Are you looking to buy your cosplaying friend a gift? Or are you a cosplayer looking to expand your knowledge base through books? You’ve come to the right place! Below I will list some books I recommend for those trying to learn new techniques for making new things! I personally hoard books, so I own and have read most of these. If you have any additional recommendations you think I should add, please let me know!
How to use this guide: Simply click on the type of craft you are looking for below to open a new panel. Navigate through my selections by choosing a sub-category at the top of the panel. Once you find something you’re interested in, click on the image or the title to be redirected to the store page for that item!
This section is for everything and anything fabric!
For those just getting into sewing, this book is a great place to start! Even those with some experience could easily learn a lot from this book. It is often used as a textbook and is very comprehensive on sewing techniques.
Looking to get into sewing with a serger? Well, they’re really hard! You’re probably going to need a guide, which is exactly what this is.
A book filled with stitches to get you going on your embroidery designs. Find new fills, lines, textures and designs to play with and bring some interest to your embroidery!
Want to add some sparkle or more texture to your embroidery? Just add beads! I love doing beads in my embroidery, as it makes it stand out as something that must have been done by hand. Bead embroidery has a unique appearance, distinct from machine embroideries.
Ribbon Embroidery can be used to add raised details and new textures to your embroidery.
A book about embroidery and fabric embellishment.
The Art of Manipulating Fabric
As the title says, it’s a book about manipulating fabric! Bring your fabric into the 3rd dimension through creative folds, pleats and more..
Another great book on manipulating fabric. Use pleats, folds, gathers and more to give your fabric some texture!
A book about manipulating your fabric into various textures. Use cutting, pleating, stitching and more to give your fabric texture and design.
I personally adore this book – it has patterns for many different textures and designs, and includes instructions for a few projects. It’s where I got the pattern for the scales on my Ladi Loki bodysuit!
A more advanced look at fabric manipulation- using some unconventional techniques such as soldering.
A Field Guide to Fabric Design
A guide to designing for fabric! Everything from the design process, to multiple techniques of getting your design onto the fabric itself.
Spoonflower has recently gotten popular in the cosplay community as a service for making your own fabric designs for cosplay. Many fabric designs are already available, but for those who wish to design their own, sometimes you need a little help!
Shibori is a resist-dye technique to create patterns on fabric. Basically, sophisticated tie-dye!
A guide to hand-decorating techniques for fabric – from stamps to stencils and beyond! If you don’t have money for fancy equipment or a printing service, these methods are very affordable and add a hand-made charm to your fabric.
Patternmaking for Fashion Design
This book is a wonderful introduction to using flat pattern design to make any outfit you want! It is a godsend for cosplayers trying to make complicated outfits that just don’t have a pattern available.
Pattern magic is a magical book that teaches you how to add intricate shapes, flounces and more into your patterns. Create garments that make people go “how did you do that with fabric!?”
I love this series so much, I’m giving each book it’s own entry. Book 2 in Pattern Magic – teaching you to add amazing shapes to your patterns.
The third book in the Pattern Magic series.
Pattern Magic – Stretch Fabrics
This entry in the Pattern Magic series looks specifically at designing with stretch fabrics.
I bought this pattern with the intent of using it for one costume – Lady Loki. I have so far used it 3 times in just a few months, using it for Blanche and my Faerie Dragon as well. I am sure I will get much, much more use out of it – it’s insanely versatile. Two sizes: 6-12, 14-22.
Patterns of Fashion 1: 1660-1860
Patterns for historical dresses from the period of 1660-1860. If you are looking for accurate patterns for historical dresses, Janet Arnold is the costume historian for you! I even used these books in my costume history class in university. These patterns are all taken from historical garments kept in museums and are recorded just as the original garment. For additional information about any of the garments listed here, it is possible to contact the museum that owns it and request more information or pictures of it. If you’re looking for historically accurate, this series is about as accurate and authentic as you can get!
Patterns of Fashion 2: 1860-1940
Patterns for historical dresses from the period of 1860-1940. I am using this book for the patterns of all of my historical eeveelutions dresses! These patterns are historically accurate and well documented, so they are perfect for creating your own historical outfits.
Patterns of Fashion 3: 1560-1620
Patterns for historical costume for both men and women from 1560-1620.
This volume is a little bit different than the previous three, as it looks at shirts, collars, and other accessories. The patterns are for both men and women, in the period of 1540-1660.
In the Shop
This section is for those who like to make things! Whether that be props and armor, or cool decorations – these books will teach you to make fun things!
No cosplay book guide would be complete without an entry from Kamui Cosplay! Coming out soon is her complete guide to costume making, so I just had to include it. Also available are her guides for worbla, props and everything else armor related – click here to see them all!
The definitive guide to foam armor making. If you want to learn to make professional level foam armor, this is the book for you! Bill is a friend of mine and his work is amazing.
The second Foamsmith book, taking a look at making weapons. Hands down the best and most comprehensive source for working with foam!
A look at making props and costumes from Make. I haven’t personally read this one YET, but I’ve heard great things!
Make: Getting Started with 3D Printing
3D printing has been taking the cosplay and maker worlds by storm. Get onboard with a guide to help you get started!
If you’re going to get into 3D printing, learning to design your own projects will take you to another level. Yes, lots of models are available online – but you don’t want to be limited, do you?
Take your 3D modeling skills to the next level! The most important part of great 3D printed projects is a great 3D model to start from.
Make: 3D CAD with Autodesk 123D
Autodesk 123D is the first 3D design program I used, and it’s a great place to start learning how to 3D model!
Books on makeup to help you become an unidentifiable shape shifter through makeup!
A great resource for all kinds of makeup!
I’ll admit that I don’t actually know who Bobbi Brown is, but this book is a good look at beauty makeup.
A guide to applying makeup and styling.
The Complete Guide to Special Effects Makeup
As the title says, it is a book about every aspect of special effects makeup!
Special Effects Makeup: Making and Applying Prosthetics
A guide to making and applying prosthetics, as the title says! Make your nose bigger, or turn your friend into a dragon, through the magical power of makeup prosthetics.
This page has affiliate links. To learn more about affiliate links, click here.
Pingback: Holiday Gift Guide for Cosplayers | Dorothy Thicket