Etsy Journal

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How to Make a Spooky Bat Costume

by Anda Corrie

Oct 15, 2020

Swoop into Halloween with this easy-to-make, oh-so-creepy DIY bat costume that's made by altering a simple knit shirt.

Child wearing DIY bat costume
Photo by Anda Corrie

As the proud mama of a kindergarten-aged daughter, I operate in a universe of peer-influenced taste that runs the wide, wide spectrum from pink to princess to unicorn to pink. Needless to say, when my kid announced out of nowhere—with a ferocious snarl—that she intended to be a VAMPIRE BAT THAT DRINKS BLOOD for Halloween, I was pretty much thrilled. Bat costumes are on the easy end of the possible DIY costumes your kids could ask for, and look great as they fly around the neighborhood trick-or-treating or munching on Halloween-themed snacks at a Halloween party.

After confirming several times that she didn’t actually mean a pink princess unicorn vampire bat, I got to work making an easy DIY bat costume that will not only see her through this season’s Halloween activities, but dress up time for months to come. 

DIY bat costume supplies

DIY bat costume at a glance

Time: 1.5 hours
Difficulty: Beginner

Materials needed:

  • Long-sleeve knit shirt that fits your child
  • 1 yard lightweight woven fabric for wings
  • Chalk and about 2' of string or yarn, for marking fabric
  • 5-6” diameter saucer
  • Scissors, thread, and your sewing machine

Complete the bat costume with black leggings or pants, a touch of fun Halloween makeup, and either a black headband or a pair of no-sew bat ears.

Finished DIY bat costume

How to make a DIY bat costume

Step 1: Prepare the bat wing fabric for cutting

Fold your fabric in half and lay the shirt next to it flat, with the arm slightly raised and extending over the fabric.

Tie one end of the string to your chalk.

Place the chalk at the cuff and pull the string taut to the armpit of the shirt. Hold down that end of the string as you arc the chalk across the fabric from cuff to bottom hem of the shirt, drawing a curved line. Use the chalk to trace the shirt seam and sleeve onto the fabric.

Easy DIY tip: Some moms report that using a soft knit jersey fabric prevents the need for hemming—in this case you would not fold the fabric before cutting. Instead just cut the wings for an even faster bat costume option.

DIY bat costume in progress
The beginnings of a simple DIY bat costume

Step 2: Cut bat wing along chalk line and repeat for second wing

Cut out the resulting shape—since the fabric is folded, you’ll have two pieces. Repeat on the opposite side of the shirt to create the second wing. You should now have four total wing shapes, two for each side of the shirt.

The third step of a DIY bat costume

Step 3: Trace and cut inverted scallops on the diagonal

Grab a plate and trace half-circles along the curved edge of each pair of bat wing pieces and cut out.

Tracing the wing shape of a DIY bat costume

Step 4: Sew scalloped edges of bat wings

With right sides together, sew a straight stitch along the curved edges of each wing.

Notch fabric along this side and clip the corners.

Sewing the wings of an easy DIY bat costume
The sewn wings of a DIY bat costume
Close-up view of a DIY bat costume wing
DIY bat costume wing zoomed in

Step 5: Attach bat wings to black shirt

Turn the shirt inside-out. Carefully open up the seams of the shirt along its sides and the underside of the sleeves.

Insert the wings, lining up and pinning the two unsewn sides of each wing along the seams you’ve just opened on the shirt. It will look pretty bunched up, especially in the arms, so pin and then sew one side at time to make it easier to handle.

Sew a straight stitch along where you’ve pinned, essentially re-closing the seams of the shirt. When you turn the shirt right side out again, it will look like the photo. But don’t turn it yet—repeat with the opposite side first.

Cutting the seam of the shirt in a DIY bat costume
Pinning the arm of a DIY bat costume
Preparing to add the arm of a DIY bat costume
A finished DIY bat costume

And then you’re all done! A DIY bat wings costume ideal for a halloween party, or even just for a true bat-lover. Put the shirt on your kid and watch them fly all over the house.
A young child wearing a handmade DIY bat costume for Halloween

Plus more scary-good Halloween finds:

Assorted Halloween items from Etsy SHOP (clockwise from top left): Pumpkin sweatshirt from Symbolic Imports, from $28; pumpkin welcome mat from Endie Co, from $25; poison apple downloadable crochet pattern from Fayni Toys, $6; personalized trick-or-treat bags from Aidille, $32; buttercup flower costume from Dino Rawr, from $28

All photographs by Anda Corrie.

Anda Corrie image
Anda Corrie

Anda Corrie is an American artist, armchair anthropologist, and autodidact living in Berlin, Germany with her young family. She works as a graphic designer for Etsy by day, and also frequently by night. Stalk her thrilling life on Pinterest, Spoonflower, Instagram, or her woefully neglected blog.