of the fun of cosplaying is the quest for the perfect costume. And I'm
not about to take that enjoyable experience away from you which is why
I don't recommend you to come to me for a full costume commission.
There are ready-made apparel that you can just alter and there are
gazillions of patterns you can use if you want to make your own. To you
die-hard DIYers out there--my hats off to you ^_^ And to those of you
who've always wanted to give it a go, here are helpful and time-saving
You already know that patterns
are great. But if you can't find a pattern, try to find a piece of
clothing that closely resembles what you want to make. It might be
hiding in your granny's drawers ^_^ say, a dress like Robin Sena's. You
could also hunt in second hand stores as well as garage sales. Now
carefully rip the seams and you're on your way to making a custom
pattern. You can use newspapers for big projects or brown craft paper
if you are working with lighter-colored fabrics (so you don't get them
dirty with newspaper ink stains)
I know that most commercial
patterns have the seam allowances already figured in but for a
beginner, approximating the seam allowance while sewing could be a
daunting task. Here's a trick I've learned from girls' school, so good
I use it up to now: CUT YOUR PATTERNS TO SIZE. When you lay them out on your fabric, trace the patterns as is and voila--you have an instant guide! Your chalk or washable marker line is your sewing line. Cut the pieces with the necessary seam allowance that you will be comfortable with.
use cardboard for frequently used patterns (it makes sense, but you
know that already) but if you're working with a slippery material like
satin, try using sandpaper with superfine grit. Your patterns will stay
put on the fabric and you can cut with increased precision.
shopping could be an enjoyable task. I don't recommend just going to a
single store and buying everything you need in one shot. If you have
time, visit several fabric stores and don't be afraid to ask the store
attendants about fabrics that would befit your project. Go up and down
the aisles to familiarize yourself with different kinds of fabric. Feel them, swing them around, test how they drape and don't forget to look on the bolt ends for washing instructions.
a note of the fabrics you want (according to your budget). And when
you're ready, add this to your shopping list: several yards of cheap
muslin. Costume fabric is expensive and if you're really on a budget,
you only have one shot at making your masterpiece. Here's where the
muslin comes in. Practice makes perfect--so do your project on muslin
first and see how it will look.
I always do
research before embarking on a project and thank God for the Internet
it's easier than ever to find help. There are a many sites that offer
tutorials and hints & tips. Here are a few that I've found helpful
won't post my own tutorial because I have very limited space on
this server. And since other people have done it before, it'll be
redundant for me to have another anyway so allow me just point you
in the right direction:
you can follow these simple instructions for a 6-panel hat. It takes
more time but you will be rewarded with a custom fitted hat:
- Download the free program Wild Things! from wildginger.com
- Install and run the program.
- Choose the baseball hat pattern and input your size.
are now ready to print. Remember that you only need one of the 6-panel
triangles so be sure to choose the page you will print so you save
- I add a hat band as this reinforces the base. I cut it
at 4" wide and 1" shorter than my head circumference to account for the
stretch. If you want a hat band that you can pull down to cover your
ears, double the width.
- Add whatever animal ears you fancy or a pompom on top.
- Unless your hat has wires (handwash in this case so your wires don't get misshapen), fleece is machine washable in gentle cycle.
Unfortunately I couldn't say the same for felt. Which is why
I quit using it as appliques for my hats. I want it just like my
shirts--wash n' wear.
- Use POWDERED detergent and no
matter how tempted you get, do not use liquid detergent or liquid
fabric softener on fleece. They don't make the material any softer.
NOT iron. If you really have to (like making a crease or
fusing interfacing) use a light cotton fabric between the fleece
and the iron (an old shirt will do).
- Anti-pill Fleece
- my most widely used material. Very inexpensive and easy to find in a
variety of colors. NOT to be CONFUSED with the other
often-on-sale-at-Joann's Alpine fleece--this does not have a non-pill
- Micro Fleece - my material of choice. Lighter and looks more sophisticated than it's "country" cousin.
- Stretch Velour
- Available in a variety of shades and shine. My personal favorite are
the ones that have a matte surface (the shiny ones are kinda tacky).
These are as light as micro fleece and often cheaper.
- Suede Cloth - In place of felt appliques, I've come to love this. It is thin enough to not add bulk to your detail and they don't fray.
- Micro Suede - Luxury! The look and feel of suede in a fabric (a plus for vegans)
- Micro plush
- Often used in quality stuffed toys/plushies, one touch and you'll be
sold (that's how I came to love this). We asked the saleslady if it
ever goes on sale. She said "no, all people have to do is touch it, and
we sell a lot of it".
- Crushed Panne - shiny,
crushed velvet-like, very stretchy and relatively inexpensive in a
variety of colors. Sometimes used in cheap stuffed toys (and I mean
cheap--like carnival cheap)
- Alpine fleece - When I can't
find a color match in anti-pill fleece, I will resort to this one. Just
a little better than felt. Available in a variety of colors and as I
said often on sale at Jo-ann (all time low of $2.99? per yard)
- Felt - Always readily available in a variety of colors. I use this when I don't intend to wash the project.