Hey gals and guys!
First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope that you all had a blast doing whatever it was you did! I also hope that you were safe..were you safe? Okay..good!
For my first post of the new year here on +5, I thought I would kind of re-share something I have already done on MY blog.
I get asked a lot on how I go about preparing to make a costume and I did a two part post on it all using one I was making at the time as an example. I wanted to share it here because 1. not everyone here reads my blog (obvi!) and 2. because I feel like the way that *I* personally go about doing all of this might be helpful to someone out there who might be a little disorganized with cosplay preparation as well as anyone who might be considering getting into cosplaying and might not know where to start!
Are you ready? Alright. Let’s do this!
I don’t know about any other cosplayers out there but I always recommend people do some research on whatever costume they’re trying to make. By ‘research’ I basically mean gathering up reference photos. As many as you can find. There are almost always a ton of images out there at your disposal and you’ll often find that while Power Girl might have one thing on in one image, she doesn’t have it in another. So it’s up to you to figure out which route to take.
It’s also a good idea to maybe take a look at other cosplayers. I know a lot of people are against this because it might ruin your confidence in your skill but seriously, you got this. BUT sometimes its cool to see how other people may have assembled theirs. What fabrics they used and what way they went about getting the shoes. I found a cosplayer who did a really great version of Asgardian Storm and I got up the courage to ask her how she made the wig and you know what, she told me! So finding out other cosplayers tactics might also benefit you!
I basically put every single reference photo I want to use on my phone (for shopping purposes) but I also keep them on my laptop to pull up when I am actually working on the costumes. There is now an app called Cosplanner which lets you store a few photos there too but not enough. With all your research in your hand, you’re ready to go shopping. BUT first..prepping to shop is key.
1. Google is your friend. I mean..everything is there. You can and will get most of your references there.
2. If you’re into comic book cosplaying there is a site called Comic Vine where users upload photos of characters ALL the time. It stays pretty current so you’ll find photos of costumes dating back from first appearances to New 52 or Marvel Now.
3. If you have the ability to store photos in folders on your phone, make folders for each of your characters..trust me…you’ll be happy you did.
Prepping To Shop
This part I will share what I do when I know that I am about to go shopping for materials. I realize this may be crazy but its really my method and saves me so much time in the store.
This one is a two parter..get your writing hand ready.
The Head To Toe
Basically what this means is I get a pen and paper (or my cosplay notebook..or if your tech savvy open up that Google Docs or Evernote) and I write down every single thing I see on the character starting from the top (the head) to the bottom (the toes). What hair does she have? Will I need a wig? If so which wig? Where am I going to buy it from? What are my plan B and C for this wig? Is she wearing a belt? What kind? Will I need to make it or can I upcyle it with one from a thrift store?
I literally write ALL of this down because I know I wont miss buying or making something. I cross things off as I get them/get them done and I know where to go when I need to figure out where I said I was going to buy the prop gun.
I also use this as a way to jot down all the patterns I want to buy (pattern brand and numbers as well as alternates) as well as any notions or misc materials like glue or craft foam.
Every. Single. Thing needs to be on this paper in order for me to be able to go shopping or start web ordering.
Madness. I know.
So if the FIRST listing step wasn’t enough, I now make a list for when I physically go to the store. JoAnns or Michaels..doesnt matter..list it. For the shopping portion, I use a digital check list (paper check list is for later).
I make one big section for example: Dress
And then make sub-sections under those.
- Patterns ____, _____, ____
- Buy _______ yards of black ______ fabric
- Buy _______ yards of black ______ lining
- Buy light blue fabric paint OR trim for front flap design
So basically, everything from your head to toe list gets turned into a To Buy list and what you DONT buy gets turned into a To Make list…LISTS…LISTS EVERYWHERE!
Are you still with me?
We’re almost done I promise..just hang on little angels.
Gather up those coups y’all, it’s time to go shopping!
Seriously..coupons are your bestie as a cosplayer make sure you hoard ALL the coupons..all of them.
I personally use both the paper and digital coupons for JoAnns and the digital coupons for Michaels.
When you get to the store, shop in order of importance to get the most of your time and be in and out. Remember those lists? Well you now know what you need to buy..so go get it!
I always start with my patterns. Since I know which ones I need and the alternates I go pull them from the drawers first. That way when I am fabric shopping I can look on the backs of the patterns to see how much fabric I need. If I am on a budget that day, I make sure to get the base fabric first. If my costume calls for a black dress base, I get the black fabric first. I then get the notions if I can. Zippers, buttons, clasps anything like that.
I never get all my materials in one go but I make sure that my costume portion is done first. Accessories and props are always last because if I can have a finished costume minus a prop, I will still wear it dammit..because I got it DONE!
Prepping To Start Sewing
You’ve made it! YAY! Okay so now that you’ve got your million lists and some of your fabric ready, you can PREP to create. Yes..I said PREP. I do a lot okay..it’s just how I function as a cosplayer.
Before I even put scissors to fabric I make yet ANOTHER list.
A To-Do list. Simple as that.
What do I need to do to get this costume done?
Make the dress. Make the shoe covers. BUT I prioritize that. I don’t want to make everything at once..so I make whatever I deem necessary to make first. I USUALLY make the hardest part of the costume first which is almost always the part I need to wear. Once I knock that out of the park everything else is easy peasy.
I check stuff off as I go and it just make the creating experience loads easier for ME!
Now that you’ve decided to follow my ridiculous way of prepping to cosplay its time for you to ACTUALLY start making something.
While the getting there process might seem hard, it’ll all be a life saver once you realize how fast you’ve completed a costume and how much easier it was since you have your 4 million lists.
Hopefully this was helpful to someone..but I know everyone has their own methods to this crazy creative madness so share your tips below!
Until next time, IGGLES!