red to black and black to red. Sides only! It’s not time to attach the middle yet. Make sure the side seams line up to keep the look of a nice, clean line.
After you have two full halves of the costume, it’s time to add some diamonds! (If you want sleeve diamonds, you’ll need to follow these steps before you close the outer sides of the top of the costume) The first step to the diamonds and cutting them out and pinning them down. How many you make and where you place them is up to you! We placed a set on the left butt cheek.
Sewing the diamonds on is simple, but tedious. You can use a straight stitch, a small zigzag stitch, or, if you want to skip sewing them on all together, you can use Peel n’ Stick.
Now it’s time to sew the front of the costume together. Carefully line up your seam lines and pin each side of the costume into place. Once you’re 100 percent sure the quilting matches up, it’s time to sew!
It’s almost time to add the zipper in, but before we do that, let’s hem the collar! All you need to do is fold it over once (or even twice for a nicer inside) and sew! We suggest using a zigzag stitch to make sure it has stretch around your neck.
Now that this is done, we can move onto our favorite part– the zipper! If you don’t know how to attach a zipper, it’s not as hard as it seems! You just place each side face down, pin, and sew! Then, we you flip the zipper over, you have a nice clean line with no showing stitches. With suits like this, make sure any lines, such as where the black and red meet, match up before sewing.
Zippers require a special sewing machine foot called a zipper foot. If you’re sewing machine didn’t come with one of these, they’re very easy to find in stores or online! This foot makes it so you can easily sew right alongside the teeth of the zipper. If you’re using an invisible zipper, they make an invisible zipper foot as well!
After the zipper is sewn in, it’s time to close up the butt. Line to two back flaps up, pin them together, and then sew. You’ll notice the end of the zipper is in the way, that’s okay, just sew as closely as you can to it.
Now that the back is closed up, it’s time to close up the awkward zipper hole where the zipper meets the backseam. We just pinned the fabric near the zipper and sewed a safety stitch across it. Pinning might give you a little trouble at first, but don’t worry, you can do it!
After the bodysuit is finally sewn into one piece, it’s time to close the legs up, but, before you can do that, you need to hem the bottom of the legs! Just like with the arms, you can do a simple fold and stitch hem or add trim. We added trim the same way as before!
Once the bottoms of your legs are finished, it’s time for the home stretch! Carefully pin the insides of the legs and crotch together and sew! Make sure your center seam lines match up to avoid an awkward crotch area.
Now it’s time for all of Harley Quinn’s accessories!
First up is her jester collar – what fabric and style you do is up to you, but we will walk you through the steps of how to get to the finished product!
First up is making a pattern. We did this out of newspaper. For our collar, we designed it with round ends. Three small ones in the front, two that fall over the shoulder, and one larger one in the back that will be where the zipper goes into.
Next step is pinning it down to your fabric of choice and cutting it out! We used a white canvas type material. Make sure you cut out two layers, as you will be sewing them together to prevent visible stitches.
Once both pieces of fabric are cut out, place them together (right side in), pin them, and sew along the outside. Once this is done, flip your fabric inside out and attach the zipper by cutting your back middle piece in half and following the zipper instructions from before. If you’re using a non-spandex fabric, we suggest ironing it before adding the zipper in.
After your zipper is sewn in, it’s time to hem the neck-line. Just fold it over and sew. If your zipper is longer than your collar piece, you can fold the excess over into the hem to prevent it from awkwardly sticking out.
Next step is your pom-poms or bells, either of which is easy to find at any craft store or even Wal-Mart! We chose to go with bells.
There’s two ways to attach your pom-poms or bells and that’s by hand sewing or hot gluing! We initially tried to hand sew the bells on, but had issues, so we decided to take the easy route and glue them on.
Our next accessory is the arm cuffs! Just like the collar, the design and style of these is completely up to you! We went to Joann Fabric and Craft Store and picked out a fancy ribbon we liked and some white, double-fold bias tape and attached them together.
Since the hot glue gun was already out from adding the bells to the collar, we decided to take the easier (but more painful) route to attaching the bias tape to the ribbon. All we did was measure the wrist, glue down the bias tape to both the front and back of the top of the ribbon, and add a piece of velcro to each end. We also burned to end of the ribbon to keep it from fraying.
Now it’s time for the gloves and the shoes!
For the gloves we just bought two pairs of short, satin bridal gloves; one in each color. They’re super easy to find online, click here for the Amazon link.
For the shoes, we figured it would be cheaper to buy a single pair and paint one rather than buying two separate pairs of shoes. We found a pair of suede boots we really liked on Amazon and bought a pair in red. Click here if you’d like to buy the same pair! We then purchased a bottle of Feibing’s Suede Dye in black. The suede dye has very simple instructions and comes with its own brush. All you need to do once you have your shoes and dye in hand is make sure you’ve chosen the correct shoe to paint, and then, well, paint it!
The wig color and style is completely up to you. You can find a large variety of pigtail wigs in blonde as well as the black and red split on both Amazon and eBay. Personally, we think putting a regular blonde wig into low pigtails with bows is super cute but there are tons of other styles you can do as well! Try checking out Costume SuperCenter for a variety of blonde wigs.
And that’s it! Everything you need to know to make a simple Harley Quinn costume!
If you’re looking for even more superhero options, be sure to check out Costume SuperCenter’s wide variety of superhero costumes and accessories! And be sure to like Uncanny Megan on Facebook, follow her on Instagram, subscribe to her channel on YouTube and follow her on Twitter!