The Summer con season is here!  Have you started your costume yet? Well here’s a simple method to help make patterns!

What you’ll need:

  • Graph paper
  • pen or fine tip marker
  • pencil (colored pencils work great as well)
  • Poster paper (with or with out grid, grid helps)
  • large ruler

To start, you’ll need the graph paper and a pencil.  What you’r going to do is draw a smaller pattern on the graph paper, each square on the paper representing a 1×1 inch. This will help you plan and layout your pattern without wasting a bunch of paper.  I’ts also much easier to draw it on a smaller scale and then scale up.  Once you have your dimensions figured out, transfer those to the graph paper.  For example, here I am drawing up a torso, This is only the front half.  I have pre planed that the front half and the back half will be separate pieces and buckle on the sides.  So for this I will need the length, and then half of the circumference of the torso.  So on the graph paper I mark out my dimensions, and having my reference images handy on my computer, I sketch it out.  This doesn’t have to look pretty, because once you figure it out, you can transfer it to another sheet with cleaner lines.

Once you have it all figured out and cleaned up, mark dots as guide points.  This will help you when scaling it up.  Here is where the colored pencils will help.  When drawing out a rough pattern, use light color, or even color code different parts of the costume.  Then you can go over it with a pen and better define the lines.  You’ll also only need to draw half , as long as what your making is not asymmetrical.


Now get out your poster paper.  I’m using some stuff I got at the store for gaming that happens to have one inch squares already on it, alternatively Michael’s and most craft or art stores will sell poster paper with grids or lines on it.  I have found stuff at Micheal’s with 1/2 inch grid lines on it.  If you can’t find any with a grid already on it, then grab that big ruler and get to work, draw your lines light, and in another color helps.

Mark your center line, as long as your piece is symmetrical. And start transferring those dots.

Now play connect the dots!  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and adjust the pattern as you go.  If you are at all worried, a good rule of thumb is to always over measure and give yourself extra, because you can always take away material, adding material….well, not really so simple.  After a while you’ll have something like this (below).  Again, if it’s symmetrical, then you can just flip it to get the other half.


If your pattern is on thin paper, it helps to use spray adhesive and put it on something thicker like a card stock.  Alternatively, you could pin down the pattern while you transfer it.

Good luck with all of your costuming endeavors, and stay tuned for more great tips and project updates!