Often times the anime character, or even big poofy ballgown, that we’re trying to copy doesn’t have realistic dimensions. In order to get a look that feels right, proportioning plays a huge part.

First off, you’re going to need some basic math. (Your algebra teacher would be so proud!)

Ok, now you gotta fill in the blanks you know. Usually we go with the height of the cosplayer as a known quantity and solve for the width. So do that fun cross-multiply thing, and you’ll figure out how wide you need to be.

Example #1

This dress is from a stage show in Japan. Aimee wanted to make this dress so we measured the reference picture and found that the dress is as wide as the actress is tall. So that was pretty simple: Aimee is 6 feet tall, so her dress has to be 6 feet wide.

And while that sounds ridiculous big… (look you can fit 3-4 people under here!)

When it was done, it looked the right proportions in relation to Aimee.

Example #2

Now for something a little more complicated: AJ’s Astharoshe armor. The problem was how to make that armor ‘apron’ in proportion to the wearer. (We’ll just ignore that it’s kind of a silly way to design armor to begin with.) =D

First thing to do is to measure out the armor sections on the reference picture. You can do this by printing out the picture and grabbing a ruler and marking it. In some cases, you’ll have to fudge the measurements a bit. Like in this reference picture, she’s turned to the side so the armor is not even from the left to the right. Just guestimate and it’ll be fine.Now comes the math part. The entire armor piece measures 3.75 inches long in the reference picture and we want it to be 21 inches long on the wearer. We decide this by measuring the person (AJ!) from where the armor would start on her to where it would stop and got 21 inches.

Plug the numbers into the equation and solve. So if we were figuring out the very bottom piece of the armor apron, we would use 3/4 inch as the ‘length of the amor piece’ and solve for x.

Do this for all the pieces and you’ll have your numbers for how big the actual pieces will need to be. Then you can draft out your pieces on paper (be they armor, or clothing patterns) and it’ll look in proportion to the original design.

And here is the final product made using the drafted patterns!