For some this word brings forth memories of your last Con/Expo where you had a whole lot of fun with your friends as well as made new ones. It also brings memories of burnt fingers, skipped stitches, fabric searches and sleepless nights.
Hopefully I can help ease a little bit of the frustration with my “Designer Cosplay Tips”.
If you are like me, you like saving a buck, and if you didn’t have to spend good money on patterns you needed for your Cosplay you would be insanely thrilled. With that said here come a buttload of links.
You’re welcome 😉
Instructables – Sign up for a free membership and search for tutorials on almost anything. It’s one of my favorites. I can spend hours just browsing stuff that would be cool to make.
Another one of my favorites for sewing stuff is Google Books. If you are doing period specific stuff or steam-punk then this one is for you. Search “tailor and cutter” then scroll until you find one that was published in the late 1800’s. Since it is out of print it should be free. I will post some of my favorites at the end of the post.
You can search Google Images for what you are looking for as well (which you have probably already done). Most of what you find will probably be listings from one or more of the below pages.
Cosplay Tutorial: The biggest and best resource for any and all cosplayers. Everything from fabric, to pepakura with useful how to’s and patterns.
Cutter and Tailor: A forum for all cutters and tailors, or people who want to make suits, pants shirts jackets etc.
Craftsy: Sign up for a free membership. There are tons of free patterns for you to download. Lots for sale as well at a lower price than commercial patterns. If you are a beginner they have a lot of valuable tutorials as well. A lot of bloggers post their patterns on here then post links to craftsy.
All Crafts dot Net: Free patterns and useful tutorials.
Sewing Support: Free patterns. It looks like an older website and didn’t stick around too long but I do like the patterns.
Think Liz: More free patterns.
Cutout + Keep: A very useful craft blog/website. Find patterns and tutorials in the sewing section.
Craft-Sew: Free hat patterns, because sometimes the hat makes the Cosplay.
The ones below aren’t free but they are good quality patterns for a fraction of the price if you choose the downloadable pattern option.
Burda Style: (In the pattern store section)
Please feel free to peruse the links above. I’ll be here when you get back.
…. Welcome back!!
Now that you have found a plethora of patterns, we need to make sure that they fit your character as well as your body.
Take a few minutes and a helping hand to measure yourself for every type of garment. The measurements you need are below. It’s the same for men, but I couldn’t find one that was as easy to read as the one below. You can also make yourself a dress form to help with alterations yourself. Instructions can be found here . Guys take note, as I do not know of any readily available retail men’s dress forms. Ladies, be sure to be wearing the same undergarments that you will be wearing at the expo when you make this form.
I took all my measurements just recently in order to make a black top and leggings as a base layer for armor that I was crafting. The patterns I used can be seen below and found here.
Once you know all your measurements, you can alter store bought patterns as well as online PDF patterns. Most patterns have a lengthen/shorten line; though as a rule you always want to lengthen/shorten the straightest part of the garment so that in lengthening or shortening the garment you aren’t modifying the overall shape, just the length. When it comes to width always make a size larger than you think you may need if it’s an online pattern because it is always easier to take in a garment than it is to let it out.
With that said, some other alterations you may want to make is adding darts to alter the fit, tapering collars and adding details like buttons. Most of the time you can find something close to what you are looking for, and if not you can usually find something close enough and alter it to match the look you are going for.
There are tons more free pattern links but in the hours I spent looking I found that most of them referred back to one another. If you happen to find any awesome free pattern sites that we should see please link them below in a comment.
To end this first installment you can find links to my favourite sewing books on Google Books (all free) as promised. Tell me what you think, or if you find any that you think I should read.
I hope I have given you all a good starting point. The cosplay community is a very awesome one and if you are ever lost help is usually not that far away.
Now Go Forth and SEW!!
Stay Awesome Everyone!