I've used applique on numerous cosplay projects, many of which I've shared here on my blog. It's one of my favorite parts of costume making. Struggling to love working on applique? Read on for how I tackle tacking down fabric designs on my costume projects!
For this tutorial, I'm using a costume I've made for my husband Kevin - Link's Champion Tunic from Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. At the end of this guide, you can find links to my patterns for this cosplay!
If you've been costuming for a while, you'll probably understand that people develop brand preferences and shortcuts to make repetitive tasks easier. One of my go to products is Steam-A-Seam2. It is an iron on fusible webbing that comes in Regular and Lite versions. There's many of these products on the market, but I prefer this brand for its ease of use. The paper the fusible web comes on is nicely transparent, which makes transferring your designs on to the paper backing easy.
The first thing you'll want to do is to trace your intended design on to the backside of your fusible webbing's paper backing. On Steam-A-Seam2 this is identified by the grid pattern printed on the paper. After tracing on to the webbing, cut around your design pieces leaving a half inch or so border around the design. (Don't use your good fabric scissors for this. Bust out your crafting scissors for this project because you'll be cutting paper and sticky fusible webbing.)
Remove the paper on the opposite side of the webbing and stick your applique pieces to the BACKSIDE of your design's fabric. Make sure the webbing sticks to the fabric and is smooth. You can use an iron on very low heat to help adhere your pattern pieces if they are rippling.
Cut out your design, following the lines you've traced on to the webbing's paper. Then, place your design on your garment like stickers. Steam-A-Seam2 is very forgiving so you can unstick and move your pieces around until you have the placement just right. Once you are confident with the placement, get out your iron and a press cloth, and iron the pattern down permanently. You won't be able to move the applique pieces once they are properly ironed on so take your time with this part of the process.
Before you start sewing, do yourself a big favor and buy some Anti-Glue Needles. I use these needles for my applique projects. Normal needles will gunk up as you sew through fusible webbing and need constant cleaning. Anti-Glue Needles are coated so they glide through tacky interfacings and webbings, reducing the need to clean to an infrequent task.
Next, I place a tear away stabilizer sheet under the section of applique design I intend to stitch over. This prevents puckering and makes it easier to move your fabric under the sewing machine foot. If you have a wide mouth machine foot, now is the time to use it! Many modern machines come with one by default, so check the drawer on your machine. It will make seeing your applique design edges easier.
You can use a standard zig-zag stitch or a customized satin stitch to finish your applique's edges. Vinyl can be tacked down with a straight stitch. It's all up to your personal preference. Regardless of what stitch you use, follow the outside edge of your design at a slow to medium speed. Having patience will yield better results. This stage takes time, so I like to listen to audio books while I do this.
Once your sewing is done, carefully tear off the stabilizer from the underside of your project and iron it again.
Stand back and admire your handiwork! It's a satisfying experience.
Want to try out the applique pattern I used in this tutorial? You can get it or the whole Champion's Tunic Pattern in my shop now:
Over the last few months you may have seen some social media posts about a new program from WorldCosplay, promoting a payment system for cosplayers and a currency called Cosplay Token, aka COT.
Wondering just what this COT is? Unfamiliar with Cure or WorldCosplay? Well, here’s a little backstory.
The website Cure was a longstanding staple in the Japanese cosplay community for years. Just about every active Japanese cosplayer (and many westerners like me) had a Cure account a decade ago. Prior to the social media takeover, cosplayers heavily relied on sites like Cure and Cosplay.com to share photos and connect to others in the hobby. The combination of these two sites would take photo submissions from eager cosplayers and publish them in COSMODE, the premier cosplay magazine in Japan at the time. It was where some of the big names in cosplay got their first fans. Cure eventually took notice of the massive influx of international cosplayers and opened up WorldCosplay.net to better service a growing international community.
Now Cure WorldCosplay is attempting something bigger. They are setting up a system in which cosplayers can monetize their work on an international scale. Imagine being able to use your WorldCosplay account to be booked for work by major companies, get tips from fans who love your work, and commission others for cosplay related goods. When I first heard the news, I thought of the benefit of having something like Patreon meets a talent agency out there for us to use. Sound interesting? If you are a cosplayer with a fan base or a fan of cosplayers, this should be something you are watching.
As WorldCosplay is an international site, using one national currency as payout won’t fit every company and individual’s needs. They’ve opted to create COT, an Ethereum based cryptocurrency that will act as the main means of trading on this marketplace. Cryptocurrency to many of us still an unknown, but a growing number of people do business with blockchain and trade cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum.
Whenever something new hits our community, there’s a lot of scrutiny and criticism. Rightfully so! You should want to know more. Cure has been a major player in the cosplay community, particularly in Asia for well over a decade. Seeing as COT is being put forward by an established company, I’m eager to see how it will develop. That’s why I jumped at the offer to be an Ambassador for them. It gave me an opportunity to have a front row seat & see just how this will develop.
Why jump so quickly to join this program? Partially it’s because of my past experiences over the last 2 decades as a person who has made a side job out of my hobby. I still remember being criticized years ago when I set up an early version of this website. It was seen as arrogant and unnecessary, but now it’s pretty standard for cosplayers to have a dot com of their own. It happened again when I set up my Facebook Page and Twitter very early on. When I sold prints, when I was a Crunchyroll Ambassador, when joined Patreon at launch, when I modeled costumes for sellers at a time when making everything yourself was a given… all were abnormal at first, and now it’s normal. Trying out new things is a gamble, and I’ve seen how taking a gamble sometimes pays off.
I think Cure WorldCosplay and COT have a shot at being that next big tool in our cosplay arsenal. That is, if we give it a chance and grow with it. I’m optimistically watching this program develop. If you want to learn more about Cosplay Token, here’s where to go: https://cot.curecos.com
The single most requested tutorial I’ve had over the years has been for a Saber (Fate/Stay Night) wig. I’ve been cosplaying this character since 2009 so I’ve made several variants of this wig over the years. I've also been using the SAME wig since 2009 for regular ol’ FSN Saber, so I figured it was about time to let that one rest in Avalon and make another. Here’s my step-by-step process for doing just that!
Supply List: Arda Wigs Eowyn in Ash Blonde 1 Pack of Short Wefts in Ash Blonde 1 Pack of Long Wefts in Ash Blonde Strong hairspray (Got2BGlued or similar) Buckram or Dome Shape Hot Glue Gun & Glue Blowdryer Scissors or Razor Hair Pins Rubber Bands Curling Iron or Hot Roller Comb
Optional items: Wig or Hair Net Toupe Clips
For this project, I’m using Arda Wigs Eowyn in Ash Blonde along with long and short weft packs in the same color. I chose this wig because of its large skin top. I like to use a skin topped wig for this character because it lends a realistic quality to the end result. You could follow these styling steps on a wig without one.
The first thing I recommend you do when making this wig is to sew on toupee clips into the front of the wig’s hairline. This wig will be back heavy and toupee clips will help the wig stay in place.
Braid the long pack of wefts. I used about 75% of the pack to make this braid. You can add or subtract fibers to adjust how thick your braid is.
If you use the same wig I am using for this tutorial, you’ll want to set a part in the skin top. Part down the middle and spray the wig fibers with water. Use a hair dryer to heat set the part.
Cut the bangs and fringe to flatter your face shape. You will want to try the wig on periodically as you cut it to make sure the length of the bangs and side fringe looks right on you. Don’t just trust how it looks on your wig head. You’ll have better results if you check it on your own head.
After the bangs and fringe look good, shorten up the back of the wig so that it is a good length to make a small bun with.
From there, you’ll need to pull the wig back into a ponytail. I prefer to do this in stages, making a ponytail from the lower part of the wig, and adding the top layer of hair after carefully smoothing it in place with a comb and a light layer of hairspray. Turn the ponytail into a bun. You can do this any number of ways, but I used a spare hair net to collect the hair and pinned it in place. You could also use a stubbing method if you prefer.
Next, you’ll need to create the bun that will be visible. I prefer to make the structure of the bun out of buckram. It is a relatively lightweight material that works well with wig fibers. I wet formed the buckram over a dome shape. Once it was dry, I removed it from the dome mold and prepared a work space to glue on the contents of the short weft pack to it with hot glue.
I recommend cutting the wefts into small sections to make this process easier. You’ll want to use plenty of strong hairspray and hot glue to adhere the wefts to the form you’ve made. Take your time with this step- It can be the most frustrating part of making this wig if you rush.
After you have the dome covered in wefts, trim off the edges and hot glue on the braid to the edge of the bun. Overlap the edge a bit so the raw edges of the bun won’t show once it’s attached to the wig. Tuck the ends of the braid inside the buckram form and glue them in place.
Next, you’ll want to test fit the bun cap you’ve just made over the wig’s small bun or stub. Make adjustments to the wig if it doesn’t fit over it easily. Then glue the heck out of that bun! Take your time and fill in gaps where the bun cap isn’t affixed well.
Once you have the bun in place, it’s time to style Saber’s ahoge! Skip this step if the wig is supposed to be for Saber Alter who doesn’t have one.
An ahoge is a ‘dumb hair’ sticking up on a character’s head. I prefer to make Saber’s ahoge thin as though it were a few stray hairs, but some want to make theirs bigger. It’s personal preference & both can be achieved following the same steps.
Gather a section of hair from your wigs bangs. Curl those hairs around a curling iron or hot roller. Remove the heat tool and allow the hairs to cool into an arch. Spray the section of hair with strong hairspray and gently work the fibers together with your fingers. Hold it in place until it dries. If you are making a thick ahoge, sometimes it helps to put a drop of super glue at the base of the hair so it is stiff enough to support the curl.
And that’s it! You have a Grail War ready wig to wear- Go forth and make saber-faces!!!
Want to see how it looks when worn? Here’s some photos of me in costume with the new wig:
Major thanks to Arda Wigs for providing the wig and wefts for this guide. I use their products for many of the costumes I wear because they are high quality. I firmly believe a good wig makes all the difference in a cosplay- So much of a likeness is achieved from the neck up. Arda Wigs offers a very good range of wig supplies that can help you nail your next cosplay project.
Thanks for reading! (Be sure to tweet me your cosplay if you use this guide to make a similar wig!) -Maridah
On the hunt for a noobie friendly 3D printer to level up your cosplay game with? I tried making accessories for my cosplay projects using the NEVA from Dagoma- which is sold as an easy to use, beginner friendly 3D printer. Just how easy can it be? Read on to find out!
While I’ve bought 3D printed cosplay items from etsy, I’ve never 3D printed anything before. With work and a constant series of projects, I rarely have the time or energy to stop and fiddle with new tech. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m at a stage in my life where I value simplicity & ease of use so highly that if I need to read a long manual to use something, I’m over it. When Dagoma approached me about trying the NEVA, a one button 3D printer that supposedly a kid could use I was cautiously optimistic. 3D printers as far as I’ve heard are fiddly, temperamental machines. The NEVA is sold for less than the price of my sewing machine and has a pretty decent sized print area of 7”x8”. Was this really going to earn that ‘easy’ label? Worth giving it a shot!
The NEVA arrived fully assembled aside from the arms and printer head, which magnet in place in less than a minute. The IKEA-like instruction guides walked me through the basics of prep and calibration. Okay, good start.
Cura, the software bundled with the NEVA was free to download. I imported a file I made in a few minutes via Tinkercad. The Cura options are pretty straightforward. Select the material you are using and it will auto-set the temperature for the machine to print with. You set the density of the print, print quality, and other options like print supports, color changes or enhanced adhesion. It gives you a time estimate for how long your print should take to complete. Great, now what?
You save the file Cura creates to a memory card. KEEP THE DEFAULT NAME! This was the one mistake I made. I named it something cute and nothing happened when I put it in the printer. Google-sensei told me what I did wrong. After renaming it to the default file name Cura exports with, I was ready to start printing.
I didn’t have a spool holder for the PLA material yet so there was some improvising done with a toilet paper holder. (It actually worked really well…)
Put the memory card in and press the one button this machine has. Pray a little.
Then it prints!
My very first 3D print, ladies and gents! It’s the belt buckle for Zelda’s winter coat in Breath of the Wild.
At this point I was so ecstatic that I had something that looked like the file. Not only that, the print quality was really nice. It wasn’t going to take a million years to get a smooth surface for the print using the Thin (0.1) quality setting in Cura.
It seemed too good to be true that I had something so nice with so little effort, so I printed a few more things to see if my usual bad luck with electronics would kick in. After 3 successful prints with no problems I was ready to say it wasn’t just good luck. This fun little spider-like robot was making me excellent quality, drama-free 3D prints! I dubbed my NEVA ‘Charlotte’, after the spider in Charlotte’s Web because it was doing all the work to make me look good.
Above are the settings I used for the majority of my prints, in case you are curious.
After making Zelda’s belt buckle and Sailor Moon’s first season brooch, I decided to give it a bit more of a complicated project. I had been wanting to remake the necklace Zelda wears with her ceremonial dress that I’d rushed out months before with craft foam and worbla.
I wasn’t sure if ‘Charlotte’ could handle the tiny loops I modeled into the 3D design, but IT DID IT! After a few days of on and off modeling and printing, I had made all the accessories I needed for Zelda’s winter coat. This cosplay is still a work in progress but here’s how the prints look straight from the NEVA and after some resin coating & paint-
I can’t thank Dagoma enough for providing me with this truly fun machine. This has been my favorite product review to date and I’m hyped to make more with ‘Charlotte’ in the coming months. I have SO MANY PLANS.
If you’d like to see more of my future NEVA printed projects, follow me on Twitter. I’ll be posting more there as I make them. Want to see me use the NEVA on my livestream? Leave me a comment here or tweet me about it!
Get your own one button 3D printing magical robot spider here! Thanks for reading! -Maridah
A few months back CosplaySky sent me one of their cosplay to try out. Persona 5 just stole my heart, so what better character to pick from CosplaySky's large costume catalogue than Ann Takamaki? Keep reading to find out more about my thoughts on this costume!
Many year back I modeled a costume from this store. It was my Yuki Nagato, and it was nice to have CosplaySky extend the offer for me to try something new from them after all these years. The quality pleased me then, and I'm happy that hasn't changed!
First and foremost, let me address sizing. Plenty of pre-made cosplay costumes run small for US standards, especially for chest measurements. CosplaySky’s costumes do not run small. It is true to the size measurements they give alongside the costume listings. I made the mistake of asking for a size a bit bigger than my overall measurements and it swallowed me whole! They were so kind to correct my mistake but let my poor choice save you grief- Get your normal size.
This uniform set comes with jacket, hoodie, skirt, shirt, and thigh highs. I was happy to see they included her black undershirt. Some other sellers might have left this out, so it’s nice that you don’t need to hunt for a black shirt from your closet to be ready to rock this. The skirt plaid is printed on via sublimation printing. It is not a true woven plaid, but it is accurate to the game. They included red thigh highs but I’ll be honest, I prefer to wear full tights so I wore red ones in a similar color instead of using these for our photoshoot. It comes with them, though!
Ann's hoodie is missing the blue stripe along the neck line, but gets the key important details right- namely the clover design and an ’S’ for Shujin Academy, the high school the main characters attend in Persona 5. CosplaySky’s uniform uses sublimation printing to add on the S to the hip of the hoodie. The printing is clear & well applied. The clover is a collection of patches rather than a printed design, which is a nice touch. The body of the hoodie is a thick spandex blend and the bands of color at the bottom are a stretch knit.
The Shujin Academy jacket is well constructed. All the details are accurate with the exception of the red buttons being on the wrong side and the classroom number button on the lapel (which you don’t really see thanks to her huge hair) is missing. These don’t take away much from the costume for me personally, though. In fact, it didn’t occur to me that the buttons were flipped until I started making this blog post. My favorite part is that the welted pockets are real! Real, functional pockets on a costume are a cosplayer’s best friend. The jacket is fully lined & the Shujin Academy emblem is a sewn on patch.
If you’ve got this cosplay, plan on buying it or making it let me suggest a tip that makes it sit on your body better! I used safety pins under the lapel of the jacket and attached them to the hoodie along the neckline. This keeps the jacket from shifting around even with wind or unusual poses. It doesn’t impede your movement but it does keep the jacket from opening up too wide. Considering this costume has sweater under a jacket little tweaks with safety pins can make the difference on how bulky the uniform looks when worn.
I loved wearing this cosplay! It’s always good to have a few comfortable costumes in your closet to offset big or difficult to wear cosplays. This will be a staple travel cosplay for me now. Thanks a ton to CosplaySky for providing me with it! If you’d like to get your own Shujin Academy uniform from CosplaySky (or one of their many other costumes) save some $$$ with the coupon code ‘maridah’ at checkout.