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007: The Robin [Sidekick] Sidenote

This past Halloween was Batman-themed (I’m a fantastic influence). Coupled with Colin’s and my Joker/Harley pair, Lo was Two-Face and A was Robin a la Burt Ward (his pick). We purchased a cheap Batman suit for the boys’ father, and made a Poison Ivy costume in a day for their mother. A’s costume was the main focus of my Halloween commissions, as Robin (well, Dick Grayson) is my absolute favourite comic book superhero and so I wanted to make it as good as possible.

I had some restrictions, due to A’s age and sensory issues.

• The fabrics had to be soft and pliable.
• A has issues with many clasps and closures (he won’t wear fly fronts, for example) so it was important that he could not only remove the clothing easily, but also not feel the closure on the tunic.
• October in Seattle isn’t cold but it’s not warm, either. Wearing tights and a short sleeve shirt, Robin isn’t well-suited for real world nighttime.
• Robin’s shoes. A has a large adjustment period to new shoes, especially over the ankle. I didn’t have time to hand construct him Robin booties, and while I loved the idea of green doc martens (a la Damian), it just wasn’t feasible. I went with spats over dyed converses, shoes that A enjoys.
• Keeping in mind A is a ten year old boy, I couldn’t keep the costume shapes exactly the same, as I didn’t want it to be either inappropriate, or get him mocked at school.

Initially, I was concerned about the tights because of A’s adjustment to new clothes and the fact that most little boys won’t look at tights (even footless) without assuming they’re for girls. That being said, A handled tights amazingly. Not the slightest hesitation. I guess it pays off to introduce superheroes to your little men!

Sidenote to the sidetone: The kids at school loved his costume and no one teased him. I was really worried!

Construction-wise, I tackled the tunic first and foremost, since it required the most tailoring and drafting. It had to be loose because of the green shirt underneath, and also because of the high collar; I knew it would make A feel choked. I made the bottom flare bigger to cover him more, instead of it matching right at his beltline. The best part about the tunic is the false front: the grommets are a flap over a thick plastic zipper that makes removal easy, and also puts multiple layers between the closures and A’s skin. I found a great four way stretch for the green fabric, but I knew it would be too cold for A so I lined the shirt with a soft green cotton jersey knit that just wasn’t the right shade for me (also it would have stretched out as boyshorts). I also made the sleeves longer, to help keep him warm. It was wholly successful, as A wore constantly that, the green boyshorts and the yellow tights.

I had massive issues with his gloves. They took around 7 or 8 muslins to complete, mostly trying to find the right median between tight/looking good and loose/feeling good. I also lined the forearms with fleece (as well as the cape and spats), which kept rolling over, as you can see above.

And then we lost one. He also kept doing this:

Which, okay. Adorable. Not so good on the fabric, though.

So remaking the gloves is important.

The spats drive me nuts. I ran out of grommets (poor planning on my part), so there’s just a scant few on each spat, making them look less like Damian’s military Doc Martens and more like Cheap Halloween Costume Ridiculous. Throwing in those foul neon yellow tights and I knew that a lot had to be adjusted before I wanted to bring him to a Comic-con, even just Seattle’s.

As for Nightwing, we have both batarangs and escrima sticks. I have adjusted the backseam as much as possible and I’m thinking of lining his gloves with some craft foam to make them pop a bit, as the comics sometimes show (also, I was just really displeased with how the gloves met the shirt).

I can’t believe Saturday is the big day for them! Last week my black contacts arrived so I can have comic-book eyes for Harley Quinn, which I am excited to experiment with. I know she has those faded blue eyes but I’ve seen people in those contacts before and I don’t think I will really pull that off. Black will be subtle and great. Too bad Colin’s Joker jacket is in shambles for me to remake, Harley’s just going to have to drag around the pipsqueak boy wonders by herself!

Tomorrow I’ll have an update on the puppets - five bunnies and a frog at the moment!

  1. aidanrae posted this