DIY: Creative Costume Design

With Halloween right around the corner it’s time to carve some pumpkins, resist eating all the candy and, of course, prepare your costume. 

It’s a time to let your creativity shine as you transform yourself into something else, but if the idea of creating your own costume has you in a panic, fear not, EPL has resources to help! From sewing guides to inspiring images, the origin of Halloween to the history of fashion, EPL has something for all your costuming queries. 

Have an idea for a costume, but need some tips on how to make it a reality? We have a wide variety of books, eBooks, videos and databases for you to peruse. The Vogue/Butterick Step-by-step Guide to Sewing Techniques is one of the classic, go-to books in the sewing world, to answer your technical questions. Learn how to insert a zipper, add a pocket to your creation or what exactly it means when a pattern tells you to sew a French seam, all in one easy to use A-Z guide. Interested in diving deeper into the work of practical costume making? Check out our Theatre Performance and Design database. This massive database includes thousands of items including reference books, articles, sketches and essays on the topic of designing costumes for theatre and other performance arts that will help you create a costume out of your wildest dreams. 

If you’re feeling confident in your sewing skills but are lacking inspiration, EPL also has your back. While there are many books available that highlight the wonders of cosplay (a portmanteau of costume play), a great place to start is 1,000 Incredible Costume and Cosplay Ideas co-edited by popular cosplay pattern maker, Yaya Han. This eBook contains a collection of photos of amateur and professional cosplayers that will be sure to spark ideas. But if you’re looking for sewing inspiration that is less fandom-centric, why not borrow a copy of Project Runway from the Library? This hit series, originally hosted by supermodel Heidi Klum, sees contestants compete to create clothing and costumes with limited time and resources.  

If the idea of a sewing machine fills you with fright, we have other books which may be more up your alley. Perhaps you’d like to tackle your costuming dreams through the use of duct tape? Or maybe you’re more comfortable with knitting needles in your hand? There’s something for everyone in the collection, including ideas for children’s costumes 

Perhaps you’re more interested in learning about the history of costumes and their link to Halloween. Why do we dress up every October 31? Where do some of these traditions originate? A good place to start is in the books of Lisa Morton, The Halloween Encyclopedia and Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween, where she delves into some of these questions and provides insight into the popularity of this holiday. If you’re interested in fashion more broadly you might also enjoy browsing the history of fashion subject heading in our collection. Here you’ll find books, eBooks, videos and more on topics ranging from sumptuary laws to clothes that made history to secrets of the royal wardrobe, all available with your library card. 

 Whether you like to create for yourself or explore the ever-shifting trends of fashion, EPL is happy to connect you with all the resources you need.

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