Halloween is just around the corner and one of our favorite parts of the season is hearing all the different requests that are sent to our DIY Costume Concierge! Since 2017, we've been working with our talented costume partner, Nguyen Le, to help bring any costume idea to life with easy step-by-step instructions. (Not familiar with our concierge? Learn more here!)
So many costumes in our DIY gallery have been created by Nguyen, and some even feature her adorable son, River (check out these 5 DIY costumes made with 1 babysuit). Recently, we asked her a few questions about her DIY process, and what it's like to be a professional crafter.
How did you start professionally crafting?
I fell in love with knitting just after college and started an Etsy shop in 2005 with funky knit accessories. It wasn’t until 2008 when I got into the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn, NY and moved there, that I really started crafting full time. I sold at markets, fairs, and to shops. I taught some classes in the city, and authored a couple craft books. Through a friend of a friend, I received an opportunity to work with an ad agency and their creative team as a craft stylist. They would bring me when they needed paper sculptures, costumes, or miniature world building projects for their clients. Eventually I found my way to Primary as their Costume Concierge!
What are the craft tools you reach for most often?
I almost always reach for my spring loaded Fiskars scissors - it’s easy on the hands when you do a lot of cutting! I have a smaller set of Olfa scissors that I use for more precision cutting. The hot glue gun would be my next tool that I reach for during the Primary Halloween season.
What’s your process of creating a DIY costume? Does it ever take you multiple tries?
When I’m designing a costume, I start by imagining what the costume would look like overall. For example, with the Alligator costume, I imagined the alligator’s head would be on a baseball cap and the body and tail would be a sort of poncho over the torso. Afterward I looked to the internet for more specific details, such as the alligator’s eye shape and placement, and the shape and size of the teeth. If the costume is a little more complicated, I’ll make sketches until I come up with something I’m happy with.
Sometimes it does take me multiple tries to get it right, but not too often. And if I do need to make things more than once, it’s usually just one part of the costume, and not the whole thing.
Do you have a favorite costume you’ve made for Primary?
It’s so hard to pick a favorite! From the Costume Concierge, I enjoyed drawing up a sketch of the ISS (International Space Station) for a kid’s request. And last year I got to make it for our “Best of the Concierge” fall catalog shoot!
What’s your favorite part of making Halloween costumes?
The end product - I love seeing what I visualized come to life!
What Primary Basics get used the most during costume creation?
Definitely PJs, hoodies and joggers are pieces that get used the most. They’re great basics that come in a variety of colors. They also work for a lot of costumes, and will get more life after Halloween.
You head up the Primary Costume Concierge. Can you tell us more about it and how it works?
Sure! For example, if a kid says, “I want to be a sand dune” for Halloween, and you’re at a complete loss for how to make that happen, just call or write in to the Costume Concierge! We’ll suggest clothing basics on the child’s age and weather needs, and write up instructions on how to make your child’s costume a reality.
What are the most unusual costume concierge costume requests you’ve seen?
Cereal worker in space, a sand dune, a pepperoni beaver, a mac ‘n cheese cow, a toilet truck because "toilets can't walk to trick or treat", an elevator, and so many more!
I love inanimate object requests such as a wind chime, a shovel, or a cheese cracker. It’s a small window of childhood, usually before 4-5 yrs old that seems to request these types of costumes, and it really speaks to what they’re fascinated with at the moment!
Reach out to Nguyen with a text or phone call at 1-833-DIY-EASY, or send an email to DIYEasy@primary.com. You'll get a reply in a few business days with step-by-step instructions on how to bring your child's DIY dreams to life! You can also follow Nguyen on Instagram @nguyenlestudio and keep up with her latest craft projects.