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Hello guys, I have a question <br /> what is the best way to make the clothes for stop motion animation?

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Comment by Ameen Noman Abdo Saif on May 29, 2021 at 9:03pm
Thank you so much
Really you are clever
Comment by StopmoNick on May 29, 2021 at 6:44pm

 The best way for you to make clothes might depend on what tools and skills you have.

So, the first way is to draw up patterns, try pinning them on the puppet to get the size right, and cut out the fabric. Maybe pin the fabric on too, and adjust, before sewing.  Place fabric together with the inside on the outside, and sew the pieces together.  Choose fabric that is thinner, and has small patterns, so it scales down.  You can look at a real pair of trousers or shirt and see how it is put together, or google sewing patterns.

I'm pretty good at sewing trousers, but always struggle with shirts and especially collars.  Jacket collars too. When you put 2 layers together, there is also the edge that folds over inside, so that makes 4 layers.  When you get to the points of the collar folding in and overlapping, you can get 8 layers thick, and it can come out thick and lumpy.  I can sew the back and two front sides together with a sewing machine, but to put the sleeves into the armholes and attach the collar I have to hand sew them on.  While the body of the shirt is inside out, as you'd expect, the sleeves should be right side out, and going in to the shirt, which caught me out the first time.  When the clothing is all sewn, turn it rightside out, iron it to flatten the seams, and put it on the puppet.

I have made a coat out of 1mm felt, which is still thick in the scale I work in, but because it doesn't fray I could make the lapel shapes in one layer with simple cut edges, and not have to join two pieces together.  It is a bit stiff, but worked better than I expected.    It was sewn together like any other garment.     

Sometimes, because my puppet are close to 1:6 scale except for bigger heads and hands, I buy ready made clothing made for 12" action figures.  I have a couple of suits, one was for a Winston Churchill figure and the other for Dr Sun Yet-Sen, that suited the period of the characters I wanted them for, and were far better made than i could do.  

But if your puppets have very stylised anatomy, like in most Laika or Aardman or Tim Burton stop motion films, each garment will need to be made to fit the shape of each character.  

A second method is to construct the clothing on the puppet - this lets you work out the sizing as you go.  I think some people glue the pieces together, and some had sew them in place.  Generally this give you rough seams with the edges on the outside, but you can fold the edge of one piece, place it over the edge of the other, and top stitch it.  It can be crude, but I think that some of the really top costume makers at Laika or McKinnon and Saunders do some of this, because the puppet is padded and the cloth needs to fit really snugly so it doesn't flutter when you animate the puppet.  If you didn't build it over the puppet you would never get it on. I haven't actually done this, so I can't give any more details.  

A third option, for the sewing-challenged, is to sculpt the clothing and make a mould. A couple of times I have sculpted and cast the whole figure as a clothed figure.  I did that for the bronze Ray-los statue in my Harryhausen tribute.  (  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxQIgPIXS0M&t=1s   First seen at 31 seconds.)  It was cast in foam latex, but could also have been done in silicone.  Another variation is to sculpt the garment, make a plaster mould, and cast a hollow skin in liquid latex, and put that on the puppet like you would a cloth garment.   I mostly use liquid latex for hats and shoes. I did make a whole space suit in hollow latex once.   

I'm sure others have found their own solutions, there is no one best way.

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