Colossalcon 2011 Live Blog – The Closest Fit
Let me begin by welcoming everyone to this year’s live blog of Colossalcon. I apologize for arriving a bit late but not to fear – there’s still a lot of the convention to talk about. Unfortunately the other writer, descent, could not make it due to car troubles and not being able to procure a ride so I will be doing it solo this year. I just got my brand new external flash in the mail yesterday (Nissin Di622 MkII) so I’m excited about getting some use out of it for this convention. Also, I’d like to thank Colossalcon for providing me with a press badge. Alright, now on to the content!
The full name of this panel is “The Closest Fit – Finding a pattern for your cosplay.” It deals with making patterns for unconventional designs found in cosplay material. There’s only so much in the real world in terms of patterns so often you will have to find patterns that are similar and alter them. There’s a total of four female panelists running it.
In terms of patterns, you want to start by taking away all the fluff and get down to the basics of the costume. For instance, take away the bows and the fluffy stuff and you’ll end up with a dress. You then look for a pattern that is similar to that dress and then attaching the additional aspects of the costume. That way you won’t end up at the end of the day going “Oh goodness I’m tied up in a giant bow.”
Also, don’t always think you need a new pattern for every new cosplay. A lot of the time you’ll have everything you need from previous cosplays, whether it’s parts of patterns or an entire pattern. You can always recycle patterns and most patterns are fairly compatible.
At this point they discuss the measurements of patterns since your clothing size and the pattern size often don’t match. You should look on the instructions for the pattern for the measurements particularly the given sizes for the finished garment. When in doubt make it larger since you can always take things in but you can’t really add more fabric. People will often have different sizes for different parts of the body (i.e. bust size or hip size) so you should pay attention to that. One tip is to cut out the largest size pattern you need, pin it and then use chalk or a sharpie to follow the lines as they fit you. As far as the sizing of the pattern goes, two different brands of patterns may have different sizing.
As I’m sitting here I’m now wishing there were more panels on the props side of cosplaying.
They also emphasize the importance of getting lots of reference images. I stressed the same thing for my plastic model panel last year and it applies to a lot of crafts. One thing to be careful of is to remember that you’re making it for yourself so don’t get distracted by the character’s physique. “Anime characters ALWAYS look good – it’s disgustingly true.”
There’s a question about the skirt for Aqua from Kingdom Hearts and the panelist suggested looking at Victorian era or saloon style clothing. She once again breaks down the costume into parts for ease of construction such as making the skirt such that there’s a piece of it that goes across the front. The white “belt” will cover it so it won’t even be seen. Also, with patterns you can always just use part of a pattern – there’s no rule that says you have to use the entire pattern.
Another tip is once you find one color of fabric that you like, match the other colors to that fabric; don’t try to match every single color individually to the reference material.
“If you can make the big piece you can always add the little pieces.”
There’s a question about Estelle from Tales of Vesperia. For large floating shoulder caps you can use a material that’s similar to styrofoam or use stabilizer. Looking at it I would think you could put some sort of wire support at the edge of it. Oh, another good suggestion the panelist had is to use velcro or something similar to reduce as much of the weight as possible that way it’s not the full weight of the fabric. “Boning is your friend.” I guess that addresses my thought of using wire support.
Coupons are your friends. Sign up for mailing lists since they often send out the occasional coupons. I did this for my Roy Mustang cosplay where I waited for the 40% off coupon to buy all of my blue fabric.
The last few minutes was discussing the business side of things, such as if you are commissioned to make a costume. Often you will have to be more deliberate about fabric choices based on the available budget. You can’t do a full brocade costume for under $100 – at least it would be hard to find someone willing to do it at that price. It comes down to talking to the client about the expectations, the budget, and how much time you’re willing to put in.