I set out to make this astronaut costume as part of a “what I wanted to be when I grew up” theme for work. I had always wanted to be an astronaut from as far back as I can remember. So, when the theme came up at work this year it was a no-brainer.
First I did my research. I looked up as many photos of the Apollo space suits as I could find. Then I started to gather materials. I knew I was going to need to make pretty much everything from scratch.
I went out and bought a sewing machine, even though I had no idea how to use one. Next I purchased about 15 yards of white rip-stop nylon, cotton batting and blue satin lining material. I looked for patterns for pajamas, coveralls, etc. to try to find something “similar” to the look of the Apollo suit. I finally settled on a pattern for a one-piece pajama that I ended up modifying. I actually had to watch videos online to learn the basics of sewing before I could attempt the suit.
Next, I focused on the helmet. It is made from a plastic sphere and a security camera bubble. I wanted the mirrored finish, but I wanted to be able to see as well. The security camera bubble worked perfectly. The hardest part was figuring out how to sew the fabric for the helmet into the shape of a sphere.
For the backpack I just created cardboard boxes in the shapes I needed and then covered them with the same nylon fabric as the suit. I made the patches from printable iron-ons which I sewed around the edges to give it a more embroidered look.
The boots were a challenge as well. I ended up using EVA foam from children’s snap together playmats. I put the pieces out on a band saw and then glued them together with high-temp hot glue. I then covered them in Plasti-Dip I had dyed to the proper color. For the fabric of the boots I used a combination of the white nylon and a gray shower curtain (I liked the texture of the shower curtain). This took several attempts to get right. Getting the fabric into the right shape and size to fit my foam soles was quite the challenge.
Finally, the gloves were made with a pair of ski gloves (finger tips removed) lined with a pair of chemical gloves dipped in the same plasti-dip as the boot soles. Then I just added a cuff of white nylon to match the suit.
Lastly, I lightly misted the suit with gray spray paint to give it a “moon dusted” look. This last step really gave the costume credibility. It gave it an authentic look as though it had actually been to the moon.
This whole experience was a great challenge, but it was well worth every minute. I loved the reaction I got from people everywhere I went.