For this year's costume, I decided to create a "Dark Alice in Wonderland" outfit, complete with a ghoulish White Rabbit purse.
Supplies that you will need:
--White rabbit toy that is about life-sized (I got mine from "Toys R Us")
--Awl or Icepick if your scissors don’t have sharp points
--Large embroidery needle
--Black embroidery thread (I used Perl Cotton size5 - Black is #310)
--Scrap of red fabric - at least 12"x12"
--Small flexible cutting mat (can get from a kitchen store normally, but I actually found mine at a flea market)
--Jewel-it fabric glue (it's formulated to glue plastic to fabric)
--36" length of chain (I used an old chain belt I had laying around)
--(2) 2" metal rings (can be gotten from a fabric store)
--(2) Needle nose pliers
--Accessories – red paint, glowstick
Step 1: Prepping the Bunneh!
Because this is an Alice based costume, it was important to get a white rabbit for accuracy. This purse idea can be used on any stuffed animal that has sufficient room to be practical and a bit ghoulish.
As much as I love dark and creepy things, even I had a little trouble cutting the rabbit toy open at the start. If your pair of scissors doesn’t have needle sharp tips, use an awl or sharp ice pick to start a pilot hole for the scissors to cut from.
It doesn’t matter which side you start the cut, you just want to make sure that you make the incision straight and from around the chest to the rear of the rabbit (see photo).
The stuffing will likely be polyfill, but my rabbit was also part bean-bag so there were little pellet pouches mixed in with the fluff. Thankfully these little pouches were sewn shut or else it could have gotten really messy.
Pull the stuffing out of the chest and belly cavity, but be sure to leave filling in the legs and head so the rabbit will maintain its general form.
Step 2: The Innards!
Step 2! – The Innards!
I used a flexible cutting mat to give the bunny’s body the shape it had before the stuffing was removed. I’ve heard of people using cardboard, but the plastic seemed more durable and kept a springier shape. I had a small cutting mat that I didn’t have to trim, but you might have to use the scissors to adjust the size to fit better. You want the mat to run the full length of the rabbit – it can be longer than the belly incision, just bend and wiggle the plastic mat inside until its secure. Do a couple test fittings before you move on to the fabric lining.
The cutting mat I used was pink, but you can use any color that you have. I wanted the fabric lining to not shift after I put it inside the rabbit, so I used "Jewel-It" to glue the cutting mat to the ‘wrong side’ of the cotton fabric square. Make sure that you don’t glue onto the patterned side of the fabric or else it won’t look as nice. The cotton square I used had an abstract and kinda fleshy looking pattern, so I thought it was perfect for this project.
Using a bag of sugar from the kitchen and a DVD, I weighted the plastic mat down to make sure the glue bond was secure.
After the glue was dried, leave a 4” margin of fabric around the edges of the mat and cut away the extra – IMPORTANT: the inches of extra fabric will allow for seams and size adjustments.
Take the fabric on the end of the mat that will be pointing toward the rabbit’s head and pinch it together until the plastic mat bends into a U shape. Using the needle and thread, sew the fabric together to keep the mat from springing flat again. I used a blanket stitch, but you can use a whip stitch or whatever makes you comfortable. Repeat this process for the ‘tail’ side of the plastic mat. When you’re done, you should get something that looks a bit like a little boat or canoe. If necessary, cut away the excess fabric near the stitches so it will not be overly bulky inside the rabbit.
Step 3: Franken-Bunny!
Step 3! – FrankenBunny!
Once your purse lining insert is ready – carefully work it into the rabbit’s body cavity. Make sure that the extra fabric you left along the edges of the mat are tucked inside to give you a nice looking finished edge.
With the needle and thread, sew the lining to the rabbit’s skin to keep it secure. I used the blanket stitch again because it is easy, big and obvious – I wanted to get a kind of Frankenstein/patchwork look. When you have sewn all around the edge, finish by tying off the thread to the first stitches you made.
Step 4: The Ring...s...
Step 4! – The Ring…s…
My original plan was to have two purse handles and secure the rabbit feet to each one, but I didn’t like how bulky the finished product would have been. I settled on binding the front feet to one ring and the back feet to a second, leaving the rabbit suspended upside down from a single chain strap.
To secure the ring to attach to the chain, I used the needle and thread to sew through and wrap around the paws until I had made enough passes that I felt the ring wouldn’t rip out if I got snagged on something. I purposely used a huge needle for this project because I knew I’d need to push through some pretty heavy cloth. In fact, I needed a pair of pliers to pull the needle out a few times.
Once the rings are sewn in tight, use pliers to attach the chain strap – I used two sets of needle-nose pliers to get a grip on the chain links to open them. Always open the link side to side, not pulled wide – twisting the link to the side will let you twist it right back into place when you’re done. If you pull the link open wide, it’s much harder to get the metal to realign closed again.
Step 5: Done!
Step 5! – Done!
Once your rabbit is chained up – you can make final touches like red paint spatters to look like blood or a glowstick inside to make the bunnylight up. Another idea is to stitch a black or red ribbon on the rabbit’s belly to keep it tied closed –it could look like entrails or stitches getting pulled out!
Keep in mind that you don’t want to put too much into the purse since the space is already limited. The bunny I used had enough room for my keys, phone, and lipstick.