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: 


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



Ja’Far’s Balalark Sei : Magi


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. 

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.


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 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. 


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. 

I’m pretty spontaneous and adventurous so when I was asked if I want to wear this costume made by one of the pioneers of Mecha cosplay in Japan (since 1996?!) my answer was : “Sure. But I have to change after because I already committed to my friends that I’ll cosplay with them that day.”

Though it’s an honor getting to wear a masterpiece by the event’s guest I cannot replace time with my friends with just prestige. 

The event organizers said “yeah if it’s not a hassle for you!” At that time I thought it wasn’t a hassle because I’m pretty sure I’ll pick up a few things just from this experience anyway. Goldy is a master crafter. Just by seeing AND wearing his work I am sure to learn a trick or two. 

Changing from plugsuit to harnesses+shingeki uniform and blue hair and eyebrow to blonde hair and eyebrows in one day wasn’t a hassle. I thought it’s do-able anyway. Reality never really hit me till the day I was going to wear the costume itself. The excitement, nervousness, expectations exploded in one go. I wasn’t able to fit the costume a day before the event because of flight delays. I had to leave early the night we were supposed to do fitting (the night our guest arrives from Japan) because aside from my convention duties (I was judging some contest too), I need to fix stuff for my group cosplay members and  I had a seller’s booth as well. On top of everything I was so concerned about fitting the plugsuit because we girls know an ill-fitting plugsuit = camel toe.

No one wants camel toe. And I had my period that time too, a really strong flow (TMI TADAAAAH! BRING IT ON UNIVERSE, I CAN TAKE MORE WTFKERIES. WAS THAT YOUR BEST?!?!?).

I was so nervous the next day. 

I always wanted to cosplay Rei Ayanami but I find making the plugsuit a very daunting task. So when the opportunity presented itself (presented by a master crafter no less) I didn’t let it pass. I’ll be an idiot to do so. 

Ah, I’ve rambled on again. This was just supposed to be a short entry on how serious we seem on stage but really just act like dorks backstage :P It was a challenge keeping Rei’s emotionless face with these folks around. 


First photo is a few seconds before Goldy-san and I appear on stage. (Photo by Yue-san)

Second is a shot of us on stage. (Photo by Harabelle Malco, with some brightness editing by me)

Third is us backstage. Friends know what your real cupsize is :P (Photo by Charmie? Chelli?) 

Eva01 (test unit) and Rei Ayanami plugsuit made by Goldy Marg, professional Armor, costume and props maker, instructor, cosplayer and Cosplaymania 2013’s guest of honor (also super badass, funny guy).

Wig borrowed and styled by Jin-sama. Part time Naruto, full time artiste. (with e) :))

This happened at Cosplaymania 2013 :>/  I’ll write more about my Cosplaymania adventures soon. 

Cosplaymania  2013 (Where I disappeared to last weekend)

Went as Rei Ayanami for Goldy Marg’s meet and greet during Day 1, the changed to Krista Renz in the afternoon.

Day 2, was Rei Ayanami again but this time for a stage performance+prejudging and other backstage stuff. Then changed to Nagisa of Free! to join my water bros.

Changing to two characters in a day. Crazy.

I haven’t quite recovered yet, and since I’m facing dire and important stuff at home a full coverage/blog post will have to wait.

Cosplayer friends

Spending whatever free time on weekends to do some props with friends recently. We gather in a friend’s workshop, claim whatever space there is (we’re a large group) and cut and glue the day away. It’s super super fun, specially because I’m with very interesting people.

So there was this one time I  had to move farther in the workshop to make space for a couple of groupmates who just came in. I transferred my things and cleared the floor for me.

(The following pictures were taken after it happened and this is obviously re-enacted but just so you can get my story better!)

I noticed this plastic bag on the floor. Not wanting to damage whatever is in it and wanting more space for myself I decided to take a peek. If it contains trash and by products from our project I’m definitely throwing it in the name of working space. If not I’m going to give it to the owner.


So I sat down, lifted the plastic bag


and a f***ing bloody PAIR OF HANDS WERE IN IT. JFC. I think I made a very interesting face that time. I was really shocked


Ah. Cosplayer friends. The most resourceful and creative creatures you’d meet. This hand makes a wheezy sound and kinda smells like something nice (I already forgot). 


And because I made a slight scene, and the owner of them hands claimed it they decided that the best thing to do next is to keep it in the fridge for the new comers to discover.

P.S. They made a video https://vine.co/v/hhenQqFHVBb

[Magi : Labyrinth of Magic]
In today’s what-the-flying-fark-are-you doing during coffee break post, I present to you my legs and my flexibility which allows me to sew stitches I need for my costume.
This is hand sewn while I’m wearing it. If you plan to do it too, just pinch the area you’re going to sew to avoid sewing your skin :P . I’m going to wear another layer of stockings over this scar laden stockings to make the effect look smoother. 
Ja’far’s scars is covered most of the time because of his robes but since  I’m making this cosplay for a shoot, I want a dynamic shot with windblown Ja’far’s robes hitching high enough to show his leg scars. 
I want it to look bad ass. Because I love Ja’far. 

[Magi : Labyrinth of Magic]

In today’s what-the-flying-fark-are-you doing during coffee break post, I present to you my legs and my flexibility which allows me to sew stitches I need for my costume.

This is hand sewn while I’m wearing it. If you plan to do it too, just pinch the area you’re going to sew to avoid sewing your skin :P . I’m going to wear another layer of stockings over this scar laden stockings to make the effect look smoother. 

Ja’far’s scars is covered most of the time because of his robes but since  I’m making this cosplay for a shoot, I want a dynamic shot with windblown Ja’far’s robes hitching high enough to show his leg scars. 

I want it to look bad ass. Because I love Ja’far. 

Oh-No manga!

I kept a tab at this event simply because the activities looked interesting. They were building a giant robot, a mini Tokyo Tower and I had no idea who the organizers were so I got curious. With cookie cutter events popping almost every month I decided to give this event a try. 


Read more

Lesson 2A : Theories and terminologies

[Lesson 1 is here]

I first  learned sewing and pattern drafting via various experiments (clothes alteration, taking apart clothes to see how it was done) and reading tons of books and tutorials online. This knowledge of course was then polished when I attended fashion school. 


That phase where I mostly DIY-ed garments for myself built my dress making instinct which I think is an advantage especially for DIY costumes.  This is why in my lessons I’ll try my best to teach you theory and instinct. 

In order for me to smoothly teach you how to make cloth costumes, we’d need to learn how normal clothes are constructed and in this lesson we’ll discuss theories and terminologies first before diving in to sewing an actual garment!

Of course, my tutorials would be cloth costume centric. I’m new to armors so you have to find a different teacher for that. 

This is the (my) usual process in making DIY costumes:

1. Decide which character and costume to make. Usually this is love at first sight for me. 

2. Analyze the costume’s form or silhouette - what  style it is (Sailor collar shirt, circle skirt, ball gown dress, swallowtail coat etc) so you know what kind of pattern to draft. 

3. Draft costume pattern on paper.

4. Trace pattern to cloth, cut, sew, fill in details. 

Vocabulary of the Week


Silhouette is a fashion term which refers to a garment (costume or “normal” clothes) overall outline and shape.  Usually for current fashion these are predetermined per season or we deal with “regular” silhouettes (avant garde and couture not included :P). 


(Image from furinsider.com)

But because we’re dealing with costumes here, the silhouettes we’d discuss ranges from since the beginning of clothes to 2000 years from now, Western and Eastern and Alien styles all depending on which Universe your chosen character came from. It’s crazy, and I love it.

For example


Jojo’s Bizarre World. And their questionable taste in clothing…


Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail and her Kimono inspired outfit (Robe of Yuen, my personal fave!)

And another personal favorite, Sinbad from Magi :Labyrinth of Magic. I swear this series is not hentai. This character just often gets robbed of his clothes. 


We will discuss silhouettes intensively, in another post the next few lessons.


A pattern is a paper or cardboard template of parts of a garment which are then traced onto the fabric, cut, and then sewn. This is basically the blueprint of your costume. 

For example, these straight shapes which we draft in paper


are the parts that make a 1670’s Dragoon Coat (Image from http://www.kismeta.com/)


(Image from http://www.kismeta.com/)

I will teach you more about this in the (near) future but for now here are additional reads:


Page 126-127  of




One thing you need to know before we start pattern drafting is that humans belong to the animal subregenum Bilateria, which means our bodies are divided in left and right halves, each half having what the other got except for some special organs. 

We are symmetrical creatures. But please tell me you don’t have another heart at the right chest. 

This state of approximate symmetry our body have should always be considered when drafting flat patterns. Though this isn’t always true in fashion, what’s on the left should be on the right applies to making your base pattern.

This is a bit far fetched but if you have time maybe you can read about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitruvian_Man 

See you next lesson!

Back read?  [Lesson 1 is here]

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The lighting is different in this before-after but whatever. I want to make a before and after photo so I know what parts to improve and what to change next time. 

This pile of products called my face are made out of the ff:
1. Moisturizer , Hada labo
2. Face shop green make-up base
3. Face shop premier cream foundation
4. Tons of Black and brown eyeliner and brown eyeshadows. From my favorite cheap make-up place, Etude House.
5. Highlighter, E.L.F.
6. Setting powder

Took me two hours. So tiring. But I want to improve my transformation prowess this year, lol. 

P.s. Make-up is magic


Wig will be styled later to add a fake undercut. :P When I’m in the mood to deal with it.