Barbara Gordon - DC Super Hero Girls
Time to Make: 5 hours
Timeline of Construction: July - August 2016
In the summer of 2016 I was enjoying taking a break from sewing. I had made Sakura's Shippuden outfit in the spring and I had spent most of April and May stressing out about the Nominoichi at Anime North so I pretty much turned my brain off of Cosplay in the summer and was hoping to relax. I usually find myself the most productive in terms of costumes over the winter break and into the spring. It also didn't help that the summer of 2016 was extremely hot and some go to Cosplay events like APOP weren't happening so it didn't feel like much of a season to Cosplay and work on new things. In early July I noticed that Toys "R" Us was beginning to sell the really cute DC Super Hero Girls dolls and I immediately took a liking to the Batgirl design from that toy and web show line. I had first heard about the DC Super Hero Girls dolls back in the spring, but no local stores were selling the toys. I also really liked the designs for pretty much all the girls from that series. DC Super Hero Girls is a web series by Mattel. It's a promo tool for a toy line and features teenage versions of popular DC characters (mostly girls) attending Super Hero High School. After seeing the toys, I decided to check out the web show and over the course of a few days I watched the first season and all the episodes that were available. I thought it was really fun and I quickly ordered dolls of all the main girls. I was quite surprised that when Barbara Gordon was introduced she was not Batgirl right off the bat, but was instead the IT staff for Super Hero High and was a civilian. She was in a few episodes in the first season wearing a casual outfit and I immediately thought it was such a neat design. I had just purchased new glasses in June and one of the pairs was similar to the black glasses that Barbara wears. Really, that's what jumped out at me about the character. Finally someone I can Cosplay while wearing my glasses! I'm not a big fan of wearing contacts with my costumes. I don't wear contacts regularly and I find that they irritate my eyes and are such a hassle to put in. Within a few moments of seeing Barbara introduced in the first episode, I was intrigued to want to Cosplay as her and the idea sat at the back of my mind for pretty much all of July.
By the end of July I was starting to think more seriously about wanting to go to Fan Expo. Normally I would maybe go for one day of the con, but since I had almost no Cosplay events to look forward to, attending Fan Expo for more than just a day was sounding pretty appealing and along with con excitement, thoughts of Cosplaying Barbara Gordon started to bubble up again. What kept me from jumping on the bandwagon of Cosplaying this character right away was not being sure if anyone would actually recognize the costume and of course, the cost of buying costume pieces. By the end of July I thought what the heck and started thinking more seriously about it.
What really prompted me to start planning for Barbara was Arda US running a wig sale. Fairly early on I decided to order a Jeannie wig because that worked really nicely for my Bulma costume several years ago and Babs has a similar hairstyle. I figured cutting the wig wouldn't be too difficult since the Jeannie wig is already pre-styled into a ponytail. Even still with the sale, ordering a wig was quite pricey due to the exchange rate and the cost of shipping. Ordering a Jeannie in pumpkin still cost me over $60. Still, I figured it was worth it given how few costumes I make these days and how much I like Barbara.
The whole costume was purchased pieces. I enjoy costumes where I re-purpose bought clothing (like Sherry's China outfit from RE6 or my Splatoon Inkling Kid costume) but I did very little in terms of construction for this costume. I ordered the black crop top from an eBay seller. It was originally a full length top and I modified it by cutting it back and hemming it to make it a crop top. The yellow tank top was purchased from a 3rd party Amazon seller. It was a bit tough to find a yellow tank top that wasn't a racerback. The tank top was super long and a bit big so I cut it back and hemmed it so it would be easier to tuck into my pants and I took in the sides of the shirt so it was a bit less baggy. I kind of love how the tank top and crop top look together. That's what really made the costume stand out to me. It seems like a nod to the yellow and black of Babara's classic comic Batgirl costume.
I looked for a while before ordering pants for the costume. I actually wanted slightly darker pants, but I didn't have luck finding pants that weren't super light or very dark. In the end I settled on ordering jeggings from Walmart. They're a bit lighter than I wanted, but they work alright. I could have gone with normal jeans, but I wanted to stick to the sleek nature of most of the outfits the characters wear so I decided to get jeggings so they would have a tighter fit. Once I got the pants I cut off and hemmed the bottom of each pant leg because they were a bit long on me.
One of the trickiest things to pick out were the boots and that was one of the reasons why I shelved the costume to begin with. Seemed like it would be simple to find, but finding decent short yellow boots that weren't super expensive was tricky. I originally found a pair on Aliexpress that was suede and were similar to the boots that I used for my Dragon Ball Super Bulma costume last year. They were just over $30, but I just felt it would be better if I got boots that were more of a shiny pleather or patent leather. It suited the super hero look a little better. One of the reasons that I justified making the costume despite the cost of the boots, was that I could reuse them if I decided to make Barbara's Batgirl outfit from DC Super Hero Girls since she wears the same boots. In the end I found some boots on eBay that were $41.
I had to hold my breath a bit with the costume since I ordered everything at the end of July and I only had a month for everything to arrive before Fan Expo. In the spring I had some bad experiences waiting for packages from abroad. Several things got stuck in the mail for up to two months. I was pleasantly surprised when everything showed up in just a couple of weeks including the boots that came from Beijing and the black top that came from Hong Kong. The postal system could have killed this costume for me for Fan Expo, but I really lucked out. Working on this costume also took place in a summer when there were contract disputes between the post office and the union for the postal workers so there was also the worry that the postal system could grind to a halt at any point. Thankfully everything arrived super quickly!
I did order one more costume piece. I ordered a purple hoodie from a UK seller through Amazon. It arrived after 3 weeks, but it turned out to be really big. The sweater for Barbara is more of an accessory as she wears it tied around her waist most of the time. The overly large sweater wouldn't sit right around my waist and the shade of purple was different than what I had expected it to be. Pan saved me by offering to lend me one of her hoodies so I'll just have to give away the $12 hoodie that I ordered for this costume. XD It is kind of cool that the purple hoodie and the yellow boots are a bit of a nod to Barbara's new 52 costume. These little character hints are what make the outfit so fun!
A week before Fan Expo Pan helped me out by cutting the wig. I appreciate her bailing me out again by assisting me. The consistency of this Arda Jeannie was a bit different from my Bulma wig from a few years ago. Pan had to cut in some side burns to cover more of my own hair as well as cutting the bangs. This time, unlike with my Bulma wig, we decided to use the ponytail clip. I actually didn't plan to use it originally, but Barbara's hair in the show has some cute volume to it. Pan cut off a good chunk of the hair, but she did leave it a bit longer than the length Barbara has it in the show. My wig is closer to mid back and her hair is just about shoulder length in the cartoon. Honestly, it seems really cute. The wig did need a little extra something so the volume in the clip helped. Too bad it was super painful, though! When I wore the costume at Fan Expo I kept fidgeting with the wig and I kept taking the clip off because it was putting too much pressure on my head.
I finished up the costume by buying some gold batarang toys from Amazon. Just simple foam batarangs from the Dark Knight Trilogy movies. I figured it would be fun to pose with a little batarang to give a hint at Barbara's alter ego. This turned out to be a fun Cosplay project. Since I haven't really worked on a costume project in the summer in a few years, it was nice to be productive even if it was a very simple costume project in terms of the construction. I think it was the perfect thing for me to work on given how much I needed a break from working on costumes and heavy projects after another demanding Anime North. It was also a good costume project because it opened up the possibility to make the Batgirl costume from the DC Super Hero Girls cartoon. I do really like the world that was created for the web show and I look forward to seeing the story progress. Hopefully my Cosplay journey with DC Super Hero Girls will continue as well! :3
The costume was a bit too obscure for the crowd at Fan Expo. I can't exactly blame people. Barbara appears in just a few episodes for all of 2 minutes in the first season of the web show and in a tv movie that never aired in Canada, the series is still pretty new, not to mention, it's aimed at young girls. I wouldn't trade in the experience of wearing a costume with my own glasses, though. Too bad the wig was uncomfortable, however, and that the boots were a bit wide for my feet. I didn't really mind that people didn't get the costume because I enjoy the character of Batgirl so much, but I just wish it had been comfortable to walk around in. Due to the wig I probably won't wear this outfit again, but I'll have to see if I can find a way to make it comfortable. Still, it was a neat experience wearing a comic based character to a comic con and it fit in well for a summer con. I appreciate my friend Amanda doing a shoot for me so I have some fun photos of the outfit. I even emulated and printed out the password sheet Barbara gives to Wonder Woman in season one that's a node to Batgirl's creation and her role as Oracle. Cute nods like that are what make DC Super Hero Girls a really fun series!
Events/Conventions this costume was worn to
Fan Expo 2016 (Friday)