Although I’m not a very productive cosplayer, It’s still been years I’ve been wandering through fabric shops. In this article, you will find where to find the perfect fabric for your sewing project.
Patience! Before rushing to the fabric shop you need to think about your project. Which fabric will you need? Which color? How many meters?
First, you have to analyse your project. Is it a daily outfit? An evening dress? The answer will determine your fabric choice. You will find fabric recommandations in your sewing pattern back envelop. You can also check online fabric shops to find advice.
No matter what happens, there are still fabrics which should be used with caution:
– lining fabric must be used only for lining
– cheap sateen is very very shiny on pics and not that easy to sew: do not use it for evening dress.
– be careful with velvet: the 2 usd/meter velvet usually sold on shops is not easy to sew and shines horribly.
I usually use those fabrics:
– taffetas: it’s easy to find, easy to sew and doesn’t shine like crazy. You can use it for dresses or elegant outfits.
– cotton: it’s easy to find, easy to use and cheap. It can be used for almost everything.
– duchesse sateen: unlike the usual sateen, it’s heavier, easier to sew and doesn’t shine horribly. An alternative to taffetas for elegant outfits.
– polyesther: I used it for my Fate Saber cosplay: it’s easy to sew, matte. I had to use two layers because it wasn’t totally opaque but the result was nice.
Once you know which fabric to use, you have to find the right colors. Find several official pictures (no fan arts) of your character to compare colors. Sometimes the colors vary from each reference picture: it’s up to you to find a good compromise.Once at the fabric shop, you may find the perfect color.
But sometimes, even with thorough search, you will not find the perfect color of your dream. One solution is to be patient: the shop may receive later more fabrics, or you can check other shops. If you’ve been looking everywhere with no luck for ages, you can use the closest color nuance available. Compare them to see which colors nuance will go well together on your cosplay.
Whatever happens: do not forget cosplay is for fun: it is YOUR project, your money. Even if 10 cosplayers make the same project, you will get 10 different results. Of course, you can use web to find out how other cosplayers made the same project as yours: it may help you to find what you’d like to do or what you’d like to avail. But it is your interpretation of the character, your choices which will make your cosplay unique. Do not be worried or afraid to choose different techniques/materials, as long as the result looks like the reference image. Have fun!
3. Where to buy fabrics?
I live in Europe so I don’t know any US fabric shop.
Here are the one I tested and recommand:
– Toto (France): those shops sell fabrics by meter or weight for CHEAP. You will find anything and everything but those shops don’t have a constant list of fabrics: the fabrics stock change everyday. You may need severak visits to find the right color or right fabric. It’s a treasure cavern where you have to dig to find your happiness.
– Tissus-price.com: It’s a French fabrics shops which also has a great online shop. This site is very reliable: the pictures and description are exactly what you will receive. They have a serious parcel tracking and a reliable client service. You can contact them by mail, facebook or phone : the answers are quick, polite and nice. Major goodpoint for their good prices and great quality. All fabrics from my Esther Blanchett dress came from them. I also buy duchesse sateen there. Some fabrics run out of stock quick but they usually come back on stock within some weeks. This shop is only available in French , ships only to France.
– Tissus.net: It’s a German online fabric shop. The fabric shop is immense but the prices are sometime exagerated. They have a section dedicated to cosplay where you will find the usual fabrics (polyesther, cotton…). It’s a good site for taffetas. I got my Madame Red taffetas there. I also like their promotion section. The downpoint is that you may receive your parcel ages later. One time it took me 2 months to receive it. It’s either a hit or miss. This shop is available in French , German but ships everywhere.
Good points: fast quicking, you can find lots of stuff (fabrics, materials…) for cosplay. Prices are normal but sometimes exagerated. Shop is available in german, french but ship parcels everywhere in Europe.
Badpoints: the colors are totally off. My friends and I ordered twice from them and the colors were different from what was previewed on the site. We had used four computers to check the fabrics online, maybe the 4 screens were at fault…Other badpoint is that I received stained fabric: my white fabric had brown/ black points. Maybe it was due to an insect or something… I don’t use that shop at all anymore.