Lesson 2B : Introduction to Patternmaking

Pattern is a blueprint for constructing clothes, or in our case, costume.  A pattern is divided to units needed to create a complete garment. It is usually in paper (personal use)  or cardboard (industrial use), and contains all markings and special instructions needed for cutting and sewing a garment together. 

Patternmaking is the art and science of making patterns. It is what makes a fashion designer’s or costume designer’s sketch in to a functional garment by drafting 2 dimensional shapes plotted on a piece of paper and  guided by a body’s measurements which when transferred on cloth and sewn makes a 3 dimensional, functional unit of clothing (or costume, whichever). 

For example: 

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1. Shows the design I picked. It’s Elizabeth from Persona3

2. Is the pattern I drafted for her dress, and since it is for me I used my own measurements as a guide in drafting. 

3. Shows the pattern transferred to cloth. 

4. Is the finished project.

There are a lot of ways to do Pattern Making, but we’ll discuss only the mostly used techniques :  Draping and Flat pattern drafting. 

Draping is the process of positioning and pinning in place pieces of cloth, usually muslin,  on a dress form or mannequin,  taking it down and laying it flat and tracing the shapes made to a piece of paper. 

Draping = 

Forming garment on a mannequin using muslin + pins -> Putting down muslin, flatten it -> Trace muslin on paper to form pattern -> Transfer pattern to cloth using tailor’s chalk -> sew

Flat pattern drafting : as the name suggests, is drafting 2 dimensional  shapes which when put together forms a 3D structure that conforms to the human body’s shape and contours. 

Flat Pattern drafting = 

Draft pattern on paper -> transfer pattern on cloth -> sew

Draping is advance, and in my opinion involves “instinct” . I don’t see a wide application of it in cosplay so I’ll teach flat pattern making instead

Oh, before I forget!

Pattern making softwares exists too but these are very expensive and sometimes not useful to those who do not know how to draft flat patterns at the first place. These softwares are for industry professionals, though some of my armorer or propmaker friends might’ve heard of Pepakura before? I haven’t tried this program with a garment but Pepakura can help you pattern for armors and the likes for sure. 

Why study pattern making? 

Yeah, why? It involves math, a good understanding of the human body and critical thinking! Why subject yourself to that?

In my opinion, since I am at that age where I have to do grown-up stuff daily, if you can have someone make a costume for you - go ahead and do so. Time is very important. 

However, knowing how to make clothes from scratch is a very valuable skill. Not just for cosplay but also in practical,day to day living. Learning Pattern Making will take time and practice, but you’d be thankful for it. 

Besides, the rules and laws of pattern making for clothes can be applied to armor and props weapon construction as well as seen on my previous projects:

Alicia : Valkyria Profile

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Ja’Far’s Balalark Sei : Magi

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It’s a very interesting subject with lots of practical and not very practical applications, hahaha!

Basic Tools needed for pattern making 

1. Pattern Paper

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You don’t have to buy a roll of pattern paper. Any paper which is wide enough for your project will do, like Manila paper. I’ve even seen other cosplayers use newspaper! As long as it is a flat, uncrumpled surface you can write on, you can use it to make patterns. 

Personally, I like working with pattern paper because of its large surface. I don’t have to tape pieces of paper together to accommodate patterns for gowns and such. (Plus, it’s my profession so it’s just right that I take care of my patterns by using the best materials too ^^)

Locally, pattern paper can be bought at Carolina’s Lace Shoppe, VC Trading, and Fabric Warehouse. They cost about 40-45 pesos per roll (10 pieces per roll). I live in Philippines, so if you are from elsewhere you have to do research on this by yourself. 

2.  Rulers

You’ll need all kinds of rulers. Starting with a 

Yard stick : For making long continuous lines. Available at VC Trading, Kamuning Market and Carolina’s, National Bookstore.

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Tape Measure : for measuring body parts. Available at VC Trading, Kamuning Market and Carolina’s, National Bookstore.

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Armhole Ruler : For making curves for the neck and armhole. Available at VC Trading, Kamuning Market and Carolina’s 

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Hip curve : For slashing stupid  students and making curves for the hips. Available at VC Trading, Kamuning Market and Carolina’s image

(Optional) Styling design ruler. This is a hip curve, armhole ruler, grading guide, ruler in one. It is also quite expensive than most rulers. 

I got mine in front of FIT in New York. It’s a gift from my boyfriend but I think we have this in Philippines too. I’ll edit this once I find out. 

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if you can’t find an armhole ruler or a hipcurve, you can skip buying those for the meantime. You can freehand curves, but it’s still best to have a solid guide. 

Of course you’d be needing your own body measurements too! If you haven’t read it yet, Lesson 1 is all about that. 

Note : 

Reblogging and linking this tutorial is very okay but I will be very upset if this tutorial is reuploaded to a different site. Or reworded then uploaded to a different site. 

I want to turn cosplay to a productive and positive hobby and this is my way of doing it.

Cosplay is a big part of my life and it has helped me be who I am today. This is my way of giving back. I am receiving nothing by doing this, so the only thing I’ll ask back is proper credit. 

  • Cosplaymania 2013

    It’s been more than a month since Cosplaymania!

    I’ve been so busy the past weeks, events and shoots after one another that I didn’t had the energy to write about the event at all.

    As usual this will be written as a personal experience rather than an event review. 

    I have the honor of being involved in this event for years now, either as an exhibitor or a judge. This year I was both and I was part of the program as well! It was crazy. 

    My cosplay plan for this event was layed out months before the event, but there were last minute changes!

    Day 1: Original Plan

    Since Chase and I were planning on doing Shingeki no kyojin anyway, we joined our other friends who were also doing the same series! This way we were almost able to complete the cast, pool our talents and resources to cosplay a series we all love. 

    I took the part of Christa! By the time i joined no one has taken it yet and I think my height is perfect for it. Although it was my choice, it took me a while to warm up to the character. I don’t see much Christa in myself you see. I’m more of a Levi or Ymir in personality. But I understand Christa better now. I like being Christa now. Although I think my version is the type to say : Goddess here, motherfuckers. 

    The journey to completing this group cosplay deserves its own blog entry, hahaha. I think it is the first time all of us tried a group this big. 

    Here are some snapshots from Jin and Chase’s phone of us working on our props.

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    (Photo by Jin)

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    Aibou, this is a really practical cravat. (Photo by Jin)

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    (Photo by Chase)

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    At the Recon Corps HQ.  (Photo by Chase)

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    CRAAMMMIIIIIINNNNNGGGGG (Photo by Jin)

    Day 1: What happened

    Eh, weeks before the event I was asked to help out with the program. One of the Japanese guests you see, Goldy Marg, a pioneering mecha cosplayer decided to bring his EVA Test Unit and asked if anyone can be Rei Ayanami with him. He’d provide the costume.  The organizers in turn asked me if I want to do it.

    Why the hell not. Goldy is one hell of a craftsman. I’m sure just by being near his creation I’d learn a thing or two already! It’s an honor! I agreed but told them I’ll change in to Christa afterwards.

    My only problem with our arrangement is I cannot fit the costume until he arrives in Philippines so the organizers agreed and scheduled a costume fitting for me the day before the event so in case there were problems with it or have to bring/buy special undergarments for the costume I’ll have time to prepare. 

    Unfortunately the day he was supposed to arrive, Goldy’s flight was delayed because of a storm and I had to leave already because I still have other appointments that day. I decided : YOLO let’s just get on with it and do this 8D (Bahala na si Batman mode)

    7AM or so in the morning after setting up our booth I had to run backstage to get changed. That was when I was introduced to OrochiX and Goldy. The other guests,  Vio, Pinky, Jesuke, and Vic were there too but we already know each other from the past Cosplaymania events so instead of introductions, pleasantries and “Kyaa!!! hisashiburii!!” were exchanged.  

    I was looking so stressed (no make-up and all haha!) that when I changed to Rei Ayanami, Orochi reintroduced himself to me. I wasn’t recognized :))

    Here are backstage photos from day 1

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    Look at this. It’s my suit. And it damn beautifully made. (Photo by Yue-san)

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    JADHASJKHDAJSKHDJKASHDAJK 

    (Photo by Yue-san)

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    (Photo by Yue-san)

    Goldy-san helped me put on the armor parts of the plugsuit. I always wanted to be Rei Ayanami. Ijust didn’t forsaw that my costume will come from such an esteemed craftsman. This is my first cosplay where everything was made by somebody else.

    In many ways, it was a dream come true. 

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    (Photo by Chelli!)

    So sorry I’m smiling! It’s just so hard to stay emotionless when everyone is in such high spirits! These two here are the lovely interpreters for this year (and the previous years!) Chelli and Nadia. Not in picture : Yue san. 

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    Goldy-san , I’m trying to be serious here!

    He’s a really spontaneous and fun guy. So hard keeping my emotionless state that day specially when he’s doing some antics!

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    With Vic, Jesuke, Pinky, Orochi and Vio~

    Anyway, we spent much time idling backstage while waiting for our respective scheduled activities that day. Mine was just to assist Goldy during his Meet and Greet/Workshop with Orochi :)

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    Rei on standby! (Photo by Cosplaymania)

    This is me watching and listening to Orochi and Goldy share their crafting secrets. 

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    (Photo by Cosplaymania)

    I gathered much new information and ideas from these two great cosplayers. I want to try making an armor based costume soon!!!

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    (Photo by Cosplaymania)

    After the Meet and Greet we went backstage so I could change and I think Goldy and Orochi still have schedules that time. 

    It was backstage too that Goldy asked if I want to perform with him next day onstage. And I was like : We only have few hours to prepare tomorrow for a skit we didn’t plan but YOLO 8D Sure. It’s an honor, sir. 

    After confirming details with the organizers or tomorrow’s  schedule I changed to Christa afterwards!

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    (Photo by Peppy)

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    (Photo by Aza)

    I will never do two characters in a day again. It is stressful and make-up would really be compromised. I don’t regret anything though!

    I mean, look at my group mates :  KANPEKI

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    (Photos by Alain Rafer)

    Day 2: Original Plan THERE WAS NO PLAN EVERYTHING IS YOLO

    (There was. 

    Jin and I decided to represent the Free!dom and went as Haru and Nagisa. Chase joined us as Rei. MakotoMiguel-chan was cosplaying as some sentai character that day. But because I said yes to Goldy’s invite I just changed to Nagisa afterwards. Always honor agreement with friends more than last minute requests from vips. )

    I had an early call time again on day2. Since we had to rehearse and coordinate with the stage directors- even though our skit was so simple everything had to be ironed out. That’s Cosplaymania for you. 

    While we were rehearsing, sempai Reika-san was watching too and waiting for her turn to rehearse in front of the stage. To be honest that made me extra nervous, more nervous than the time we performed for real. I’m a huge fan hahaha! Sempai please notice meeeeeee. 

    After rehearsals, it was time to get dressed.

    And take photos in between judging, official photo things etc

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    Vio as Hanji!

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    "…so, how about you help me runaway with this plugsuit? We’re friends, right?" I was trying to say to the one who took this snapshot via telepathy. We had to stay quite because the guests’ interview were being taped that time.  Photo by Jin

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    And it’s our turn! (Photo by Nadia-san)

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    This is us seconds before the stage opens and our skit starts. (Photo by Yue-san)

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    (Photo by kuya Robert) Maaaan this is so cool. Wish I had the helmet on. +LCL!!!!

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    Emote! Emote pa teh! Once a year lang yan!

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    Goldy demonstrating our height difference. Yes, yes I know. 

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    (Photos by Steve Yan)

    This was the part where I had to cover face because I can’t stop laughing anymore! Goldy kept on cracking jokes during the interview! And Rei’s supposed to be emotionless! 

    After this we went straight to pre-judging ToRCH Finalists backstage. After the photo ops with the finalists I changed to…

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    Nagisa! Here with Jin as Haru and Pinky as Petra~

    And then I changed to Thugisa (google 50% off by Octopimp for reference). My tattoo sleeve is a gift from Rei-chan-san. No joke. 

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    Photos by Jin. I was judging for group cosplay

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    Thugisa enjoys utapri songs. 

    After that I was free to watch the event with friends and support friends who were competing for ToRCH!!!! 

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    Pinky, Vic, Alex!!! Miguel Jin and me waiting for the competition to start.

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    We have stage duties in between but of course there was time for more photos!

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    With the incredibly sweet gals dubbed that day as the “Screamers”. 

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    They played Splash Free! at the end of the program! As representatives of the Free!dom it was our duty to reprezent by dancing on stage. 

    Shenanigans caught on camera by Aza~

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    We went back to the holding area to get our stuff and go home. Goldy gave me konpeito as thanks for being Rei. I said he should come back next year with his FMA Alphonse suit and I’ll gladly be Ed. 

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    One laaaaaaaaaa

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    aast photo!

    It was fun. I can’t wait for next year :)