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Unread 09-22-2007, 11:54 AM   #1
Gateau
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Frequently Asked Questions: Where do I start? - Beginners guide

Ahem, I have been seeing excedingly more and more "Where do I start?" Or "I have no idea what I'm doing Help me!" Threads, and I wanted to make this thread so New people can read this and stop spamming the board with simple questions which all have the same answer!
Most good cosplayers start with a simple set of rules!



Step 1. Choose a Costume

Believe it or not, this is a difficult stage in cosplay because a lot of people don't know what to cosplay or have difficulty deciding on some. It's best to choose a character that somewhat resembles you or a character that you admire or are femiliar with to dress like them. IF you're a beginner; The easier the costume the better! Never under-estimate costumes that look easy, they could turn out to be a nightmare. If you have no idea who to cosplay still? Ask a friend who knows a lot about anime or gaming to see what they think, or better yet go Here:
http://forums.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=64833




Step 2. Find Reference Material

Go online and print out some pictures. Print off as many different angles, drawings, sketches, screenshots, anything that you can or you think you need. If you have the Manga or poster, use that! Depending on the detail, try to find as many different sketches and designs as possible to make sure you can find accuracy!

It also helps to find picture of other people who cosplay very well and make ideas from that, Show the pictures to people and say "I need that wig" or "I need help finding that cloth" When you're shopping for materials. If you're truely stumped on how they did something -It's up to you to actually ask the person how they did it, Who knows, they might even be on Cosplay.com! But AVOID emailing them with questions Like "OMG How did u make evrythng?" The people might as well be a professional designer, and don't have the time to explain every detail and may find it irritating, But if you have a small question on how they did a crystal to a staff or a headband, they may explain it to you, but respect their decision if they don't.

**See Step 2.B



Step 3. Set a Budget

Unfortunately, cosplay isn't a cheap hobby. If you think it is, then hopefully you picked an easy character, if not, Expect to spend at least 30-100 dollars minimum, the maximum is in the thousands. But remember, Just because you spend a lot or a little money on it doesn't mean it will or will not be good! Moniter your spending! Set out a chart of all the materials you'll need according to your references ( Cloth, Wonderflex, Paint, Thread, Shoes, Wig, etc. ) You may find out that this costume is impossible with how much money you have, so Plan Wisely!



Step 4. Set a schedual

This is very important, you need to measure your time NOW to the time of the convention, If you're doing multiple costumes you need to make sure you have enough time for both! Depending on the difficulty of the costume it is wise to set an average of 3-4 months each ahead of time to make a costume depending on how much time a day you spend on it, It never hurts to get done early, but working last minute is NOT a fun thing to do. You can start by estimating what weeks, months you will spend doing what ( I.E.: Spend this week sewing the pants, spend the next week sewing the shirt, spend the next month making the helmet. ect. ect. )



Step 5. Obtaining the Materials

Now you must get all the cloth and wigs you need, There are hundreds of resources, the cosworx store on Cosplay.com,
http://www.cosworx.com/home.php?bid=1&partner=coscom
or you can rely on some places like Local Costume Stores, Walmart, Meijer, Target, K-mart, for the most basic stuff or for more specialized craft items try Hobby Lobby, Micheal's Crafts, Jo-Ann's Fabrics, Fields Fabrics, or search online or specialty stores for custom items.

Make a list of everything you need and go down it as you go shopping, it is ideal to get everything in one setting however sometimes that's not the case, but it would be ideal to purchase as much of the items you can now

Tip: Beware of what you buy, some materials might be toxic, Break easily, or become sun worn very easily, and you also must mind the Conventions rules ( Especially on weapons ) So when buying materials - Beware of making metal weapons, it may get confiscated!





Step 6. Assembling / Constructing the Materials

Hopefully you have a sewing machine and some time now, Hopefully one of the things you bought were sewing patterns, unless you really really know how to sew ( Then infact, what are you doing here? Just kidding! ) So begin to sew together everything together according to your references, and time constraints.
!!Remember when making costumes!!
Things are NOT gravity resistant, Try making your items Cosmetic first and THEN anything functional, It may be a fun idea to have something that lights up or a million things strapped to your leg, but when it malfunctions or constantly slides down your leg and you need to fix it every 2 minutes, it becomes a hassel, so plan accordingly





Step 7. Completing the costume!

So! You're done! But you're not really done are you? Cosplay is an art form that can NEVER be perfected! Go ahead! Try it on! See any flaws? A rip? A tear? A stain? A loose part? This is the time you trouble shoot! Is the makeup too smeary? If something goes wrong, then you should ask people on a cosplay forum who are experts and can give you other tips! But always try on your costume and take a look good hard stare in the mirror



Step 8. You're finished, go to the Con!

You've begun and now you're finished, Go have fun at the convention! If you've created a cracker jack costume then think of some dynamic poses and angles you can dazzle people with at the convention! Have fun with it!




**Step 2.B. Comission or Buy

Not everyone enjoys sewing and spending years on making a suit or armor, so then you can head over to the comissioner area ( A Place where you BUY stuff that costume designers make for you Personally ) or head over to E-Bay or other sites to buy Pre-Made costumes. The Pre-made most likely won't be top quality, but if you think it is better than what you can do, and Cheaper, then you might want to consider buying a costume.

Last edited by Gateau : 09-22-2007 at 12:08 PM.
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Unread 09-25-2007, 12:21 AM   #2
Uchiha Hinata
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Hi there! Great beginners guide, especially for newbies like me ^^;;; Umm, I was hoping you could explain exactly what is a sewing pattern and how do you use it? I've heard a lot about them and tried researching it, but I kept getting confused.
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Unread 09-25-2007, 01:51 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uchiha Hinata View Post
Hi there! Great beginners guide, especially for newbies like me ^^;;; Umm, I was hoping you could explain exactly what is a sewing pattern and how do you use it? I've heard a lot about them and tried researching it, but I kept getting confused.
You buy patterns at the fabric store. Basically, it's like a little packet, and on the front it shows you what you're making (a dress, a vest, pants, etc.) On the inside is a bunch of pieces of paper that have lines that show where you need to pin it to the fabric you're using and cut it out. It's just like a template so you know how to cut your fabric and sew it together.
... hope that was coherent.
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Unread 09-25-2007, 11:23 PM   #4
Uchiha Hinata
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor Blind View Post
You buy patterns at the fabric store. Basically, it's like a little packet, and on the front it shows you what you're making (a dress, a vest, pants, etc.) On the inside is a bunch of pieces of paper that have lines that show where you need to pin it to the fabric you're using and cut it out. It's just like a template so you know how to cut your fabric and sew it together.
... hope that was coherent.
Thanks very much! When you put it like that, I finally understand what it is.
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Ash Ketchum (Pokemon)--Fanime 07
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AU Hinata Hyuuga Outfit (Naruto)--JTAF 07
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Unread 09-26-2007, 07:29 AM   #5
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Don't forget to pay attention to the size pattern you buy. You'll need to make measurements of your body and refer to the table on the back of the pattern to see which size you should buy and then what size you should cut out. (Patterns normally have about 4-6 sizes in each packet.) Other than that it's just like putting together a puzzle!
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Unread 09-26-2007, 12:07 PM   #6
Gateau
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They can be very complicated! THe patterns that is, However you need to really read on what you're doing, they tell how you how to do everything on it, fold the fabric, pattern of the grain of fabric, they're measly brown pieces of paper in it so you have to be careful.. you do buy them at where the previous people have been saying at walmarts or fabric stores
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