Fabric is key to (just about) every cosplay, whether a supersuit, robe, cupcake dress, or base layer under your armor. What’s easy to forget during the planning stages, however, is making sure you’re choosing the right fabric for both your needs and the environment you’ll be wearing it in. Weight, breathability, stretchiness, these can all vastly change your finished product and how you wear it.
Thick or heavy fabrics may seem closer to the finished product, but can make costumes unbearably hot and suitable only for outdoor shoots in the winter.
Stretchy fabrics aren’t in the cosplay section just for comic book characters – they give you much greater range of motion while wearing your cosplay. This really comes in handy when you need to pose, sit down, pick something up off the ground, or dance. Never underestimate an opportunity to dance.
Keep in mind how tough a fabric will be to work with as well. I know I just extolled the value of something stretchy, but if it’s going to be too tough to sew with your equipment, perhaps it’s not the best choice for your project
So what works best? That really depends on what you’re looking to do. The best places to get advice are through fellow cosplayers on Facebook groups, forums, and talking to friends in the community. They’ve been there before, and know the pain. Employees at your local store are also well-versed in the pros and cons of using different materials. They get paid to help you find what works best for you! Keep in mind that you may need to find a different type of fabric, so keep an open mind when you’re searching for the perfect fabric to buy.
[Side PSA: Sometimes the perfect material ends up also being the most expensive material. If you want to save yourself a lot of time and worry, test your patterns on cheaper fabrics like muslin before your final project!]
Best of luck next time you’re browsing fabric selections, and here’s to finding something that works both on the bolt and your body.