Not-So-Costly Costumes

FarlanderFarlander Member
edited June 2013 in Sachie
Having just watched the third episode of Satchie's cosplay vlog, I thought I'd open up a thread here on the main topic she introduced:  trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents.  Clearly, the cost of building costumes is a significant deterrent for many folks who might otherwise consider putting together something cool.  

Satchie's suggestions included clearance items on sale at the fabric store, thrift shop rummaging, and investing in a few essential tools like a glue gun.  

I'd recommend making your interest known throughout your extended circle of friends and family, with an appeal for any stuff they might have laying around.  You might collect some interesting materials and components that way, for free.  

I'd also consider recycling materials like cardboard boxes if they can be used as building material for costume parts.

Has anyone out there had much experience building stuff on the cheap?  


  • TheadraTheadra Member
    edited June 2013 PM
    Considering that I don't cosplay, I don't know how helpful this is, but:

    I sew a lot! It is really not that hard, when you have people (or blogs) who can explain it good. And you have so much more possibilities.
    When I started making costumes, I went to my parents and asked if they had any fabric for me. It turned out that the half of our attic was cramped with things I could use. There where old Curtains with a lovely pattern. There where old sofa covers nobody needed anymore.
    But there was not only fabric. I found wood (curently I'm shaping a pendant out of one of the pieces), old buttons, even broken things that you can use if you have a "The Last Days"-themed costume.

    It is really helpful to ask, sometimes more heads are better than one. When you're sitting over a character, and you now that you have almost everything but there's this one little detail. Or it is a bigger one, doesn't matter. Ask people on the forums, like here, or in any other community you're in. I know a lot of people who are crazy cerfative, and have Ideas you or me would never think of.

    Edit: If you want to make it cheap, you have to realize that you have to do a lot by yourself. Like sewing, and crafting. The more money you safe, the more time you'll have to invest in making you cosplay.

    But, as far as money is a problem: Don't let it rule you. I don't think it is a good idea to start cosplay while thinking "I have to put a cosplay together, that is really cheap." First think of what you want to do, then start thinking about the costs. Even if you don't have enough money for the cosplay now, you can always safe your draft for later. And I don't think it is good idea to put a really cheap costume together, and then to realize that you don't really want to cosplay that character.

    My apologies if my english is sometimes a little bit rough.
  • Foam Core Board :D Incredibly useful for making props.

    And +1 to the glue gun and thrift shop suggestions too.
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    You know, I thought about curing Cancer, but there would still be eleven other horoscopes to plague us, so why even bother? - Farlander
  • My Professor Layton cosplay was literally a mandarin collar shirt and brown suit from the store I worked at, the shirt I dyed Orange, then I made a giant stovepipe hat from paper.
  • Thrifting, Looking through old clothes and borrowing odds and ends from friends are lifesavers. 
    And if you have to buy fabric, but are just looking for something basic, poly-satin and broadcloth
    are always pretty reasonably priced. :)

    Oh oh also! download the craftstores app to your smartphone. You can often get some pretty great coupons :)
  • I'd also recommend to look around your house for items you can reuse! Often, you'll be surprised at what you find. Some clothing that you no longer wear that you can modify, old jewelry, shoes...etc. 

    Also, remember that making a costume yourself does not always mean it's going to be cheaper! For example, you might buy fabric, but then mess up while sewing or cutting it. You'll have to buy more, which might end up being costly. It's always better to make a mockup to prevent mistakes while making the actual thing! Most fabric stores have discount muslin or broadcloth for maybe $1-$3 per meter! 
    vlogger on geekandsundryvlogs, cosplayer, and occasional magical girl!
  • Where I'm at, IKEA has this natural colored cotton fabric for 1 € per meter. I really like to use that one when I'm not sure about a cut, or for lining. (Is that the word?).
    Also I just finished my tailors dummy! I think the overal costs were about 20 € with lots of spare material. As I am sewing a lot, I think it will come in really handy.
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