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Fixing the Size on a Finished Cosplay

Hello, all.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but on occasion, I screw up my cosplays. Sew a sleeve on backwards, pin the wrong sides together instead of the right, and so on. Usually, I’m paying enough attention to catch and fix these problems before they get too far. And most of the time, the problem is small enough that people don’t notice. Sometimes, however…sometimes it’s only after I’ve finished the garment or the entire outfit or gone to a con before I realize that the shoulders of my coat are too small to be comfortable, or that the sleeves are too narrow or that the robe isn’t wide enough.

For all of you who have run into similar problems, here is my guide for how to adjust the size on a finished piece of cosplay without having to remake the entire piece of clothing. Now, keep in mind, this is a quick patch. For the best quality cosplay, you’ll probably have to remake the garment, or at least the part that’s giving you problems. If you don’t want to deal with that, keep reading.

This shows the added material to make the outfit wider
Sanzo's robe

The first time I realized that I had made an outfit too small was with my Sanzo costume (by the way, I only seem to make clothing too small. I imagine making a large piece smaller is much easier). The robe he wears is supposed to wrap around him entirely, but whether because spaciness on my part or the pattern I was using, the robe didn’t wrap enough; it showed the jeans I was wearing underneath. I managed to ignore it for a while, but eventually I decided it needed to be fixed. The high quality and labor intensive solution (not to mention cloth intensive) would be to remove the collar and sleeves, and sew a new body for the robe that matched the correct dimensions. I used the quick and patch solution. I undid the stitching on the edging/collar to about the waist, unstitched each end of the hem on the bottom of the robe for a few inches, and added in extra material. The additional width of the robe was entirely at the bottom, so I added very narrow triangles to both sides of the robe, making it wider. Then, I reattached the edging/collar to the new material, and finished up the new hem. It’s not the greatest looking fix in the world, but it beats making a whole new robe.

added a back panel. hardly noticable!
Touka's tunic

The second major fix I had to do was to the back of a tunic for my Touka cosplay. This one I actually caught before I finished the outfit or even the tunic. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough fabric to remake the needed piece, and so I had to make do with a make-shift repair. The problem was with the width of the shoulders; I had originally made them too small, and since the material has almost no give, these is a real problem. My solution was to cut the back of the tunic – where my spine would be – from the bottom to the top. I then added a very narrow trapezoid piece of fabric in the middle, just a few inches, to make the top wide enough for my shoulders, and kept the bottom almost the same width. I then sewed up the back again, with the added piece simply as an additional panel. Fortunately, for this cosplay, there’s a coat on top of the tunic, and I likely wouldn’t have fixed it except for the difficultly it gave me moving.

The final sizing problem I’ve had is with the sleeves of my Edward Elric coat. Unfortunately, it was one of my earlier cosplay, and I misjudged the width I’d need for the sleeves, especially with a long sleeve shirt underneath. While the sleeves don’t immediately look wrong, they make it slightly hard to move and cause the coat to be even warmer than it is. The problem was, to fix this I’d have to make two completely new sleeves, and I don’t think I even still had the fabric. My solution? Deal with it; it’s a problem that I’m the only one likely to really notice, and it doesn’t cause me too much trouble. Sometimes discretion? Is the better part.

Sleeves are way too small, but not small to make it worth remaking them
Edward Elric's coat