Halloween | Making a Joker costume

finished Joker costume
A couple years ago my son found himself in need of a purple suit. And not just any purple suit. He needed a purple suit with a long coat, in the style made famous by his favorite villain/Bruce Wayne’s arch nemesis. After searching high and low and finding no purple suits of any kind to be had, we put our heads together and decided if one couldn’t be bought, one would have to be made.
grey suit before painting

I am not a good enough seamstress that I could sew a purple suit from scratch, but I told my son if he bought one standard-issue grey suit plus one standard-issue grey suit jacket from Goodwill, I would attempt to paint them purple and piece them together into Joker-appropriate style.

The two suit jackets he bought (sorry, only one pictured here) were the same size and roughly the same color and style. The main difference was that one of the jackets had flaps on the front pockets.

grey suit pants before painting

(Word of warning: These are photos from my pre-blogging days — which means they were taken on my old point-and-shoot with only the camera flash as lighting.)

I bought two big bottles of purple craft paint (and used both) and one bottle of textile medium.

purple paint with textile medium

I mixed the craft paint and textile medium in a 2-to-1 ratio. The textile medium prevents the paint from cracking after it dries.

painting a suit purple

I had to really saturate the fabric in order to get the paint to cover the grey suit. To keep the paint from seeping through the fabric, I put a scrap piece of white foam board inside it.

Joker Halloween costume

I did the same with the pants.

painting a suit purple

The foam board was too wide to slide inside the pant legs, so I flattened an empty saltines box and used that to block the paint from bleeding through there.

Joker Halloween costume

I painted one section at a time, sliding the foam core/saltines box along as I went.

sewing Joker costume

Once I had everything painted, I cut the jacket with the pocket flaps off above the armpits and threw out the top portion. The bottom portion I positioned along the bottom of the other jacket to fashion into a long coat.

sewing Joker Halloween costume

When I had the jackets lined up, I put a row of pins in to hold everything in place.

sewing Joker coat

Then I stitched the two jackets together. (I went back and touched up the paint later.)

painting the vest

For the vest, I started with another Goodwill find.

green paint and textile medium

I didn’t have the right shade of green on hand, so I mixed a little white paint in with the green I had to lighten it up, and then added the textile medium, just like I did with the purple.

painting Joker vest green

Again, I had to really saturate the fabric to get good paint coverage, so I put the white foam board in between the front and back of the vest to prevent seepage.

Joker vest Halloween costume

I painted right over the buttons.

Joker Halloween costume
Once I had everything painted, my son tried the coat and vest on to make sure it all fit and he could move in it. He said the fabric was a little stiff, but not bad. (No, the jeans and the red lumberjack shirt are not part of the ensemble.)
finished Joker costume

Here’s the finished look, right before my son headed out to Freak Fest in Madison. (He even dyed his hair green, which is a little hard to see in the dim lighting of the parking garage where this photo was apparently taken.)


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