Low to highLearning Curve:
Easy to hard
Fabric has many, many uses in making mecha costumes, and is perhaps one of the most versatile materials. It can be used to make body suits that run the full range of complexity, it can be used to make interior support systems for heavier and more complex rigs, and coupled with other materials, it can be used to make many kinds of armor pieces. SUGGESTED USESSPANDEX
"Spandex is a luxury, not a right!"
Lycra and spandex are fabrics with a lot of stretch and are commonly used to make bodysuits that go underneath armor pieces, and they usually come in two varieties: the kind that is meant to be seen, and the kind that isn't. The visible type of suit is meant to be part of the costume itself, and may incorporate colors, patterns, or other decoration to mimic streamlined armor parts. The kind that is meant to be hidden, however, is oftentimes a matte black to minimize the visibility of the wearer underneath the costume. This is not always the case, though. Sometimes another solid color is better suited than black depending on the character.
Some spandex make for very nice armor pieces as well. The metallic spandex
in particular has a fantastic finish, though even regular or matte are useful in achieving certain looks.
The downsides to this family of fabrics, however, is that they are synthetic and do not allow your skin to breathe very well, sometimes involving mildly uncomfortable situations where sweat is concerned. And because they have a lot of stretch, they are also difficult to sew. VINYL
Vinyl is a little more difficult to work with than spandex, though is often used in a different way. The kind of vinyl that lends itself best to this area of costuming is "wet-look" or PVC, because it has a shiny, smooth, plastic finish to it that mimics painted metal or plastic very well.
Because of the nature of this fabric, you won't really find anyone attempting to sew it, which is also why it is most popularly used in the vinyl over foam method or armor-making, and the best results usually come when working it with glues rather than needle and thread.
Unfortunately, vinyl does not have much stretch at all, and marks are very visible on its otherwise spotless finish. Planning seams when covering armor pieces with it also takes skill and practice, and many glues do not work well with binding it to foam.OTHERS
The great thing about this brand of cosplay is the freedom to use whatever materials we can get our hands on to make good looking pieces. Cotton broadcloth
has been used to great success in a similar fashion to spandex, with the added bonus of being very cheap and easy to sew.Tissue lame
can also be used to make see-thru optics, and due to being very metallic, it almost has a bright, day-glo effect in flash photos.
The sky's the limit as far as fabric goes, and the learning curve for some methods are so beginner-friendly that you might consider using it as your main means of construction for your first foray into robot cosplay. RELEVANT TOPICSBody SuitsVinyl Buying GuidePilot's Vinyl-over-Foam TutVelocity's Fabric-over-Foam TutEXTERNAL LINKSTUTORIALSGoldy's VOF TutCosplay.com VOF TutDifferences Between Fabric Types (PVC family)RETAILERSMJTrends
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