Continuing on from the first part of the tutorial I wrote before, here's parts 2 and 3!
Step 2: Skill
Now that you have your references, you need to stop and take a moment to think about your skill level. Before you even start to create a costume, you want to think about what you have done in the past and what things you are willing to learn.
Likely, while you were choosing a costume, you already had your skill level in the back of your mind. But now that you have the pictures, take a step back and look at them. Ask yourself, is this a costume I can make? But don’t be discouraged!
Making a costume can be done in many ways. Some people sew clothing from scratch, some people find pieces from stores and stitch them together to look right and others just find all the pieces premade at thrift stores. So before you get all discouraged, just step back and think of the many different ways you could construct the costume.
All things can be made. If you don’t know how to make it, form it or sew it, chances are you can find a tutorial on the internet that tells you how. So that’s one resource you can use. There are also many cosplay communities on a whole variety of sites and most cosplayers are more then happy to offer tips and tricks if they are asked politely. So even something a bit out of your skill range could still be in reach, all you need to do is test the waters and maybe step into some unknown territory.
Another option you have is to commission the costume. There are several cosplayers who choose to order either full costumes or part of their costumes from people who have made the craft into a sort of job. This option, however, will be spendy, but it is one you can consider. For example if your costume requires a specific prop or piece of jewelry and you have no knowledge of how to make it, you might want to consider commissioning it.
Word of warning with commissions: In many cases if you find someone willing to make a part or a whole costume for you, they will charge you for their time. If you find a website that offers such things for super cheap, be sure to check reviews on the site because with commissions you often get what you pay for and it is better to be safe than sorry.
Step 3: Down to patterns
Now that we have all the reference and preparation work down, it’s time to get down to patterns.
In most cases, you are not going to find a full out pattern for your costume because anime style clothing is unique, or the character just might have very odd looking clothes. Instead, you’re more likely to find patterns for pieces, such as the sleeves of one pattern and the top on another and so forth. This isn’t as bad as it sounds.
Most patterns, especially if you stick to the same brand name, have seams in the same place. So it is relatively easy to take one dress and add sleeves from another pattern and the skirt from a third pattern. A quick and easy way to tell is to flip the pattern to the back and look at the simple sketch of the outfits. Are the shoulder seams in about the same place? If so, then you should be able to swap them out with minimal trouble. Same with skirts at the waist line, coats with different sleeves and so on. If you’re not sure, take out the pattern pieces and just lay them next to each other, in most cases they will still fit so you can mix and match with a little trial and error.
There are many brands of patterns and you can pretty much pick and choose. What brand I use tends to depend on what is on sale, but if you’re a beginner you might want to look at their directions to see which brand explains things in the best way for you.
Some common brand names: Simplicity, McCalls, Burda, Kwik Sew, See & Sew, Vogue, Butternick and many others. There are also probably some brand names specific to your local craft or sewing store. You can also search for patterns online at any number of sites as needed.
Here’s an example or locating patterns that work for a costume.
Let's take a look at the Ky picture I posted before. Here’s a couple of my reference pictures:
So for the jacket, we’re going to use Simplicity 2517 for the long sweeping jacket with the shoulder piece (and I’m going to lengthen the end of the jacket to make it longer as needed)
Simplicity 2339 will give me the sleeveless undershirt and I can add belts as needed. I can also use part of this pattern to fashion the strange half sleeves he wears.
The middle blue piece doesn’t have a pattern I can find, but it’s quite simple, so I’m going to take a long piece of wax paper or parchment paper (yes, from your kitchen) and hold it up to my body to sketch out the right shape. This will become my pattern piece for later.
Add in a simple pair of white pants like Simplicity 1918 and look up a tutorial for making boot covers and we’re all set!