Hello friends! We just started carrying a variety of amazing products from Sew Much Cosplay! The first one that I wanted to get my hands on and play with was their Hero Foam. It is a high density shape-able, paintable EVA foam that comes in three colors (white, gray, and black) and two thicknesses (2mm and 6mm)! You can cut it with your Scan N Cut or regular scissors. You can glue it or sew it. You can mold it with heat or shape it with a Dremmel. And you can paint it without the need of a primer. So clearly it is a very versatile medium. It is most commonly used for cosplay armor because of all the qualities I mentioned and because it’s so lightweight. That being said, I immediately wanted to make something different with it.
I started to think about what would be helpful if you were at a Comic Con-like event or a costume party or anywhere that would be difficult to carry around your phone or wallet or personal items without messing up the aesthetic of your ensemble. Pockets are hard to come by in most cosplays and costumes. I immediately remembered the first time I went to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, I dressed as Alice in Wonderland and trying to manage my camera, my park ticket, my phone, and my wallet was pretty challenging. I was too stubborn to carry a backpack or any other bag that wasn’t on theme with my look so I wound up using my friends pockets for storage and it was pretty annoying for both of us.
So I knew I wanted to make a bag. A bag that would look like a prop so that it would blend in with my outfit. A bag shaped like a book could work! That concept could work for a bunch of characters who love books like Belle, Hermione, Elizabeth Bennet, etc. And it could also work for any character who came from a book, like they popped out of their own story.
Since this was going to be a completely unique project, I knew that I would have to make my own pattern.
Here are the supplies that I gathered for this project:
1 package of Sew Much Cosplay’s 2mm Hero Foam
1 bottle of Contact Cement
2 Fat Quarters of “text” fabric
1 magnetic snap
So Soft fabric paint (Royal Blue – 2 bottles, Cream – 1 bottle, and Brown – 1 bottle)
1 package of Sew Much Cosplay’s Power Shine Foil (gold)
I started by roughing out the dimensions of my bag and writing a list of pieces that I would need to cut out.
Here is the cut list that I came up with…
Back/Front Flap – 16″ x 10″ – 1 piece
Bottom – 2″ x 10″ – 2 pieces
Sides – 2″ x 7″ – 2 pieces
Inside Front – 7″ x 10″ – 1 piece
Fabric: 1/2″ Seam Allowance
Inside Front – 7″ x 10″ – 1 piece
Sides – 3″ x 8″ – 2 pieces
Front & Back – 8″ x 11″ – 2 pieces
I used my quilting ruler and my Frixxon pen to draw my lines on the Hero Foam. I found that cutting it with a rotary cutter left a cleaner line than using scissors but both work just fine.
The first thing that I did after cutting was to glue my fabric to the Inside Front piece. I did this first because I knew I wanted to use a magnetic snap to close my bag and it would be much easier to install it at the beginning of the process than at the end.
I also glued the sides of the bag to the same piece. I inset the sides 1/2″ from the edge to help it look like the spine of a book.
The downside to working with contact cement is that it does need a bit of time to dry (I tried to let mine dry overnight whenever possible). You also need to make sure you’re working in a well ventilated area! I found that when I used it on fabric it tried to pucker a little. I weighed it down when I left it to dry and this seemed to help.
While that piece was drying, I glued the 2 layers of the bottom of the bag together and the fabric to the top of it. I also put weight on top of this piece while it was drying.
After the fabric was dry, I was ready to insert the female side of my snap. I used the back piece as a template to mark where I was going to cut my slashes.
I used my snips to poke holes where my marks were and inserted the legs of the snap.
Then I placed the back piece that I used as a template before over the legs and bent them back to secure it in place.
Now that my snap was inserted, I could start assembling the rest of the bag. I sewed the four sides of my lining together and glued it to the piece that I had just put my snap into and let it dry.
Once it was dry, I glued the foam and the lining to the back piece/flap all at once.
I paid extra attention to the edges when it came time to glue the foam and made sure these sides were also 1/2″ from the edge.
Then I glued the bottom on. Full disclosure, if I was going to make another one I would make the bottom small enough to inset it like I did the sides so the silhouette looks more like a book. At the time, I was a little worried about just the contact cement holding the bottom on so I made it bigger to give it more of a chance. Now that I know how rock solid that stuff is I would definitely feel comfortable insetting the bottom.
Once the back and the bottom were dry, I could attach the male side of the snap.
I folded the flap down so I could mark the placement. I had to make sure the bottom of the flap would be flush with the bottom of the bag.
Then I inserted the snap the same way I did before. Don’t worry about it showing on the outside. We’ll disguise that shortly.
I wanted to shape the “spine” of the bag a little to look more like a book. I sandwiched it upside down between two of the biggest books that I own and hit it with my husbands heat gun. I put it upside down to let gravity help flatten it.
I let it cool in place for a couple minutes and when I took the actual books away it looked great! Next I painted any part of the bag that wasn’t the side pieces and didn’t have fabric glued to it. I chose a pretty royal blue that would coordinate with Alice’s dress. I gave it two coats to get the color really vibrant and opaque.
While it was drying, I went on Pinterest and found an image that I could use for the cover of my book. I scanned it into my Scan N Cut and then brought it to Scan N Cut Canvas to edit it (this could be a whole separate blog post if anyone is interested). Once the design was ready, I made sure my mat had the extra High Tack layer on it because the Power Shine Foil is pretty thick before you peel off the protective plastic layer and I didn’t want it to move around. I also taped the edges to help it stay put since I knew it had the extra plastic layer on it and wouldn’t mark the foil.
I tested a corner to make sure I had the right settings to cut through the foil and hit start! For me, this was not something that I felt comfortable hitting start and walking away from. I watched it the whole time that it cut to make sure nothing was going cattywampus.
When it was finished cutting, I positioned the vinyl on front cover of the book where I wanted it to go. I opened the front flap so that when I hit it with the iron I wasn’t squishing my whole book. I was very careful when I used the iron because the foam is heat mold-able. I had it on the lowest setting and went very slow. Once it was fused, I very carefully and slowly removed the plastic top layer.
I painted the sides of the book cream. I cut chunks out of the sponge brush that I was using and mixed a little brown into the cream color and painted lines on the sides to give the effect of pages.
With all the ironing, I just wanted to make sure it was still the shape I wanted so I put it back between the books and hit it with the heat gun one more time.
And then she was done! Ta Da! The next time you’re wearing a costume where pockets or a purse isn’t an option, make a purse disguised as an accessory or prop!