Tutorial: Starting your next cosplay project

Hello everyone, Rachel again! This month I am not reviewing a pattern, however, I am preparing for MCM London which is back in October and sharing my tips for how I get myself and the boyfriend ready for the con.

Usually, my planning for October is well underway by this point as I start the day I get back from the weekend in May but due to being away from cons for a year so I have now kicked my butt into gear to bring myself back.

Decisions

No matter when I start the prep though I have to do it in a certain order and that starts with deciding who I am going as and how many costumes I will need. I have lightened my load this year and will just be at MCM the Saturday so I only need the one costume, however, deciding what that will be never gets easier. The best advice I can give is to do what makes you happy and know why you chose the characters you do. For me, that has always meant characters that mean something or the media I know then from. With Fallout 76 being released at the end of the year I have chosen to do a Fallout cosplay and will be making the Nuka Cola Pin-Up girl.

Nuka Cola Poster Girl from Fallout 4

Costume

Now the decision is made I need to start planning how I’ll do it and again this approach is entirely up to you, you may want to customise it and make it more personal or you might want to stick to being as accurate as possible. Again, for me, I love accuracy however I know I am not happy having my stomach out all day at a convention and so I want to fix it for me. I’ll turn the two pieces into a bodysuit which means I have to research and choose which pattern I need to use to make it with. I am thinking because of how reliable I find it that I will use the Yaya Han Women’s body suit that I reviewed in my first article.

As I said in that article the pattern is an amazing base so I will be able to alter it to make it accurate and get it how I want it! For the best results, I am going to make the suit out of white Scuba fabric because I am currently loving it and am finding that it is more comfortable and reliable than just a lycra spandex. I have been using scuba in a few personal projects recently and feel like I have a lot of control over it, don’t have to worry about it being see-through or “faff” about because I’m so happy to use it that I’m sure I’ll have good results.

Fabric

For finding where to buy fabric I think we are all different with our preferences. Some people will only go to fabric shops for their projects while others will have a search online. I am usually an online buyer because my location doesn’t have a reliable selection of haberdasheries. If you are buying online and want to be as accurate as possible, try getting samples to make sure you’re happy for splashing out and buying the whole lot. Maybe also try sewing on this sample to see how you get on with it too! Because I already use Scuba fabric a lot and I have used the pattern so much, I am not doing a test version but I would usually say to do it and just try a few pieces to find your feet.

Reminder

This is also the time in which I will say remember your budget and your limits. You don’t have to have a new cosplay for every convention or day of the con if it is not manageable. I also don’t think that you should put too much pressure on yourself. As much as I plan out my costumes, if I don’t get it done on time or if I’m not happy with it, I’ll leave it for a different convention. No rush, no pressure!

Wig

Once the costume is being sorted I can worry about the wig. I always think if I was running out of time what would be the things I wouldn’t wear the assemble without. Obviously, a costume is the first priority, then wig and finally accessories. I could happily go to a con without accessories knowing I had put everything into the costume and had a good wig.

When it comes to wigs, I am not great at styling them and I also like as little hassle as possible. I tend to buy my wigs from the sites:

  • Wig Is Fashion, (both .com & .co.uk have been amazing)
  • Amazon, my Classic Harley Quinn wig came from there
  • eBay! As long as you are reading the listing carefully! My Lace front wig for Alice: Madness Returns was an eBay find and I was pleased with it.

There are also some amazing wig specialists out there, however, being specialists they will be more expensive but always worth it. Also, there is a great article by Nomes Cosplay about Wig styling you can read about.

Accessories

For me, the accessories are always what I leave to the end once the costume and wig is sorted because if I don’t get them done and don’t take them to the convention or shoot, it doesn’t spoil my costume. That being said I still aim to get them sorted as soon as I can. For this costume, I have a few items to either make or source, the Nuka Cola gun, Helmet and jetpack.  I will break the items up into what I can or want to make and what I can get, I have found a great 3D printer to get the gun made for me and the helmet and jetpack I will make with the help of tutorials and creating templates. 

The wings for my Wasp cosplay were created by tiling A4 printer paper and drawing my design out to try and scale it to me as best I could. I will be doing the same for the jetpack and checking as many resources as possible while drawing. I hope to create the helmet in a similar way, however, I will cross that bridge once I get there.

Timeframe

Realistically this is all done in between 4-6 months depending on what convention it’s for. I always have a bit of a buzz after MCM London in May and that will push me through the summer but I am also slower over Christmas, which is understandable because I have other priorities. Again, if I don’t meet this time frame it doesn’t matter but this is my system for setting goals.

So now that I have as much planned as possible I can start actually working on the costume as a whole as get ordering my supplies. I will be posting the progress on my cosplay page That Cosplay Couple and can’t wait to hear if these tips have helped you too!

Other Tutorials

About Rachel

Rachel is 24, has been cosplaying for 5 years and is one half of That Cosplay Couple in which she is accompanied by her boyfriend, Dan and is the seamstress for the two of them. Rachel also has her own seamstress business called Seamingly Normal where she makes cosplay, clothing and underwear via commissions.

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