•        


Ami-Chan's multi-part cosplay guide continues with possibly the most important stage of all, planning your costume to make sure that it looks as good as possible!

Ok, so the first part of my guide gave you a number of points to consider when deciding what cosplay to make.  The second part will now deal with the initial planning of the outfit.

Reference Drawings

Before you create a costume it is important to have plenty of pictures of the person you wish to cosplay as.  If possible try and find photos taken at different angles, for example, the front back and sides.  These pictures can be found from a number of different sources including:

  • Manga

  • Art books

  • Screenshots of the character from the anime

  • Neo or other anime related magazines - It maybe that your anime is featured in a magazine.  If this is the case keep the pictures as they will be useful to refer to.  Newtype in particular often features character art from the latest anime.

Reference Figure

It can be very advantageous if you own a figure of the character that you wish to cosplay as.  The figure could be just a gashapon (see glossary), but any figures are very beneficial as they give you a 3D perspective of the character's outfit.

Design Plan

After you have gathered all of the reference materials, it is time to break down the costume into smaller parts and consider how it will be made.  At this point it is important to decide on these things:

Materials to be used
 

I would highly recommend that any material that you use to make a costume is breathable such as cotton.  Remember that you will be cosplaying for hours at a time so your costume needs to be comfortable as possible.

Try to be inventive with your materials where possible, could velvet or silk be a nice alternative to normal fabrics?  However, be warned!  These materials can be much more difficult to use when making your costume.

When buying your materials always consider the quality before the price.  I once bought some material for 1 a metre, and I found that the colour rubbed of easily onto other clothes. 

However, another piece of material which I paid more for did not do this at all. 

I would also recommend that after buying the material you wash it at least once.  This is particularly important if the colour is bright or is going to be sewn to any white material, as it will stop the colour from running onto the rest of your clothes.

Patterns

One thing that can make a costume much easier to make is a pattern.  It is advantageous to use a pattern as the resulting garment will often be better fitted than if you try to make it without one.  Furthermore each pattern comes with instructions in how to make each garment.  Patterns usually come in a variety of sizes, for women this is often typical UK sizes i.e. 8,10,12 etc whereas with men it goes by chest and waist measurements, so make sure you know your size before buying a pattern.  The cost of patterns can vary from 5 to 20.

However, the only way you can find out whether your costume can be made in this way is by visiting your local material shop.  There is generally a big material shop in most cities.  Often material shops have pattern books which you can look through and check to see if there is a pattern that looks similar to the item of clothing you wish to make.  Remember that the pattern does not need to be 100% like the item you wish to make.  If you have some experience in clothes making you will be able to easily adapt the pattern to your needs.

Shoes
 

These can often be the most trickiest item that you need to buy.  The only way that you can find the perfect shoes is basically by hunting through every single shoe shop until you find the right pair.  eBay is another good place to find shoes, however, remember that if you are buying from abroad the sizes do vary from the UK, so make sure you don't buy the wrong size as it will end up costly!

As said before the costume you will make will be worn for hours at a time, so even if your character wears high heels you may wish to reconsider your options.  A good compromise maybe a pair of shoes that looks the same but simply does not have the high heels.


Wigs

As mentioned in part one the best place to buy a decent wig is on eBay.  Try and avoid buying party wigs, they maybe cheap but the quality is poor.  On eBay party wigs are often represented by a picture with a person wearing the wig, whereas, the higher quality wigs are often sitting on a model head.  To make sure that the eBay seller sells quality wigs, I would recommend checking any feedback that they have.

Accessories

A character may have accessories such as jewellery, and you may find that it is possible to buy these items online.  However, this is not normally possible.  If this is the case you will have to consider how to make the item yourself.

Weapons

So far I have been lucky and not had to make any weapons for any of my cosplays so far.  It is important that before you design the weapon you research the rules of the convention or expo that you wish to attend.  Many of them have strict rules on what these items can be made of and their size.  Consider this before you start making your weapon otherwise you maybe disappointed if the organisers take it away from you.

Once all of these items have been considered and your ideas have been written down it is time to make your cosplay.  Unfortunately as each costume varies vastly in it difficultly and the way it is made, this guide will not cover this.  The final part of this guide will cover key tips on cosplaying on the day!

___________________________________________________________________________