There’s a lot of people getting into cosplay now, which is a great thing, more people should get involved in cosplay. It’s a fun hobby that allows people to express their creative sides as well as their love for a particular character. I thought of a few tips that might be helpful for anyone that might be first getting into making their own cosplays. All of these tips were things that I learned as I first started cosplaying, or things I learned along the way. Hopefully these tips can help anyone who wants to learn about making their own cosplays!
Learning to sew takes time.
Not everyone has experience in sewing when they first want to cosplay something. If you do, that’s great, you have a head start in making your first cosplay. But if you don’t have experience, then it will probably take time before you really get good at sewing. Sewing is a craft that takes a lot of practice and time to learn. If you want to be good at sewing, you need to put in the time to learn and research in getting better. Your first few projects might turn out the best, but you learn with each mistake you make. Its okay that your first project might not turn out to be perfect, but your next one will be.
On the left is the first cosplay I ever made for myself in 2008/2009, the right is something I made more recently!
Understand your skill limit.
If you haven’t made amour before, chances are your first attempt might not be the best. And that’s okay. This sort of goes along with the first tip, learning to craft or make anything takes time. But sometimes it’ll take more time before you can perfect a new technique. A full armor costume might not be the right choice for your first costume, or something that has a lot of different sewing techniques that you might not have ever done before.
Don’t be afraid to fix your mistakes.
It can be frustrating when you make a mistake and it can be easy to just ignore it, especially after working on it for so many hours. But sometimes its much better to step back and go and fix the mistake later. I’ve made plenty of mistakes on my costumes, I still make a mistake here and there. What I like to do is take a step back and come back and fix it later. I will be less frustrated with the mistake and more willing to improve my costume. You’ll be much happier when you come back to it and fix the mistake that might have been made.
Make sure to give yourself enough time to make the costume.
Too many people make the mistake of trying to start a cosplay at the last minuet. Maybe something comes up and you want to try and get it done for that convention that is only a week or so away. While some people might be able to work under that sort of pressure, I know I am not able to make something well when I’m trying to do it at the last minuet. It’s too easy to make mistakes when you’re trying to rush to get something done; and if you’re on a time crunch, you won’t be able to fix the mistakes you might have made. If you gives yourself the time to plan out what your making, you give yourself the opportunity to really make it well, to make sure its made well and correctly.
Take the time to plan out your cosplay.
A cosplay can have a lot of parts to it; it can be easier to put together a cosplay when you know what parts are going into it. Take the time to plan out and write down what you’re making and what you need to buy. I like to write out a list of the different parts I need to make and buy, and then check them off as I complete each task. It makes it easier to keep everything organized.
Here’s an example of what I like to do when I’m working on a costume.
Try and do some research to get the best references you can. You might not be so lucky with your source material that you have a ton to be able reference from, but finding at least a single high quality image will help you. It’s difficult to make a costume without good references. There are a ton of websites out there dedicated to hosting pictures and references, a lot of video games have character models you can look at, and most animes and cartoons have model sheets you can use.
An example of an character sheet, from the music video Me Me Me!
Try on your costume before the con.
You never know how everything is going to fit until you try everything on. Something might look okay if you’re just looking at the pieces, but if you don’t know how it all looks together, it might not work. If you try it on before the con you can fix something if it needs to be fixed up. That and you can take pictures to see how everything will look in photos.
Understand the weather you might be cosplaying in.
The weather might affect your cosplay choices. Doing something with a big thick coat might not be a smart choice to wear during the summer. While most con centers are air conditioned, you have to consider there may be crowds, as well as when you need to leave the con center for food. Try and plan accordingly, you don’t want to harm yourself just for a cosplay.
Check for deals.
Lots of craft and fabric stores like ACMoore, Joanns and Michaels have sales and coupons all the time. Pay attention to the fliers and coupons that might be out. Most of these places will let you stack coupons as well. Cosplay is an expensive hobby, and you want to use any deal you can to help you save money.
An old example of a Joann’s flyer.
These are some basic tips about getting into and starting to make your own cosplays. I hope these were helpful for anyone looking to get started!