- Cost. Latex is a very expensive material, and ranges from about $15 (for the low quality stuff) to up to $40 a yard or meter.
- Difficulty. You can’t use typical garment patterns as-is with latex. Some patterns can be altered to work with latex, but it often requires a bit of creative thinking, especially when trying to follow a pattern’s instructions. Patterns also have to be modified to accommodate the stretch of the latex.
- Sewing Machine Withdrawals. Seams in latex are glued, not sewn, so it requires a bit of learning if you are used to sewing your cosplays.
- Discomfort. Some people love wearing latex, it fits like a second skin. The biggest problem is that latex does not breathe at all, and you will get sweaty wearing it. It doesn’t make you feel hot, necessarily, it mostly just tends to build up sweat underneath, which can be uncomfortable, especially when wearing it all day at a con.
- NSFW Stores. Latex clothing is big in the fetish community, and most stores that sell latex are aware of this. Occasionally you will run into adult content when shopping for latex products, so if this is an issue for you, you may want to go a different route.
But latex has a few qualities that I feel makes it worth all of that.
- No wrinkles. I’m currently working on Asuka’s plugsuit from Neon Genesis Evangelion, and I am using a latex catsuit from Libidex as a base. I have often seen this cosplay done out of PVC, which tends to bunch up in all the wrong places and doesn’t have the smooth look that Asuka’s plugsuit has. Latex is the ideal material for most catsuit (bodysuit) cosplays.
- Shiny (or not). PVC is often used in cosplay, but it often has an artificial “too shiny” look, which makes it hard to photograph. Latex is shined with lubricants, and tends to have a more natural appearance. You can also choose to go without shining lubricants (like I did for Faye) for a different look.
- Stretch. Latex stretches naturally and is hard to tear on a well-made garment. Other materials, like 4-way stretch PVC, tend to crack if you stretch them too much, and can’t achieve the “skin tight” look that latex can.
What You Will Need:
- A good rotary cutter with a sharp blade
- A rotary mat
- Rubber cement (I use the regular Elmer’s Rubber Cement you can get just about anywhere)
- Fragrance-free talc (for storage and to help you put the garment on)
- Latex shiner – conditions and shines the latex, can also be used as a lubricant for dressing. I use Pjur Cult, it’s the standard in the latex industry. Even if you choose to wear your latex un-shined, you should still have some shiner on hand for dressing and for keeping your latex in good condition.
Where to Buy Latex by the Yard/Meter
My absolute favorite latex. Softest, easiest to work with (curls less when glue is applied), and has less of that “dentist office” smell. Unfortunately they’re really pricy and they have a 5 yard minimum order but worth it if you can afford it.
US seller. Good selection of colors and more affordable prices. Quality is not as nice as Supatex but it’s good for cosplay projects, etc. They also sell shine, notions, PVC, and rotary cutters/mats, etc.
I love this latex because this is the whitest white latex I have found. I used their white for my latex maid uniform.
Elastica Engineering/Kink Engineering
This website sells some handy starter kits that come with sheet latex in your choice of color. I used one of their kits when I was starting out.
UK-based eBay store, ships to the US. Colors and selection vary with availability.
Where to Buy Pre-Made Latex Pieces
For certain items (like gloves), latex is molded and can’t be made without professional equipment. For pieces like this and for certain “base” items (plain stockings, catsuits, gloves, leggings, etc that can be modified) it is often easier to buy a pre-made piece and modify it rather than make it yourself. For these purposes, I’d recommend the following sites:
Libidex offers made-to-order custom items in a wide range of colors. Visit their Latex Express section for lower-cost pre-made items. I used a Libidex Princess Catsuit for my Asuka Langley Soryuu plugsuit.
Lots of nice chlorinated (easy to slip on) latex pieces. I have a few pairs of gloves from Catalyst that I love.
Lots of beginner project ideas.
Lots of guides and videos on making, wearing, and caring for latex clothing and PVC.
Explains how to use latex with regular clothing patterns.