Altering Clothes for Cosplay: Cosplay Survival Guide

If you’re cosplaying a character that wears something akin to regular street clothes, it often makes sense to save time and money by buying clothes off the rack that match your character’s design. Even if your character’s clothes aren’t exactly available to buy, using a piece of clothing as a base for your cosplay is also a great way to save time and money. However, if the clothes don’t fit you perfectly or the style needs to be changed (shortening pant legs or skirts, removing or adding sleeves, etc.) you’ll need to get comfortable with some alteration and sewing basics. In this post, we’ll discuss some simple tips for altering clothes for cosplay.

Basic Clothing Alteration Tips for Cosplayers

  • When in doubt, size up. If you’re unsure whether a garment, or even a pre-made cosplay, will fit you, always go a size up. It’s much easier to take clothes in and make them smaller than it is to let them out to make them bigger. If you don’t have any extra fabric to let out, you’re stuck with a costume that just doesn’t fit.
  • For simple sizing alterations, follow the existing seams. By following the shapes of the seams already used to make the garment, you can make easy size adjustments that will make your cosplay smaller while still fitting correctly. For instance, if you want a top to be narrower, simply pin where you want the new seam to go according to how much fabric you want to remove. You can change the shape of seams slightly, like curving in to make a more defined waist for example, but keeping the overall shape of the seams will preserve the shape of the garment. Check out this helpful tutorial video to see this process in action.
  • Kat-video-1-64Always finish your hems. Unless you intentionally want a raw or tattered hem on your garment, you’ll want to finish your hems after cutting off fabric for a shorter length. This is where seam allowances come in. If you want to shorten a pair of pants, for instance, leave an extra centimeter or so when you cut off the excess fabric. Then, fold that extra centimeter under, and either pin and sew or use an adhesive like CosBond Attach & Build to fasten the edge down. This will give you a crisp hem that won’t fray and looks clean.
  • If you want to make something fit your curves better, you can sew darts into your garment. Darts are a bit more complicated to sew, but they’re key for making clothing fit curved parts of your body more closely. A dart pulls fabric together to help it curve instead of lying flat. There are a few different types of darts, but on the most basic level, drawing out a triangular shape where you want your fabric to curve and sewing the two sides together will create the effect you’re looking for. Check out this post for an in-depth tutorial on sewing darts.

With these beginner alteration tips in mind, you can transform any ill-fitting clothes into the perfect pieces for your next cosplay.