Making cosplay armour using a bought pattern

Ever since I started writing about cosplay for SA Gamer I’ve been preaching about how easy it is to make stuff using a pattern you’ve bought. But that got me thinking; is it actually as easy as I’ve been made to believe? I decided to take my own advice, and spent an afternoon trying my hand at making foam armour using some the Queen of Crafting’s creations, Kamui Cosplay’s pattern booklets.

Since they have so many available, I decided to work with three booklets that I thought would be a good addition to any cosplayer’s crafting repertoire. I also tried to choose the three that would best fit the categories of easy, intermediate and hard to see the difference in patterns, and to test my own skills. At the end of the whole experiment, I was left wondering if I’d be any good at doing a child’s 10 piece puzzle, but more on that later.

Easy does it

For our Easy Mode pattern, I chose the muzzle mask from the Masks and Ears pack because it seemed like the most versatile and newcomer friendly. The muzzle also doesn’t require any sanding of edges to complete it, so it’s also a lot less labour intensive and easy to finish if you’re crunched for time.

This mask does, however, task you with cutting some of the pieced at a 45 degree angle, which I actually purposefully avoided doing. I wanted to see what would happen if the person building it didn’t have the skills to do that, and it turned out perfectly fine! Obviously the angle cut would give it a better finish, but it came out alright. I did work with rather thin foam so I got away with it, where I think it would become more necessary the thicker foam you use.

The Inbetweener

On to the intermediate/normal/medium/lukewarm level is where things start to get a bit trickier. This shoulder armour ought to be recognisable to most, and therefore a good starting point for anyone thinking about cosplaying a certain princess of Hyrule in the future. The pattern was a bit of a head-scratcher at one point due to its abnormal shape, but after finding a clear reference image I figured it out, and am actually glad I chose it. It gave me some experience in working with alignment notches, something a lot of cosplayers use in their crafting. It’s super helpful, but not as easy as it looks!

This pattern luckily didn’t need me to implement some long forgotten geometry, but it did need some heat to whip it into shape. This glorified shoulder pad looked a bit flat once I was done constructing it, and lacked the nice flow of the original artwork. To remedy this, I simply used a heat gun for a few seconds on both sides of the foam to make it nice and pliable, and gave it the curve it needed using my hands. After that, it looked ready for some details and a good lick of shiny gold paint.

Critical Combo

Simply called the “SciFi Armour”, this chest piece would be instantly familiar to any fan of the Mass Effect series. I thought it makes the perfect starting point for anyone out there that would want to cosplay our favourite Commander. It was a bit tricky, though, so be warned. But as long as you mark off which pieces you have already drawn and cut out, you’ll be golden! Let’s just say I’d have been able to make two of these, that’s how many copies I accidentally made.

The SciFi Armour combines the techniques found in the previous two patterns: cutting at an angle, using the notches and, most importantly, reading the pattern before tracing it out. If you watched the video, you’d notice I cut out each piece separately. What I was supposed to do was mirror some of the parts so that they create one big foam shape instead of having jagged seams running down the middle. Even so, the chest piece actually came out pretty well despite my inability to read instructions.

So did my advice ring true? Is it really as easy as Kamui makes it look in her videos? Could anyone just pick up patterns with no prior experience with them, and make something decent? Yes, absolutely. While I had some issues in terms of making the pieces as best I could, like the chest armour, I still succeeded in getting there in the end. It’s not perfect, but it will definitely get the job done.

With Comic Con fast approaching, it would be wise for you to set aside one afternoon like I did, and start crafting your cosplay. That will give you enough time to relax before the con happens. If you need help with putting a cosplay together, where to get things like wigs or contact lenses, and other cosplay patterns than these general ones, go check out our previous cosplay posts!

I don't really know anything about games. I'm just here for the free food, and to push my feminist agenda.

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