Sewing Basics for Beginners
Published on Jul 18, 2018

You need to sew a skirt, a shirt or another fabric piece for your costume but feel completely lost? I know how you feel! I was never a fan of sewing myself, there were still plenty of situations when I had to force myself sitting in front of my sewing machine. With some patience, the will not to give up and a few helpful tutorials, sewing can become really fun though!

First step to get into sewing, is actually getting a more or less proper machine. Ages ago I bought a simple one on Amazon for around 100 $. Having the quite important zic zack and stretch stitches, it did it’s job for quite a long time. Being a cheap and poor cosplayer however, I’ve never let my machine maintain and so it sadly just died at one point. So, keep in mind: Try to let your machine maintain at least once a year. Local fabric shops always offer this service for around 50 $.

Being a full time cosplayer now, I got a more professional equipment. I have two lovely Brother machines – one for my main work and one for back up – which clearly let me enjoy sewing far more by being simply more reliable and easier to handle than my very first sewing machine. I also own a serger from Brother as well, which is especially useful when sewing stretch fabrics for bodysuits or leggings.

Aside of a sewing machine, it’s also a good idea to get an iron as well as an ironing board if you or your parents don’t own one already. Aside of making your fabric nice and free of wrinkles, this tool is also essential to apply iron on applications or interfacing.

While struggeling with sewing myself a lot, I actually figured out that instructional books can be a great help. The one from Burda turned out really helpful in plenty of projects. There are plenty of books which are specialized in pattern making, basic sewing, embroidery or artistic folding techniques. It’s also quite helpful to check out the manual of your sewing machine.

All of these books have one point in common though: They want to explain everything the right way and proper. While this is surely just logical, cosplayers tend to prefer easier and faster ways to archive one goal, even if the result won’t turn out perfect. You know, as long as it’s done, it’s done, right? Also, I wasn’t really able to find a book which started on a beginner beginner level and helped somebody to actually overcome his fear of the sewing machine and working with fabrics in general. So, you might want to check my Cosplay Sewing Book, which I wrote exactly for people who tried to avoid sewing as much as possible – just like you and me!

A further great help are patterns! Burda, Simplicity and especially McCall’s have even a cosplay line for all kind of different costumes and characters. Just grab be pattern, unfold it, pick the size and trace all shapes on fabric. Sewing patterns mostly include sewing instructional, options for adjustments and fabric recommendations as well, so it’s clearly to check them out. One of my favourite patterns is a slim dress from Burda, which I used and altered for plenty of costumes.

One of them was the tabard I used for my Vanessa VanCleef costume.

It doesn’t look much like a dress, right?

Symmetra’s dress was based on this pattern as well!

And even my self made wedding dress followed the shapes and instructions of my favourite sewing pattern.

Every single design looks completely different. Still, they were all based on the same sewing pattern. You might want to check out my Sewing Book if you like to get a better idea on how to adjust pre made patterns or even create your own from scratch.

Sewing is clearly not an easy skill to learn, but once you get into it you’ll notice pretty fast how fun and exciting it can be! 

Did I made you curious? Check out the making of my Mi’qote costume if you want to watch how a costume is made from the start till the very end!


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Written by Svetlana

| Writer, Full-Time Costume Maker

We are self-employed artists, writers and costume makers currently living in Germany. We love to help the crafting community by creating YouTube videos, writing books and by sharing the current progress of our projects on social media. In our shop you can also find crafting patterns to help you with your own projects!


  1. Well this is random. I wanted to get into sewing my own cosplay, because I follow you guys on TikTok for a while and Noe I stumble on this article.

    • *now sry lol


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