Lesson 2A : Theories and terminologies
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.
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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