Make your little (or big) superhero happy with this homemade captain america costume that can be made from recycled t-shirts.
Lately, my son has been obsessed with superheroes. He may switch favorites from day to day, but whether it be Hulk, Batman, Iron Man, or Captain America, one is sure to be the focus of his attention of the day.
So, when it came time to dress him up for Carnaval at his school this year, I wasn't surprised that he wanted to dress up like Captain America.
Of course, finding costumes for Spider-Man and Superman is "super" easy, but finding something for Captain America is a bit more tricky. I did manage to find a few things I could use, but since I hated them, I ended up going the DIY route.
I must admit that I spent a lot of time making the costume, but most of the time that went into it was time wasted on making things the wrong way and starting over. I even tried making a helmet out of cardboard, another out of craft foam, and another by repurposing a bought helmet from the dollar store. Then I realized that my son wasn't going to wear a helmet anyway. Once I had my final idea for the "helmet," it took me less than half an hour to make it.
So, hopefully my method will help you whip out a costume you like pretty quickly and somewhat effortlessly.
Today I'll start with part one, the Captain America outfit and helmet.
(Next time I'll show you how to make the Captain America shield and superhero boots.)
Every time I've done superhero costumes for my son, like the Batman costume a couple of years ago, I've always chosen to go the vintage route. Not only were the original costumes more colorful and fun for kids, but I think they just are so much cuter on them.
So, for the captain America costume, I chose to make the iconic royal blue top with a white star and red and white stripes on the bottom.
I chose to make it short sleeved and put it over a white, long-sleeved shirt, which proved to be a good idea because my son has wanted to play in it year round. In the summer he just wears the short sleeved t-shirt with some navy shorts. He insists on wearing the boots all year!
Let's start with the shirt:
You will need:
1 royal blue t-shirt (in the size of the person who will wear the costume.)
Scraps of white and red t-shirt fabric (if you cut the from the bottom of old t-shirts, you can save yourself the hassle of hemming the shirt later on.)
A piece of fusible web for the star
Make your stripes and sew them together.
The trickiest part of this project is calculating the size of the stripes. I made 6 red stripes and 6 white stripes, alternating colors and leaving 6 stripes on the front and 6 stripes on the back of the shirt.
Set the shirt flat on a table and measure the width of the shirt and add 7 times the measurement of the seam allowance you plan on using. (If you plan on making a seam of 1 cm, add 7 cm to your measurement.)
Once you have calculated that measurement, divide it by 6 to get the size of the width of your stripes.
You can now cut out 6 white stripes and 6 red stripes with the calculated width and a length that will depend on the height of the person you’re making the costume for. If you are using fabric from old t-shirts and can cut the stripes from the bottom, leaving the hem, you can save yourself the hassle of hemming the shirt later on. (I did it that way.) If not, you’ll have to add extra length for the hem of your shirt.
To calculate the length, try on the blue shirt with the bottom part cut off, and measure from the cut line to whatever length you want the shirt to be. Once again you have to add your seam allowance, and extra for hemming if you aren’t using the bottom hem of the fabric scraps.
Once you have your stripes cut out, start sewing them together by placing one white stripe together with one red stripe with the right sides facing each other. Sew down the length of one side, lining up the bottom hems well if you’re using them. (I did this by first using my serger/overlock machine to make the seam tidy and then strengthening it all by sewing down the seams with a regular sewing machine, but you can get away with using either of them.)
Add another strip by placing a new, red stripe together with the white part and continue until you have two sets of six stripes. Line them up with the t-shirt to see if you have the width right, and then place both sets of stripes together with right sides facing each other and sew down both sides to form an inside out tube of fabric.
This post is also available in Español.