No sew bat costumes for the super lazy

This year in preparation for Halloween, all the girls could talk about were ghosts. I asked them about a million times, and each time they insisted that they wanted to be GHOSTS for Halloween. Super! This mom can do that!

See, I’ve made their costumes every Halloween for the past 4 years, this one being our 5th (you can check out 2011’s costume here, and the previous years here). Before you get too impressed, let me tell you that a) I don’t know how to sew; b) I suck at math; and c) I’m a tad bit lazy.

**Incoming tangent alert**

I used to be SUPER good at math. I’m a hard core lefty and have always leaned towards the creative (right brain), but I’m technically middle brained, meaning I can evenly juggle artsy fartsy stuff AND logical mathy stuff. I mean I worked a financial institution for 6 years, people! But with each kid I lose more and more brain cells, and they all come from the left side. Sorry, math.

Oh, and that part above about me being a tad bit lazy is a severe understatement.

**End tangent**

So I started searching for images of ghost costumes, hoping that I could throw something together that was more creative that a sheet over the head, but not so ambitious that I was going to have to bust out my sewing machine circa 1978. Let it be known that I will hot glue the hell out of something before I get that thing going.

Luckily I’m a staunch procrastinator, because after learning about bats at school last week, the costume request quickly switched from ghosts to WE WANNA BE BATS, MOMMY! CAN WE BE BATS??? And I was all, “Holy crap, I think that will be even easier than ghosts.”

Plus Austin houses the largest urban colony of Mexican free-tailed bats in North America, so stick that in your pipe of random facts and smoke it.

Back to the costumes. Turns out they were easy! Sort of. I found a really cool tutorial that looked fool proof enough. Although it would have been easier had I done math correctly and heeded the old saying “measure twice, cut once.”

The tutorial only called for one line of stitch, but I opted for no sew adhesive. And since I’m super lazy, I passed over the heat bonded adhesive for a NO SEW, NO HEAT permanent adhesive, because  honestly, I’m not even sure where my iron is.

And so it began.

First I cut the bat wing scallops starting from the wrong corner of the wings. Scrap.

Then I forgot to add the arm measurement into the length of the cape to make sleeves. Scrap.

And THEN I didn’t allow enough room in the sleeve measurement, so they were super tight, pulling apart the “permanent” no-sew adhesive. And they hated them.

AND THEN I tried to salvage them with these awful, crudely attached straps to go around the arms, but they didn’t hang right, it looked terrible, and they hated them. SCRAP.

So I started over, and this time, the name of the game was overcompensate. Take those measurements and add a few inches, folks, because take it from me, you can trim, but you can’t add. This might be common knowledge to those who sew a lot, but, well, I don’t. So here we are.

All things considered, I’d say they turned out rather well.

bat wings halloween

As much as I stress over them, I’ll be a little sad if the day comes that they would rather have a particular character costume off the rack than something I can slap together.

Mama Bat gets in the shot. Rare!
Going through some of our loot from the pinata free for all.


Hey, masks and bat ears aren’t just for kids, okay?

Join the Conversation


  1. Super cute, great job. Looks like Capt. America showed up at the pinata free for all and left his shield. I would have like to meet him. I can tell these costumes will be a favorite for a long while.

  2. The brain cells start to come back when the littlest is six or so.
    In my experience anyway.

    Mom to 2 – 10 year olds and a 7 year old

    1. Thanks, Tonya! Seriously, so easy, once I finally measured right. And they still play dress up with them. 🙂

  3. Hello there,

    Please tell me how you made these wings…! They’re fabulous! My daughter would like to be a bat and this would be prefect! Are they stitched to the shirt? Are they pull on sleeves?

    Thank you!

  4. I have no brain cells left…and am confused on the “half” circumference of the arm. Length wise I need the material to be from neck to waist..I got that.. which is about 12 inches….then I need plus half circumference of arm. The circumference of his arm is 8 inches…so I only need 4 more inches of material? So that would be 16 inches? I know..dumb question, but I don’t care, and I really need to do this…and I am not measure crafty friendly AT ALL. I also do NOT sew!! Will this look okay on a boy?

    1. Okay, I had to go back and read the tutorial. It’s been a while! Yes, HALF the circumference of the widest part of the arm. Because the other half of the circumference is already calculated into the length of the material from neck to waist. Does that make sense? And I URGE you to add some inches to your arm measurements for comfort. That was my first mistake. You don’t want the sleeves to be too tight, or else they will be hard to get on and off and not very comfortable. Check out figure 2 in her tutorial. It shows how the sleeve portion is folded over. Does that help? Honestly, I’m a visual learner, so looking at her pictures and trying to mimic them helped me immensely.

      I am not sure felt will work. It won’t move like the lycra, and it will be hot. The thin black fabric is flowy and the perfect bat wing material. It should be easy to find at your local fabric store.

  5. Oh I forgot to also you think felt will be okay? I’m totally stressing out right now! I need to make this ASAP!!

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