Friday, 18 July 2014

In The Bag!

So while Captain Transvestite was gamely stitching my ribbons, I focussed my attentions on accessories.

One of the problems with cosplaying is having somewhere to store your wallet/keys/phone etc. If your costume has no pockets you are often left lugging a bag around with you which does not match your costume one little bit. You find yourself constantly rushing to put your bag down out of shot for photographs. Fortunately, Gabrielle shall not have this problem!

The bag appears in several episodes throughout a few seasons, and looks to be made of brown suede with braided leather strap and trimmings, dark brown leather thonging around the edges, and wooden beads. I ordered some scraps of suede for £3, and an entire sofa's worth of scrap leather - seriously, somebody had a sofa reupholstered and stuck all the leather from the old covers on eBay so I now have enough tan leather to make everything in the world!! - and a bit of thonging and some beads and I was ready to go!

The basic shape was easy enough but because my suede was all small pieces I had to make each side out of three bits. Fortunately the front has the fur flap and two leather braids on it, so I put the seams where the braids would be so they could be covered up.

The fur piece looks like it should be a flap to go over the top of the bag to close it, but is in fact just a decorative piece on the front panel.

I then punched holes all around the outside at 1" intervals and laced dark brown 2mm leather thonging around that, which was fiddly and time consuming but looked nice! Thonging gives the illusion that the bag was constructed without the aid of machinery and is in fact only held together by the thin leather twine around the edge.

The tan leather was cut into strips, stitched together at one end and braided to form the trim. This was then glued onto the front of the bag. I added 8 thin strips of suede as tassels and covered the join with a 10mm strip of suede with a brass button on.

Next I attached the beads to each of the leather "stitches". I had bought beads in two colours - pale wood and dark wood. It was quite time consuming threading five beads in order onto the cotton, looping the end around the leather, then threading the cotton back through four of the five beads and tying it in a square knot around the end one. I sealed the knot with a tiny dot of superglue as one of the first few I did came undone the first time I moved the bag so I realised I had to make them more secure.

Finally I attached the strap. The strap was braided leather just like the pieces on the front, so I made another two and glued them together for length, covering the join with a bit of leather. The ends are supposed to be on the outside but with a machine that was struggling to get through the sheer amount of leather and suede involved, I had to improvise and tucked them inside.

The overall effect, while inaccurate in places, is pretty awesome. I'm quite pleased with this and now Gabrielle has somewhere to keep her smartphone.

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