Creating an Original Costume

I’m a larper, I’m a cosplayer. I’ve worked with making great costumes for the camera, and great ones for stability and comfort. There’s a lot that goes into making a costume and I decided to give some of the tips as to how I go about making mine. These tips are designed more towards making your own original character, but many of these steps can be applied to creating a cosplay. Keep in mind through all of this, your original idea may have completely changed by the time you finish your project, and that’s okay.

1.      First you need to figure out what you need to be able to do in the costume. Is there a chance of combat? Do you need to run? Or are you solely roleplaying or posing for pictures? This will help eliminate ideas that will not work. For example, if you need to run and fight, wearing a fragile headpiece may not be the best idea.

2.      What is your theme? Do you need to be scary, cute, ice themed, intelligent, etc. Knowing how your character thinks and where they come from will effect what sort of design you are looking to make.

3.      How long will you need to be in costume? Wearing something for 30 minutes is very different than wearing it for an entire weekend. Makeup smears, large pieces may fall apart, things begin to fall apart over time. If you need to be wearing it for a while try and find things that are comfortable but stable. Coating part of yourself in latex would only be comfortable for so long.

Next part would be to start planning phases of your costuming. Having the ability to draw is amazing, but sadly not all of us are able to do that… You’ll really have to visualize your idea from different angles if you’re like me and lack artistic abilities.

1.      Have a basic idea in your head. Keep into consideration the last few points. Start to break down piece by piece what you need to be making. Head, shoulders, knees and toes! And everything else. Separate them each in your head, pick one to start with and focus on that. I always find it helpful to focus on one piece until it’s done, especially when making an original character.

2.      Start to design your first piece. Use whatever materials you need in order to do this. Sewing, foam crafting, prosthetic making, whatever.

3.      Here’s the fun part. There’s a good chance that at this point it’s already starting to look slightly different than you first imagined. The color might be off, or the shape you were trying to make was just too complicated, or a number of reasons to have made you change your design. It’s totally normal and happens all the time.

4.      Look at the piece once you have finished it, or once you have gotten to a point that you know what it will look like once fully done. Reimagine your original concept, but now focus it around this piece. Do you need to change things? Can you keep the rest the same? If you had to change it a lot, definitely try and rethink what you can do with the rest of your costume.

5.      Repeat all these steps for each piece you make.

Again, your costume may look far different than what you had imagined, but that’s also character development. Sometimes their story changes with their costume. Sometimes the costume is where the story comes from.

If you guys found this useful let me know, I’ll put together more blogs like this to help with costuming/makeup! Always happy to go more into detail on a specific topic :)