Making of: Harley Quinn’s prison outfit

I’ve wanted to make a Harley outfit for so long…like, since before the film was even released. However other plans got in the way and because Harley became such a popular character amongst costumers I got kinda disheartened with her; Not that I’m the “I hate popular costumes so I’m not going to do it” kind of person, but I  felt that mine would loose authenticity because it was just another Harley costume. But I had a sudden re-awakening of love for the movie, which surprised me because when I saw it in cinemas, I didn’t really care for it. (Other than the fact that Jared Leto was in it, I love that man!) I  loved this character though – and Margot Robbie. What a babe.

Anyway, I though f**K it, I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna do Harley. And by that I mean I’m gonna make every single outfit that she wears in this movie……yep. She makes me feel cool okay. Plus I was so happy with the costume design in this movie, everything on screen was awesome.

Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 22.25.35

I have to save up some money to be able to do her main outfit because of the amount involved so I decided to start with something easy. Her Site Bravo detainee outfit; it’s orange and I get to wear pink slippers!

Materials used:

  • Orange poly cotton – 3m
  • black acrylic/fabric paint
  • craft knife
  • Rit dye – pink, blue
  • temporary tattoo transfer paper

Started: 28th of March 2017. Finished: 20th of April 2017

I got to use cotton for this which meant super cheap fabric, I bought 3 metres of orange cotton for £7 on good ol’ ebay.  My pink slippers came to just £3 – ebay again. I already had a white shirt that I could use and I already had black paint for the text on her shirt and trousers so this costume was easy on the money.

I drafted my own patterns for the shirt, including tIMG_5099.JPGhe collar and lapels. In hindsight, I wish I’d added the collar and lapels onto the main shirt pattern pieces so that they weren’t separate pieces, just because the inside of the shirt would look better without the raw edges of the collar sticking out.

I was really worried about making patterns for the pants because I’ve never made them before but I had a lucky find in my pattern drawer and found an already cut pattern that I’d bought months ago, thanks past Bri, you life saver!

This pattern also included a shirt, as if the sewing God’s had shone down on me, so I used these for my base shirt and just used my own patterns for the collar.


*the pieces that you’ll need for the shirt are a two long sleeves, 2 shirt fronts, 1 shirt back, 4 lapels and 2 collars – double all if you’re using a lining*

I’m really pleased with my shirt. Not just because I like how it looks but because the inside isn’t a mess. I covered all of my raw seam edges, mainly because I included a lining, but this time my lining actually matched up perfectly (my seams would usually be a few CM’s off from each other) The bottom hem was also turned over on itself so there’s no sign of the bottom edges woohoo. This is the first time that I’ve actually been 100% happy with my sewing skills.

After that I added the sleeves, which were also put in perfectly; a change for me. This costume seems to be  really improving my sewing skills. Or maybe it’s just the sewing gods shining down.

After my base shirt was finished I then had to add the text. I was going to use transfer paper but was worried that the print would crack after past experiences – plus it would add time and money the costume and I wanted to get this done pretty quickly to have time to study, so I opted for paint and stencils. If you’d like to use my stencils, drop me a message and I’ll send you the link 🙂

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 21.43.22


I used an army text on, traced it onto card and cut the words out with a craft knife. This took a lot longer than expected. The whole template making, painting and drying took about 4 hours. It did turn out great, but I think I would advise to use print transfer paper just because of the time that was taken up, and because some of the paint smudged and once paint is on fabric, it rarely comes off.


For my first time making pants, they turned out great! they were really basic and didn’t have a zipper in them but I’m still really happy that I’ve finally made a pair of trousers. I did want to put pockets in them for my own benefit and practicality but my pattern didn’t allow for this so I left them out. I also don’t think prison pants have pockets? My pants pattern didn’t have a zipper in them (neither did the on-screen ones, and I also didn’t know how to sew a zipper into trousers….so yeah..) I used an elastic waistband. The whole pants making process took me about 3 hours.

That’s the main part of the costume done AKA no more sewing. I love the accessories for this outfit, a book, an espresso cup and pink fluffy slippers. I love it so much. For all of these I headed to Amazon and spent under £10 on everything. I scuffed up the book a little because….ya’ know…..a crazy person owns it. I also doodled “I love mr. J” on numerous pages throughout the book in true Harley fashion.

For the wig, I bought a 24″ straight platinum blonde lace front wig with a centre parting from eBay. This wig was perfect, especially for the price of £34. I debated over using my own hair, but was worried that I’d be judged for having pink and blue hair because so many basic girls in my area have it. I invested in a wig because I knew I’d be using it for numerous costumes and events. This wig was also heat resistant which meant that I could curl it easier. For the pink and blue parts I found a tutorial online that used fabric dye to dye their synthetic wig so I bought two it fabric dyes; one pink, one blue. Then dyed the two pigtails the same way that I would dye fabric. This was a tricky process as it involves a lot of eyeballing and estimation on how long you have to leave the hair in the dyes, but it turned out well.

And that’s it for Harley’s prison outfit! I’ll be wearing it to MCM expo in May so check out my Facebook page for professional pictures of the costume.

Here’s to my next project and blog post, see you all soon

Bri x



3 thoughts on “Making of: Harley Quinn’s prison outfit

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