Batgirl Barbara Gordon has a new writing team, a new direction, and a new costume. Three days ago,
MTV received an exclusive writers interview and the first released art of the new costume. Out with the dark ‘n’ gritty and spandex and spike heels, in with the adventures and mysteries and a snap-cape Edna Mode might actually approve. The new costume isn’t coming until New 52 Batgirl #35 in October 2014, but already the cosplay plans are being made. Hopefully happy throngs clamoring for Babs Tarr to redesign all superheroines will follow.
I don’t make breakdowns for characters may other sites have covered, and in practice that means not making breakdowns for titular characters from large companies. Usually. I’m pleased to offer the very first cosplay breakdown of the Batgirl 2014 costume redesign.
First, a note on color. The black in this costume is true six-0s black. What I’m going to call blue is arguably a purple. I’d say it’s a dim, darkish violet-blue. The yellow is light and muted, a mustard. Besides her silver metal zippers, there are no other colors. Even though her new costume is meant to be put together from casual clothes, the tones do not vary between items.
Barbara wears her classic Bat-mask with wide, rounded-triangle eye openings. The character sheet sketches use straighter lines for the openings, but all the art is curved. The inner opening edge curves upward from the bride of her nose, completely exposing her eyebrows. It hits its high point just before the end of her eyebrow and then sweeps around her eye leaving plenty of room for winged eyeliner (I hope they exploit that last bit). The low point dips to her cheekbone directly underneath the high point, then sweeps back up to the bridge of her nose and reveals her ears. The outer edge is a straight angle from the bridge of her nose to a low point underneath the center of her eye back up to her ear tragus. From there, it goes straight up and straight over her ear, and then curves down to her earlobe. The two edges travel upward to meet each other at a softened angle point parallel to the tops of her ears. Her wavy, upper-back-length red hair flows out. The bat-ears sit at the back of the cap. The outside edges curve slightly inward, while the inner edges are straight. They also jut forward a bit. Whatever material used is shiny.
The change from spandex to a leather (or pleather) jacket is arguably the best improvement. No. Magic. Breasts. The stand-up collar has what can only be described as snap-belt that closes on her left. The snap is silver. In the front, there is a loop on each side for the belt. A hidden zipper ends just above the bottom collar seam and just below the collar belt. The half-inch seams on either side of the zipper split with the collar, then turn the corner to be a seam around the top of her collar. The zipper does not extend all the way to the bottom of her jacket. Instead, the material splits and an half-inch slit is left underneath the zipper ending.
The jacket is fitted, with four major torso seam lines. Two start at the bottom of her jacket at the half way point between the center zipper and her side seam. They curve toward the side seam and hit it about an inch below her waist, then mirror the front in the back. Midway between the start point of those seams and the zipper are two more seams. These travel straight up to just below her breasts, turn diagonally to her armpits until the side seam, and then cut straight across her upper back, connecting. In the front, each side has a zipper pocket crossing both seams diagonally, low point on the outside, zipper closing on the upper inside.
The new Batgirl logo is minimalistic. The head is stubby, the top and sides of the wings are straight lines that connect at almost a right angle, and the bottoms of the wings only have two slight inward dips on each side. From the highest point of a wing straight down to a point parallel with the tail end is only about four inches. You will need to incorporate the logo into the zipper seams.
The jacket arms are tight enough her gloves easily fit over them and wrist zippers are needed. The zipper is not hidden, and is a clearly visible silver that ends half-way to three-fourths the way up her forearm. A seam line surrounds the zipper. Like her cape, her gloves snap closed. I can not tell the precise construction of her glove cuffs, but the two snaps are yellow, vertical, and on her pinky side. Otherwise the gloves are a standard leather glove pattern without darts on the back of the hand.
Her cape is black with yellow lining. It’s made of irregular triangle sections, with a seam extending from each angle of its jagged edges. The five points are higher at the ends and lowest at the center. It’s a half-cape; that lowest point is just below her extended fingers. Neither is it a very full cape. At most it’s a semi-circle. The cape attaches to her jacket by upside-down trapezoid-shaped extensions angled toward Barbara’s center and snapping onto her chest. The angle is so that the inner snaps are higher than the outer snaps. The character sheet sketch does not match the actual design; the snaps are parallel and closer to her shoulder, and there is an added seam line running from her collar. The snaps are yellow and sit on a seam line next to the outer edge of the trapezoid shape. It’s hard to tell how the seam line continues. In fact, I don’t see the seam lines I should see for a cape with lining. I can not figure out what materials are used. Pleather or latex would be to stiff for the way it drapes. Personally, I favor thick, fuzzy material.
The new utility belt is far simpler than classic Bat-belts. In fact, it’s a yellow hip-holster purse. Again, the material used is uncertain. There is a large pouch on her right side. The sides are sewn to bend inward at the center. The flap has a seam lining its edges, and a short tapered strap that snaps shut and passes underneath a horizontal strap attached to the front of the purse. The top of the pouch is attached to belt that is hiked up on her left hip and sagging on her right, no doubt from the weight in the largest pouch. The bottom of the pouch is attached to a belt around her mid thigh. In the back, two close vertical lines are shown on each strap. I do not know what these are. On the other side of the pouch – in the front – both straps have yellow rings right before they attach to the pouch. This separates the material used in the belts, as the seam lines show the material is sewn around one side of the ring, and then a new piece of material is sewn on the other side to continue on to the pouch. It took me a while to figure out how the closing mechanism works. The circle seen on the material sewn into the loop is a snap. Its tail is tapered and held in place by two loops on the material coming around her left side, which does not extend very far past the snap point. Two smaller pouches are attached to the front of her left hip. Their design is like the large pouch, except they are half as short, narrower, and not at all as wide. Also there is no front strap to pass the closing strap underneath before snapping shut, and not enough side material to fold inwards in the middle. I assume the smaller pouches snap shut too, even though snaps are not shown in any of the released images.
Barbara wears fashionable two-tone skinny pants. If you’re like me, you’ll find or sew a looser pair. The inner color is blue and the outer stripe is black. The outer stripe is not only visible from the side, but from head-on, where it evenly divides her leg. These pants would be a match if the red were blue. This style is alternatively known as side stripe, side panel, or two-tone pants, but the closest matches I found were all electric blue. Sewing your own is your best bet for an accurate pair.
Barbara’s traded in her spiked heels for yellow combat boots with black laces and yellow pool straps in the back. The black sole is wide and black with yellow stitching. Interestingly, these are not good shoes for running. I wonder if Batgirl will climb more rooftops and run less chases. Her boots have eight eyelets on each side, and are higher than her ankles but lower than the midpoint on her calf. There is one seam line arching across her heels, and two parallel seam lines connecting the material for the heel, sides, and eyelets to the material for the tongue and toe box. Googling “yellow combat boots” will show you nigh-exact options. Remember you can replace laces and sew in a pull loop.
Details to be added once comic book panels enlighten me:
- underneath the cape snaps
- glove cuffs construction
- better utility belt details
- utility belt pouch contents
- boot sole pattern
A stylistic action art piece was released with the announcement. Barbara’s hair is maroon, her eyes blue, her costume gray, her ears pierced, her bat logo’s tail lower, and her pants low-riding with a thinner black stripe. I wouldn’t consider it the ‘canon’ outfit, even if it is official art. Copy its or borrow from its interpretation if you like.
Go forth and cosplay the new Barbara Gordon, and remember to pick up New 52 Batgirl #35. I have high hopes for the writing switch to Cameron Stewart. If you make fanart or a cosplay using my costume breakdown, I’d love to see a link to the result. Contact me at work dot elizanavarro at yahoo dot com to be featured on CosBreaks with full credit and links to your personal sites. Please comment with any thoughts or questions. Particularly, I’d like to hear what materials and textures you think are used in this costume.