'Newbie Questions'

Need help with sewing techniques, or making a 10 ft sword? Seek help from other cosplayers here!
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'Newbie Questions'

Post by Adnawun » Sat Nov 06, 2004 5:09 am

Well... i've asked a question here before, but, I figured I'd like to feel some public humiliation and ask some "newbie questions".


1) how do you all start? as in, pattern making. Do you find already made patterns and alter them? Or find a picture of your character, draw their costume and then (somehow) draw up a pattern?
- I'm totally clueless on how to actually START. I can sew, but that was using a pre-made pattern which was the right size and everything (all I had to do was trace pattern onto material and BAM, PJs were complete!).

2) Do you find hand sewing or machine sewing better?
- The Machine truly, scares me. I've been intimidated to return to my machine as i can't seem to control it like my old one (this is a different model to the one I was used to). So, I've been pondering the acts of hand sewing. I suppose it would be easy to use both? Or... what?

3) Fabric finding....?
- The right colours and textures - HOW DO YOU FIND THEM?
Since I've been pondering cosplay for a while, i've been out and about in shops (craft, second hand, material etc) and yet can't actually find what I'm looking for. (Spesh striped material - can't find the right thickness of the stripes I wanted).
For example, Rinoa from FinalFantasy8 (sorry i don't have a picture -__- ) seems to have material with... how do you describe it... ruffles? Bumps? .... material moutains?? - in her clothes. I can't find material like that anywhere >__<
And if it's not that, it's not being able to find the right colour. I'm looking for an aqua and all i find is light blue or light green =__=

I suppose, answers that could help me with those problems would really be great. I'm just having heaps of trouble in finding a cosplay that I can pull off. I've had halfbaked attempts at 'Aeris (FFVII), Bakura (YuGiOh) and Sano (Rurouni Kenshin)' and am musing on 'Rinoa'. If any of you maybe want to suggest another costume, that'd be great also (pics of me can be found by talking to me on AIM or MSN). But... uhm... yeah....

I know some of these questions may sound a little stupid (and have probably been asked before) - sorry!! :oops:


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Post by Sterling » Sat Nov 06, 2004 2:11 pm

1. Get creative! look at how the costume is designed first off. Compare certain costumes to real cloathing, or a costume that's already in patterns. Make you alterations from that point on. For Vash's coat, you can either buy a red Coat, dye a white lab coat, and add on or adjust the details. For Auron's coat, take a red bath robe and add details.

2. Seamstress, $100 and about $50 for material is well worth it if you have a full time job. However, I've found a GOOD sewing machine to be handy if you're willing to put an hour in each day. hand sewing is more for patches.

3. Craft store, find a BIG Jo-Ann's and search for just the right stuff. look in stores for a shirt or pants with the stuff you're looking for as well, cut it up, and have a ball.

4. Alway ask us for advise, you might be suprised

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Post by Dark_Tiger » Sat Nov 06, 2004 5:09 pm

This is what works for me, I know very good cosplayers that do things completly diffrently.

1. When I first started, I found that the best way to figure out costumes was to go to the thrift store, find something that kinda was the right cut, spend $5 on it, and rip the thing apart to see how it was put together. I've also found google to be a great way to find patterns for kimono, middle ages armor & clothing, and the like. The more I look at costumes, the more I realize that almost everything really exotic is in fact several pieces of regular clothing and tradional clothing & armor put together. It helps.

2. Sewing machine, for the love of god, sewing machine. Trust me, doing most things by hand would take three forevers.

3. My preference, in order: Hancock Fabrics (Great for regular cloth in weird colors), Jo-Ann's Superstores, Wal-mart, local independant shops, and mail-order as a last resort. I really perfer to have the fabric in my hand before I buy it, so I can get the right weight, weave, texture, ect. Maybe it's me, but I can't tell any of that from a photo.
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Post by Laura92 » Sat Nov 06, 2004 6:00 pm

dont make patterns! Gah! Just wing it, it lets you get more experience.
See me at: Kamecon '04 (Feb28, NH) ~ Anime Boston '04 (Apr9-11, MA) ~ PortconMaine '04 (June 17 only, ME) ~ Connecticon '04 (July 18, CT.) ~ Arisia '05 (Jan 16?, MA) ~ Kamecon '05 (Feb, NH) ~ AnimeBoston '05 (May 11-13, MA) ~ PortconMaine '05 (June24-27, ME) ~ Connecticon '05 (July, CT)

|c|o|s|p|L|a|y| is my anti-drug!

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Post by mindtailor » Sun Nov 07, 2004 4:52 pm

*if you want to try and find a pattern, go right ahead- just keep in mind that all those lines just make the project more daunting whereas measuring yourself is easier.

first, you should get out your paper and pencil and sketch out the costume. then look at one specific part of it (i.e. shirt, pants, etc.) and sketch it out separately. if you need to, sketch out the individual pieces you will need to cut. THEN MEASURE! YAY!

measure in almost every important place imaginable. any bit that is wider than the bits around it SHOULD BE MEASURED and taken into account.

write measurements on the paper accordingly, then get out your ruler/t-square/measuring tape and chalk/pencil/pins to mark out lines on your fabric. selvage/selvedge is your friend. mark, cut, and pin. sewing, i think you know what to do.

**if, in the course of events, one of your parents decides to tell you what to do (i.e. buy a t-shirt instead of making a whole new one ><), politely ignore them and keep going.**

**sewing machine, by all means. see Dark_Tiger's comment.

*** I would just keep poking about at fabric stores, and remember that other places that you wouldn't think of might have fabric. (on many an occasion, I have forgotten that Hobby Lobby has fabric)
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Post by Laura92 » Sun Nov 07, 2004 6:02 pm

*throws croquettes at all*
See me at: Kamecon '04 (Feb28, NH) ~ Anime Boston '04 (Apr9-11, MA) ~ PortconMaine '04 (June 17 only, ME) ~ Connecticon '04 (July 18, CT.) ~ Arisia '05 (Jan 16?, MA) ~ Kamecon '05 (Feb, NH) ~ AnimeBoston '05 (May 11-13, MA) ~ PortconMaine '05 (June24-27, ME) ~ Connecticon '05 (July, CT)

|c|o|s|p|L|a|y| is my anti-drug!

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Post by Adnawun » Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:33 am


Great! ^-^ That helped me a lot. Well, at least inspired me to "try again".

I'll probably be back in a few weeks to ask more questions *snicker*

Just 3 more weeks and I've finished my current year, and then I'll be cosplay'ing my heart out - in theory! :roll:

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Post by Rin-sama » Tue Nov 09, 2004 7:39 am

A lot of this is trial and error and finding out what works best for you. My first costume was Sesshoumaru [Inuyasha], and I did a little of everything to put it together -- I found a book with instructions on how to make a kimono pattern, I found a hakama pattern online, which I modified to my own skills, needs, etc. I looked at pictures and made my own pattern for part of the costume, I found out how to make craft foam armor, and again adapted it to my own skills, needs...I completely improvised the fluffy.

I'm now starting on some more costumes -- I got some ready made patterns that I'm gonna adapt, and I'm also probably gonna have to improvise things as well...

As far as hand vs. machine -- hand sewing for any length of time is pretty much out of the question for me and my carpal tunnel! It's not as scary as it looks!

And finding fabrics...well, so far the costumes I've picked have used solids...Sesshoumaru's kimono has a pattern, so I used fabric paint to do that. I look for affordable, fairly durable and washable fabrics that won't fall apart, since I want to be able to wear each costume more than once!

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Post by kuri » Mon Jan 03, 2005 5:43 pm

I've done some small costumes before. I was Sakura Shinguji from Sakura Wars at Sakura Con 04, but I want to do something different this time. I was doing Ishika from Ishika and Honori, but I can't get the pattern for the sleeves right. My problem now is that I have the framework for the Kimono and the Hakama's, but I don't have a character to do to finish the costume and I don't want to do Kikyo from Inu Yasha because I am already doing Inu Yasha. Can anyone name some characters that wear the type of outfit like Kikyo, but just a litlle more...spiffy? If not that, does anyone know the symbol on Ishika's sleeve? Thank you for your help.

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