Halloween DIY: TJ’s Top Gun Costume

TJ’s mama, Alex, is one of the coolest cats I know, so I find it only obvious that he would have a party and a Halloween costume dedicated to one of the most awesome movies of all time, Top Gun!

How did you decide what costume to give TJ?

We decided on a costume kind of at the last minute. TJ had just turned one and we had no plans to do anything on Halloween; not even trick-or-treating since he didn’t know what candy was yet.

A couple of weeks before, we made plans with a group of friends to meet at a local farm and pumpkin patch on the morning of Halloween. So we felt a costume was suddenly needed.

For his birthday party three weeks prior, we had done a Top Gun theme, so that was still fresh in our minds. I had been looking online at the Top Gun costumes out there, but no one manufactured the flight suit costume small enough for a one-year-old.

By pure luck, I ran across a faux leather bomber jacket at H&M and his costume literally clicked into place in my head as I made the purchase. I think I grinned the whole drive home that day.

Where did you get all of your materials?

  • Jacket: H&M, $29
  • Plain white t-shirt and jeans: Target, $15
  • Toddler-sized aviator sunglasses: Sunglass Hut (a gift from Auntie Jackie)
  • Iron-on transfer paper: Fry’s Electronics ($12)
  • Twill fabric: Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store ($4)

How did you save costs?

It was a really simple outfit over all; jeans, plain t-shirt, a jacket and sunglasses. The details are what made it into an actual costume, and those are where I saved money.

I saw replica bomber jackets online that cost between $50 and $80 for kids. None of them were as small as I needed, but I still don’t think I would have paid that much for one.

How long did the costume take to make?

I’m not entirely sure. I know I worked on it over nap times for a weekend and then a bit more after bedtime for a few more days. Overall, it didn’t take up a ton of time.

I had used the iron-on paper a few times already, so there was less of a learning curve. I did try to rush a few times and ended up messing them up and having to start over again.

Sewing the patches on the jacket probably took the most time. But I was able to do that while sitting in front of the TV after TJ’s bedtime.

Can you describe the steps you took to make the costume?

My first step was researching the different patches that are on the jacket that Tom Cruise wore in the film Top Gun. Believe it or not, there are more than a few websites that have that information. On a few websites you can even order the patches themselves. Since TJ’s jacket was so small, the full size patches would have been way too big.

I was able to screen-grab JPEG images of all of the patches from a couple of websites. I color-corrected them in Photoshop and measured the panels of the jacket so I could get an idea on how large each patch needed to be.

I then printed each one onto a piece of iron-on transfer paper; the kind meant for dark fabrics.

Next I cut out each patch and ironed them onto a piece of dark brown twill fabric that I picked up from a fabric store. My hope was that the texture of the twill fabric would show through the iron-on. It didn’t reall, but oh well; it was an idea.

Once each patch was ironed on and cooled, I cut them all out from the fabric.

Then, one at a time, I stitched them onto TJ’s jacket by hand. I wanted them to look like real patches as much as I could. The finished product was something I am still really proud of, even though he has since outgrown the jacket.

On Halloween, my husband styled TJ’s hair with some gel and we dressed him in the “I’m One” white t-shirt I made for his birthday party.

His black Converse Chuck Taylors completed the look; even though I have no idea what kind of shoes Tom Cruise wore in the film. We tried to get him to wear the aviator sunglasses, but he only kept them on for a few seconds at a time. At least we were able to get a couple of photos.

Was it less expensive than buying a costume?

Considering some of the costumes I’ve seen, yes.

What a creative DIY costume! It sounds like a lot of love went into this jacket. If I ever have a little guy, I might ask if I can borrow it.


One Response to Halloween DIY: TJ’s Top Gun Costume

  1. Pingback: My Son’s First Birthday » Alex Tebow Designs

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