New to costuming and cosplay or wanting to get started in the craft?  Be sure to take a look at the “Basic” classes for ways to get started!  A whole track of basic classes will be offered as a Basics Major and will cover just some of the ways you can make your own costumes.


Skill Guide

  • Basic: No experience to some experience in costuming.  Get started in a new technique!
  • Intermediate: Some to a good amount of experience.  Improve in your skills and take the next step!
  • Advanced: Good experience and beyond.  You’ve made a lot and are ready to make even more!

The Secrets UnderneathIntermediate – This is about all the parts of a costume that no one sees. What should go under a costume to make the look correct from corsets and different shaped hoop skirts to what holds up big sleeves and collars? What kind of inside fabrics and materials are needed to achieve the desired results?

What Size am I?Basic – How did we end up with the nonsensical measuring chart we have today for commercial sewing patterns? The history of sizing and how to correctly measure yourself to determine what size pattern to use.

How to Combine Commercial PatternsIntermediate – Working with half sized versions of commercial sewing patterns, participants will learn how to put together the parts from two or more patterns to create original costumes. Learn to put the sleeve from one pattern into the armhole of another along with some basic pattern manipulation techniques.

Sewing with Sheila:  Sleeves!Intermediate/Advanced – Learn to set sleeves like a pro!  Watch the demos and learn how to determine fit, and tips for the best ways to ease and gather.  Learn about sleeve support (foundations and headers), and the different kinds of shoulder pads.

Sewing with Sheila:  Buttons, snaps, Velcro, oh my! Which Closure to use?Basic/Intermediate – This class will focus on closures, and the many different kinds of hardware available today. From basic zippers, snaps, and Velcro, to specialty hooks and tapes, to the new magnets used in professional theatre.  Learn which closure works best for what application and which fabric.

Sewing with Sheila:  The sewing machine, for complete beginners!Basic – Would you like to learn to sew, but have no idea how to get started?  This class will help you get up and running. Before you can learn to make clothing, or alter your store-bought clothes, you must learn the basics of machine operation, seam construction, and what supplies and tools you will need.  Some sewing machines will be supplied to allow for hands-on interaction and applied learning.

Sewing with Sheila: Quick Fixes and Repairs – Basic/Intermediate -  Five minutes to curtain and your hem is out, the zipper breaks, and a large hole has appeared in the knee. What to do???? Learn some quick pro fixes as well as proper repair techniques to keep your costumes in good usable shape. We will also learn how to do on-the-spot pinning for runway shows and masquerades.

Foam-Smithing 101Basic – Join Ben Watkins of Aterman Props for an introduction to one of the latest trends in costuming, EVA foam. Foam can be used to build armor, weapons, and other accessories. You will have the opportunity to create your own pattern for a costume piece, and see how it all comes together from start to finish.

Worbla: Detailing for BeginnersBasic/Intermediate – Alright! So you have your armor made and shaped and all ready to paint! This workshop’s goal is to introduce different painting techniques and supplies and introduce aspiring costume makers or curious cats to making plain old looking plastic look like realistic, eye-popping costume pieces!

Advanced Worbla TechniquesIntermediate/Advanced – This panel will have a short introduction to Worbla and its basic uses. After the introduction, we’ll discuss popular techniques to create armor, weapons, and other props. We will explain how to combine jewels, electronics, various sculpting materials, and cast pieces with Worbla to create elaborate designs. We’ll do a short demonstration on how to combine various items. There will be various tools on hand that are used when working with Worbla as well as samples for participants to take with them. There will be a Q&A after the speaking portion of the panel.

Wig StylingBasic – This panel covers several wig styling basics such as cutting, spiking, wefting, and curling.

Advanced Wig StylingIntermediate – This panel covers some more advanced styling techniques such as using Foam Core, adding unique hairlines to wigs, and Dyeing.

Fosshape Victorian Top HatBasic/Intermediate – With easy step-by-step instruction, students learn how to create a fast, cost effective alternative to the blocked felt version of this important accessory.

Pros and Cons of 3D PrintingIntermediate/Advanced – It’s all in the name! This panel will be a discussion of where 3D printing excels, and where it falls flat. We will also be comparing 3D printed props to the end products of equivalent techniques, and providing a bare-bones explanation of how you can get started in 3D printing.

Cosplay Lighting 101Intermediate/Advanced – This panel will cover the basics of using LED lighting to add that extra wow factor to you costumes and props. We will discuss what kinds of LEDs to use and also where to purchase them. We will also be discussing voltage, batteries, installation and diffusing techniques. This 1 hour course will teach you basic techniques and give some basic in site on how to get started to making you stuff even more amazing!

Mascot CosplayIntermediate/Advanced – Have you ever wanted to make yourself into a robot, werewolf, or some other crazy creature? When you get into Mascot making, you branch out quite a bit from traditional means of costume making and start thinking outside the sewing box. This panel will teach you the basics of designing a mascot style cosplay based on the proportions of your body, and will cover materials and equipment, as well as tips and tricks to bring the unthinkable to life. This panel will be structured in Q&A format, meaning we cater our panel to the needs of the audience.

No Sew Cosplay: Who Says You Can’t Cosplay If You Don’t Sew!? – Sponsored by www.costumesupercenter.comBasic/Intermediate – Participants will learn how to take a packaged costume and modify them to make them their own.  Alexa Heart will discuss weathering, replacing costume pieces, modifying pieces to fit, creating accessories, and more! During the panel we will be modifying an Assassins Creed costume from There will be a short Q&A and some hands on demonstrations toward the end of the panel.

A Close Up Look at the Fashions of Sherlock Holmes and Downton Abbey; Genuine Articles of Clothing From the Late 1800’s Through 1918 – Intermediate/Advanced – This presentation is an opportunity to view a collection actual garments from the Victorian, Edwardian periods and through turbulent times of the World War I and just after. It includes a discussion of the fashions and fabrics of the times and how these were influenced by their times. This is a chance to view these garments at a distance that would never be afforded to you at museums and to marvel at the level of detail, workmanship and to see the “skeleton” of these garments by looking at underside of the garments. This insight can give you the knowledge to take your next project from being costuming to being historical clothing.

Fabric Exchange – Open Event – What started off as 4 bolts of fabric has now become a fantastic costume plus some spare bits and pieces.  But what do you do with those spare cuts?  Try trading them at our Fabric Exchange with other attendees!  Bring in your spare bits of trim, buttons or hardware, and fabric that you don’t need anymore and see if someone else may need them.  Or, if there are no takers, we will happily assist in your spring cleaning by taking them off your hands and taking them to the Fabric Recyclers

Study Hall & Open Chat – Feel free to stop into the Cahokian room throughout the day to see some costuming literature or displays.  After 12 p.m., some of our sewing machines will be available for free use for further learning and practice, or even feel free to bring in a piece of a costume and work on it.  There will also be some set times where speakers will be available for questions and socializing.  Scheduled times to be announced soon.