Probably one of the most rudimentary skills for #cosplay & #costuming is #sewing. For those who haven’t sewn anything before, sewing may seem intimidating, but once you know the basics, you’ll feel increasingly more comfortable with sewing and want to take on increasingly complex projects.
One question that may come up is why is it important to learn how to sew at all? Learning how to make your own #costumes will be far less costly in the long run than paying others to make things for you. That by far is probably one of the best reasons to learn how to sew. Next, if you’ve tended to rely on alternative methods for attaching fabric (like staples, hot glue or some other method), sewing will provide the best overall result and will be the strongest result. Even if you’re planning to wear armor, sewing can be invaluable in attaching velcro to strapping that you’ll most likely be using, especially elastic strapping, which needs to be very securely attached to velcro.
There are essentially two ways to sew: by hand and by machine. Sewing by hand is a lot slower than sewing by machine, but there will be times that you’ll need to hand sew something because a machine can’t always be used in all situations. A good example when you can’t use a sewing machine is when you need to sew something onto the back of a glove or onto a sleeve or pant leg. In these situations, unless you want to remove existing seams so that a sewing machine can be used, the best option is to hand sew. Also, if you can’t afford to purchase a sewing machine, you can always hand sew.
Though using a sewing machine may also seem intimidating if you haven’t used one before, there are very good reasons why to use one: it’s a lot faster than hand sewing, it makes evenly-spaced stitches and all modern machines will have multiple types of stitching patterns. For sewing long seams along pants, shirts, skirts, dresses, capes, etc., your best option will be a sewing machine.
The following YouTube video from 2014 & made by MangoSirene is a great introduction to sewing:
Adam Savage is a huge #StarWars fan & loves to #cosplay as iconic character #Chewbacca. To capture the spirit of #TheEmpireStrikesBack, Adam created a C-3PO backpack similar to what Chewbacca wore before he was able to fully reassemble C-3PO, who had been taken apart on the cloud city of Bespin.
In this YouTube video, Adam Savage shows how he put together the C-3PO backpack, complete with animatronics. The video is over 39 minutes long:
Next, here’s the video that Adam Savage shared a month earlier showing him donning the Chewbacca costume with the C-3PO backpack and wearing it incognito at Silicon Valley Comic Con:
2 months before the previous video, Adam Savage had also upgraded his Chewbacca costume bandolier, which he shared on YouTube in February:
For those #costumers & #cosplayers who like metal, here’s a video tutorial of how to make a metal helmet as presented by David Guyton (who provides templates). This is an advanced type of #costuming that requires experience with metal working technique known as “sinking”:
Sinking, also known as doming, dishing or dapping, is a metalworking technique whereby flat sheet metal is formed into a non-flat object by hammering it into a concave indentation.
LED’s and some knowledge of electronics is also needed.
DIY #costuming tutorial: attaching soles to a spandex #costume. If your #cosplay has spandex feet (like #SpiderMan), you can attach rubber soles to the bottom of the feet to make it easier to walk and protect the spandex costume itself.
Bear in mind that once you attach soles to the bottom of your spandex costume, you won’t be able to remove them without damaging the spandex, so you want to be careful how you do it.
At a minimum, the supplies that you’ll need to attach soles are as follows:
- A pair of rubber-soled boat shoes.
- Fabric scissors.
- Shoe-goo (or similar glue, such as E6000, Super Glue, hot glue, Gorilla Glue)
- A box cutter or exact-o-knife.
- Using the fabric scissors, carefully cut the uppers of the boat shoes from the rubber soles.
- Save the insoles from the boat shoes: you will need these later.
- Using the box cutter or exact-o-knife, carefully cut a number of lines into the top side of the rubber soles (the side that your foot will be on). Be careful not to cut all the way through to the bottom of the sole. The cut lines will help the glue to adhere to sole.
- Apply glue to the top side of one of the rubber soles (left or right) and spread it around.
- Insert the insole from the boat shoes (that you saved earlier) into the foot of your spandex costume that matches the rubber sole that you applied the glue to.
- Insert your feet into the spandex costume legs. Make sure that the insole is where you want it to be and that there aren’t any unwanted wrinkles or folds in the spandex fabric.
- Place the rubber sole onto the floor and carefully step onto it with the matching foot that has the insole inside and apply equal pressure to help bond the fabric, insole and rubber sole together. Be careful not to get the glue onto your skin.
- After you have waited for a while, you can try to carefully slide your foot out of the spandex costume. Place some wadded up paper into the foot and then press something heavy on top of it, like a sack of rice. You could also wrap some rubber bands around the rubber sole and top of the spandex of the foot. This will permit you to walk around while giving the glue more time to set. We recommend 24 hours.
- Go back to step 4 and repeat the process with the other foot. You can try starting the other foot before the 1st one is finished, but this ensures that each one will be done well.
This tutorial video by “asleeplessvision” also shows this process. There are multiple, similar “how-to” videos like this on YouTube that you can also reference:
Any #cosplayer or #costumer who wears a spandex hood or mask will quickly learn the value of wearing a #FaceShell underneath. This is especially true for #SpiderMan & #Deadpool #cosplayers.
But what is a face shell and why is is important? Typically, a face shell is a molded piece of plastic worn between the face and a spandex hood that is worn above it.
Spandex is a very stretchy, form-fitting material. When worn, spandex (or Lycra) very quickly takes on the shape of the what it is covering. Hence, when it is worn over the face, the wearer’s facial features will quickly be visible beneath the spandex hood. When the wearer talks, observers will quickly see the moving lips of the mouth beneath the spandex hood. However, when viewing live-action Spider-Man or Deadpool movies, one thing that’s obvious is that when the actor beneath the costume talks, his moving mouth isn’t visible, nor are his other facial features. In the case of Spider-man, the face is supposed to be very smooth. In the case of Deadpool, a very distinctive facial shape should be present.
Thus, simply wearing a spandex hood or mask over a bare face and head can’t achieve the correct facial shape for the character being depicted. Also, movement from talking distracts from the illusion that the hood or mask is trying to create.
A face shell solves the problems of not having the correct facial shape and hides mouth movement because it causes the spandex hood being worn over it to take on the shape of shell. And, as long as the shell extends to cover the mouth, any movement by the mouth and lips will be hidden beneath the shell and not cause the spandex to move with it. This is illustrated by Spider-Man cosplayer “SonicSpiderman” in a video that he posted to YouTube, and which we have shared here.
There are some important considerations when wearing a face shell that SonicSpiderman doesn’t talk about in the video, but we will share here from our own experiences wearing them.
- The face shell should be sized correctly to the size of your face and head. You won’t be able to wear it if it’s too small and if it’s too big, it will leave edges where the spandex moves away from the shell and towards your head underneath. Also, it may become uncomfortable when the spandex is worn over it because the spandex will press the face shell more tightly against the head & face. (We address discomfort issues below.)
- The face shell should be well ventilated. The head is one of the human body’s primary means to cool itself. This is why our heads sweat when our bodies begin to head up from exertion and/or when the ambient air is hot. Wearing a mask or hood of any kind can exacerbate the heating of the head and while spandex itself is very good at allowing moisture and heat from escaping the body, a plastic face shell is not. Thus, it is very important for the face shell to be well perforated to permit airflow underneath and a way for heat and moisture to escape. If it’s not well perforated, after a short amount of time (especially in a warm, humid convention hall) not only will you start to feel very warm with the mask on, beads of sweat may collect at the bottom of the face shell and begin to seep out and cause an unsightly wet spot on the bottom of your mask.
- The face shell should be completely smooth on both sides. Any sharp edges on the face shell should be smoothed by sanding. Otherwise, it may cause discomfort and potentially damage the spandex material if it stretches over a sharp edge and snags. Snagged spandex can’t be repaired and may be difficult to hide, especially since it would be on the most visible part of the costume: the head & face.
- A small amount of foam padding may be needed on the inside of the face shell. If the face shell becomes uncomfortable when the spandex hood is worn over it, a small amount of strategically placed foam padding can alleviate the discomfort. But, it’s very important not to overdo the padding because it will reduce air flow and ventilation. Our advice is it use if sparingly if needed. We’d recommend foam padding that is typically used in pillows: very soft, but not too thick and easy to cut with scissors. For attaching foam padding we recommend Velcro so that it can be removed and re-positioned as needed. Encasing the foam padding in some fabric simplifies adding the Velcro. Sticky Velcro should be sufficient and the fabric can be glued into place over the foam padding.
- Make sure magnetized eye covers are secure and not likely to fall off when the mask is worn. If they aren’t sufficiently secure, you should consider adding more rare earth magnets to the face shell and the eye covers.
- Keep extra rare earth magnets & glue on hand while you’re in costume. Should a magnetized eye piece fall off and one or more of the rare earth magnets that hold it to the face shell falls off when it hits the floor, you may need to do an on-the-spot repair. If you don’t have any extra rare earth magnets & glue on hand if this happens, then you’re stuck with a mask that isn’t complete when worn and you won’t be happy.
If you want to build a bionic arm for your next #cosplay, David Guyton has created the templates on how to create one using metal and leather. This is another more advanced method of #costume making as it requires working with metal and leather. Thus, safety is a very important consideration to avoid injury while working with metal.
The resulting prop as demonstrated by David Guyton is very impressive.
Here’s a video tutorial made by David Guyton on how to make a #Marvel #Infinity gauntlet. This is a more advanced type of #costume making as it involves working with metal and electronics. Please be sure you wear the proper protective gear before working with metal (which can have very sharp edges) and hammers.
This particular gauntlet design also includes use of a leather glove, upon which metal is riveted. There are also a lot of small articulated parts that go onto the glove fingers. Thus, patience is a must with this particular project.