Okay, so I live in Northern Ireland. Specifically in County Down.
Unlike the USA, or Japan, we don’t have stores related to cosplay specifically, and we don’t have huge craft stores like Jo-Ann’s. God, I’d love to have somewhere to get Yaya Han’s fabric line right on my doorstep. But that’s not the case. Most of the stuff I get has to be purchased online – which is fine, unless you actually want to see the things you buy before investing your cash.
So I like to scout around in my local area first to see if I can get my materials without going online. And if I can support some local shops while I’m at it, then that’s cool by me!
Some of my resources are the following places around the Belfast area:
Although this is usually the go-to place for any costume makers or craft enthusiasts in the area, it’s not usually regarded as the cheapest (depending on the items you need). Fabric there has a decent selection, but is usually pricey. It does have a lovely area now to craft in if you feel like trying out some products. I love going here to find some of the less easy to find materials like Mod Podge or felting wool.
Sew N’ Sew
This little place is an absolute gem for all the little odds and ends you’d ever need for costume making. Everything from fabric and needles to felt, wool, buttons and buckles. And it’s all very reasonably priced. It’s a little hidden, but super worth a visit for all the little things. The fabric rolls have a smaller selection, but what they do have is well put together. I’ll admit that I love going to this place for a look around just to see if they have anything extra that could tie a cosplay together.
This place is a chain like a mini Ikea. It’s packed with small decorative items, and has plenty of materials to use for a build, including cheap, effective paints and canvases. Everything is super reasonably priced, and there’s a lot of variety in the stuff available. For the record, regular Ikea is also totally great for some cosplay bits if you know where to look.
This little nook of a shop is cool for little jewellery bits. If you need that one set of beads for a particular costume, I’d recommend checking it out to see if they have some. I also managed to easily source brooch backs and jewellery clasps from here as well – for a totally reasonable price as well.
Although this place doesn’t have fabrics, paints and brushes are easy to come by cheaply here. Would recommend if you’re planning on going past.
Definitely the largest selection of fabrics in the city. It has just about everything you’d need for a costume’s beginnings. However, it’s definitely on the pricier side for the higher quality fabrics. Which is to be expected. I’d recommend heading there if you’re looking for a particular kind of material.
Totally under utilised, charity shops are great for finding accent items, or base materials for some costumes. Belts, shoes and accessories often pop up in these places, and are very reasonably priced. It wouldn’t be the first time I got lucky and ended up with the perfect little top or dress to use to pattern my costumes with. And for anyone on a set budget, it’s definitely worth a visit to any charity shops. I head to the ones on Botanic Avenue, which are usually filled with good stuff. Everything from Oxfam and Red Cross to Marie Curie; it’s unreliable for a guaranteed score, but always cool if you get a good find.
For some of the more heavy duty projects, sometimes you just have to head to the hardware store. B&Q is usually where I get things like high quality spray paints, adhesives and EVA foam floor tiles. Any small scale tools you might need are also easy to find here, although your standard power tools are going to be more pricey than cheap ones from eBay or Amazon.
This isn’t the most exhaustive list, and I’m sure there are plenty of other places to find your odds and ends, but I think these places are the most prominent for me.
Hope this helps any of you in areas close to me to find things for yourself. And maybe it’ll give you some ideas about where you could go in your own local areas.