- Large sheet of semi-rigid but flexible white or off-white foam - I bought mine at thefoamfactory.com for abut $40. Lots of options available depending on your needs.
- Scrap knit fabric in red, white and blue
- a block of velcro
- Utility scissors
- Fabric scissors
- fabric paint/paintbrush
- sewing machine/serger
Step 1: Parchment Roll
The foam arrives in a large lightweight roll. Uncurl it a bit and hold it up to a position right around the knees, and use a pen to make puncture marks where the shoulder and the nose hit.
After cutting out the head and arm holes with utility scissors, cut through the armhole and roll self up in the rest of the the foam roll. Have an accomplice mark where the other shoulder hits. Then, fold over the foam to line up the existing arm hole with the mark. Trace though the arm and face holes, and along the original edge. Cut out the holes and the extraneous foam from the side.
Step 2: Ribbon & Seal
Try on your foam parchment piece and line up your face holes... have someone measure around under the armpits and then you know how long to make your ribbon/belt.
I used red scrap fabric I had on hand. Cut two pieces about 6 inches wide, sew them together on three sides, right side together, and turn them inside out. Turn the hem under a half inch, and then sew on a block of "female" velcro. Sew the "male" velcro on the other end on opposite side.
Cut a large circle of foam out of your leftovers. Using that as a guide, cut three pieces of red white and blue fabric to cover one side in equal thirds. Sew those three together with the white in the middle, and trace around the foam piece to cut out a circle (as seen in photo). Use the foam to trace another solid piece of scrap fabric. Sew this to the tri-color piece (right sides together) about 90% around the circumference to create a slipcover. Turn right side out, and stuff the foam piece in. Sew remainder closed with a needle and thread, and then sew the belt to the center back of the seal on the "male" velcro end.
Using black fabric paint, write "BILL" across the white section. To stay true to the source cartoon, the red should be on top and the blue on bottom.
Step 3: Extras
The government lockout ended, so the show could go on. Here are a few photos of the costume in action! The pix are kind of crap, but you can see me standing in front of the extinct species graveyard (sad). The one that's in focus I borrowed from the DC 101 event photo album - it includes my husband dressed at National Zoo Panda-Daddy Tian Tian.
Costume-wise...I added an inexpensive set of long underwear for outdoor use, with a t-shirt and shorts over it. It was a very warm night, but even if it had been cooler I would have been plenty warm with this. The foam keeps the wind off and is, unsurprisingly, a great insulator.