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Are you a newbie to cosplay but want to sew your own costume? Many cosplayers like to sew their own costume because it's not only fun but also very satisfying. If you are one among those cosplayers who like to DIY it, these tips will surely help you if you are new to stitching your own costume.
1. Start by planning ahead of time.
Costume sewing is fun but also requires time and proper planning. If you plan it ahead, you'll have enough time to shop all the supplies like fabric, patterns, ribbons, etc...
Also, planning ahead helps to make modifications in case you make any mistakes.
2. Choose a character that you like
There are tons of characters to cosplay but the best is the one which you like. If you choose a character which you are not interested in, it might be difficult to stay motivated until your costume gets completed. On the flip side, stitching a costume of a character which you like will be more fun and will keep you motivated.
3. Get a reference image of the character you have chosen
Search for a clear image of the costume of your chosen character and get it printed. This will help you while shopping for the supplies. It would strike out the chance of forgetting any small yet important material. It'll also save your time shopping as you can directly show the image to the shopkeeper and he'll show you the most suitable material.
4. Break down the costume
After you have got the image printed, you can break it down further to get a more clear view of the requisites and sewing process of costume. You can cut the image of the costume into smaller pieces such as sleeves, vest, pants or skirt. You can also draw a sketch by referring to the image you have printed.
5. Shop for Fabrics
Once you are clear about different parts of the costume, its time to start shopping fabric for making those parts. Although some fabrics give a more accurate look they can be ridiculously difficult to stitch. Fabrics such as satin are just a pain to sew especially if your hands are not very free on the sewing machine. Try to avoid such fabrics and instead use fabrics which are easy to work with. This will save your time and energy which you can use to further work on the costume.
6. Time to pick patterns
After fabrics, next, it's time to pick patterns.
You can get it from your local store specializing in cosplay materials. Use the images or sketch of the costume parts to find a matching pattern at the store. You can also mix and match two patterns to get the shape your costume has.
You can also visit Simplicity's site to get a matching pattern for your costume parts. Simplicity has a wide variety of patterns to choose from in different shapes and sizes. Even if the pattern you've chosen on simplicity doesn't match exactly, you have the freedom to customize it according to yours.
7. Draft your own pattern
Patterns are expensive and a simple mistake in choosing the right shape or size can cost you quite a few pennies. You can instead draft your own pattern and it'll be easier to redraft it if you go wrong anywhere. Also, it'll be easier on your pocket...
Use your current wardrobe to draft the pattern and always leave some place for stretch and seam.
Also, its wise to first cut a paper according to the pattern than cutting the fabric. This way you won't have to toss the fabric you bought if you make any mistake while drafting the pattern.
8. Cutting the fabric
This is the most critical stage of sewing your costume. A small mistake while cutting the fabric can ruin your entire costume. Be very careful and alert while cutting the fabric. If you are using a fabric drafted by yourself then recheck if it has seam allowance included in it.
If not, you can leave extra space while cutting the fabric.
You can pin the pattern with fabric for cutting it but sometimes it can rip it. Instead, you can use a matching color chalk to mark the pattern outline onto the fabric.
Another important tip here is that always use fabric scissors for cutting fabric. Paper scissors can be a nightmare while cutting fabric. Its better to get a pair of fabric scissors for your cosplay projects if you don't already have one.
If you have got a store-bought pattern, there will be small triangles on it to help you line up the pieces when you sew your costume. Cut a mirror image of it so that you don't cut on the seam allowance.
9. Working with your sewing machine
Your sewing machine's manual can answer most of the questions and concerns you have regarding its use. If you are still not sure about some aspects, you can always find useful sewing videos on almost every topic. You can learn everything from winding a bobbin to inserting the needle into the machine.
While arranging your fabric for stitching, make sure that you know the right and wrong sides of the fabric. The right side is the side which you want to show while you are wearing the costume. The wrong side will be inside. When sewing, keep the wrong sides out so that you get a clean seam when you turn it inside out to show the right side.
You should also iron the seam to avoid odd bunches on the right side of the dress.
Also, the pins should go in a perpendicular direction to the seam so that it's easy to remove them as you sew.
Lastly but most importantly, go slow while stitching if you don't have much experience with the sewing machine. As you gain experience, you can increase the speed without the stitch quality getting affected.
10. Applique and paint
source: wiki how
Some costume has an applique or painted designs. Smaller applique designs require hand stitching. Running stitches work best for such appliques. You can also use a whip stitch to secure the applique. Larger appliques can be done using your sewing machine. You can refer to your sewing machine manual to know the settings for applique stitching.
Felt is one of the best fabric to use for appliques. However, you can use some other fabric also according to your costume.
Similarly, some costumes need paint to applied in some parts. Just blabbing the paint on the fabric will not work rather it will peel off.
Instead, you can use an air-brush to paint different parts of the costume.
It requires a certain level of skill to use an air-brush for painting but you can easily do it by viewing some videos on YouTube.
If you don't have an air-brush, get one and you'll find it as a life-long friend for most of your cosplay adventures.
These were 10 cosplay sewing tips for beginners who wish to sew their own costume. We hope you find it useful. Do let us know which tip caught your attention and how would you use it in the comments section below.