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Cosplayer Lady Irukandji > Costume of Harley Quinn / Dr. Harleen Francis Quinzel from Batman

Most Recent Photo
09-19-2012
Series
Batman
Character
Harley Quinn / Dr. Harleen Francis Quinzel
Special Variation:
Original design - Masquerade Ballgown
Year Completed:
2012
Construction Difficulty:
Difficult
Costume worn at:
Dragon*Con 2012
Permanent Link:

About this Costume
Construction Details:
This costume is a completely original design inspired by both Harley's appearance (Red and black, harlequin diamonds etc.) and personality (What else would Harley wear to a masquerade ball but a GIANT PRINCESS DRESS MADE OF SPARKLES AND SHINIES?). The design was drawn and revised over the course of about 3 months, while materials are collected, and the actual construction took me about 3 weeks.

The base design of the dress is inspired both by Marie Antoinette-era ball gowns and lolita fashion. I made the initial sketch in 15 minutes, and revised it a little bit when I drew the final sketch in preparation for material-hunting in NYC. I want to incorporate Harley's iconic alternating red and black design, as well as a touch of actual harlequin clowns and a heavy dose of cuteness (I am only 5'5" even when wearing monster platform heels, and a big fan of Lolita fashion).

The first item I bought specifically for this costume is the duo-color lolita wig with clip-in pigtails. I think I am the first person I saw to ever wear the pigtails on the OPPOSITE side of the colors they are supposed to match on the base wig! I also trimmed the bangs so it comes to a point in the middle.

For the dress itself, I happen to have ~4 yards each of red and black dupioni silk that I bought for an abandoned costume project, as well as white satin scraps from older projects. The harlequin diamond fabric, however, proved to be a pain; there is no shops, online or IRL, that sells diamond fabric that has patterns large enough for my needs. I ended up ordering 2 yards of 2"x3" diamond fabric from Spoonflower. The print (on Kona cotton) is a bit duller than I expected but it looks nice in photos. The two rows of rhinestone trim down the front of the dress costs $60 per yard, but I was lucky enough to have groupons that cut the cost down to ~$25 a yard; but still, it is one of the most expensive things I have ever bought for cosplay. The single-row rhinestone trim actually came as a double-row and I cut them up down the middle and hand-sewed or hot-glued them to various part of my costume. The ruffled white trim was bought at the same store as the rhinestone trims, and the large red jewels and ostrich feathers were bought at a beading store.

FindingBeauty generously lent me her Simplicity 4092 pattern, and I followed most of the instruction on it. A bit of time was spent figuring out which pattern piece should be made in what color (red or black) to make sure they alternate nicely, and I also added two flounce layers to the sleeves (with the top ones left open at the front to show the bottom) and cut up the pattern for the back of the skirt to add more alternating black-and-red panels. Since the dupioni was a bit narrow, I had to shorten the dress by about 5 inches. I can almost wear the dress with flat shoes without the dress dragging on the floor!

The bows down the front of the dress and on the sleeves is made by gluing fabric over a craft foam base and sewing down the pinch and middle wrap by hand; the bows are then sewn onto the costume by hand. The single-row rhinestone trim along the seams and on the sleeve flounces are sewn on by hand, which took half a day.

The front of the dress is actually open between the two rows of rhinestone trim, and the underskirt was made separately, as a tube of 3 panels of white muslim and one panel of the harlequin diamond fabric sewn into a tube and gathered at the waist. I figure that the underskirt won't be seen normally so I used cheapo fabric for most of it. :p

The mini-tricorn hat was not in the initial design sketch, but I felt that my head is a bit bare so I added the hat. After a bit of Googling for tutorials on how to make tricorn hats, I made the base of the hat with craft foam, using bowls and plates for the circles. The middle part of the hat was initially too tall so I cut it down about an inch. Fabric is then attached to the base using hand-sewing and hot glue. The rhinestone trim is glued on, and the bow is made out of fabric swatch I got from my hunt for the perfect diamond fabric. This hat is literally pinned to my head (attached to my wig using wig pins) when I wear it, and I am glad it was not completely squashed when I put it in my suitcase as I fly down to D*C.

The mask is made with a base of Wonderflex that is molded to my face while warm, with the same fabric as the hat bow glued to the base and then the rhinestone trim and red jewel glued on top of that. The handle is half of a thin wood dowel wrapped in sparkly red and black ribbons, and attached, along with the feathers, to the back of the bask with more Wonderflex.

The choker is a strip of black dupioni silk with double rows of while ruffle trim sewn on the back, and the large red jewel and rhinestone trim sewn on in front. Dupioni silk frays like a bitch so I probably have to remake the choker next time I wear the costume.

Underneath the dress I wore an overbust corset that I made a while ago (which gave me GLORIOUS CLEAVAGE), and a wide pannier I bought off eBay as I didn't have time to figure out how to make one. The sheer black gloves are from my closet. I was also wearing black and white harlequin diamond tights and 6" monster platform boots underneath the dress so I match the rest of the group's height better (I think Harley would be a girl that wear giant platform boots underneath a formal ballgown too :p).

I did the makeup myself which took at least 1.5 hours as I work kinda slow. The look was similar to my makeup for my succubus demon costume, but less "pointy" and harsh. I bought a pair of false lashes with red tinsel bits, and doubled them with a pair of thick lashes with distinct thick "points" in them. I also drew a diamond beauty mark on my right cheek, and wore more blush than I normally do as inspired by the Rococo era. Light blue contacts (Neo Cosmos Glamour Blue) were worn to match Harley's eye color.

Putting on the costume took more than 2 hours by myself, but it was totally worth it!
Personal Thoughts:
THIS COSTUME IS MY BABY AND I WILL LOVE HER FOREVER AND EVERRRR TT^TT

I was invited by Lilacwire to join her Batman Masquerade group for Dragon*Con 2012. When she showed me the list of available characters, I was surprised that no one has taken Harley Quinn yet. Since red and black are my favourite colors and I like my characters crazy, I jumped at the chance of being her. From the design to construction to finally wearing the damn thing at D*C, I poured money, time and probably part of my soul into this costume for more than 2 months, and I am so glad that the end product looks so fantastic and how everyone loved it. Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement on Harley!

(Side note: My glorious cleavage has caused people to mistake me for both Yaya and Vampy, which amused me greatly :V)
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