If you’ve followed along on one of my sew-a-longs, or read any of my how-to blogs, or know me, by now you’ll be aware that I really like preparing and researching. Like. Probably too much.

What you’ll Need

  • Open mind
  • Access to the internet
  • a moodboard tool

Optional for Traditional Media lovers:

  • books or magazines
  • camera (like on your phone)
  • scissors
  • tape or glue
  • pencil crayons, paint or markers*
  • fabric, whatever

*Note: markers don’t play well with tape


Get Moody

When it comes to making a mood board, we have a lot of options. There’s the digital kind, using tools like Pinterest or Matboard, or old fashioned messy-crafty-collages and mixed media. If it works for you, there’s no real ‘wrong’ way to do it.


In this case, I went with Pinterest because I already have an account that I actively use for mood boards and inspiration, and also for saving pretty pictures. I’m looking at transferring to Matboard, since they have a similar set up but focuses on attribution to the original artists. This is a huge deal, especially with Pinterest’s rampant reposting of art with no credit to who actually MADE the original art.

I’ve shared three screen-grabs of my various mood boards here, to give you an idea of how I work. Top left to bottom right: Opal witch, Jade witch, Vulptex. While not everything on my moodboard will be used in the final design, you can check out the Crait Fox board to see what I’ve chosen to save to it. I tend to focus on shapes and textures the most, colours can be changed and mixing shapes and textures is always fun.


Don’t be afraid to get messy. If you prefer the hands-on approach, go to your local thrift store and check out the books and magazines for anything that catches your eye. Then don’t be afraid to cut it up and glue it into a sketchbook.


The above image is from Studentartguide.com which also has some great examples of fashion sketchbooks, even if it’s geared towards students looking to apply to fashion design programs.

Below there’s a more developed stage of the inspiration process, where the artist is starting to translate the inspiration into patterns and fabric choices.


This sketchbook layout is by Nude on Broadstreet, and you can see the full set on her blog. It’s a great example of taking inspiration from something non-garment related and exploring ideas from that inspiration.

I haven’t done a physical exploration of Vulptex yet but I plan to as part of next week’s post. If the weather allows me to make it out to a thrift store, that is. Lately it’s either Freeze-your-eyelashes-cold or snowmaggedon.

What to look for

When you’re building your moodboard, consider different aspects of the costume:

What kind of shape evokes your inspiration?

  • The Vulptex is spiky, but sleek. The crystals follow a grain, much like fur does. It has wonderful long ears and a floofy/spiky tail. So while there’s volume and spikes to consider, a ballgown skirt wouldn’t suit the Crait critter. (That’s the planet it’s found on. Crait.)
  • I haven’t settled on a single shape yet, but I know that I’d like to have the volume on either the top or the bottom of the garment. NOT BOTH.
  • Ashi has great shapes. I’m pretty sure this line will become the main inspiration for this costume.

Mohammed Ashi designs, fall/winter 2015

  • I also have a soft spot for asymmetrical design elements when it comes to organic/natural shapes. Still, the fox isn’t asymmetrical… so I might have to suppress this urge for the time being.

What textures would work for you? Which do you LIKE?

  •  While I could consider doing a body suit like The Blonds’s ‘Psycho Beach Party‘ line (below) that’s not… what I felt like designing.


  • Don’t be afraid to deviate from a literal interpretation of your inspiration to a looser idea. There’s a reason I’m calling it inspiration and not ‘costume source’.
  • While I like the crystal and icy look of The Blonds’s suit above, I would only use the technique sparingly in my design. I’d prefer to use fabric manipulation and pleating to get the feel of the crystal ‘fur’.
  • The pleats on this dress from Ashi’s Fall/Winter 2015 line worked for me better than the heavy crystal beads:


Colour palettes

  • the Vulptex is kind of … bland colour wise. It’s clear, it’s made of crystal. I could choose to stick with one colour and focus on textures, using shapes, beads and embroidery to create interest.
  • If you like the colours of an image but you’re not sure of how to pull the individual colours out, check out Colorpalettes.net
  • I think, though, I’ll go with this option, though. I like the mix of lavender and greys:


Imagery that might not be directly related to your inspiration, but that you feel is similar or offers you something inexplicable that benefits your inspiration

  • For the fox, instead of just searching for salt (which actually just forms squares….#science!) I looked for some similar shapes and inspiring images like chandeliers, quartz crystals and beading.

beautiful-large-chandelier-lighting-adele-crystal-large-chandelier-pottery-barnchandelier by pottery barn

Fabrics and materials

  • We don’t need to make any decisions just yet about what kind of materials we plan to use, but if you see a type of fabric that really inspires you, or fits with what you’re looking for, get a screen-grab or save the link if it’s online. If it’s in person, ask the fabric store if you can get a swatch.

Images of the inspiration itself (if applicable.)

  • I find it helpful to save pictures of the inspiration to my mood board, although in some cases this isn’t always possible. Especially if you’re using a myth or intangible idea, but if you find an illustration or piece of art that embodies your idea, save it to the mood board. With artist credit, obviously.

Makeup? Wigs?

  • It’s not always a priority, but I really like to look for interesting makeup looks like this cute fox,


  • or these icy looks in Google’s search results. I’m particularly digging the silver and black look on the top left.


That’s all for this week, go forth, find pretty things, and I would love to see what you’re coming up with <3. You can either share a link in the comments below or share a post on my facebook page.

Join me next week for:

Part 2 – Sketches and Concept Development

xox Calamity

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