Fancystuck and You: Fabrics????
EDIT:: MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING VIDEO: heere
So it seems like a lot of people are kind of stuck on the whole fabric issue, especially with fancy designs??? So as somebody who’s been sewing for a long time I thought maybe some suggestions would be helpful!
WTF FANCY HOW I FANCY UP SOME FANCY
First of all, and I think it’s important to realize this going in: Fancy designs are going to be more expensive. If you, dear cosplayer, are trying to pull together a whole costume on a budget of $20 including wig costs, I highly suggest doing one of the standard designs or just waiting and saving for a bit! Fancy fabrics, just like fancy clothes you buy in the store, cost more! Also, you generally have to use more yardage.
That said, some hints and tips for Fancytier:
Special Occasion Fabrics. Learn it, live it, love it. When you walk into the fabric store and you have no idea what you’re looking for, you want to skip right over all those rows of quilting cotton (yes, I know it’s the right color and yes, I know it’s cheaper, but trust me!!!) and go to Special Occasion section. Cotton wasn’t designed for bodices and ballgowns and it won’t look right because it doesn’t have the weight and drape of higher end fabric. (IMO, Quilting fabric really isn’t great for cosplay no matter what but that’s a rant for another day.)
But wait what fabrics exactly am I looking for?? First of all, some quick tips:
- If you’re going shopping at a big chain store, especially a JoAnn’s, take advantage of the staff! Usually there are two types of people who work there: young people who sew and old grandmas who sew! I highly suggest arriving at a store with printed references in hand.
- Generally there’s two parts to a fabric. It’s fiber content, and it’s construction. This can be really confusing, because you can have two fabrics called satin that behave, look, and feel TOTALLY DIFFERENT, based on whether it’s silk satin or polyester. Polyester, as a synthetic (means it’s plastic, dudes), is generally cheaper no matter what kind of fabric you’re looking for, but it tends to not breath or drape well, and can get really shiny. Silk is generally the highest quality in whatever you’re buying, but that costs some major boondollars. As with everything, it’s a trade off :( Usually, if you look on the end of a fabric bolt at the store, it’ll tell you what the fiber is. If it’s not labeled, odds are it’s poly!
- Do not use lining fabric for the outside of your garments: it’s not strong or heavy or opaque enough!! Matching lining tends to be mixed in among corresponding special occasion fabric so it’s easy to make this mistake: just check the information on the bolt.
- Satin = Satan.
- No, seriously guys, I know you look at the satin and say “oh man, that’s the perfect color and the shine will look so nice and wonderful JUST NO. TURN AROUND WHILE YOU CAN. Unless you are paying out top dollar for Silk Bridal Satin (and that runs into the 40$ + a yard range). Polyester Satin is really hard to sew, it puckers, it’s super shiny in a bad way, it’s just not nice.
An example of shiny, shiny cheap satin
I DON’T CARE JUST FANCY ME UP ALREADY:
Fabrics I’d suggest for Fancytier (or any other ‘formal’ type cosplay, homestuck or no):
- Taffeta, Silk Dupioni, Chiffon, Georgette, mystery polyester blends, and the occassional nice micosuede. Wool blends and velvet can also work, especially for the boys, although they can be hot, so be careful.
- Taffeta is a nice, structured fabric with good weight. It’s great for bodices and full skirts. It comes in poly, silk, and various other fiber blends. It looks like:
Two examples of taffeta
- Really guys Taffeta is awesome for a huge amount of Fancytier.
- Chiffon, Charmuse and Georgette are more light, airy, ‘gauzy’ kind of fabrics.
- They’re great for making top layers and veils. It is NOT good for big skirts, because it’s so light (you also should layer it up, it’s transparent!!!). It would be great for Rose’s veil and the fluttery green dress for Terezi’s Seer design. Black chiffon would be amazingly pretty for the caplet on Kanaya’s sylph dress.
Chiffon is extremely light and requires an under-layer, usually of a different fabric
- Dupioni: Usually silk and thus $$, but you can get some pretty nice looking imitations! Another more solid fabric, tends to have a nice texture to it that photographs well and makes bright colored combinations look less cartoony. It frays like CRAZY, though, so make sure you either use frayblock on the seams (it’s in the notions isle) or flat felled seams.
- Wool, velvet, microsuede: Personally I think these are better choices for the boy’s designs, especially the structured military jackets in on the dreamers. Also good for pants! Tends not to come in the same variety of bright fantastic colors, though, unfortunately, so more limited to the god tiers. Wool and wool blends make fantastic capes. Beautiful.
There are obviously tons more options and weird fabrics and tricks you can do and all kinds of things, especially once you get into “mysterious blend of polyester suiting on the clearance rack”, but those are the major fabrics you see over and over in the kind of formal clothes Rumminov’s designs look like.
A FEW LAST FANCY FANCY NOTES:
- Lace fabric, brocades, and ‘novelty’ fabrics can be great for adding extra detail and in small amounts. Use with caution, though, and watch out while combining stretchy and non-stretchy materials in this way.
- Not allllll satin is horrible. Some people swear by the Casa Satin collection at Joanns, and gothichamlet and I actually used a variety called crepe-back satin on our Fancy Dreamers (the magenta, seen here). The key here is to not use the shiny side as the outer/right side, but instead use what’s supposed to be the inside as the outside. It cuts down on the shine and makes it look a bit more high end. You also want to make sure you’re picking something with a good weight. So that said, if you’re not sure, either ask the nice lady cutting your fabric her opinion or try and find something that’s going to be more forgiving to work with.
- If you’re using a commercial pattern (and I highly suggest them!! Even if you have to make big changes to sleeve length / skirt size / front closure, starting from a pattern makes everything SO MUCH EASIER when you’re a beginner), they have suggested fabrics on the envelope! It’s not a bad idea to go find your pattern first and then see what the people who designed it thought would work best
Coming in a potential part 2: a fancystuck shopping trip to Joann’s.