On Celtic Fairy Stuff
Preparing Your Canvas for a Watercolor Painting
Fabulous Fabrics Without Breaking the Bank
The Sun, Part II
Fabulous Fabrics Without Breaking the BankCosplay101
by Amy Waller
Welcome back to Cosplay 101. Now that we�ve discussed general things to think about for your cosplay costume, let�s talk about fabric. Most costumes out there are going to be made primarily of this stuff, and thus it can be a major part of your costume�s expense. Fabric can easily run you several hundred dollars if you�re not careful. I, however, am both poor and a cheapskate and so I shall share some money-saving wisdom.
First rule: If you have a Jo Anne�s Fabrics near you, get on their mailing list. You�ll get coupons monthly, usually for 40 percent off one item, which can help you afford that really nice fabric. If you take a couple of friends (siblings, roommates, random strangers) with you who also have coupons they�re not using, you might be able to get several different fabrics at once. They also have very good pattern sales, and you can sometimes nab the pattern you need for as little as 99 cents. This works for any fabric store, I just use Jo Anne�s because it�s what I have near me.
The best money-saving tip is to plan the costume early and then keep a watch on your local fabric stores. Catching a good sale (any end-of-season sale is good, after Halloween is usually the best) can save you a bundle. Also check Wal-Mart or your local gigantic discount store of choice. Not all of them carry fabric (Wal-Mart is the only one I know that does everywhere), and the selection might not be very good, but sometimes you can get lucky.
Also, you don�t have to go with the exact fabrics of the costume you�re making. Velvet panne (also called crushed velvet), when sewn right, can look good enough and is much cheaper than real velvet. Broadcloth is another good solution. It�s cheap and comes in nearly every color of the rainbow. (You might have to check the quilting section of your local fabric store.) It tends to be thin though, so you may have to double it and/or wear something under your costume. I wore tights under my pair of broadcloth pants, for instance.
Keep in mind things you already own as well. No need to buy a new white shirt for a costume if the one you have already looks good. This is especially useful with shoes. A good pair of low black boots works for many costumes. Don�t be afraid to recycle from old costumes or clothing pieces either. If you�re never going to wear a costume or an article of clothing again, rip the seams open and use the fabric in your new costume.
The next places to look for cheap fabric and costume pieces are thrift stores and rummage sales, including Goodwill or your local equivalent. Don�t be afraid to buy something that looks perfect but is too big. You can always take in the seams. Things that are too small or the wrong design can be bought cheaply and then taken apart for the fabric. Keep your mind open while looking through clothing too. I�ve used old skirts for sleeves on a dress, and ripped an ugly satin blouse apart to make the lining of my cape. It�s all about seeing old things in a new light.
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