DIY Hulk Costume - How to Sew Muscles

How to Sew Muscles in a costume

I LOVE Halloween!  We are so excited that it is almost here.  Mostly what I love about Halloween is the challenge of making my kid's Halloween Costumes.  This weekend I had a little extra time on my hands so I figured out how to make a simple Hulk costume, complete with muscles. Come see how to sew muscles in a costume.

Hulk costume

I know, I could have just gone out and bought one with way more fancy muscles but where's the fun in that?  Plus I wanted him to have another dress up that was comfortable and fun to play in and those polyester suits get shredded fast. I think I hit the spot.  He played in it all afternoon today and wouldn't take it off at bedtime. 

I have been kicking around this muscle idea since last year when one of the boys wanted to be Captain America with muscles.  I did just buy that costume, cause I didn't quite have it in me then. Of course now that I've made a muscle shirt, I can see all kinds of things I could do to improve it.

Now for the details on how I made these muscles in case you want to give it a try. The great thing about Halloween costumes is that it doesn't matter if they are perfect looking when you are finished. It's a great time to experiment and push your sewing skill limits. 

How to sew muscles a costume

To create the muscles, I added layers of batting to the front and sleeves before sewing the shirt together. I left the back a single layer (we live in Florida and it is hot enough with out wearing a little quilt around).
How to Sew Muscles in a costume - shoulder detail

1.  Start with a long sleeved t-shirt pattern.

 To make my pattern I traced one of his shirts by turning it inside out and laying it flat then tracing around the pieces on the back side of wrapping paper.  Thankfully it sewed together, nicely. If you don't want to attempt making your own pattern there is a good PJ pattern available from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop that you can use.

2. Make the Chest by sandwiching layers of batting between 2 layers of fabric. 

Cut an extra shirt front and draw on the muscles with a pencil or fabric pen. Look at some pictures of the character you are making and just do your best to draw them in a simplified manner. Sandwich layers of 1/2'' thick polyester batting between the 2 layers of fabric. Here's a glimpse of what mine looked like.
How to Sew Muscles in a costume - chest detail

I used a double layer of batting for the whole front and then added a triple layer for the chest and upper arms. You can add more layers if you want more bulk.  Pin all the layers together and sew along the drawn lines to define the muscles.

How to Sew Muscles in a costume - chest detail

3. Make the shoulder muscles in the same fashion.

To make the sleeve I cut an extra sleeve piece and sandwiched the batting in between the 2 fabric layers. I used 2 layers of batting just on the upper arm this time. 
How to Sew Muscles in a costume - sleeve detail

4. Sew it all together and finish off the hems.

Your little one will LOVE it even if it doesn't look just perfect. 
To see how I quickly added some green legs to this costume on Halloween night, click on over to this Halloween wrap up post.

How to Sew Muscles in a costume

Have you seen Picmonkey's  spooky edits?  I couldn't resist trying them out. Of course we'll paint his skin green for the big night. Love you Little Hulk!

How to Sew Muscles in a costume

How to Sew Muscles in a costume

Happy Halloween sewing!

More Halloween Costume ideas


  1. Lu Lu looks awesome! Sweet costume!

  2. Awesome costume ... and Super Cute model! Love It :)

  3. This is WAY too cute! I'm a sucker for Hulk. Our daughter {yes daughter!} has earned that nickname at the age of 18 months {she likes to move and lift large and heavy objects} :) I am planning to feature this adorable costume next week! In addition to features from my Throwback Thursday party, I'm going to do a separate post with Halloween costume features from the party. Wahoo! And thanks for linking up to Throwback Thursday :)

  4. Cute idea! He is adorable! I hope you will link this up to The CSI Project starting tonight. The challenge is DIY Halloween Costumes. You just might win!!!!

  5. This post just saved my tush!! I am a pretty accomplished seamstress but for some reason muscle making had me stumped and procrastinating. I guess I better get sewing. No more excuses.Thanks for posting!

  6. Oh my goodness! how cute is he! He really plays the part. Great job! Saw you on create. craft. love. Congrats on the feature!

  7. This is the best muscle tutorial ever! I wasn't looking forward to trying the other tutorials I've seen but this seems doable and I think it looks better. Thanks so much for sharing.