Back when Ellie had her fist Halloween I whipped up a Sandra Lee style semi-homemade Ewok costume, because tiny space teddy bears + my baby girl = cuteness. Obviously. By the next Halloween, when she was nearly 2, she had opinions and wanted to be Super Ellie - so we made that one to her specifications. And from that point on it was our thing: we were going to be making Halloween costumes. There was a three year affinity for robots stretch (Eve from Wall-E, then Wall-E, finally R2-D2) followed by 2017, the year I birthed a sibling on Halloween instead of a costume :D
Here we are, emerging on the other side better, stronger, more SUPER. Saoirse wanted to be Super Girl, and since she’s more or less gone along with Ellie’s costume whims in the past Ellie jumped on board and chose Wonder Woman. I suggested Thor for Ayrton and was met with DC vs Marvel derision, so we opted for a fellow blondie: Aquaman.
Thing is… I’m not a seamstress, I’m an artist. Prior year’s costumes were largely sculptural and just made sense to my brain. This year was a big leap for me - particularly since I don’t actually own a sewing machine? These costumes are hand-sewn, intermittently glued (when we got down to the wire on the local Fall Carnival which was move to September 22 this year :)). All this to say, if you are a seamstress and my process seems hilarious to you, blame the artist.
The Aquaman costume is built on an orange onesie and green pants. I made a repeating scallop pattern that seemed a good scale for Ayrton’s swoll baby bod, then cut out somewhere between 9 and 10 million scales from felt. Then came the most challenging part of all the costumes: felt, while nice to cut and never worry about a raw edge, has zero give. After trying three different iterations I accepted my fate: I had to attach each scale one by one, overlapping them by half so that when his little tummy stretched there wouldn’t be massive gaps. After that I was feeling my oats and decided to add some brushes of the metallic bronze paint to some of the scales, which I think added some nice depth. Bonus: when he sits down he looks less “fish scale armor” and more “adorable fluffy owl”.
The Aquaman belt was made from a faux leather upholstery material that I cut, sewed an “A” and some velcro on, and painted bronze. Protip for kids costumes and belts: always have a fastening point or two on the base costume to limit the belt slipping. Their tummies are massive when they sit, disappear when they stand, and they have no waist (and mine have no buns)! :D
I made the little green boots and gauntlets from green felt from templates I drew to incorporate a fin shape. A double layer of felt added rigidity, but you could use a stiffening spray if you feeling FANCY. Elastic in the wrist portion holds them comfortably in place, and then some velcro in the fin section to keep the upper part fastened.
The trident I sketched a shape for, cut out x4 on yellow felt and joined the top together, leaving the bottom center section open for joining the staff. The staff is just rolled felt, so while it’s a bit bendy it is likewise de-weaponized and chew-safe. Priorities amiright.
The Super Girl and Wonder Woman costumes use a base of a blue leotard and faux leather blue pants. You better believe I snipped the leo bottom because no way was I making the 3 year old pull off her whole costume for every potty trip. (she did anyway :D ) The Supergirl symbol I cut from red faux leather upholstery material, doing the teensy cut outs because we like the yellow field behind. Those I joined and then attached at only a few points to her leo to allow for stretch.
Both the cape and skirt I sewed from red velvet, with velcro at strategic points (shoulders, on the skirt for the belt to affix to). It was the first circle skirt I’ve made so that was fun and also punctuated by frequent texts to my friend Kate. Like Aquaman, the belt was cut from the faux leather and painted with bronze metallic. Tiny deets: a black stretchy headband is a must for our little Supergirl!
The BOOTS oh man the boooooooooooooooooooots. These were nearing Aquaman fish scales level fear for me. I tried a couple prototypes and they just weren’t working. I was cursing my lack of cobbler experience, the collapse of the guild system, asking Adam for advice and giving him serious side eye whenever he dropped knowledge. Finally, I settled on three pieces: a shaft with velcro up the back, a half sole for a sneaker to slide into, and an upper that I molded over the sneaker sewing to the sole and then each side to the shaft joining the three together. Wonder Woman’s boots are made the same way, with the addition of a piece of the leather that I’d painted metallic silver and cut in a tapered arrow shape.
With the exception of those sweet boots, Ellie’s version of Wonder Woman is inspired by David Finch’s design. Because let’s be real…most Wonder Woman costumes are neither age, season nor battle appropriate. While Ellie and I were image searching and sketching ideas she was a bit disbelieving of some of D’s Amazonian get-up, dismissing it as “not very fierce”. Fierceness is a highly valued quality around here. :D
Let me tell you about the WILD HAPPY DANCE I did when the individually sewn on leather pieces for the chevron armor actually matched up perfectly along the back closure!!!!! I mathed my hardest, and the mathiness paid off. All of the remaining armor pieces are individually cut, painted and sewn, with some pieces stacked (like the W) for depth. The silver stars are from the same leather, just painted silver. Deeeeets win the day: I stitched a 1/2” loop of leather at the back top edge of the armor for her to slide her sword and shield into so she can carry those on her back while she runs around defeating candy.
The belt pieces are cut and sewn together painted, then painted with bronze with a little loop she can open and close to carry the Lasso of Truth (gold braided rope FTW). The skirt is 4 separate velvet pieces - bedecked with two more of the silver stars - sewn into the belt. Note: the back piece is only attached by half. The other half has a piece of velcro along the top to fasten inside the belt - the velvet overlaps so this creates a continuous skirt look with a belt that she can put on. You could opt to just make a velvet triangle skirt standalone with elastic at the waist.
The gauntlets are 4 separate pieces sewn together to give that layered armor look, with velcro to fasten. The Wonder Woman headband is faux leather, painted, with elastic at the back. I sewed on a red star to finish!
So…why do we do this? Because it’s fun. Because they wear them All The Time. Because they love it. Because I love them. It is a little wild - but then we love them pretty wildly. :D