Have you ever wondered what's the difference between a costume bought in a Halloween store and a handmade costume
📌 Here, I wanna clarify a small thing right now. I absolutely do not judge the person who buys a costume in a Halloween store. This person wants a cheap costume and have some fun. Halloween costume stores do this very well by offering a big variety of costumes at a very low price.
But let's be honest, if you're reading this, if you make your own costumes, or would like to start doing it, then you're looking for something more. Right?
The 3 fundamental points to observe to give more punch to your next costume
A major difference between a purchased ready-made costume and a handmade costume is the fit. You can't expect to have a really awesome costume if you buy yourself something one-size-fits-all ! … mainly because, between you and me, there is no one-size-fits-all …
When making a costume, make sure you take your measurements correctly. But above all, take the time to do some tests during the building process: make a mock up, validate the fit of your pieces, etc. Because if it doesn't fit well, even a handmade costume will miss that little something it takes to really stand out.
As for the accessories, it's more about proportion. Your sword size should not be the same whether you are 5'2 "or 6'4" yourself. Again, do some testing: draw a template, check the size, compare the elements together … and compare them on you too to see the full look.
I'm not saying that there's one best material out there. But there's certainly material that you'd prefer to work with for certain project. More or less robust, flexible, easy to handle, to cut, to glue, to paint, etc. I've seen people make crazy cosplay ... out of reclaimed cardboard. Obviously, it doesn't have to cost a fortune. What's important is mastering the material you are using if you want to get the most out of it .
As far as fabrics go, it's like other materials: you want to master it. But please don't just use $ 2.50/m polycotton… It's true that it is easy to work with. And it's true that more interesting fabrics are often more expensive. But honestly, it adds so much to a costume to play with textures and drapes ! So take the time to look at these 2 aspects, they can completely change the style of a costume. So yes, you want to be comfortable with the fabric you'll be using to sew it well, but it's imperative that you understand its drape too. A skirt made from the same pattern will look completely different if it is made of satin, leatherette or twill. You see?
The finishes are directly related to the materials. They should be suitable for what you will be using on your costume . Whether it's for armor (you won't necessarily want to use the same primer or varnish on worbla, eva foam or cardboard), or for a dress (your neckline might not be finished the same whether you use leather, denim or jersey), the more finishing techniques you know, the better equipped you will be to face your new projects . The best thing about working with new materials is just to experiment.
... and as a bonus, a 4th point:
Attention to detail
Attention to detail is obviously very important when creating a costume. This is a bonus point because it kinda touches all of the other fundamentals: your attention to detail will help you check the fit of the costume, choose the right fabrics, make the best finishes.
But I'm also talking about observing the character to be created from all angles (as in ALL angles) to make sure that you can see all the costume parts. After that, it's still your decision to recreate these details or not. You absolutely have the right to make a simplified version of an outfit (because you lack the time, budget or experience to make a more complex version). But it's so much better, in my opinion, to do it because it's a choice rather than because you hadn't noticed how it was done, right ?
I hope these fundamentals will help you make your next cosplay.
Talk to you soon.
Until then… Keep on crafting!
* cosplay photo credit: Erik Paredes