Cosplay is the art of imitating a character from an Anime, Manga, video game or other form of visual media. Here’s a simple guide on constructing your own cosplay outfit or costume.

1

Choose Your Character

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    This can be from a show, movie, game, comic, anime, manga, or even band.Your character can be from an American, Japanese, Chinese, or any other media. You could even cosplay as a member of the opposite gender or animal. It’s really all up to you.

2

Choose the Costume

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    Think about the weather. It’s all well and good saying you want to bring a full size Totoro costume to an August convention, but you’ll find yourself getting hot, tired, and dehydrated extremely quickly. At the opposite end of the scale, saying you want to cosplay as Winry Rockbell from Full Metal Alchemist in January could be a problem!
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    Decide which outfit you prefer. Many characters have more than one outfit they show up in – choose one. Many websites offer ready-to-wear outfits as well.

3

Assemble the Components

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    Break the costume into its component parts. It’ll make the project look less daunting.

    • Survey your current wardrobe for costume components. Anything you already have lessens the amount of work you have to do. Items such as gloves, shoes and hats can easily be modified.
    • Try to match the footwear as close as possible. AVOID wearing sneakers with a great costume!
    • Ask other cosplayers how they made certain components. It’s a great conversation starter and is generally taken as a compliment.
    • See what you can find in a thrift store for a base or item you can modify.
      • For example, in doing a Jesse from Team Rocket cosplay, you can look for a white turtleneck and a fitting black top and a white skirt. Those can easily be transformed into her outfit.
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    Take a leisurely walk through local fabric and crafting stores. You may find some sudden inspiration for replicating details, and you might find good materials and ideas.

    • Take your reference pictures to the store so you can be sure you are getting the right colors and materials.

4

Sew Components You Do Not Already Have on Hand

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    Purchase a pattern. If you weren’t able to find any clothes to modify, you can make your own. Fabric stores carry not only fabrics, but sewing notions and patterns.
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    Buy the appropriate fabric.

    • Keep your character in mind. For example: don’t buy crushed velvet if you’re going to be a rogue warrior.
    • Think about the fabric’s characteristics. Some fabrics which look elegant under normal lighting can look like a shiny mess when photographed with a flash.
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    Purchase matching thread, buttons, fasteners, zippers, etc. at the same time as the fabric.
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    Cut out and sew the patterns. If you haven’t already, measure yourself and adjust the patterns accordingly.
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    Put it on, and test it out. Test the costume by moving around as you would normally. It is better to find fitting problems before you get to the convention than after!

5

Find a Place to Show it Off

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    Conventions, Halloween parties, or costumed events are best for this. You may have a fantastic costume, but wearing it out in public in an everyday situation is not advised.
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    Enjoy the attention your costume attracts!