Archive for the ‘Cosplay Tutorials’ Category

How long does it take to make a cosplay outfit?

Saturday, January 9th, 2010 Cosplay Tutorials, Props/Accessories

There are a lot of things that go into making a cosplay outfit: deciding on a character, buying fabric, patterns, and premade clothing, sewing the outfit, making the accessories, figuring out what con you want to wear it to, and on and on.

However, one thing that doesn’t get much discussion is how long it takes to make one of these outfits, and like a lot of things, it’s hard to predict unless you’ve already made a few costumes. So: I have decided to share my sage wisdom (read: five and half costumes) and give all three of my readers some pointers on how it takes to make a cosplay outfit.

Not surprisingly, it actually depends on a lot of different factors. There are five big ones. First; how experienced you are with sewing. If you’ve never sewn on a button, it doesn’t matter how simple your outfit is, it’s going to take you a while. If you are truly and utterly inexperienced, you’re going to want to pad your timeline a lot, and hopefully find someone who knows what they’re doing to help you thread the sewing machine. I’m working with the assumption that you have some experience with sewing – you’ve repaired some clothing, maybe made a shirt or something. If you’re really new, you’re going to want to at least double whatever time I say, and have a sewing resource very handy.

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Cutting Corners on Cosplay

Monday, January 26th, 2009 Cosplay Tutorials

Today’s article is on how to do cosplay without spending a ton of money and time. (Time may be more scarce than money at Cornell.) It’s also got useful stuff for people just learning the art of sewing.

1) Figure out exactly what the costume is.

Make a list of items that you need, and get some pictures or screenshots to help you remember what they look like, even if you know the show really well. You probably also want to get colors of the items. A trick my friend recommended is tracing the seam lines in dark ink on a screenshot; or possibly tracing and/or drawing a line drawing of the costume with the seams, to get an idea of what it looks like without irrelevant details distracting you. If you’re sewing something, check and recheck the measurements, and unless you’re really comfortable with sewing, you probably want some sort of pattern. And my personal tip; always give your self wiggle room with the fabric, either by making it slightly too big or having very large amounts of material at hems and seams. It’s a lot easier to make something smaller than make it bigger.

2) Salvation Army is friend.

As are flea markets, as are thrift stores. If you can find clothing similar to what your character wears for a decent price, it’s almost always worth it, even if you have to do some alterations. It’s likely cheaper than sewing the item, and it’s far faster. Note: just make sure the item of clothing will work before you pull apart the seams; it’s hard to return after you’ve destroyed it. For example, in my Edward Elric cosplay, the only thing I made from scratch was his coat. His boots, undershirt, pants, shirt and belt were all bought, and only that shirt even needed altering. Make sure your pieces match though, and sometimes the simplest costumes are the hardest. L from Death Note does require a little bit more effort than scavenging at Wal-Mart.

3) Coats, cloaks, and robes are surprisingly useful.

If you’re cosplay has a large, encompassing outerwear, you can probably get away with a high quality outerwera and lower quality in the layers of clothing below that. Good examples of this are Edward Elric’s coat, Genjo Sanzo’s robes, Kamiya Karou’s outer kimono, Kino’s coat. Of course, some cosplay’s aren’t suited to this, but its a useful cheat when you can use it.

4) Ignore all the accessories you can.

Now keep in mind, I’m telling you how to cut corners. Given the chance, go all out with accessories; they’re fun! But if you’re Ed Elric wearing gloves and a long shirt, you don’t need to make his metal arm. However, there are some accesories that you have to make if you’re doing cosplay, such as Wolfwood’s cross-punisher. Use your best judgement as to which type is which.

5) Hair.

Getting your hair to match your character’s is always a pain. As far as I can tell, there are a couple different ways to deal with it. First, you could buy a wig. If the hair is really important to the character, you paln on reusing the costume or you’re really precise, it might be worth buying a wig. I’ve never done so, because I’ve heard they’re expensive, finiky, difficult to maintain and can still look rather fake. (Keeping in mind I’ve never bought a wig) You can also decide on a cosplay based on the hair’s suitability, and then gel and/or dye your own hair. This might also work. The biggest problem is if you plan to reuse the cosplay and you want to change your hairstyle (for example, my hair has grown a foot since I made my Sanzo costume). Finally, what I usually do, is take it with a grain of salt. Pin your hair and gel it and dye it (temporarily) within an inch of its life, but don’t worry overmuch if it’s too long, or too short, or curly instead of straight. You’re just having fun; any one who starts to bug you about your costume really needs a life of their own. A tip: if you’re spray dying your hair, do it before you put on your costume. I didn’t, and the back of my Kenshin costume is now red on top of blue. And while it’ll likely wash out, you’ll still be spending the day with part of your wonderful cosplay the wrong color. The spray in dye also sometimes leeches onto clothing just by being in contact with it, so be careful. And make sure to give yourself lots of time to do hair, cause you’re never gonna get it just right the first time.

6) Go cosplaying in a group.

Oddly enough, this helps. It doesn’t improve the quality of your costume, obviously, but being with a group of friends that are just as oddly dressed as I am always makes me less self-concious.

So there you go! 6 Tips for cutting corners on cosplay. Note: there is an art to producing a brilliant cosplay in anything from 24 hours to 30 minutes. That’s a different skill set entirely, usually requiring many many years of cosplay experience (and leftovers), and I’ve not yet mastered it.

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Cosplay 101: Shaman King Oracle Bell

Friday, October 24th, 2008 Props/Accessories

This is the first in a series of cosplay prop tutorials I will be giving as I progress with my props for costumes. As a note, I try to keep costs down, but if I need to, I will spend the money necessary.

For those of you unsure what I am talking about, please note the below picture.

This is the Oracle Bell from the anime Shaman King. I will be teaching you step by step how to make one from “common” household items. (more…)

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