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)
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!!

March 2014

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