Cosplay Tip of the Day: Fabric Shopping for Cosplay.
If you are making your own costume for the first time and don’t know which fabric to buy then study the character first. Does it look like the character’s fabric flows in the wind, or is it stiff. Is it a skin-tight outfit or loose fitting? Does the fabric look shiny? Or does it look matte?
Although shopping online for fabrics is possible, it is best to actually go to the store and feel the fabric you intend to buy. If you must buy fabric online, ask for samples. Most stores will send you free samples of the fabrics you need.
Also shop around! Don’t get too excited and buy the entire bolt! (haha) See if another shop has the same fabric, only cheaper. When I go shopping in Downtown LA, I make sure to hit a few stores before I absolutely decide on which fabric to buy. I want to be sure to get something that is not see-through (unless it’s supposed to be sheer), not too shiny (shiny + flashing cameras = not great photos, this is of course if the costume is not supposed to be shiny… example: school girl uniforms), and that I get enough yardage!!! You would hate to have to go back to the store or order more fabric online & pay for extra shipping!!
The easiest fabric to start with is a woven (non-stretch) cotton fabric. Jersey, Spandex, and Lycra can be tricky since it stretches, so you will definitely need to practice sewing with those before you can sew those fabrics correctly and efficiently!
Sewing is all about trial and error! So don’t be disappointed when you don’t get it correct the first time! Good luck!
Cosplay tip of the day: Clean & press your costumes! Although this may seem obvious… Sometimes we can forget to do this. Having fun at cons are great, but nothing kills a photo (aka memory) like a wrinkled costume. Even if you have to show up to that gathering/panel/concert etc… late, take the time to iron your costume. & If you can’t just throw your costume in the washer, then hand wash it or send it to the cleaners, just make sure you explain to them what you need done. Since I do princess parties on the weekends, my Tiana dress gets alot of usage, so I regularly have to take it & my petticoat to the cleaners so the costume remains fresh! I know you work hard on your cosplay so keeping it fresh & clean for many cons/gatherings/events to come is always beneficial. :)
Cosplay Tip of the Day: Location Photo-Shoots & Cosplay!
Getting photos of your costume is great, but getting a photo in a setting that fits the character can be tricky… but possible! When you want to shoot on location, first think about your character and their usual surroundings. Is it in the forest? A city? A futuristic city? The desert? Consider this as you hunt for a location. Usually public places can be used without permission, but if you are unsure, be sure to ask for permission before you bring your shooting crew with you. You don’t want to do all the work and then can’t take photos!
Parks are usually safe if you have a small group. When I took this photo, it was just me and my tripod in Placerita Canyon Park, a natural park (hence the forest look). I did get a few strange looks, but since I wasn’t collecting a crowd I wasn’t asked to leave. So keep this in mind, if your character has a weapon (sword, gun, staff), it’s better to ask for permission or to come early morning/late night if possible. Remember that the average person may not know that your realistic looking weapon is fake/not loaded etc… From far away, or without asking its hard to tell.
When scouting for locations, just drive around your neighborhood or your friend’s neighborhood. You never know what you could find! And if you know a convention is coming up and think that the location would be perfect, then google search some photos of it! That way when you get to the convention you can tell your photographer and/or friends where the perfect spot is! Good luck!
Cosplay Tip Of The Day: Posing for pictures: practice posing for photos pre-con/gathering/event so when it’s your turn in front of the camera, you shine! Think about your character, and how they would look when they pose on the anime/game/comic/manga/movie…etc… Practice in front of a mirror for facial expressions & what to do with your hands. Set up your own mini photoshoot with your camera & tripod (if you have one), set it on automatic and start posing! Review the photos and see where you can improve. Also be sure not to move too fast, or change positions too quickly so that photographers can capture the moment.
Once you start working with photographers & lighting you will learn about posing with lights & shadows & etc… I’m not an expert, but I hope to get better with my future shoots!
P.s. Don’t be afraid to contact a photographer before a con & ask for a private shoot! Their schedules are usually as busy as yours are!