Friday, November 18, 2011

Duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh, BATMAN!

Walnut likes Batman too. Does that make him a geek cat?

Confession time: for all that I'm a geek, I have never read comic books. Probably never will. But I do love me some Saturday morning cartoons. Oddly enough, they were never a staple while growing up; my very Chinese parents (read: tiger mom and high expectations Asian father) didn't allow us to watch any TV that wasn't educational. So after a steady diet of Bill Nye the Science Guy and Wishbone, I finally got to watch actual cartoons in, get this, high school. Actually, the deal was I could turn on the TV and watch whatever I wished when I graduated from Chinese school. So it wasn't until sophomore year of high school that I discovered the wonders of the DC and Marvel universes. Because of my late arrival, I never followed the original Batman: The Animated Series; I only watched scattered episodes here and there when they re-aired. No, my real immersion into Gotham City came through Batman Beyond. Seriously, I was totally in love with Terry McGinnis and his reformed bad boy persona.


But I digress. Even though Bruce Wayne isn't Terry McGinnis, I still love what the Batman character represents. No, not flat affect and the inability to form a lasting, normal relationship with anyone other than Alfred. I love that he doesn't have special mutant powers or an alien heritage or some other crazy innate ability; he's a self-made superhero who got where he is through working out like crazy and having excellent deductive reasoning (and lots of money). So when I found a Batman twin flat sheet at the thrift store for $3, I knew I had to make it into a dress.

Dark photo. Because, you know, Batman is the Dark Knight.

I used a vintage 70s dress pattern, Simplicity 8722, to make this dress. I've had this pattern for a while and just never found the right fabric for it; it looks too loose to wear without a belt, and I don't think it would look very good unless the fabric was very drapey. Since the Batman sheet was a jersey knit, it was perfect. Also because Batman is a vintage comic book character.

On the lookout for the Joker.

No zipper! No darts! Actually, I did put in the shoulder darts.
I decided not to do the fisheye darts on the back; they just didn't seem necessary to me. I also omitted the keyhole cut out on the front, since the fabric was already crazy enough and I wanted to keep the lines of the dress nice and simple. The stretchy jersey knit also meant that I didn't need to put in a zipper. Gosh, I love making dresses that are this simple! It was a nice throw-it-together-in-a-morning project.

Still okay, but definitely headed into muumuu territory.
This is definitely a wear-with-a-belt dress, though, because other wise it turns real shapeless real fast. And being that it's Batman, a utility belt is almost required. Also, knee-high black boots.
Throw on a cardigan, and from far away it almost looks like a real dress.

I'm a normal person, I promise.

Fabric: 100% cotton jersey knit twin flat sheet from Salvation Army
Notions: None! I think that's a first!
Hours: As the package says, it's a "jiffy," easy cut, easy sew: 2.5 hours total...that is definitely a record. Probably because I didn't need to finish any seams.
Techniques used: This is kind of embarassing, but this is the first time I have ever set sleeves into a dress. Next time I will spread the gathers out more so that I don't have such a poofy sleeve top.
Also, one sleeve is poofier than the other. I am really proud, though, of the semi-fabric matching on the sleeves.

Will you make this again? I think I actually might, next time I have another knit fabric with a crazy print. This pattern is so suited to drapey fabrics, and it sews up so quickly! Although I will probably go sleeveness next time, and possibly tackle that keyhole.
Total cost: $3! And I still have about a third of the sheet left. Perfect for lining pouches and things!
Final thoughts: I am totally in love with this dress. I wore it to run errands in and it was so comfortable. I was kind of waiting for someone to comment on the Batmans (Batmen?), but no one did. Call me crazy (my husband certainly did), but it made me happy inside to know I was being a huge geek.

I kind of forgot how nice it is to sew with knits when your machine is cooperating. When I first started sewing, I made a ton of skirts and dresses in knits because the didn't require any seam finishing, and more often than not I didn't bother hemming them either. Also, they drape so nicely, it's super flattering. But then I started sewing with wovens, and got addicted to how nicely they pressed up and how structured dresses made from them could be. Also, last year I may or may not have tried to sew a particularly finicky knit that my machine just chewed up and spat out as a giant, wrinkly, bubbly, hole-y mess. So this dress was a nice reminder of how easy knits can be. Which is good, because I just picked up a bunch last weekend in the fabric district.

Linked at Tatertots and Jello and Sew Country Chick.


  1. I love your dress! I'm not a comic book nerd, but I would definitely wear something similar with either a Back to the Future or Star Wars theme.

  2. We used to watch Batman at lunch during elementary school. You are SO lucky to score that sheet---I keep looking but have never found any really good classic comics characters sheets at my thrift-store. They would become a shirt for my husband instantly.

    Love your dress---I think that's the perfect pattern to go with the big sheet print.

  3. Lovely dress, I can imagine that it would be so comfortable to wear. It drapes very nicely too.
    I haven't had tv for some years now. I wonder what my kids will say about it when they're all grown up :)

  4. I completely agree with you. Batman is about my favorite super hero.:)

  5. Funny you don't really notice the batman print when wearing it with a belt and cardigan, that's my favorite look. I love the dress especially because of the batman print, I have also been wanting to try a vintage pattern, I have one coming in the mail soon.

  6. Isnt it wierd when you wear something so unique and cool like your dress and no one comments? Well, I'm here to tell you that you are rocking that bedsheet! Well done. Thanks for posting!
    Justine @ Sew Country Chick

  7. OH! It's positively geektastic and made my little heart jump with joy. I ADORE it!! Fabulous with boots and cardigan - the Batman would be proud.

  8. Thank you for the Batman love, everyone! Indeed, with a cardigan and boots, no one notices the crazy print. My husband pointed it out to our Bible study group at the end of the night and everyone was shocked that they hadn't noticed it earlier.

    @Tanit-Isis I've been looking for character sheets for ages and then in the span of a few days found two, so I guess you never know! I wonder if it's also maybe an American thing? We do seem to love our commercialism, especially when it comes to making extra money off of kids' merchandise.

  9. I doubt Canadians are significantly less merchandise-intensive than Americans, though it would be nice if it were so... ;) I have found a few cool pillow cases (one of Transformers, two of the old movie Black Hole, if you know that one), so perhaps I shouldn't complain. I hope you have as much fun wearing your superhero as we do reading about them! :)

  10. I totally love this dress! The print is great and I think you have found the perfect pattern to pull it off. :)

  11. you're really making me want to go find my sailor moon sheets right now. great story for a great dress and your post really made me laugh!

  12. This is wonderful! Oh, and I was totally in love with Terry McGinnis, too. :D

  13. i just found your blog and love these geek dresses! they would be perfect for a trip to comic con. better brush up on my sewing skills! :)

  14. Just found you through pinterest, and I am in love with your craftiness (and geeky-ness. Also, the cartoons are way better than the comics ;). This makes me want to get out my (pretty much only used once) sewing machine and try to make a dress! Thanks!


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