Batgirl is our kick-ass cosplay of the month

DIY tips and crafty cosplay secrets on the Barbara Gordon Batgirl from DC Comics

For the second of our new regular column in SciFiNow (see it in its natural habitat in the new issue) celebrating the epic craftsmanship and unbridled creativity of cosplay, we caught up with the brilliant Claire Deeble (aka @BabsBat) to discover how she put together this take on the classic Barbara Gordon Batgirl…

What made you fall in love with Barbara Gordon?

Being a real redhead myself I gravitated towards her version in the Batman universe. My Babsbat is based on the Alex Ross Barbara Gordon version and the comic version of the late 1990s.( Photo Finish Batman Chronicles #9) 1997 and her appearances in Legends Of DC Universe in 1998.)  This version of the costume appealed to me because of the sassiness and cheekiness of the character which makes it fun to interact with other characters and the public at events.

What was it about this particular version of the costume?

Aesthetically the costume appealed because of the different textures and materials with the stark iconic contrast of the yellow and black. The cape I made from a high-quality pleather/leatherette with a satin lining. It’s a panelled cape and very heavy so was difficult to manipulate through a sewing machine at times. The armour and and cowl is made by Paul Wares of Hero Wares (www.facebook.com/herowares) who happens to be my real-life partner in crime and Batman – made in polyurethane having been sculpted off my head and neck lifecast so it’s all bespoke made.

Which bit of it posed the biggest challenge? 

It took me several attempts to get the cape correct and attached to the rubber moulded armour around the neck so it was comfortable with the weight distribution, didn’t move out of position and so it ‘swishes’ correctly. Difficulty was attaching it in a way so I could be easily attached but also look seamless when on. Underneath is a system of bra-fastenings, poppers and velcro. The Bat symbol is mounted on the armour rather than the suit so it doesn’t become obscured by the cape.

The gauntlets I have handsewn with polyuerthane fins moulded by Paul and I have sewn into the seam. Having hunted high and low for yellow gloves on the net and trying various PVC versions what I actually use now is a pair of Marigolds underneath! They were the correct texture and colour match! its surprising the bits and pieces you find which can be worked into a costume.

The belt is polyurethane moulded from a real belt and the capsules individually glued on by Paul. The buckle is a metal batshape I found on ebay and sprayed. This belt is the mark 2 the original was a perspex I jigsaw cut and moulded in the oven, but I didn’t like the size and finish. Its all about constantly improving and upgrading bits and pieces until you’re happy with the final result.

The costume takes about 30 minutes to get into which is very fast for a cosplay outfit. When putting the costume together its not just the aesthetics you think about- also the comfort. For example- when buying the boots I had to find a heeled boot I could walk in all day. And when purchasing the base suit I had to think about how easy it was to use the ‘little girl’s room’  when in full costume.. as well as the neck armour being comfortable. I can be in the costume for several hours at a time so it’s all things to take into account during construction, like the fact that the cowl obscures your ears and therefore hearing which can be disconcerting in the noisy and busy convention enviroment.

Do you love cosplay and the sheer thrill of getting that perfect outfit together in tribute to your sci-fi, fantasy or comic-book heroes? Do you want to feature in a future issue of SciFiNow? Shoot us an email and some pictures!