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).
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
Tape Measure : for measuring body parts. Available at VC Trading, Kamuning Market and Carolina’s, National Bookstore.
Armhole Ruler : For making curves for the neck and armhole. Available at VC Trading, Kamuning Market and Carolina’s
Hip curve : For slashing stupid students and making curves for the hips. Available at VC Trading, Kamuning Market and Carolina’s
(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.
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.
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.