OtakuGirl: UpCycling to Cosplay


I know things are tight money wise for a lot of people nowadays, heck even I find it super hard to afford it sometimes what with only working part time. But I have a couple of ways that people can cosplay on a tight budget and still get great results. Both of these ways I use a lot and i will illustrate both with pictures of what i made with them.

The first is to upcycle something old. Obviously depending on what character you want to cosplay depends on what you’ll need. When i wanted to cosplay Jill Valentine in a tactical uniform i had pondered the use of a real tactical vest, but as so very often happens i was hit with bills that i had to pay leaving my cosplay budget pretty weak. So my answer to this was to upcycle. I went to my local charity shop and i bought a zip up body warmer that was black. This only cost me £3, it looked something like this (unfortunately I couldn’t find
any before pictures).

I bought some luggage straps from the local camping shop and then i began to mod. I took the long zip out of it cut it down so it sat just under my chest (I wanted a small half tactical vest for my design) then i re stitched all the edges and then i sewed the straps running all the way around the jacket back to front so that the clips were in the center at the front, leaving a slight gap so my tee was visible. I sewed a couple of loops out of the straps and attached those so that i could clip my walkie and my badge on. I sewed a small square of leatherette (which didnt cost more than £1) to the back and then i had a decal made from eBay which was only a couple of pounds
and attached to the back and then i had a very cool looking tactical vest for under £10 which is really cheap considering the alternative, and i got a really good response to this costume, one person even said that I was the best resident evil cosplayer they’d seen which made me smile at the time. The rest of the costume was also from upcycling old things, i used an old black tee and sewed some patches the shoulders, a pair of black combats, and a beret all from charity shops, things i had or was given a long time ago. The whole costume cost like under £20 minus the boots, which i couldnt get in a charity shop they cost me £9.99.

Another example of where i have upcycled old clothing into a costume is in the form of my Ryofu Housen cosplay. Again i went to the charity shops and bought a red blazer and a pink plain skirt. Then with the jacket i changed the buttons and painted the collar part black that needed to be. With the skirt all i did was paint the red lines on with fabric paint and there you have it! I had another great cosplay for less than £10.

This is a great way to make cosplay items for a fraction of the price. But I know that you are not always going to be able to find the item of clothing that is needed to modify into your cosplay, which is why I use my second method of upcycling a lot. BEDDING! Charity shops have a lot of great bedding that sells for really cheap and this can be used to make your costume. Its not just for costumes though, i have used this method to make casual clothes that i wear on a daily basis.

An example of this upcycling is one of my very latest cosplays that i wore to the MCM expo in London thats just gone. My Poke ringmaster Penelope cosplay. One lovely girl even came up to me and my sister at the expo and asked us where we got the fabric to make the costumes and we told her the same thing then, BEDDING!

The dress and the waistcoat were both made from bedding, the dress i just belted and the waistcoat i put colourful buttons on it and painted the pokeballs on the tails and even with buying the plain black top hat and polestyrene balls to make the pokeballs this whole costume also cost less than £10 to make. Even the pikachu on the top hat is upcycled from an old one that was bought from a charity shop. So with this costume it was just a little imagination designing a character and making the cosplay from the bedding. You could get the bedding and make it into the character of your choice from the well known anime, manga etc that you wanna cosplay from. Or like me in this example i found the bedding first and then designed the cosplay around it, which was also fun to do.

all of the costumes above are all ones that i have made by buying old bedding or using old bedding that i already had and making into cosplays.

What i am trying to get at in all this is that even people on a tight budget can create something amazing from something old and no one is none the wiser. Everyone out there has an old tee, or dress, or some old bedding, old hats and old accessories that they can take and with a bit of creativity and work can turn them into cosplay related items! I do it all the time and if you cant afford to buy fabric off the roll its a great way to make what you need on the cheap. I hope people will consider it and give it a try if they are on a budget. I love to see it when all cosplayers come together. I hope this might help some people out there and I hope people have fun trying this.


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