My last blog was the beginning of my tale about my first foray into cosplay. Since it ended on a cliffhanger (!) I know you're all on the edge of your seat wanting to know how it turned out. Well, here goes!
To recap: I was going for a Mary Poppins, Time Lord costume, which meant Mary Poppins Edwardian woman + 11th Doctor mashup. At this point, I have the tweed jacket, long black skirt, Edwardian-looking boots one size too small, feminine button-down shirt, and bow tie. (Before I go any further; yes, I did look for the hat, but was not successful. I got a fez instead, but didn't end up wearing it at the con.) Oh, and I have an umbrella too.
So...the carpet bag! I knew right away that I wasn't going to find one ready-made with a TARDIS-looking color scheme. But, I did some searching on the Interwebs and found a site that described the process to make one! It seemed like a challenge but I was amped about this idea.
First, I needed carpet. My husband and I moved into our house in October, and luckily the previous owner left a bunch of old carpet in the basement. Unfortunately, it was just crummy beige old carpet. So I went hunting for fabric I could use over the carpet; then, I would have the structural rigidity of the carpet with any color and pattern of fabric that I chose. I wanted that purpley-bluey TARDIS blue, hopefully with white leather accents. I also wanted to choose a fabric that looked feminine and/or captured that vibe of carpetbag appearance.
Joann Fabric had the material I was looking for! Since it was sort of silky, I also got a plain fabric as a liner because I didn't want the crappy standard house carpet to snag the pretty fabric. Now, time for the construction! First, I had to cut the carpet into the right shape. Here's me measuring twice and cutting once...
Then, I sewed the liner to the carpet with nylon thread. (Don't judge, I'm an amateur! And carpet is hard to sew through!)
Then, I "liquid stitched" the nice fabric to the liner. (I figured I wouldn't need to sew that on since the edges would get sewn together anyway.)
Next came the stitching to form the actual bag. I did quite a bit of sewing, doubling up the stitching, since this would be critical to the bag's survival throughout a day of cosplay.
Once the bag was sewn up, I could then turn it inside out and work on the liner and hardware for the top. Fortunately the website I found in the beginning gave me a pretty good idea of how to assemble the closure. I used aluminum bars (bendable and light) and rivets; I just got a rivet gun and rivets from the hardware store. I found out later that there is a special kind of rivet for this kind of thing. Either way, it worked! I used the liner fabric from before and sewed a liner for the inside of the bag, complete with pockets. I put some folded up cardboard in the bottom for support and sewed the liner in.
I really wanted white leather for the accents at the top of the bag, including handles and closure mechanism. It seemed like the most durable, strongest option. I called the fabric store, who said they didn't carry leather but to call the leather furniture store next door. I did that, and was able to pick up some old white leather samples they were willing to part with for free! (So, shout out to Creative Leather Furniture! Thanks!) The only problem was that they weren't the right size, so I had to sew a few together to get the length I needed to go around the top of the bag. Behold, sewing the leather onto the aluminum frame:
In that picture you can see where I stitched the samples together. Once I sewed the leather onto the metal, I then sewed the whole thing to the top of the carpet bag. It was at this point that I broke my leather needle...when I went to buy more at an actual leather store, I discovered the most wonderful invention ever invented in the history of inventors! It's called a Sewing Palm, and it saved my hands. (Try stabbing a needle through two layers of leather, four layers of fabric, and carpet without it...I dare you.)
Here's what the bag looked like before I got the metal frame on. At this point it was 3am the Thursday before the conference! #procrastination
I fashioned some handles out of the same leather samples, sewing the leather around some rope-like material, then sewing the ends onto the bag. I used a simple leather strap and a store bought buckle to keep the thing closed. Here's the bag with the handles before I put the buckle on.
Aaaand...once I put the bag together with all the other pieces of the costume...here's the final result! I'm doing my Doctor face in that pic. All in all I'd call this first try at cosplay a success.