This was first posted as my guest post on UCreate last month (thanks again, Kari!). I’m reposting here and now in case, like me, you’re scrambling for a last minute costume or two. Perhaps, also like me, for your husband and yourself who normally don’t wear costumes and so no plans were made for any and now you are in a mad dash to throw something together by Friday night and have put all else in life, including a certain shawl collar assignment, on hold? Either way, if you are still in need of a costume, hopefully this will help you out. The last part of the tutorial, explaining how to body-build an existing shirt, would be especially fast and easy for a quick last-minute alter ego. For other ideas, here are some from my recent past:
First, a little history: Two years ago my then five-year-old announced that for Halloween he wanted to be He-Man. His favorite bedtime book at the time was Masters of the Universe: The Sword of Skeletor, circa 1983, inherited from his father. A total sucker for matching my children, I decided we’d do a whole Masters of the Universe theme. But when it came time to make the costumes, I realized that He-Man is really just a naked guy in a pair of wooly briefs and a ton of muscles. And though I’m sure my kid could have rocked the wooly briefs in what nature gave him, he was severely lacking in the muscle department. After Googling and searching for ways to make muscles, and not finding anything not involving mixing my own latex, I just sucked it up and came up with my own way.
So here’s what I came up with for Halloween ’08:
I’m just going to show you how to do the chest/torso. The tutorial I’m sharing applies to the other muscle areas, as well. It’s just this is the most complicated section, and it happened to be the one I needed for my kid’s costume this year, so it’s the one you’re getting. But I’ve included PDF files for my interpretation of the thigh muscles and upper arms as used in the He-Man costumes. Just an FYI, though: I graduated in PoliSci, not anatomy so…
Muscle template, either your own of my PDF shared here
Washable glue stick
Knit, or any stretchy material
Sewing pattern of your choice (not pictured. sorry)
Nu-Foam—I used 2 inch width
**Nu-Foam can be found in the upholstery cushion area of your fabric/craft store. I used this rather than that green funky foam stuff because it’s washable. The general consensus among my local JoAnn’s employees was that the green stuff was not.**
I find it easiest to cut through a few layers at a time, rather than try to tackle the whole girth of the stuff in one swipe.
eg: I was only needing the front top to have muscles, so I needed two front top pieces
Here I show how I arranged the chest/torso as well as the shoulders and biceps (this is the last you’ll see of the latter, though.)
When I made the He-Man costumes, I didn’t have anything so fancy, and my zipper foot worked just fine.
And you haven’t even broken a sweat.
Next year he wants to be a hamster. Awesome.
Flip the shirt wrong side out and glue the muscles down on the wrong side front (because of the size of the shirt I used, I had to go with some impromptu baby muscles)
Being careful not to catch the back of the shirt, and not to let the shirt bunch as you go, use your zipper foot to get as close as you can to the muscle area.