snowtigra: (Default)
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:

Photobucket 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)

Photobucket 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.

Photobucket 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!
snowtigra: (Default)
The dress is done and now that the con is over I can post pictures about it.

So where we left off was that I sewed the dress completely together and then was waiting for her to try it on at the convention so I could make the final adjustments.

Well, we got to Anime Detour 2012 and I disappeared off with her to try on the dress. I had her try on the dress inside out, so that I could pin it in the right places where I needed to stitch up the extra fabric so it would be fitted and so I could mark where to put in the zipper without being worried.

So, in conclusion, here's the dress! )

I'm really happy with it and quite pleased that I was able to pull it off in a little over a day. I also am such a fangirl for how cute they looked together! This would be one of my favorite moments of cosplay and I feel all warm and fuzzy because I was able to help them advert cosplay disaster and still dress up as they wanted ^_^
snowtigra: (Default)
How to Dissect a Costume into a Cosplay

This tutorial is intended to be a doorway for those who would like to step into the world of cosplay. While I'll use one or two costumes as examples, hopefully these instructions will be able to provide you with the tools to dissect your own characters in preparation to begin your own costume. And while I'll be using anime examples, this doesn't apply just to anime, you can easily use these instructions for Disney characters, original creations, movie characters - whatever!

Beginning: Selecting a costume

This will probably be the hardest part, or possibly the easiest. Chances are in looking for a tutorial like this, you already have in mind one or two characters you'd like to try to cosplay as. If not, then think about it for a moment. Is there a character who is your favorite? Is there a character that resembles either your looks or your personality? Are there characters your friends are dressing up as and you'd like to match? You can draw your inspiration from pretty much anywhere as a starting point. But you'll need a character to proceed.

As an example? My partner and I want to cosplay as Sol and Ky from the video game Guilty Gear. We've loved the video game for a long time and it's about time we dress up as the characters (because we've been talking about doing it for ages and it's never gotten off the ground).

When picking a costume, there are some important things you want to keep in mind. Keep in mind your skill level. If you've never sewn a costume before, you might want to start with something that's a bit easier to construct. For this, look at the main shapes of the costume. If it consists of a kimono or a simple pair of pants and top that's going to be a lot easier then a full blown dress with a corset top and a skirt made of belts.

Think about your hair. Do you want to wear a wig for the costume? While this may sound incredibly important, it can actually be trivial. Some characters you can get away without a wig, but in most cases the costume will look its best when you attempt to match all the details and that does include the hair color and style.

Important note: Body size and skin color.
When picking out a character, several people are deterred away from costumes because of their own skin color not matching that of many characters or because their body type is larger than the standard anime character. I speak from experience that you shouldn't let these scare you away from making and wearing awesome costumes! Just keep a few simple things in mind:

If your skin is darker, match your hair. Depending on your skin color, you may or may not look as good with a bright colored hair. For example, Princess Peach has bright blond hair, which might clash when paired with dark brown skin. So the easy way to fix this? Consider going with black or brown hair close to your natural color in the same style.

If you're larger than the standard anime character - and lets face it, in reality most people are - don't let this deter you either. Granted you may not look as good in a bikini or school girl's uniform, but several characters have large ornate costumes that look quite good on full figures. Larger hips and curves add volume to large dresses and actually make them look better. Don't let this scare you away from costumes at all, just take a moment to consider what will look best on your body type, because everyone should be allowed to enjoy cosplay!

Brawl - Princess Peach by ~snowtigra on deviantART
((My partner Chibi as Princess Peach))

Stay tuned for future parts!!
snowtigra: (Default)

For those who may not know, I am extremely into Cosplay, which is the hobby of making costumes of your favorite anime characters that you can wear to conventions and events when you hang out with other anime fans. I love the challenge of taking a 2 dimensional picture and trying to reproduce the outfit as true to form as I can and I’ve been heavily into it since 2000.

This project came about when I found out, nearly a week before Anime Detour 2012, that one of my good friends received her costume back from the person she’d commissioned to change it in unwearable condition. I don’t know the whole story behind what happened to the original costume and I honestly figured that the important part was to work toward fixing it, so I volunteered to look into making her a replacement dress that could work for this convention, or at least until she could find one that worked better. From my experience in costume making I knew I could make a dress pretty quickly, as long as it wasn’t too detailed, so I pestered her to find out what she wanted and said I wanted to help out.

The Costume:

The character is Ukraine from the series Axis Powers Hetalia.

Her costume was actually a wedding variant that the character would wear, based on the country colors and her personality. So it’s a simple dress in white with small blue and yellow accessories and sunflowers.

Her simple sketch of what she was thinking:

Accessories picture:

Working on the dress:

The first thing I did was look for the simplest pattern possible. Those who sew know that Simplicity and Butternick/McCalls have sections for dresses and patterns that only take a couple hours to throw together. I looked on Simplicity’s site and found this dress under their “Its So Easy” tab. Throw in a 40% off coupon for Hancock fabrics and taadah!

There wasn’t too much special about the construction of the dress. I followed the pattern close to the instructions provided and only left out the zipper on the back. My reason being that she won’t be in town to try it on until thursday, and I would prefer to not have to rip out the zipper if I have to when I make slight alterations to the dress to make sure it fits.

I did manage to make the dress in a day, minus the alterations and the zipper part. Now I don't currently have a picture up yet, because I haven't had a chance to take one. However there will be a part two to this entry where I'll have pictures of the dress finished and hopefully her looking lovely in it ^_^

(Also not posting pictures yet because the finished project is a surprise for her partner to see how it looks. Wouldn't want to ruin that too early!)
snowtigra: (Default)
My next cosplay will be this amazing man from Black Butler!

(I don't own nor did I color the picture. Just found on the interwebz)

I already found my wig today. It's not as long as I would like, but I have less then a month to make the costume, so I can't be picky. I'll add length to it later, when I can order a wig without paying out the nose for express shipping.

Also located lace up, knee high, gothic platform heeled boots that FIT at Savers for $8!!! A huge score of a find and with a few belts added on they will be perfect for the costume! Found a cameo necklace for supercheap that I can use as part of his belt too!

I'm gonna keep updating my journal as I find and make pieces. Keep an eye out for pictures, I'll probably post them as I start putting things together. But for now, I have Puu's and super cute little creatures to make to sell for Anime Milwaukee!

Undertaker, Or the sex god. Do not own.

March 2014

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