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Topic: Fantasy Costumes: What would you like to know?  (Read 2345 times)
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atlascoughed
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« on: March 14, 2008 07:43:32 AM »

If this is in the wrong section, I'm sorry! I didn't know where to put it at all.

So.... I'm writing a book on fantasy costuming without the use of commercial patterns. It's mostly geared toward people who go to comic cons, LARP/other RPGs, Ren/Fairy fests, and people who just like dressing like crazy elves and satyrs and whatnot. I'm staying away from sci-fi (i.e., cyborgs and steampunk) in this one, 'cos it'd just get TOO BIG. Cheesy

I have many, many, many ideas for projects to include in this. But I realize that I'm not selling this to myself, so I thought I'd ask...

What sort of things would you like to know how to make? Is there something that, despite searching the internet, you've been unable to find a tutorial for?

I really hope this thing goes down the way I'd like: tons of photos, creative projects with lots of room for customization/expansion, and ideas that are hard to find (my top pick: simple corsets).

Thank yous!
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2008 09:05:24 AM »

Simple corsets are a must, in my opinion.  As are cloaks (most of the tutorials out there aren't super clear).  Oh, also, methods of doing ragged hems.  I'm trying to think of things I've had trouble with myself.  Good luck!  It's a great idea.
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3littlechicks
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2008 11:59:08 AM »

An extensive "wing" section, where you explain the several billion ways to make a good pair of wings.  Wink
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atlascoughed
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2008 01:00:13 PM »

Simple corsets are a must, in my opinion.  As are cloaks (most of the tutorials out there aren't super clear).  Oh, also, methods of doing ragged hems.  I'm trying to think of things I've had trouble with myself.  Good luck!  It's a great idea.

Yes! I've held off doing simple corsets, with or without boning, for some time because I just can't understand the process, and they're intimidating. Cheesy Hadn't thought of the ragged hems thing-- I agree, though. Just chopping off bits looks...kinda silly.

An extensive "wing" section, where you explain the several billion ways to make a good pair of wings.  Wink

Muhahahahahaha. You have no idea how excited I am about this bit. There's whole pages in my sketchpad of nothing but wings! I love being able to sit down and mess about with things I love to make but don't actually *need* and say, "Well, I have to do research for the book. Eff off." Cheesy

Thanks for the responses so far. Keep 'em coming, 'cos it'll just make the book better. Smiley
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Thesingingllamas
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2008 01:12:54 PM »

ooh a resource for all woodland creature costumes? interesting.
Don't forget horns, ears, show ideas for digitigrade stilts for the satyrs (there is a digitigrade stilt tut on youtube) as well as flat footed digitigrade padded legs. Basic vest type things. Basic mail or fake mail. Skirts-long and flowy as well as short pixie. Maybe a how to for "thai fisherman" pants
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SpottedFrog
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2008 07:31:49 PM »

I second horns, ears, tails and other non-human body protuberances. I also think this is a fantastic idea Smiley

People commonly think they can just glue some real goat or cow horns on a hat & it'll work, it never does. Natural horns & antlers are not shaped right at the base to attatch to a human, are a lot heavier than most expect, and cow & goat are often a lot bigger at the base than would work on a human anyway (an average cow horn is easily bigger than a man's ear- think how silly that would look?)

Oh, BTW there's a thread in the Craftster Itself: Suggestions board lobbying for a Costumes board separate from Clothing and separate from Holiday. : D
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Aislynn
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2008 09:12:23 PM »

Oooh, I wrote a tutorial for cellophane wings, that's a good one.  It's super easy to do at home, and can look very complicated.  I'd post it to craftster, but there's not really a good place for it.
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atlascoughed
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2008 06:35:22 AM »

Oooh, I wrote a tutorial for cellophane wings, that's a good one.  It's super easy to do at home, and can look very complicated.  I'd post it to craftster, but there's not really a good place for it.

I'd be interested in seeing that! I've seen some fantastic wings out there, so I'm always tempted to make myself (and my daughter, when she's old enough) wings to wear to the grocery store. Cheesy

I rather wonder, too, about including tutorials from other people? I'd love to spare myself the work of finding a photo and working backwards from there, but I have no idea how that all works in terms of a book, copyright, and payment. Hrm...
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atlascoughed
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2008 06:39:18 AM »

I second horns, ears, tails and other non-human body protuberances. I also think this is a fantastic idea Smiley

People commonly think they can just glue some real goat or cow horns on a hat & it'll work, it never does. Natural horns & antlers are not shaped right at the base to attatch to a human, are a lot heavier than most expect, and cow & goat are often a lot bigger at the base than would work on a human anyway (an average cow horn is easily bigger than a man's ear- think how silly that would look?)

Oh, BTW there's a thread in the Craftster Itself: Suggestions board lobbying for a Costumes board separate from Clothing and separate from Holiday. : D

Neeeeeat. I'd love a costumes board. God knows there's enough cosplayers to justify one.

I hadn't thought of tails; that's a good idea. I agree with the horns-- I'm doing a short tut on making the "pan" type that you see sold at Ren Fests, but also want to experiment with air-dry clay and paper mache' to build larger ones that would need wire skeletons to stay up.

I dunno if I'll do ears... maybe animal-ish ears. "Elf" ears I haven't tried yet, because I find it easier to just buy a pair and paint them to suit my skintone.

Thanks, all, for the suggestions! This is fantastic and just what I was hoping for (and I can't deny that seeing interest in the book does my writer's soul no end of good).
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2008 10:14:38 AM »

The tutorial is posted here, and is kind of lengthy.

http://www.freewebs.com/faeriemuse/

There's a design section, and a construction section, and probably more complicated than it needs to be.  Personally speaking, I wouldn't mind if you used it in a book, as long as you credited me for it.  I'm sure at least some other folks would be as flexible.  Tails would be a good idea.  Also the pants/hooves that people make for satyrs.  Those shoes look awesome, I just can't figure them out.

You could also include a section on basic weapons and jewelry.
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atlascoughed
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« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2008 06:47:49 AM »

After looking over these replies again, I'm having thoughts...

Does it seem worthwhile for me to make patterns/tuts for basic costume pieces? By this I mean a basic gown/chemise, shirt/T-tunic, floofy skirt, and pants? Most of these would be made using a T-shirt or PJ pants as a sort of pattern (instead of measuring every body part, etc). Would you be interested in this sort of instruction, or is the internet saturated with them?

Cloaks and corsets would be included no matter what, because you can't find them in thrift stores (usually) and the internet instructions can be really hard to understand. I hesitate to include instructions for altering existing garments (which is what I do, normally) because A) it's so hard for a reader to duplicate something if the "materials" are things I've found at a thrift shop and B) there are soooo many books on this already.

Thoughts? I'm still shaping this thing out in my head. Also, re: tails... what sort of tails? I've only ever made a cat one, for Halloween one year. Cheesy
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SpottedFrog
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2008 04:52:03 PM »

I'd peruse the gaming communities & see what kind of non-human creatures are being played with, that's where tails come in (I'm thinking of the WoW Sucubus, Dranei, various raid bosses). How they are made varies a lot, mostly by what specs are needed.
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Aislynn
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« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2008 05:27:19 PM »

Have you got a livejournal account?  The Cosplay and Faerie Fashion communities are two that I watch, and this sort of thing is right up there alley.
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« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2008 08:23:02 PM »

How to paint bought ears if you don't have how to make ears. I had trouble getting my fake ears to match my skintone. I bought model magic and gesso to make large succubus horns, but I haven't made them yet.
Bat/dragon/demon wings, still haven't figured those out.

You could do patterns in the way that Sew U had patterns included in their book or how magazines do them.

I'm imagining the cover to be shiny embossed kind of looking and brown. Very fantasy.
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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2008 04:41:40 AM »

i also second(or third?) about the horns and diffrent styles and types, also tails of animals and other mythical creatures(maybe a all-purpose framework that other people can build on?). Maybe a little bit on hair or face stuff, like if you use a wig or hair and how to manage that? and some styles? donno...
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jancola
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2008 06:03:03 PM »

Another great thing would be info on how to craft props/weapons, like Electra's sai, or Cloud's giant sword.   And armor, I've always wonder how people make those crazy realistic Storm Trooper suits at Comic Con.

And maybe some general tips about how to sew costume fabric that people don't usually work with, but may need for costumes, like organza, leather, spandex, etc Wink
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SpottedFrog
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2008 07:51:42 AM »

Star Wars Storm Troopers are commercially produced, you can buy one if you have the moolah, they run about $300+ last I looked, not including weapons or the body suit underneath.

There are a number of characters that helmets are commercially produced but not full costumes, like Boba Fet, so seeing a great Boba Fet is a real treat as everything neck down was home made Smiley
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Bll
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2008 05:54:58 PM »

I would like to know how to make stand-up collars? for animal's.
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audsnico
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2008 12:54:35 PM »

Have you thought about what level of costumers you are making this for?

You mentioned making things out of PJs and T-shirts, so I am assuming it is a beginning audience, with little to no sewing experience. If that is the case, I might leave out real corsets all together. I'd put the focus on easy-to-make costumes with easy to use and find materials. I'd include basic wings, hats, fabric belts, shoe-covers, simple jewelry and accessories, etc. I'd also include examples of how to modify the basic patterns for an individual look (e.g. if you make this belt out of brown felt, it's for a woodland elf, but if you make it out of a fancy brocade, it's for a lovely lady!)

If you want to aim for the experienced costumer (in which case, I think you'd need to be a VERY experienced costumer) then what people ask about the most is the non-clothing parts. How to shape and paint armor out of plastic and foam, how to make paste jewelry, how to modify and style wigs to match a character, how to apply body paint and makeup. I'd also probably want a little section on sewing with the most common fabrics: how to mark, cut, and sew vinyl, spandex, velvet, satin, tulle, etc. I'd also want information on modifying fabrics--dying, aging, embroidery, etc.
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auroravioletta
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2008 08:25:23 PM »

Does it seem worthwhile for me to make patterns/tuts for basic costume pieces? By this I mean a basic gown/chemise, shirt/T-tunic, floofy skirt, and pants? Most of these would be made using a T-shirt or PJ pants as a sort of pattern (instead of measuring every body part, etc). Would you be interested in this sort of instruction, or is the internet saturated with them?

Personally, I go for books that have a lot of basic information and techniques that can be modified for my own designs. Say, for example, if I was buying a book on making purses I would rather buy a book that introduces a lot of techniques (for making and attaching straps, general how to attach a lining instructions, etc etc) than a book that just has a lot of specific projects (how to make a tote bag out of astroturf!...no thanks). I want concepts and methods that I can understand and make my own ideas with. And I also want as many of those basic instructions in one place as I can get, so it's easy to refer to and easy to compare options. (Yes, there may be plenty of tuts for the basics online, but I don't want to have to go searching for all of them.)

I would imagine that for a book on costuming, this kind of information would be even more important, because you really can't predict all the jillions of costumes that people will want to make. People will need to take the basic information and bend it to their personal needs. So I would include as many basic tuts as you can, with ideas on ways the basic project can be modified to fit different purposes and designs. (Sort of like the Sew U books do when they show you ways you can modify basic patterns.) The pants, tunics, and chemises would be a must for me, for the sake of completeness if nothing else, especially if it showed all sorts of different looks you could get by using the same pattern.

I would also be more likely to go for a book that's very organized. Instead of "How to Make a Complete Monster Costume" with horns, wings, and furry-body all bundled together into a set, I'd rather have a separate sections- one showing different kinds of horns, another for wings, etc. It makes it easier to find the components I'd want for whatever costume I'd dreamt up. And easier to compare the different options to find the one that really works for me.

That's my two cents. And I would be very interested in this kind of a costume book, too! From the sound of it, if it had half the info that people have mentioned on this thread, I'd buy it.
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« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2008 12:43:28 PM »

I agree with what auroravioletta said.
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