Princess Elizabeth from The Paper Bag Princess
Character Name: Princess Elizabeth
Series: The Paper Bag Princess
Specifics: paper bag dress
Time: 7 hours
Started: June 2009
Completed: June 2009
Debuted: Toronto Cosplay Picnic 2009
Thanks to Stillvisions
for the photos!
Robert Munsch's beloved kids book, "The Paper Bag Princess", has always been one of my favourites. Besides the forests and kingdoms that get burned to a crisp, the story is pretty awesome. After her kingdom is destroyed, Princess Elizabeth has nothing to wear but a paper bag. Yet she still manages to defeat the dragon and rescue the kidnapped prince. When the prince tells her she should be dressed more like a princess, she tells him he's a bum and dumps him.
I was toying with the idea of making this costume for years. During the summer of 2009, I didn't want to spend too much money on costumes so I gave myself a challenge: Could I make a costume for under $10? After a quick search around the house, I found most of what I needed to make a giant paper bag and started making this costume.
The paper bag took a lot longer than I originally expected to. I mean, I could've gone out and gotten a giant brown paper bag and cut some holes into it. (Which would have been fine and much easier!) Instead, I decided to pattern a paper bag that fit me perfectly but still looked as if I just grabbed a paper bag and cut holes into it. All four sides of the bag taper but still keep this illusion.
I made this costume out of brown paper which I lined on the inside with packing tape. The packing tape made the paper stronger and less likely to rip. Moreover, it allowed me to treat the paper more like fabric. Since I didn't want any visible tape lines, I sewed the four main pieces of brown paper together and then reinforced the stitches with more packing tape on the inside. All the edges were hemmed with more packing tape on the reverse side.
Since I already owned the brown paper, the only thing I had to pay for in this costume was the packing tape.
I made the base crown by attaching pipe cleaners and beads to a used-up roll of packing tape. I paper-mached the crown and then painted it with gold paint I had for a previous costume. I wanted the crown to have a kid-like warped look and I think I succeeded.
I re-used one of my old wigs. To attach the crown to the wig, I glued bands of elastic to the inside of the base of the crown, and then I safety pinned these elastic bands to the top of my wig so that my wig wouldn't be permanently altered.
I wear a pair of shorts and a tank top under this costume, and the giant bag covers them completely.
Although this costume is simple, it was a blast to wear. It was surprisingly recognizable, and I had my photo taken with a lot of kids. On the way to the Cosplay Picnic where I debuted the costume, I was sitting on a ferry wearing only the wig and the crown. A mother sitting next to me told me her daughter thought my crown looked like the one from the Paper Bag Princess. Delighted, I showed the mother and daughter the giant paper bag I had with me.
Sadly, because it's paper, this costume is fragile and probably won't last more than a few wears.
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