SEWING PROJECT: Harley Quinn costume (2013)

by - August 15, 2014


So in late 2013, I got to start with my sewing again and was able to accomplish some great projects; however, I never really got the time to document these properly. So yeah, probably almost a year after, I will now gather my thoughts to come up with a somewhat decent post.

Let’s start with my first, real, and presentable dress project, which I actually sewed for our Halloween costume party in the office, a customized Harley Quinn dress. Teehee. :)

I only had less than a week to prepare and I think I finished sewing it in about three days; I had to cut some of my sleeping hours and it was really a challenge since I was still assigned in the graveyard shift during that time.

Since I was fairly a novice when it came to sewing clothes (I used to sew bags a lot), I didn’t really know what kind of fabric I should use. Well, there was Katrina fabric available at Carolinas SM Megamall and it was sold for only Php 55.00/yd. That was good enough for me to start with.

So I got two yards each of a black and red Katrina. I overestimate things because it’s better to have excess fabric than run short. Besides, I can still use the leftover fabrics with other projects, and this is where I am really good at.

I also got two yards of white tulle for the petticoat. I was supposed to get four but I decided that I can fold the tulle in half and work with that to make it a total of four yards.

I had an extra white fabric at home so I needed not to buy one anymore. The white fabric is for the collar of the dress.

Below are the actual illustrations I used as reference in drafting the the dress.

Click here for source of image.
Click here for source of image.

Materials are all set. I pull out my measuring tape to get my updated body measurement, drafted my pattern, transferred the pattern to the fabric, and cut my pieces.


Transferring the pattern markings to the fabric was still a challenge for me during those days because I was still doing it the very old school way; it was how we were taught in my basic dressmaking class.

It was also my first time to use the gathering technique. I couldn’t get it right with the help of my sewing machine so I did it manually, basic running stitch with my oh so reliable hands. I also found it easier to pull the thread when it’s hand-stitched rather than when it’s machine-stitched. The only downside was that it was very time consuming, and I only had less than a week to finish everything!


I used the gathering technique for the skirt portion of the dress. The benefit of this was that I did not have to draft a skirt sloper anymore. Yey!

I left my bodice sleeveless; I never really got the hang yet of creating sleeves. I also just used basic darts. It would still look well with the gathered skirt.


Then it was time to create the collar. I did not really draft a decent pattern for this, which was why it was not perfectly symmetrical. I took the pattern for the upper portion of my bodice sloper and worked with that; trial and error afterwards.

Of course, I had to attach the bodice to the gathered skirt to complete the dress. I used a red invisible zipper for the back. Before, I was so afraid of invisible zippers but once I had learned and tried them, I fell in love with them. I now always use invisible zippers for my apparel sewing projects. Teehee.

Cut out also some square shapes from my black Katrina so I can turn them into a diamond appliqué.

Worked on the petticoat; I wasn't able to achieve one with a very good volume but at least I had something that would give life to the skirt portion of my dress.

I also remember that during the time I was buying tulle, I was deciding whether to get a soft tulle or a hard tulle. Glad I chose the hard tulle since the soft tulle will not be able to give me such volume for the dress. Downside... the hard tulle is itchy.


Then the cowl.

How the heck was I supposed to create the cowl? O_O

So I did numerous research on the internet for a doable Harley Quinn’s cowl tutorial, and thankfully I did find one that I liked (too bad I cannot find anymore the site where I stumbled upon that tutorial). Bottomline… I was able to draft a pattern for the cowl and successfully sew it. I had a stock of polyfill fiber at home, so I used that to stuff the pointed parts and added some uncooked rice to put some weight on it so the very tip would point downwards. I did not have time anymore to look for those fluffy white balls to attach at the end of the pointed parts, so I cut two square pieces from the white fabric I used for the collar, stuffed them with polyfill fiber, and wrap a sewing thread above the gathered ends.

And my Harley Quinn costume was complete! Yey! Thank God for this project. I really learned a lot while doing this. Such great joy in accomplishing it. Teehee.


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