My husband and I love any excuse to make costumes, with an affinity for the transformation of old things becoming new creations. 80s themed party? Bill and Ted are most excellently attending. Rock & Roll themed party? Vanilla Ice and Bjork are on the guest list. Cocktails and Comedy night? Up-cycled formal wear will have the last laugh because, why not? And because I agree that good design is about problem solving, not just aesthetics.
With my husband’s background in architecture and mine in display and merchandising, designing is one of our favorite pastimes together. Whatever the medium-whether its set design for a local stage production, or costumes for an event- we love the process of creating.
Once we decide on the theme, we hit the thrift stores with a budget and a timer- Project Runway style- searching for treasures from the tossed. At home, our living room transforms into the ‘House of Nautamont’ (a combination of our last names, NAUTa, and MONTi,…dorks, we know.). We each bring strengths, and we have taught each other a number of things over the past 4 years. For instance, my husband didn’t sew on a sewing machine until a few years ago after we started dating. On the eve of a production he was acting in, I found him hunched over his costume on his living room floor, furiously hand sewing his ‘boots’. I casually asked if he a sewing machine, and after showing him a couple basics I had acquired, he has been unstoppable ever since. Since then, I have found the sewing machine-still on-with fabric spilling out over the table, but no sign of Trevor. He had finished his project at the time with no time to spare and was literally, off and running to his event. He has taught me how to think through structure beforehand, as well as other technical details of how to wear the garment. I came home once and found my “Bill” outfit laid out for me- from the brushed wig down atop the shirt down to the socks thoughtfully tucked into the shoes- as well as an iPad nearby with him putting on the garment one step at a time- I didn’t think it was that difficult but I appreciate his attention to detail nonetheless. Anyway, back to this years Halloween costumes. My husband and I decided to change it up a bit this year and make each other’s costumes. We had seen the new WonderWoman movie, loved it, and with one glance, we both knew that we wanted to go as Diana of Themyscira and Captain Steve Trevor.
We started in early October (hoping that would be enough time and we wouldn’t find ourselves hunched over our costumes the night before Halloween sewing boots. We still found ourselves hunched over costumes sewing boots). For WonderWoman, the main body is from an old pleather skirt, a jacket, and it’s lining. My arm cuffs are a cocktail shaker cut in half and spray painted with homemade stencils. My head band is craft foam (my personal favorite), cut and spray painted with gold and attached to an elastic. And my shoes are thrifted wedge heels, also spray painted and fitted with matching pleather, then attached with rivets and stiffened with cardboard. My look was complete with faux eyelashes and black color hairspray.
For Trevor’s Captain costume, it was mostly tailoring pieces I found at the thrift store and a tag sale. The pants and outer jacket were brought in but I changed out the buttons on the jacket and shortened it. I added fur at the collar that came from the lining of a kids denim jacket. The leg wraps at the shins were formerly a pea green women’s blazer cut and sewn, and his sweater was as is from a thrift store. The layered jacket was the most transformative- a women’s polyester snake skin print blouse was cut to make sleeves and padded with a baby blanket we had from a previous costume endeavor. The leather was a former trench coat 3 sizes too big that I cut to fit Trevor and attached the newly created sleeves. The belt was made from a cut scrap of the leather jacket. To complete the look, pre-existing shoes (that we held onto for such an occasion, even after they retired from the streets. Hoarders? We prefer the term resourceful.). And of course, Trevor’s self styled hair.
Everyone said they really loved our costumes! Many asked about Trevor, apparently they weren’t as familiar with Captain Steve Trevor. We entered one local contest, but we should’ve known the costume contest might not be judged fairly when only girls were allowed to enter (they kicked out a perfectly good though male Jimmy Neutron). Regardless, fellow superheroes told me WonderWoman was the best they had seen. I nodded to my Captain, because he the best human I know at transforming thrift stores finds into such cool designs, in creative and thoughtful ways.
We are hoping you will think the same:)
To all our fellow DIYer’s, our heart beats with you. Well done, and best of luck!
-Lindsey and Trevor
a.k.a WonderWoman and Captain Trevor