Sew Easy Costumes (Part 4): Cosplay Tips for Beginners

Are you interested in cosplay or sewing costumes in general? If you new to the cosplay and costume world you’ll eventually want to make your own costumes. Some cosplayers have their costumes custom made, which can be expensive. A much less expensive alternative is to make your own. Kristie “Karmada” Good is an exceptional coplayer and seamstress! Kristie has been posting throughout September and October giving us advice on all things cosplay and costumes. Read on for more information and be sure to check out her other posts!

Cosplay Cool

Curious about getting into cosplay and not sure where to start? Here are 10 tips for new—and veteran—cosplayers on making costumes from Epic Cosplay Costumes author and award-winning cosplayer Kristie “Karmada” Good.

1. Start Early

The more time you have, the better! This will give you more time to shop for patterns and fabric (and wait for sales), and a lot more time to work on your sewing and creation. It will also give you time to make mistakes and to regroup and try again.

2. Choose a Character You Like

People can cosplay for a whole host of reasons, but if you’re not sure where to start, pick a character you like or really want to dress as. The more attached you are to the character or outfit, the more energy you’ll have to power through those more frustrating times when sewing your own costumes.

Photo of Kristie Good as Nora Valkyrie courtesy of CosFame.
3. Find Reference Images and Bring Them With You

Find a good reference image of the outfit you want to make and carry it with you everywhere! You never know when you’ll come across a fabric sale or a material that catches your eye.

4. Break it Down

Print out your reference images (or draw a sketch), and break the costume down into the smaller pieces it’s made of. For example, what kinds of sleeves, type of skirt or pants, body and the like does your outfit have? This will help you pick out patterns at the store and you can work on mixing and matching pieces to get the shape you need!

5. Bring Coupons and Shop Sales

A lot of fabric store chains will have revolving sales, so get their app, check out their mailers and emails, and always keep an eye out for when fabrics and patterns go on sale. Also don’t be afraid to look in the discount/Red Tag area of fabric stores—you can find some really great fabrics and deals in there.

6. Use Your Resources

There are troves of resources for you to use when making cosplay— from books like Epic Cosplay Costumes all the way to helpful tutorials on the internet. If you’re not sure how to do something—use your resources and look it up! Chances are somebody has made something similar and has good advice.

7. Ten-foot Rule: It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect

What the audience doesn’t see—don’t worry about! Most people will be viewing you from 10 feet away, so don’t fret about having meticulously perfect stitching.

8. Buy Used and Repurpose

You don’t have to make absolutely every part of your outfit—grab items from the thrift store or your closet or even older costumes!

 9. Budget Watch—keep track of your money!

It’s easy to get carried away, so try to keep track of your spending in a notebook, spreadsheet, or app.

10. HAVE FUN!

Cosplay is about having fun, whether that is being social, getting photos, competing, and so on, so do what makes you happy! You put a lot of effort into your costumes, so make sure to enjoy the time afterward displaying your creations too!

— Kristie Good

For complete costumes directions and tips on attending a convention, pick up your own copy of Epic Cosplay Costumes.

 

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