Beginners guide to creating your own cosplay outfit

Cosplay is growing in popularity and over recent years it has really taken off with fans of anime, Manga, sci-fi and fantasy games all wanting to dress up as their favourite characters. Increasingly people are looking to create their own cosplay outfits and in this guide we’ll take a look at some of the things you’ll need to craft your very first cosplay outfit.

Choose your character

The starting point for any cosplay outfit is to pick your character and collect as many pictures as you can of their outfit, preferably from different angles. Depending on how crafty you are you may want to avoid anything that will require too much intricate detail.

Work out what you need

Take a look at your costume and work out what you’ll need for each element. Don’t forget to check your wardrobe to see if you already have something that closely matches your chosen outfit e.g. belts, buckles, boots etc. The easiest way to work out what you need is to make a list of each item and then what materials you’ll need to make this.

Download sewing patterns

Most costumes will require some form of sewing to create the finished outfit and if you’re creating your outfit from scratch then a sewing pattern will help to make your life a lot easier. Do a search online for sewing patterns that match your outfit e.g. if your character wears a corset then try to find a corset pattern that matches. An advantage of a sewing pattern is it will also tell you how much material you need and give you information for creating the right size.

Pick your materials

Depending on your chosen costume you’re likely to need a range of fabrics in order to create the look you want. Popular fabrics with cosplayers include Buckram, which can be used to make masks, hats and help add rigidity to costumes, Gala lining and 7000 duchess satin for creating your outfits and of course Worbla, Wonderflex and Fosshape thermoplastics, which can be used to mould armour, weaponry and many other items. When looking for materials, colour swatches are your friend as they’ll let you get an idea of the colour and material that will work for your costume.

Get the right tools

Nitrile gloves, safety goggles, epoxy glue, heat gun, hobby knives, glue gun and sewing machine, these are just some of the tools you may need to create the cosplay outfit of your dreams. For sculpting Buckram you need nothing more than a steam iron, multiple layers can also be bonded together to create a stiffer material that’s perfect for creating self-supporting shapes. And while a sewing machine can help to speed up the costume creation process it isn’t a necessity as you always have the option to hand sew your costumes.

It’s all about having fun

Remember that cosplay is all about having fun. Creating your own costume is part of this process and can be a fun activity working out how to make a certain part of your costume. From wings and armour to weapons and accessories you can really go to town on crafting a beautiful costume that’s custom made for you.