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Elrowiel: For the Love of Fabric! Part 2!!

Welcome back! Here is part two of Elrowiel's feature with all her fabric descriptions. She also give some tips on creating mock-ups at the end. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy "For the Love of Fabric! Part 2!"
You can find Part 1 here: "For the Love of Fabric: Part 1"

Interview with Elrowiel Continued...

What was your first cosplay?

Well, it was sort of a kimono version of Princess Zelda. At the same time, I was working on Tenten from Naruto. Honestly, I consider Queen Nehelenia to be my first PLANNED cosplay, but technically it's my second.

Different Fabrics Part 2
Opera Celes: Final Fantasy 6 10 yards cream peach skin for over dress 10 yards cream light satin for lining 6 yards heavy weight satin under skirt 6 yards Chiffon Georgette for overlay of skirt 5 yards of buff color Matte satin (so far) for applique 15 yards craft fuse interfacing for applique (so far) 3 yards blue taffeta for bows 1/2 yards dark blue taffeta for bow edging 5 yards venice lace for edgings 1 yard yoryu Chiffon (from Hancock's BFF collection) for inner sleeve ruffles 1 yard stretch lace for glove-lets 1 1/2 yard canvas for underlining Photo by Muzo Gul

Continuation of fabric descriptions and uses!

Crepe in most special occasion sections is going to be very light. It is usually lighter than I like to use, but you can find it thicker on occasion. I've used that to add texture to a piece. It's a matte fabric with a pebbled sort of texture. My Zelda Cosplay is made of Wonder Crepe.

Chiffon and Georgette are very similar. Chiffon is smooth while Georgette is pebbly in texture. They are both sheer. You can get a hybrid called Chiffon Georgette, which I'm not sure I could actually describe...despite having used it a couple times. It's entirely matte and has a very fluid drape. It is usually used as an overlay.
Similar to that is a fabric call Voile, which you can find in the Home Decor section. It's smooth and semi-sheer and has a stiffer drape than Chiffon but it is not as stiff as Organdy. I've used them several times. My Empress Elisabeth dress is made in Voile.
Empress Elizabeth
55 yards white voile 1 1/2 yards canvas (for bodice underlining) 1 yard Taffeta for the bertha collar 9 yards various venice lace 6 yards tulle for Shall 3 yards petticoat net for sleeve poofs Photo by Katie

Tulle is...not my favorite fabric. It's a fine mesh that is used in ball gowns a lot. It is delicate and a super pain to cut and sew. Similar to that is can-can or Petticoat netting, which has the same weave, but is much stronger. I use this to reinforce dresses that I want to be sturdy and light. My WCS costumes are usually underlined/lined in this.

When it comes to Silks, you can get a regular Silk dupioni which is woven so that it has slubs (little bumps in the fabric) in it or a smooth variation on it. I usually prefer the smoother version myself. However, you can also get a Faux Silk, which is woven to look like silk, but out of polyester. It has a very stiff gather one direction and a limp on the other.

Cotton is both the fabric content and the weave when it comes to basic quilting pieces. In those you have different thicknesses. Broadcloth (usually a mix of cotton and poly, but can be just cotton) is very thin and flimsy, but can be used for linings and when you just need a thin piece. Muslin is usually a little thicker and will come bleached white or unbleached natural.

After that you will have some variation of a "quilter's cotton", then Wendover and then Kona. Kona is usually the densest most local shops are going to have. Sometimes they will have a special section for basic Cotton Sateen, but not always. Cotton Sateen is a satin weave made in cotton. It has a sheen to it and can be light or thick. I've found and used both.

Princess Zelda
15 yards Wonder Crepe (with 25 yards light wonder under to fuse two layers together 3 yards purple faux silk for bodice 3 yards purple rayon for flat line and lining bodice 3 yards suiting for Underlining bodice 2 yards light weight dull satin for dress gold edging 3 yards of various Satins for Banner and applique 1 yard twill underlining for Banner 1 yard stretch suiting for gloves 1/2 yard blue for glove toppers Photo by Alan T. Smith
Joann's usually has a Stretch Cotton Sateen that is a Suit Weight. I absolutely love that and have used it several times. The weight and stretch make it ideal for many projects. And the sheen is not very noticeable. Once pre-washed, the sheen can be nearly completely gone.

In the suiting section you can have all manner of things. Twill, Gabardine, wool blends, and poly blends are pretty typical. Many of these bolts will only be labeled by their fiber content. Twill, for the most part, is going to be a very/thick weave made in cotton, although you can find it in a cotton poly blend.
Gabardine or Gabardine Surline (from Hancock fabrics) is made in Poly/rayon blend and Solid poly respectively. I prefer the drape and weight of The Poly/rayon blend myself and have used it many times in suits, pants, and cloaks. The Surline is very good for Latin dance pants as well.

Pleather has lots of grades and styles. Typically in that section you will have the basic cotton-ball-kind-of-backed-plastic stuff and a couple other styles like the nice supple Flannel backed kind and the moving-into-the-marine-grade stuff (that is really stiff and heavy.) The marine grade kind is usually stiffer and more plastic looking. It also, usually has sheen. There are also whisper vinyls and such. I don't use a ton of this, but it's good for faking leather. The Whisper vinyl (purchased at Hancock fabrics) is matte and just a touch stretchy. It's $24.99, but when I need faux leather, that's what I get.

The First Alice
5 yards Red Cotton poly blend 2 1/2 yards white wendover Cotton for Shirt 8 yards muslin for underskirt gather 2 yards for unbleached muslin for underskirt base 5 yards white wendover cotton for apron and lining 3 yards white canvas for apron stiffening Photo by EpicPix
How do you make a mock-up?

As for making a mock-up, I absolutely love it. It's not something you can really do to yourself. For my own things I use a flat pattern, by measurement. With a mock-up, you can make a basic shape and then tailor it down to another person’s shape. You can add whatever seams to the pieces that you want too. This is how I make absolutely impossible patterns. You draw the lines on in sharpie (though tailor's chalk is actually the correct way. I just like sharpie because it's permanent). Then cut the thing apart, adding a 5/8 seam allowance, and you are golden!

When choosing your mock-up fabric, cheap is usually the first criteria. After that, you want it to be a similar drape/stretch to what you will use on the finished pieces. So, if you are making a heavy coat, chances are you want a heavyish draping fabric. If you are making a body suit, you absolutely must mock-up in a fabric that is the same amount of stretch. You can fudge a little bit with things with like 3% spandex.

Any advice for beginners or any cosplayer looking to up their game?

I would say experiment. Go to the fabric store and feel fabrics. See what it available. Also, don't be afraid of large yardages. I find things tend to look a little more like clothing when I'm a little more generous with my fabric.
Marie Antoinette
25 yards Crepe back satin in various colors (Crepe side out) 10 yards voile for lining 3 yards Chiffon for center front gather 2 yards purple sparkle satin 2 yards Pink taffeta for Sleeve ruffles 2 yards petticoat net for Sleeve poofs Photo by Katie
Many thanks to Elrowiel for sharing her fabric knowledge! Happy crafting!


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