Luna: First steps of making a cosplay

Everyone ask’s “Where do you begin when you make a cosplay?” well like any project you should research, gather all of the information about the character you can. Reference Pictures, Character Biography, Screenshots, play the game or watch the anime or movie. Or read the book. If you cosplay from and RPG read the lore. Why? This is all an important part of cosplay, you need to know your character inside out, you need something to work from for both the “costume” and “play” part. I have always found knowing Lore and other such background details helped with picking fabrics and other materials.

What to do with all this information? Print it off if you can having it with you if you are being judged for competition helps judges understand why you have constructed your cosplay the way you have. If you can’t? put it all in a word document together, put it in a folder together on your computer, don’t worry usually when you fill in competition entry forms they allow you to send in images too. But you need all this information in one easy to access place all the time during the construction of your cosplay, its vital you keep referring back to your reference images.

So you have all of your reference images now what? Well I guess the reason why making a cosplay takes so long for me is because of a few vital steps I always like to make. Once I’ve gathered all my images etc.  I like to get a sketch pad out and sketch all the details, even if it is just the prop. I feel this way I get to know what I’m doing I get a feel for shapes, and by drawing it I get a feel of how I can construct things, for instance  take my Aion Cosplay, that back ring was drawn 4 times over before I was happy.

I’ve already drawn the dagger I want to make for my Current Aristocrat Cosplay from GuildWars2

Not to worry, The frame-work for my Aion wings I made was only drawn once before I started making them, however I did make a paper pattern for the structure to see if it would work like I wanted to. However thanks to my research I was able to find tutorials on articulate wings which really helped  with what I wanted to do.

Before you go ahead and buy your fabric you need to know how much you need! even if it is a rough estimate. The best way to do that is measure yourself and make a pattern! Now from experience I am not the best person to explain how to make a pattern. However if you are new to sewing or construction, a pattern is a paper or card pieces like a jigsaw that when all put together will make your costume. Another word for it would be Template. I will let you read this article HERE it would be easier. You can buy patterns, but you will sometimes find you will have to modify them (or you can use similar clothes you already own to make your pattern), this is generally the best move if you have not made one before. I tend to make mine from old newspapers (A number one must have in any cosplayers craft box!). Once you have a pattern I usually lay mine out in a line (about 1m wide) with about 2 inches between each piece (this allows for hems) then I measure how long it is, this roughly gives me an idea how much of the fabric I need, I do this for each colour of fabric I need and I always give myself about 1 metre extra of fabric in case something bad happens (and it does). I have had a few times I have bought fabric without doing this, and I have bought 3 metres too much. Other times I have done it and not bought enough!

Once I’ve done all the above I go out buy everything I need and get stuck in! I find it’s better to buy as many materials as I can in one go, it helps the flow and I don’t get frustrated as much about not having a certain thread colour or “I can’t finish this piece I need this.” I hope this has helped a few starter Questions and a few puzzled heads when I say “I’ve started my cosplay” but not actually got anything physical to show for it. I have written bullet points below just to sum up everything/the stages in this post including a few things I may have missed.

  • Collect References
  • Collect Background information/Lore
  • Look up any tutorials that might help with construction
  • Draw any large or small detailed areas that will be “constructed”
  • Make a pattern
  • Test the pattern see if it works
  • measure the pattern see how much Fabric you will need
  • Research fabric types you will use.
  • Start construction

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