Fitting Store-bought clothes

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#1 DaDevvy on 2 years ago

Hi there. I'm working on a cosplay that kinda goes into crossplay and involves dresses, so I thought I'd share my problem.

I'm doing a crossover cosplay of San and Kindred (or Lamb), and have a design here.

My issue is that at the moment, I don't have anything to use for the black/blue dress. I'm still looking around the shops in Central Sydney. If I happen upon a dress, what kind of size should I be buying, and what should I look out for? And if possible, how could I modify the dress to fit my obvious lack of bust?

I did find some discarded bedsheets at my shared apartment which is the perfect color and would look great after a wash. Problem is, having not much sewing experience, no sewing machine and no pattern, I don't know how to make it from scratch, if I have to.

I have a kind of skinny frame and the nature of the design means the dress won't show very much from the outside, so it doesn't have to be great, just good enough for my purpose.

#2 StarsOfCassiopeia on 2 years ago

First of all, welcome!

So women's sizes for dresses are generally really stupid, as they're a single number that's supposed to encompass a bunch of unique measurements. [URL=""]This chart[/URL] will get you started. "Bust" is the size around your chest at the nipples (but if you're gonna wear falsies, you have to factor their size in too!), waist is the same as it is for guys, and hips are the lower bony area below the waist. There are plenty of visual guides out there online to help you figure out where to measure, but once you have those three numbers, look at a dress size chart and go from there.

This dress is really simple in design, and has nearly no detailing save for the wear at the bottom. If you're just gonna mess up a dress anyways, a t-shirt dress will be a cheap way to do that, though you'll have to cut the sleeves off and maybe widen the neck a little. You might find a sundress with the right straps, and for the look you want you probably want a cotton, a linen, or some kind of a blend.

If you wanted to sew (which would guarantee a good fit if you size it correctly), that's an option. A dress like that made from bedsheets is absolutely a good beginner's project, and you can find commercial patterns for dresses at your local fabric store or on sites of patternmakers like Simplicity or McCalls.

#3 DaDevvy on 2 years ago

Thanks for the reply Cassiopeia! I kind of splurged on three different cheap dresses because each time I saw them they seemed a little bit better than the last one. Since one is striped, another has weird seams and fake pocketflaps and all of them are way too short lengthwise, I can't just wear them on their own. I pretty much expected that I'd have to use them for dress patterns if nothing else. The third one seems to be really good overall. I'll post a picture of it lying flat when I get to my computer. Occupied with cleaning up my room so I can avoid absolute carnage when I start working on cosplay.

So what I had in mind is tracing out two dress outlines on spare cloth keeping seams in mind, cutting them out and Bobby pinning them until it's to my liking and then transferring to my real material. Besides hip, waist and *cough* bust, are measurements such as shoulder to shoulder and all that really necessary? Oh yes, and what's the best method to ensure I can get in and out of it easily? I'm thinking of snap fasteners on one side of the dress at my waist area.

#4 StarsOfCassiopeia on 2 years ago

Using a piece of clothing you already own as a pattern is definitely one way to do it, but if you're really down to learn, I'd consider buying a proper sewing pattern and working off of that. Since you're probably only really adding length to the dress, that's not too bad, but trying to make major pattern modifications can result in absolute disaster for newbies. (Been there, done that, learned a lot in the process but also wound up incredibly frustrated at times).

Nope, generally it's just bust/waist/hip for dresses (in addition to length of the dress compared to your height). Shoulder to shoulder miiiiight matter for you, just because it's a crossplay. Dudes tend to have broader shoulders than women, which can sometimes cause fit issues. That being said, if the dress you're patterning off of fits you decently already, no need to worry about it at all on this one.

As for getting in and out of dresses, it depends on the material. If the fabric has enough stretch to just be pulled on over the head or stepped into/pulled up, then there generally aren't closures. If that's not the case with your final product fabric (and going off of "bedsheets" I'm pretty safe in betting that there's very little stretch), you'll need closures.

"Waist area" is super vague. Dresses aren't like pants; you have to put your closures all the way from the neckline down to about where the hips are. One of the 20-something inch zippers you can find at most fabric stores/Walmart is the length you'll need. You could also cover that same distance with snaps, but I'm betting you'll probably be putting the snaps in the back, and trying to line those up when you can't see your own backside is kind of a pain. Personally I'd go with a zipper (or if you're reaaaaaally trying to hide it, an invisible zipper). If the placement I described isn't totally clear to you, start looking at dresses from any major clothing store online, and look for back views.

PS: If you ever need to ask a specific question about patterning or closures again, you might have better luck in the sewing sub-forum. :)

#5 DaDevvy on 2 years ago

Was trying to avoid having to use a zip but I guess it's... kind of necessary?

Actually what I meant by snap fasteners on the side is having, say, some of the fabric of the dress front overlapping the back part when they meet at the side. Imagine a jacket except the opening is at my side, running from armpit all the way to the bottom. That way to wear it I slide it over my head and hold it in place with invisible fasteners. Of course I will have to take great measures not to make the dress too tight or any wild movements will... cause a problem.

#6 StarsOfCassiopeia on 2 years ago

Ahhh okay, so you were thinking about doing a side closure. That might work for this dress, but usually only works for strapless, because you'll still have to duck into the straps/put your arms through and THEN snap yourself in.

Also, if you're worried about hiding the closure, wouldn't the fur wolf cape thing hang down over your back anyways?