The Costume Making Guide by Svetlana Quindt

If you’ve watched TV shows such as Face Off or Heroes of Cosplay, you’d probably think that creating a costume requires a whole entire workshop of strange materials and obscure tools (vac form machine anyone?). Or you have to be some kind of creative genius McGuyver who can take lint and grass and turn it into a crazy alien. The good news is that finally there is a book that lays it all out visually for those who want to get started making their own costumes. With the Costume Making Guide, Author Svetlana Quindt walks you through the basics of crafting – without breaking the budget on materials or equipment.

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The book has an introduction on the history of costplay (‘costume play’), why people enjoy it so much, finding reference materials/inspiration for your next project, what you need to get started with the projects in the book, tools and materials, and of course safety.

Svetlana is careful to note that she isn’t a seamstress – so there are no sewing guides/tips in here for the fabric/outfits. Instead, the projects involve mostly armor and weapons. For each item, she shows the finished complete costume and how the piece fits in with it:

– a bracer (metal arm armor from Diablo 3 wizard)
– a breastplate (DC Comics Wonder Woman)
– a pauldron (shoulder armor – for Overwatch Symmetra)
– an axe (Diablo 3 Barbarian)
– a sword (Xena Warrior Princess)

She also talks about the complete costume from start to finish including assembling the pieces, designing the details, having the costume sewn, wig, and even how to create a prop so it can be stuffed into a suitcase for travel to events/cons.

What I like about the book is that she lays it all out cleanly and easily with large type, photographs for every step, and the steps are short and not all clumped together. The finished pieces are quite spectacular and most only require items like a bit of warbla plastic, a heat gun, and some glue.

Of note, you’ll have to be a bit creative/artsy and also be prepared to spend some time assembling the pieces and creating the costume. It’s not an overnight project unless you are only doing one piece. The book also covers what to do after the con with the costume – finding photographers, etc. Even what to wear under all the costumes is covered. Finally, there is a costume gallery for inspiration.

Of note, since Quindt is from Germany, she gives a nice list of places to get the materials in the EU – obviously North Americans can get their supplies from Amazon or EBay.

In all, highly impressed with how easy and friendly this costume making book really is – and how easy it is to make a really cool sword or amor. I hope to see future books with less flat weapons such as guns (e.g. Overwatch’s Symmetra gun in the book) and of course be aware that there is nothing really in the book about creating the fabric parts/outifts of the costume. But this is definitely a book worth every penny for a budding cosplayer. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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