Worbla’s Kobracast Art is one of our newest products, and quite different than the rest of our lineup in some ways! Paper thin and incredibly sticky when activated, Kobracast works much like a thermoplastic interfacing: you can use it to fuse to and manipulate fabrics, creating seamless looks and permanent details. It also can be used for hatmaking, both as an alternative to buckram in some aspects or for creating sculpted details such as feathers or ruffles that stand on their own without wire. Kobracast can be sewn through with a standard machine, reshaped with heat whenever needed, and can be washed in cold water, making it excellent for costumes where more finicky materials would give trouble.
Below you can see some ways Kobracast has been used to create costume and accessory pieces.
You can also see videos of it in action and how it has been used in the above projects below!
If you have a character with a large collar it can be difficult to really execute from design to reality without relying on heavy materials that require you to be careful with handling – buckram is great but doesn’t handle sweat well and can’t be allowed to get wet, interfacing slowly breaks down and shows creasing, and wire can add a lot of weight, snap, or rust through fabric, and Fosshape can be too thick when a thin, sharp look is required.
KobraCast Art is an excellent alternative when those elements are a concern. It can be laminated to your fabrics, sewn through, is waterproof, and has memory that allows it to be handled far more roughly than most stabilizers and simply snaps back into place. If under extreme pressure it creases, you can simply iron or heat it back into shape. We used it to make this extreme raised collar as an example of what you can create: your next witch, wizard, or Sakizou design just got easier!
(Oh and did we mention light weight? The whole collar pictured below weighs 123g or 4.3 ounces.)
Here’s how we did it – and how you can too!
Step One: Patterning Figure out your pattern with paper first. This collar was just eyeballed and drafted into the dress form, then cleaned up to make sure it was symmetrical.
Step 2: Fabric
Note: For this build we created a sort of slip cover for the KobraCast, so there would be a seam along the outside edge, instead of simply laminating the fabrics to each side and cutting the shape out. The pros of this process are that you have a completely closed, clean edge on the outside of your build. The cons are that your stitching/cutting need to be very exact, or there will be areas your fabric extends past your KobraCast, your closed edge can be visually thicker than you’d like depending on your fabric, and stretch fabrics (like we used here) might stretch as you heart and laminate the fabrics later. (In short, you can do it this way, but if I make a collar like this for myself I’d just laminate the fabrics to the KobraCast and cut them out together, and hide the edge with trim)
Cut out your fabric using your pattern. We used some leftover spandex scraps – red for one side, black for the other. Stitch them together along the outside edge and turn inside out.
Step Three: KobraCast
Cut your KobraCast out using your paper pattern, then slip it inside. Make sure you have the edges matched as close as possible and if necessary, clip in place, then iron both sides flat. The Kobracast will fuse to your fabric, so be careful of stretching the fabric as you iron (you can see I didn’t pay attention and have some excess fabric on the right side of the third image)
Step Four: Shaping
To shape this collar, I pinned the neckline into place onto my dress form and then heated each area I wanted to work on one at a time. KobraCast is very soft when heated, so hand shaping big, flat areas can be tricky, especially because KobraCast has stretch along one side, so you can warp a piece if you aren’t careful. I rolled some craft foam into a cone, placed it between my dress form and the collar, heated the collar with my heat gun (being careful not to burn the fabric!) and then taped the collar in place while it cooled.
Step Five: Decorate
I covered half the collar to show how things might look with additional details – and to show that said details can be sewn on. The overlap fabric is sewn, as is the trim around the outside edge, and the lace appliques are glued down. You can sew the collar into your costume or create a removeable system – snaps, Velcro, magnets, hooks – whatever works best for you and your design. This makes transportation and storage a LOT easier, as you don’t have to worry about the collar getting damaged when in a suitcase or hanging from a hanger.
Here’s a video of how simple it is to move, pack, or store the collar. Now go and make your own outsized collar – and share it with us!