How to Start your Very First Cosplay

How to Start your Very First Cosplay

Don’t start doubting yourself! Making a cosplay is never easy for anyone, it comes from a lot of practice, perseverance, countless hours and blood, sweat and tears. When you’re surrounded by all of these heavily armored, incredibly detailed cosplays it can be more than a little overwhelming to try and get your foot in the door. So here are some pointers on how you can start making your own cosplays and enjoy the process even if you are a complete beginner! And just a reminder, these tips are going to focus more on the sewing side if you don’t know where to start.

CHARACTER SELECT

First things first, pick a character you would like to cosplay as! If this is your first time ever making a cosplay costume, make sure it’s not too difficult. Keep the details to a minimum and I wouldn’t recommend any crazy props or hair for your first project. I’m looking at you Final Fantasy! It is also important to pick out a character that you love, it makes the construction process a lot more fun and well worth all the time and effort in the end.

LEARNING TIME

Here are some excellent books I would recommend reading in order to learn some new techniques. They are also a great source of information for refining your skills and knowledge as well!

McCall’s Essential Guide to Sewing: http://www.amazon.com/McCalls%C2%AE-Essential-Guide-Sewing-Techniques/dp/1936096722/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1449710597&sr=8-1&keywords=mccalls+sewing+book

Kamui Cosplay’s Books and Patterns: https://www.kamuicosplay.com/product-category/books/

It is also very important that you know your different textiles as well. Knowing which fabrics stretch, have different finishes, etc. will help immensely when making your costume.

SHOPPING

I always recommend shopping at Joann’s when they’re having a sale on their patterns. $0.99 versus $16 for a pattern is a huge deal, so make sure to stock up! Even if you don’t need a specific pattern for your current costume, you never know when it might come in handy later. Also look at the illustration reference on the back rather than the picture on the front, it’ll give you a better idea on each individual piece that makes up the garment.

YOUR MACHINE

Picking out a sewing machine is a lot less scary than you think. A basic sewing machine with at least five different stitches is acceptable, though I rarely venture outside my basic straight stitch. Here is my basic sewing machine that I own, it is pretty reliable and affordable: http://www.amazon.com/SINGER-Easy--Computerized-Sewing-Machine/dp/B008NBNFEQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1449712017&sr=8-2&keywords=singer+sewing+machine+one

PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE

Practice makes perfect, right? When you first begin to dabble around with different patterns, muslin is your best friend. It’s super cheap and great for making mock-ups, this way you’ll be able to test the fit and make adjustments before cutting into your nice costume fabric. Though I always recommend buying an extra yard of fabric when you’re starting just to be safe. If your pattern requires two yards of fabric, buy three! It’s also never a bad thing to have some extra fabric lying around, you might even be able to use it for your next costume!

TOOLS

I would invest in some good tools rather than looking for cheaper alternatives. Because in the long run, it’s better to have a nice pair of reliable $30 scissors, rather than constantly replacing your $5 pair that don’t work nearly as well. Personally, these two things are an absolute must for me whenever I’m sewing: sew-all polyester thread and leather needles. This is tough stuff, I rarely have any ripped seams or broken needles, even when I’m sewing some pesky steel bones into a crazy thick corset!

SOS

Never be afraid to ask for help or advice, the cosplay community is large, vast, and most importantly, crazy helpful! Explore and join some cosplay groups or forums online, a lot of cosplayers ask questions and/or share their findings and techniques so it’s a great place to learn and get ideas. They even have cosplay groups for specific games or shows!

COMMISSIONS

Sometimes making an entire costume by yourself can be stressful, or perhaps you have the extra money and you’d just prefer to wear an awesome costume instead of making one. Well there are plenty of amazing cosplayers who do commissions and love to make props, costumes, wigs, and more! Don’t be ashamed to ask a cosplayer to commission a costume for you, there are many that do commissions for a living and are grateful that fellow cosplayers support their craft. However, you should never take credit for someone else’s work, that’s a big no no. If someone asks you how you made the prop, let them know you commissioned it and from who.

HAVE FUN

Remember, cosplaying is all about having fun, on top of being an amazing learning and challenging experience. So don’t stress out too much about your work or become overwhelmed by all the multiple bits and pieces, you will get better and gain more experience in the end! I hope that this has helped you somewhat, or at the very least gave you some motivation to start making your cosplay. Good luck!

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