if you love avatar the last airbender and you’ve always wanted to try creating your own Aang cosplay, or if you hadn’t thought about it before and now you’re thinking, “Actually, that sounds sick”, here’s your chance. Instagram influencer and cosplayer tipsy_pig, aka S. Harriet Rhodes, shares her step-by-step instructions for cosplaying Aang your way, complete with design illustrations, patterns, and tips. …
Ropa de Aang
Aang had several outfit changes throughout the three seasons of avatar the last airbender. Whether traveling to a destination or on the run, the Chosen One has sometimes been forced to wear alternate disguises or outfits, depending on the circumstances. While he begins the series in the traditional clothing of Air Nomad monastic boys, signifying the beginning of his journey and his immaturity, he closes it out with his iconic one-shoulder shawl/sash ensemble.
This outfit is equally symbolic. Part of the senior Air Nomad monk uniform, it indicates Aang’s growth, maturity, and more robust skill set as the final battle and series finale nears. It’s also part of the battle suit: we see him ritually emerge in these new clothes as the group prepares to face the Fire Lord during Book 3. In the same sequence, Aang’s allies also adopt their own “armor” of battle, including the flying bison sidekick, Appa. To Aang, his suit is the clothing of the Avatar in full, ready as he is to put his knowledge and skills to use and save the world. Significantly, his Avatar attire also includes the Fire Nation clothing he “borrows” from a clothesline in season 3 episode 2, in particular the pants and boots. The Avatar, of course, has mastery of all four bending abilities (air, water, earth, and fire) and must become proficient in all of them to fulfill his destiny.
Of course, practically, Aang needed new clothes since his outfit was torn to shreds in the fight with Azula in the season 2 finale. And he couldn’t wear his Fire Nation costume forever. But that is too prosaic an explanation for us.
How to make an Aang costume
1. Design the costume
Harriet designed the outfit first, so you should too. Alternatively, you can use their design. He sketched out the final look so that he would have a picture of the finished build to refer to, and so he could determine what modifications and additions he felt he needed to make. Harriet wanted to include the Avatar Cycle emblems on the belt and add an Air Nomad clasp, which practically helped hide the seams and keep everything in place, and also mirrored the pendants worn by the older monks. You can also incorporate them into your costume.
It’s a great idea to write down the measurements you need to work on this initial layout or, like Harriet, you can make copies of your sketch to help make your construction easier to trace. The following diagrams illustrate the measurements you need to take so you can calculate the amount of fabric you need for each component.
2. Make Aang’s shirt
Aang’s one-armed shirt and overall appearance are meant to echo the Dalai Lama’s appearance, as are the Air Nomad colors he wears. This conveys the idea of a fully accomplished Avatar and aligns Aang with other characteristics of the Buddhist spiritual leader.
“I wanted the jersey to be comfortable and practical for long periods of time, like on the cons. So I made a single arm shirt with a separate segment sewn on top, giving the illusion of his shirt,” says Harriet. This means you can minimize layers that could become uncomfortable and hot.
Aang’s yellow shirt is a basic cloth wrap, but this isn’t very functional when you need to wear the costume for an extended period of time and really move around in it.
To make a basic one-shoulder tank top, cut two pieces of fabric from a piece of yellow breathable cotton according to your personal measurements (as taken in the previous step) and the pattern (left) below. The second piece you cut should mirror the first so that when you sew them together, they create the front and back sides of the top. Following the pattern, sew along the sides and top, leaving the neckline, armhole and bottom of garment open. Hem along bottom and armhole.
To make the draped sleeve segment, follow the pattern to the right, shown above. Using the measurements given, cut two rectangular pieces of fabric from the same yellow cotton material and sew them together on all sides except one of the short sides. Flip the fabric over, then sew the open side closed. You should now have a neatly finished rectangle of fabric ready to sew onto your basic shirt piece.
Lay your rectangle of fabric over the shoulder of the t-shirt, with the center of your length of fabric sitting on top of the shoulder. You should have one side covered by the front of the shirt and one side covered by the back with the ends hanging loose. Now you need to attach this piece.
On each side of the top, pin the piece of fabric to the center of the shirt only along the short edges at the corners, as seen in the image below.
Then sew it across the top where it folds over the shoulder to the shoulder of the t-shirt, as seen here:
“This allows for a full range of motion,” says Harriet. “Make sure the sleeve segment is sewn in the center front and back, as this will ensure the wrap covers where it joins.”
3. Do Aang’s Wrap
Start with about two meters of orange fabric; you may need a little more or less depending on your shoulder to knee measurement. Fold the material along each edge, then add pleats to the two shorter ends. This can be done quite easily using a fork. Watch the technique in the next video.
Then, fold the fabric in half lengthwise so that it fits snugly on the shoulder. The images below illustrate pleats and folded fabric, which is then folded back on itself to create a bow or sash.
Sew the two pleated ends together. You are left with a beautiful wraparound effect that you can slide across the body to wear as a girdle.
4. Make the Air Nomad brooch
This addition to the costume is a great way to keep the wrap and shirt in place.
To make the brooch, cut a circle out of a sheet of craft foam. Then cut the swirls that make up the design on the disc from a separate piece. Glue the three swirls to the top of the foam circle and then, once dry, heat a sheet of Worbla, a brand of thermoplastic you can buy cheaply from craft suppliers, and place on top. You can learn more about Worbla and how to use it here.
Cut a circular piece of Worbla slightly larger than the foam snap, then fold it over the edges, as seen in the images below. Once it’s ready, the hot glue pin goes back upside down. “The brooch covers the shoulder seam [Aang’s is apparently seamless]says Harriet. “And safety pins instead of safety pins would work just the same if you prefer.”
5. Make the belt
To make the belt, first measure the circumference of your waist. Cut two rectangles from a piece of maroon or burgundy fabric of this length, with a width of about 10 cm, following the first of the two patterns below.
If you wish to include the symbols of the Avatar Cycle elements embroidered on your belt, you must do so now before sewing your belt. Embroider only the front piece of fabric with a contrasting yellow stitch.
“I sewed the pattern from left to right, so it goes backwards when I use it,” says Harriet. “Embroider from right to left if you want to avoid this.”
Next, add an interfacing to the back of the waist piece to make the belt stiffer, then sew the fabric pieces together, using the same method you did for the sleeve segment. If you embroidered the belt, make sure this piece is facing in when you sew the pieces together so that when you flip the waistband over, the elements are on the right side. Also, make sure your interface is on the outside when you start sewing so this ends up on the inside.
Next, cut four rectangles from the same fabric that are the same width, but with a length that is equal to your waist-to-knee measurement. Sew two of the fabric pieces together around the edges, again using the sleeve segment method from Step 2. You will attach these pieces to each side of the first part of the belt: the waist section. These are the belt loops that sit to the side and fall down the leg.
To make the piece that falls from the belt, use a brown tweed type fabric like the one you can see in Harriet’s photos and follow the pattern below:
Cut it to a width of about 15-20 cm. Once you’ve sewn the pieces together, sew them to the back of the belt so it’s center front.
6. Add the finishing touches
Harriet recommends buying a baldness kit online if you want to avoid cutting your hair. She used a kit from Mehron, which comes with makeup, to finish the look. For Aang’s blue arrow tattoos, Harriet suggests Snazaroo’s pale blue face paint.
WIKI FACT: “The arrow tattoos that run down an Air Nomad’s chi paths signify their mastery of airbending. The design was an emulation of the natural arrows on the heads of flying bison, the original airbenders and animals revered by the Air Nomads. Airbending trainees did not have tattoos, as they received their markings after passing thirty-six levels of airbending, or slightly earlier if creating a new airbending technique. Obtaining these tattoos was revealed during a public ceremony.”
For Aang’s pants, Harriet wears brown joggers for comfort, which you could ride up to the knee to achieve the balloon effect of the Avatar’s pants. Aang doesn’t wear shoes during his battle with the Fire Lord, but for practicality, health, and safety, it’s a good idea to incorporate his boots into your costume. Harriet recommends wearing knee-high brown boots as a base.
“Paint the red stripe on the front,” says Harriet. “I would recommend the Angelus paint as it does not crack or flake. Alternatively, wrap the boot in cling film and tape, then carefully peel it off to make a pattern for a boot cover.”
Harriet wears a chest binder under her costume which she conceals with a flesh-colored undershirt.
And there you have it: how to create an Aang cosplay. Happy bending!
Share your Aang cosplay photos with us @getfandom. Follow Harriet on Instagram: tipsy_pig.
Additional information about S. Harriet Rhodes