Search

Home » DIY Tutorials » DIY Costumes » Strong Man Circus Costume (…with a muscle shirt!)

Strong Man Circus Costume (…with a muscle shirt!)

The last of our Halloween Costume Circus Theme……is COMPLETE!!!!  (In case you missed them, Ellie’s wearing a Lion Tamer Costume, Connor has a Circus Clown and Bear Piggyback Costume, Chloe is wearing a Tight Rope Walker Costume, and Max has a Lion Costume and Circus Cage/Wagon.)  Oh man, now I need a nap! Ha! But really, I get so hyped up while making costumes….that once I get going, I can’t turn my mind off until they’re done.  In fact, some of my best work happens late at night when I tell my husband, “okay, just 30 more minutes”…which turns into at least another hour—or three! ;)

But from the very beginning of the circus theme idea, Oliver has wanted to be the STRONG MAN from the Circus!  Connor tried encroaching on that idea and hoped to be able to convince Oliver of being something else, so he could be the Strong Man….but Oliver wasn’t having any of that! HA!  Once he saw a picture of a strong man and saw that he had big MUSCLES and a big stick with balls on it, he told us ALLLLL about how he was going to wear a Strong Man Circus Costume this year!!!

And boy, was he excited!!!!! :)

How to make a Strong Man Circus Costume...including a muscle shirt! | via makeit-loveit.com #halloweencostume #DIY
  • Save

It’s funny though, because I don’t think Oliver has ever seen a full set of weights on a bar.  I have some hand weights at home that he has seen me use with a workout video…but never a full bar.  But once I finished making this bar with the “heavy” weights on the end, he knew exactly what it was for!  And that they make him look STRONG! :)

How to make a Strong Man Circus Costume...including a muscle shirt!
  • Save

This Strong Man is kind of a show-off though…..just look how he flexes while doing this one-handed lift. Ha!

How to make a Strong Man Circus Costume...including a muscle shirt!
  • Save

But if you think that’s impressive folks…..check out this full extension, with a side bend! (Hahaha…..this kid cracks me up!)

How to make a Strong Man Circus Costume...including a muscle shirt!
  • Save

Just don’t try and distract him while he’s doing his reps.  Lifting weights is serious business!!

How to make a Strong Man Circus Costume...including a muscle shirt!
  • Save

I originally ordered a muscle shirt that I thought would save me some time and keep this costume nice and easy….but once it arrived, I was so disappointed with how it looked!  The muscles were in the wrong spots and they were so flat.  So I made a muscle shirt instead and it came together much easier than I thought!  And now this Strong Man has a nice set of muscles to show off at the circus!

  • Save

The striped jumper is a quick sew but I think I’ll add a little velcro to the shoulders before Halloween, to keep the shoulder straps up on the shoulders better. Those big bulging muscles tend to cause those straps to slide off….especially while doing arm curls. :)

  • Save

Oliver has been training all year to join his friends at the Circus….and is now finally ready to impress his circus fans!

  • Save

Good luck Strong Man……see you at the next big city!

  • Save

Want to make a Strong Man costume too?

Okay, here’s how I made ours…

SUPPLIES for Strong Man Circus Costume:

  • Nude color knit fabric
  • red and white striped knit fabric
  • Faux leather strip, 2 inches wide
  • 2 inch metal D-rings
  • 1 inch wooden dowel
  • Hollow Styrofoam Spheres (found at the craft store)
  • Sewing Supplies (here’s a list of my favorite sewing supplies, in case you need a few ideas) 

***Check out my Sewing Terms 101 post, for additional help.

 

Begin by creating the jumpsuit.  This jumpsuit is very basic and is only made with a front and back piece, that are identical.  Similar in shape to a wrestling jersey.  Place a shirt down with a pair of knit shorts (that are more fitted and stretchy) and overlap the shirt the same amount as it would if your subject were wearing them.  Use the height of those two together to determine the height of the jumpsuit.  This will also help you determine the width of the leg portion….and then just go up straight from there.  The scoop in the front should dip down about halfway between the pecks and the belly button…..maybe slightly lower.  (Because you want the abs on the muscle shirt to show.)  It’s easiest if you place the shirt and shorts down on some paper and create a pattern piece to then cut out your actual knit fabric.  Just make sure you add a 1/4 inch around the edges for a seam allowance.  And also be sure the fabric stretches from left to right, so the jumpsuit is easier to get on.

  • Save

Once you have your two jumpsuit pieces cut, place them with right sides together, and then sew the shoulders together, along each side, and then along the curve of the crotch…..using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Turn right side out…..and that’s it!  (You could finish off the neckline, arm holes, and hem each leg….but knit fabric doesn’t fray, and I didn’t think it was necessary for this costume (or want to take the time to do it)! :)

  • Save

Okay, now onto the muscle shirt portion of the costume.  Grab a Tshirt that fits your subject pretty well and is not overly baggy.  Use that shirt to create a pattern piece for the main bodice of the muscle shirt.  Just add a few extra inches at the bottom, to be sure there’s plenty of extra fabric to keep tucked inside the jumpsuit.

  • Save

Here it is opened up…  (Make sure you added an extra 1/4 inch around the arm holes and both sides for a seam allowance.  Also, the fabric should stretch right to left.)

  • Save

Now, cut out another main shirt piece…..the same as the first.  (I didn’t create a front and back piece.  I just made both neck lines the same….which matched the scoop of the front neckline of his existing Tshirt.)  Then, I used the Tshirt to create 2 sleeves that were a little wider than his existing sleeves, to allow for a little extra batting for the muscles….and also made them long sleeves.

  • Save

Now, use a fabric pencil or chalk to mark the lines of your muscles.  The lines I made were hard to see, I marked over them with black lines in photoshop.  The top 2 sections of this muscle grid are supposed to be the “pecks”, so try and have them align with where your subject’s pecks would go.  The bottom 6 sections on the grid are for the abs (or 6-pack)….so just divide those evenly.

  • Save

Next, place another piece of scrap piece of your nude fabric underneath your shirt front and add pins to keep the layers together

  • Save

Then increase your stitch length to a longer length (I bumped mine up to about a 4, on my 1-5 scale) and then sew along the lower scoop of the muscles.  (The pins help hold the 2 layers of fabric in place during this step, since knit is stretchy.)

  • Save

Then, turn over the fabric and cut away the extra fabric along the back, so that it doesn’t flap around and get in the way.

  • Save

Now sew your vertical line down the center of the muscles, creating two separate pockets to fill.

  • Save

Then start placing some batting down towards the bottom of these 2 sections, puffing out your very bottom 2 abs.

  • Save

Then, sew a horizontal line to close off those 2 abs, following the markings you created with your pencil/chalk.

  • Save

Next, repeat the same thing, creating your next 2 abs….

  • Save

….and then 2 more after that, until you have a complete 6-pack!

  • Save

Now, using a ZIG-ZAG stitch, sew right along the neck line, which will join those 2 layers of fabric together along the top.  (The zig-zag will still allow the neckline to stretch, so it can fit over your subject’s head.) Then trim away all the extra fabric along the top…..which will get your shirt back to its original shape.

  • Save

Stuff one of these “pecks” with batting, through the shoulder opening…..and then sew the shoulder closed.

  • Save

Then fill the other peck….and sew it closed too.

  • Save

For the arms, draw a similar set of lines with your fabric pencil/chalk….to use as a guide.  There’s kind of an upper bulge and a lower bulge.  Between the two is where your subject’s elbow should be, so make sure and line that up accordingly when your drawing your muscle shapes.

  • Save

Just like the the other muscles, place a piece of fabric beneath your sleeve piece and pin them together.  Then sew around the main shape of the muscles.

  • Save

Then cut away the extra fabric from the back and then sew along the vertical line that divides those lower muscles.

  • Save

Place batting into those two sections and then sew them closed.

  • Save

Now add a little more batting, and sew off this section.

  • Save

And then finally, fill up this upper muscle section and sew the entire arm close along the top, using a zig-zag stitch.  Then trim away the extra fabric along the top.

  • Save

Now, place your front shirt piece (with all the muscles) together with your back piece, with RIGHT sides together, and sew along the shoulders, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

  • Save

Then, attach your shoulders to each arm hole opening, making sure that your are sewing them with RIGHT sides together.

  • Save

Fold the shirt back together, but with RIGHT sides together, and then sew closed along each arm and then down each side of the shirt, using a 1/4 seam allowance.  And that’s it….your muscle shirt is done!

  • Save

For the weight bar, I grabbed a 1 inch dowel and some large styrofoam craft ball halves (they’re normally used for flower arrangements) that fit together to create a complete sphere.  Cut a hole in two of the ball halves.

  • Save

Slide one of the halves with a hole onto your dowel and then glue the other half (without a hole) onto the end of the dowel.

  • Save

Slide them together and hot glue the two halves closed.  Also, place a line of glue around the hole in the styrofoam, to seal it around the dowel.  Repeat with the other end of the dowel and styrofoam halves.

  • Save

Paint each ball black and the dowel silver…..and you’re ready to go!

  • Save

For the belt, I just cut 2 pieces of faux leather that were 2 inches wide and then long enough to fit around Oliver’s waist, plus another 5-6 inches.  I cut one end into a curve and then I sewed the 2 strips of leather together with WRONG sides together, nice and close to the two edges.  Then, I placed one end through my two D-rings, folded over the end about an inch….and then sewed that edge down.

  • Save

Now, you have a weight lifting belt.

  • Save

Now it’s time to put the muscle shirt on, the bodysuit, and then paint a little mustache onto the face…..and then this STRONG MAN is ready to IMPRESS! :)

  • Save

Haha…..still cracks me up!

I hope that was helpful!

Good luck!

-Ashley

. . . . .
Check out these other boy costumes ideas:
Aladdin Costume
Werewolf and Werewolf Hunter Costumes
Monsters Inc. Tshirts
Batman and Robin Costumes
PJ Mask Costumes
Captain America and Thor Costumes
Upside Down Man
Charlie Brown
Football Field Costume
Mad Scientist Costume
. . . . .
 
Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Ashley Johnston
  • Save

Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
  • Save

Comments

  1. Chelsea says:

    Just wanted to share that my mom made this for my son this year! My friend and I and her family did a circus theme and this was the perfect way to secure our addition to the group! Thank you so much for this tutorial! Everything came out perfect. I’m not sure if there is a place for me to share a picture of our creation but I would be happy to share!

  2. Emily Farrell says:

    Any chance you’d sell me a muscle shirt?! There’s NO WAY I could make that!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Excellent job

  4. Creative Khadija says:

    This looks amazing, thanks for sharing this detailed tutorial :) Your kids always rock in these outfits!

    https://creativekhadija.com/

  5. yanti says:

    So so cute.. I can’t wait to come back for the whole troop in costume photos.

  6. Grandpa Rob says:

    Great job, Ashley! It’s the Biggest Show on Earth!

  7. Kim N says:

    One thing that I learned the hard way years ago: DO NOT use hot glue on the Styrofoam–It will melt!
    Love, love, love all these costumes, Ashley! And your photography as usual is wonderful!

  8. Tanya says:

    I enjoy your photography about as much as I enjoy your projects! :)
    Love your blog. Keep them coming!

  9. Prislee says:

    Omg! That is tooo cute. Love the theme, and the costumes came out great! Your children are so adorable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

Back to Top
3.6K Shares
Share via
Copy link