Muscle Man Circus Costume DIY

Our family is doing a circus theme for Halloween this year. My 2 year old wants to be a “MUSCLE MAN” and has been with me every step of the way with his costume. Here is how it turned out:

Child posing as a strong man in a handsewn muscle man costume

SUPPLIES:

Red/white stripe knit fabric

Nude knit fabric

Batting

Small strip of faux leather

Two 1.5-2″ D rings

1″ dowel

2 styrofoam balls

Eyeliner for mustache

Muscles Come to Life!

After pre-washing all your fabric, start by creating a pattern for your nude muscle suit. I used a form fitting swimsuit which has a good fit already, and added about .5 inch allowance for seams around the edges. Cut two of these pieces, identical pieces for the front and the back. When you cut, be sure not to cut the neckline too low, and leave it longer at the bottom than you think! You can always trim off excess material later.

well fitting swimsuit laid next to nude fabric

Now cut another rectangle to go over the top and attach to create your muscle suit. I drew with pencil the outline of the 6 pack and pecks and where they should be placed on the front. You’ll start by using a long stitch to sew around the big U shape. Also sew the line down the center at this point.

Nude fabric laid on top of well fitting swim suit

Then use batting to stuff the base of your U shape, this is the bottom 2 sections of the 6-pack.

Nude fabric on a sewing machine to create muscle pouch

Sew your horizontal lines and continue stuffing batting as you go. Do this until you reach the top of your muscle shirt.

Nude fabric on a sewing machine with  stuffing being added for muscles

Now sew your front and back shirt pieces together at the shoulder seam. Next it is time to cut your arm piece. I made a pattern using a shirt that fits my son, it is better to cut large and shrink it down as you go if need be.

Shirt sleeve laid on top of paper to create a sleeve pattern piece

Use the same muscle stuffing method for both arms that you did for the body. See the photo below to see the muscle shape I used for the arms. When you arms are complete, add them to the bodice like typical shirt construction.

Shirt laid out to show muscles and basic construction

I suggest doing a fitting at this point to make sure your shirt fits the child properly. Hopefully your model loves it as much as mine does!

Fit Check of the muscle shirt on a toddler

From Muscles to Jumper

Finish sewing the side seams of the muscle shirt, then it is time to start on the jumper. Because this is a costume, I did not do proper finishes, and just left my knit fabric raw at the hem. Line up your fabric to have horizontal stripes, then draw your pattern directly onto the strip material. I used the swim suit again to get a fit estimate, leaving room to spare. The neckline of the jumpsuit will be cut low to show off the muscles, but be careful not to cut too low. The stretch and torso length of your child will affect how deep it swoops, so cut the neckline high to begin with and then mark and cut to fit once you have tried it on your model. Cut 2 pieces of identical striped fabric then sew together RST at the shoulder and side seams.

Red and white knit fabric laid out flat with swimsuit and muscle man shirt laid on top to create the jumper pattern

Test the Muscle Man costume on your model and make any adjustments that you need!

Toddler posing in handsewn muscle man costume with accessories

Muscle Man Accessories for the Win!

For the belt, sew 2 strips of faux leather together wrong sides together. Attach one end to your D ring. Now loop it through and ta – da! A weightlifting belt!

To construct the barbell, I put holes in the styrofoam ball and used super glue to secure in place. Do not use hot glue as it will melt the styrofoam or Elmers glue as it is not strong enough. Then, I spray painted the entire barbell black.

Happy sewing to you, and Happy Halloween!

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