Black Rock Shooter Progress Photos & Tips!

Black Rock Shooter: Character Profile

[Pictured Above: Character Profile for Black Rock Shooter]

Finally I have a minute to put up a Post!!  I’ve been soooo busy with finishing the Black Rock Shooter cosplay for MTAC, I’ve had no time!  Guess I’ll never learn my lesson when I think something will be easy and take no time at all.  I guess that doesn’t exist when it comes to making costumes.  🙂

So here are a bunch of costume progress photos for Black Rock Shooter!  It was finished and debuted last weekend at MTAC 2011.  My next post will be pictures of the finished costume and about our time at MTAC.  Which is always a blast!

This project was a group cosplay done with two other amazing costumers.  One who came as Death Master and one as Black Gold Saw.  I’m never one to brag, but we really kicked ass with our costumes!  Everyone was stopping us and giving very nice compliments.  That is the best feeling!  There were also two cute little girls who dressed as our characters and got their picture with us.  It was so sweet.

I wanted to give a few tips from my sewing experience with this outfit.  Check out the photo descriptions as there is also helpful info.

First of all, this was my first time working with faux leather and vinyl!  The faux leather was used for my jacket.  The vinyl was used for my boots and bikini.


  • Some pros about the faux leather is that it doesn’t fray and you can tape your pattern to the material and cut it that way.  I felt this was much easier than pinning the pattern to the fabric.  Plus you don’t want to use pins with faux leather as much as possible because it leaves holes.  As you’ll see in some of the photos, it’s a good idea to take a pen and mark the notches so you don’t miss them and cut them off.  I did this a few times by accident and started marking them.  You definitely want to use a tape you can see through, but something that won’t stick too much or it will rip your pattern or damage the fabric.
  • The cons about this material is you can’t really iron it.  I was able to use a warm iron on a side that wouldn’t be showing, like a seam that would be folded under.  This is because it makes the faux leather lose it’s texture and get shiny.  I’m assuming if you use a hot iron, which I did not, it would melt the fabric.  Another con is it’s thick and like I said you don’t want to use pins or you’ll have a bunch of holes.  Also the sewing showing up a lot more so if you mess up it will be more noticeable.  Besides all of that, I like this material enough to work with it again.  I would love to make a Black Rock Shooter purse for next time.  😉

Vinyl also can be tricky to work with.  Similar issues to the faux leather which include not being pin friendly or iron friendly.  Unlike the faux leather, it’s very thin and stretchy.  For my boots I had to sew it and then stretch it over a thick piece of interfacing.  It was being a difficult because it kept buckling and making ripples.  Luckily I was able to figure it out.

I did have to purchase a walking foot to sew the faux leather and the vinyl.  It was very useful!!  I’m glad I purchased the foot, but it did set me back about $30.00.  I wasn’t happy that it came with no installation instructions.  Luckily my sewing machine manual did tell me how to install it.  Not difficult at all.  When I had to install the zipper I of course had to use the zipper foot for my machine.  I had no idea it would tear up the fabric.  I had read online about using tissue paper or something similar to protect the fabric.  So I cut some tracing paper into strips and put them between the zipper foot and fabric.  This worked very well and I just needed to gently tear the paper away from the sewing line once I was finished.

So in conclusion: When working with fabrics like these, it’s worth purchasing the walking foot.  Also when you have to use a different foot OR your fabric starts sliding on you, messing up your stitches, get out some tracing paper to use and it will definitely help.

Lastly, it’s always good to make a mock costume or muslin costume first because it really helps you figure out what works, what doesn’t, where you need to make adjustments before you ruin good fabric.  I know!  I know!  It takes a lot of time to make two outfits.  I agree, I can get impatient to get to the real thing, but it’s very worth it.  It’s like a practice run and when I get to the real fabric, it’s goes by faster because I know what to do and expect.  I might not do a mock up if I’m just using a pattern and not altering it, but with almost every cosplay, I end up altering the pattern or combining patterns.

After those tips were so long and wordy, I hope they were helpful!

Now I can’t wait for all of our costume photos to come out!  Squeee!!!!!

-Little Kat

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  1. Great pictures and tips! I might have to look into getting a walking foot… did your sewing machine keep skipping stitches like mine did? Did the walking foot help? I ended up using brown craft paper in between fabric layers to get the machine to stop skipping stitches, but it didn’t always work out.

    Muslin mock-ups drive me crazy, but you’re right–they’re totally worth it. I used mine to draft patterns of my shorts and the front of my jacket onto some of that brown paper, so I didn’t have to cut up my original patterns (too much. heh.)

    Your boots looked fantastic! Zippers are EVIL, and you did a great job inserting yours.

  2. Sorry! I thought I wrote you back on this, but I believe my Iphone failed me when I attempted to post the reply. 🙂 Thank you! My machine did skip when the right side was facing up and out. When I had right sides of faux leather facing each other with backside facing out (meaning I could see the wrong side) it was fine. The walking foot definitely helped, I do recommend it. So I did go to use the tracing paper when I had right sides out. Just because they wanted to slide which caused skipped stitches. 🙂

    Zippers are evil!

  3. What did you use for the star? Did you have one?

  4. Hello! Sorry for the late reply! I cut the star out of vinyl and my friend used her embroidery machine to do the edges. 🙂

  5. Yoruno Tsukiko

    Hi ^-^ Um, I was just wondering what you used for the jacket pattern. Did you make it yourself, or did you buy one? If you bought one, do you know what company and what the serial number is? And if you made it yourself, would you possibly consider selling the pattern to me?? Your cosplay looks awesome, by the way ^-^ Thanks =)

  6. Hello! Thank you for the nice words. I customized a pattern. It was the costume pattern for the jacket from the movie The Matrix! Unfortunately this has been a while back and I don’t think I have all of the custom pieces still. You should be able to Google that pattern or find it in the pattern books at your local craft store and customizing the pattern is of course the hardest part. I always buy a big bolt of muslin(which is cheap fabric) to make a mock up. As long as you have time to work on it, then you can make mock ups and you can fine tune it till you get it the way you want. Thank you for the message! 🙂

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