I recently watched Batman Ninja on Netflix, and enjoyed the way the characters were interpreted, particularly Catwoman. I attempted to recreate the mask and hood from her costume using an aviator hat pattern, some custom ear pieces, and a modified version of the eyemask pattern from the Artisan’s Book of Fetishcraft.
The Aviator Hat pattern can be found here.
I recommend making a scrap cloth prototype of the aviator hat, tightening up the seams, and transfering the modificaitons on to the pattern panels if necessary. I used soft, 2oz pebble grain garment leather for the had and ears.
- Sewing machine (leather needle)
- Glover’s needle and sailor’s palm
- Water pencil
- Manequin head
- Garment leather (matching aviator hat)
- Matching thread
- Polyurethane foam
- Contact cement
- Draft the pattern as shown.
- Trace and cut out two of each of the pattern panels.
- Baste each rear panel grain sides together along the rear edge.
- Sew each rear panel seam together 5mm from the edge.
- Topstitch each rear seam.
- Baste each front panel to a rear panel flesh sides together in two seams each starting from the apex.
- Sew each front panel to a rear panel 3mm from the edge.
- Create firm but flexible stuffing for ears. Polyurethane foam, or even a large sponge from a hardware store, cut with a hot knife, can work well.
- Place the aviator hat on a manequin head and determine the placement of the ears. Ensure symetry. Once the placement determined, trace an outline on the hood with a water pencil.
- Stuff the ears with stuffing, tucking it in so that 10mm of the flesh side is exposed on all edges.
- Apply contact cement to the bottom 5mm of the first ear and place it on the aviator hat inside the outline. Repeat with second ear and let dry overnight.
- Baste each ear piece in place.
- Sew each ear in place 3mm from the edge.
- Utility knife
- Hobby knife
- 3mm (1/8″) drive punch
- Eyelet setter and anvil
- Cutting board
- Beveler or needle files
- Stitch groover or creaser
- Measuring tape
- Small foam brush
- Pencil and ruler
- Small clean rag
- Heavy vegetable-tanned leather
- 500mm (20″) of 6mm (¼”) matching leather lace
- 2 x short eyelets
- 6 x red decorative rivets
- Red and black dye
- Leather conditioner
- Draft the pattern as shown.
- Trace and cut out the mask.
- Cut the eye openings out with a hobby knife.
- Bevel all of the inside and outside edges.
- Punch the eyelet and rivet holes where marked. Note that the decorative rivets may necessitate a smaller diameter punch.
- Carve the line around the perimeter of each eye opening 5mm from the inside edge. This can be done with creaser, or stitch groover with a creaser tip. Take care to make the corners pointed rather than rounded.
- Soak the mask in hot water for fifteen minutes.
- Remove the mask from the water and mold it into the desired shape as it dries. Pinch the eye openings from the back of the mask with the right hand, and push the nose up from the front with the left.
- As the mask begins to harden, curve it into a symmetrical crescent shape.
- Let the mask dry overnight.
- Apply a coat of red dye inside the eye perimeter lines, let the mask dry for a few hours, dye again, then let dry overnight.
- Apply a coat of black dye to the remainder of the mask, let it dry for a few hours,
dye again, then let dry overnight.
- Apply leather conditioner to the mask and polish well.
- Insert and set the rivets, using a soft rubber cutting mat or other soft surface as an anvil. Use only as much force as necessary to prevent cracking the decorative cap.
- Insert and set the eyelets.
- Cut two 250mm lengths of 6mm (¼”) leather lace, and make a 10mm (3/8″) long cut in
the center of each 5mm (3/16″) from the end. Thread the other end of each lace through an eyelet and then through the cut, and pull tight.