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Unread 09-15-2012, 05:51 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2012
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First Time Making a Costume!

Hi guys! I just signed up and I'm planning on making my first costume! I've decided to try out a Link costume and I'm aiming for the Twilight Princess Link look! I know, it's rather detailed for someone making a first time costume, but all the same I have plenty of time and patience to put into making it! The closest thing Ive done to this is butchered an old ninja costume I had as a kid to make a bigger mask for a Halloween costume so I may need some direction.

So now that my general cosplay making background is all laid out for you guys I'll go into detail on what I'm looking to do. I don't really expect anyone to hold my hand through this but any hints, tips, tricks, material suggestions, any advice about this in general is well appreciated.
I wanna use a material that has a more real look to it. There are plenty of places I go to buy costumes online and the material ends up being some overly thin or shiny/silky looking material as opposed to what Link actually wears which has no sheen to it at all. I'm not familiar with fabrics as I stated above so any suggestions would greatly help me start! I'll insert a link in my next post showing one someone made that comes pretty close to what Im going for! I just want to double clarify that I wont get burned for linking to someones deviant art!
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Unread 09-16-2012, 12:39 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 498
Welcome to the forums!

TP Link is indeed a large task, but if you go about it the right ways, it's totally doable. Here are some tips:

1. PREPARATION. Do your research. Get photo reference from every angle, as big as you can. Get front, back, side views. If there's a paper craft model you can find and build, do it so you can see the game textures from any angle. You want to have as much information as possible. Break down the costume into components: I'd say hat, wig+ears+makeup, tunic, chain maille, undershirt, gauntlets+gloves, pants, boots, belts, and props (Master Sword and Hylian Shield, I presume). Have a plan for each part.

This forum is the perfect place to look up information and ask around. However, you've gotta be willing to put in your own work. For example, you can ask for tips on sewing, but show us that you've done some homework, maybe sewn a little bit in the past. There's multiple threads on TP Links all over CosCom, so be sure to look through those first. You'd be surprised how many of your questions get answered without having to ask them. Speaking of questions, be specific. People are more inclined to answer questions rather than post "any hints, tips, tricks, material suggestions, any advice." Rather than ask for a fabric suggestion, go out and find a few specific fabrics that you like or are within your budget, and come back for suggestions on those. That way, you're still in control of what you're buying.

Also, look up tutorials on everything. Even tutorials on different genres can provide information that you can use. Once you decide the best method or material for each part of the costume (which I'll go over in more detail below), you'll want to find appropriate tutorials for each method. You'll also want to try out multiple methods, both to experiment and get better at the the method, as well as to test to see if it's the right method. Sometimes, a tutorial for one method works well for another, so that's yet another reason to experiment.

Lastly, take stock of your resources. The most important resource is usually time: How long until you need this to be done? Do you need to order special materials, and if so, how long will that take? Have you factored how long it will take to measure, cut and sew your patterns? Create your chain maille? Sculpt, seal, and paint your armor? Other resources include money (can you spend a lot on the fanciest fabric, or is this going to be a budget build?) and materials (what materials do you have at your disposal? Do you have access to a sewing machine? For props, what tools do you have to work with? Will this be fiberglass, wood, pvc, cardboard?).

2. FABRIC: This deals with the hat, tunic, shirt, and pants. Fabric is totally up to you, so go out and look at fabric! Find a fabric store and browse around. It doesn't have to be the right color; often times, you're able to order fabric online in the shade you want. However, keep in mind that online ordering means you don't actually see the fabric until it gets to you, so be sure of the color beforehand (ask for swatches of fabric before that, some fabric retailers give them out for free to potential buyers).

3. ARMOR & ACCESSORIES This includes gauntlets, gloves, boots, belts and chain maille. What will you make them out of? Paper mache? Foam? Clay? Papercraft/bondo/fiberglass? Mold/Cast in plastic? Sintra/PVC? Different materials lead to different looks. For chain maille, will you be buying it or making it? If so, how will you make it? Making your own rings? Pop tabs? For boots, will you buy boots, or use boot covers over normal shoes?

4. WIG & MAKEUP: Will you be using a wig? Where will you buy it? How long will it take to get to you? Will you style it or wear as is, and if so, will you have the time to style it? Also, will you have pointed ears? Where will you get them, and how long to order? Lastly, you'll need to buy some makeup to blend your ears into your skin, and if you want to use contacts for Link's eye color, you'll need to obtain those as well.

5. PROPS: I'm going to assume you want to use the Master Sword and Hylian Shield. Now, most conventions and gatherings ban live steel weapons and props for safety issues. If you plan on using the props only for a private photoshoot, then metal isn't an issue, but for 90% of the time, you'll want a set of props that you can carry in a con environment. Depending on the con, this can range from wood to fiberglass to plastic to cardboard and pvc. It all depends on what your con allows or doesn't allow, so do some more research on what you can bring. Once you know what materials are allowed to be carried, you can start looking up processes, but the most common methodology is that you sculpt/build your prop, seal or smooth out the surface, prime, paint, and clear coat for protection from damage.

I know it's a lot to think about, but if you ask yourself these questions, you'll help narrow your questions to what you NEED to know, versus a blanket question of "any hints, tips, tricks, material suggestions, any advice." Remember, even if everyone gives you input, this is YOUR cosplay. You have to make it and you have to wear it, so it all comes down to your preference.
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Unread 09-17-2012, 03:49 PM   #3
Sarah Charade
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Well, the above is probably the best, most detailed answer you're likely to get. The one thing I always stress is research, research, research. Get a collection of pictures (or a papercraft) of your character that give you a 360 view. Then break it down into what you need to make. Put it in order of what you think will be easiest to most difficult, based on your skills. Then hit dA, CosCom, Tumblr, and good ol' Google to find tutorials for what you don't know how to make. Reorder the list. Figure out what you have already that you can use, search your mom/grandma/friend's basements and attics for anything they might have, THEN go to the store.

Keep an open mind! Use things for purposes they were not intended for.
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Unread 10-14-2012, 11:49 PM   #4
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Thanks that actually helps a lot! Well I do poses a sewing machine fortunately and my sister agreed to help me wit some sewing that I'll be doing fortunately for me! Also I do have a friend who does a chain mailing related thing as a side business and he agreed to make the chain mail, I've decided only small swatches of it would be best because an entire shirt would be quite hefty weight wise and maybe financially as well! I'm not sure his rates yet but he assured me a good deal because we're college buddies! As for fabric well I don't know much about them but I am looking for a very realistic look. I have until May to get this done and it is for a con. I've found several weapon tutorials and in fact found a great one for the Master sword. I located a Hylian shield online I might invest in due to the fact it seems like it'll suit my needs well as I have an actual master sword which I won't take to the con so it'll be a nice display piece afterward. I believe its made of a fiberglass and type of plastic which I'll be looking into more. I also have plenty of concept art and actual art from the game and I own the game itself so extensive research will be going into that along with the dimensions of the sword as I've strapped the actual sword to my back and attempted to unsheathe it and found it a tad too long.

Here is an image that has the type of fabric I would be interested in using but the user hasn't really been replying much to anything, any ideas of what kind of fabric that might be?
Because to me that is absolute perfection as far as tunic material and undershirt goes!

As for the belt around the torso I'm not a fan of that one there, it looks too stiff and rigid HOWEVER the user made ANOTHER costume version and that would be this one here:

I find that leather MUCH more viable for my costume yet I know nothing of leather as well. I've been trying to identify different cloth types and leather types via Google related searches but I'm not having much luck.

As far as budget goes I'm not too concerned. This'll occupy all my spare time as a hobby so I'll have time to earn enough for what I need bit by bit. The ears probably wont be an issue either as I have another friend who does plenty of cosmetic costume pieces every now and again so I trust elfish/hylian ears wont be any challenge to him at all whatsoever.

So to cover what I have covered:
Chain mail I have down
Ears are a go
The weapon needs to be made still but I do have a method for making it via video tutorial but I may check back for some advice during its construction. It'll mainly be a wood core with types of foam and tapes and pain mentioned in the video. Where I can find Clear coat and if theres any different varieties or anything related to that that anyone would specifically recommend it would be welcomed.

That just leaves the pants, undershirt, tunic, hat, vambraces and boots left.
I considered butchering an old/shoddy pair of shoes I own/could buy at giant tiger to make the boots yet, as I mentioned above, I don't know much about leather related materials.

For the vambraces I'm looking for a hard or stiff leather and in the past when I was in scouts we once worked with imprinting patterns on leather but I'm still a little fuzzy on how to do that and whether it'll even work on tougher/harder leathers. Are there any methods to take a softer leather, imprint the patterns into it, then harden it? Or is google my friend on this one? I'll likely search it after I post this but it was a passing thought right now so I figured I'd mention it here.

Heres a good front back side concept art of link I have saved but is on tumblr as well:

And heres some more images that show off some of the outfits detail such as the sides of the tunic and shoulders not to mention the vambraces and a view of the pants and boots:

I only linked to the last few because they're rather sizeable and made my post three times it's length. Also I did notice that the deviant art user posted their costumes here and used to sell them? I found that out whilst trying to find a proper image in google images to just attach here as a direct image. They're the person who does "NPC Costumes" I believe?
All that aside, I'll be looking into any nearby fabric stores if there are any and I'll be checking out materials and see if I find it on my own but if anyone can tell me what they assume the first tunic and shirt appear to be made of that MIGHT just help push me in the right direction. Like I said, assumptions are ok, I know some of you are quite professional but I wouldn't assume someone to look at an internet photo and instantly know what the material might be. My reasoning for choosing it is due to its kind of rough and durable appearance akin to smoother materials which I find don't look the part entirely.
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