I am new to costumes/fursuits/mascots, but I am considering purchasing one. What should I know before taking the plunge?
The Fur Collective costumes are wearable pieces of art. We take extra precautions to make sure that our costumes are as strong and comfortable as possible. That being said, these costumes are roughly between 10-15 pounds of faux fur and upholstery foam and are very hot to wear. They are not for the claustrophobic, and reduce the wearer’s visibility and intricate motor skills noticeably. We suggest that you have a helper get you dressed and spot you while you perform. The costumes also need maintenance as they age. Cleaning these costumes is also time-consuming and should be treated with care. I would highly recommend, if possible, trying out a costume by borrowing one from a friend before purchasing one. Not everyone enjoys wearing them, and we would prefer you understand that and be happy with all aspects of your purchase- appearance and performance!
How do you make these costumes/claws/ears/feet/masks?
Unfortunately, I do not have the time to answer these kinds of questions. However- there are very helpful websites where I was able to learn just about everything that I know (short of making the suits myself). Search for them on the fursuit livejournal or on youtube!
Can I just give you measurements instead of sending a DTD (Duct Tape Dummy)?
Sorry, but I only work off of duct tape dummies. The reason is to guarantee a snug fit, and measurements could be imperfect.
DTDs will be required for fullsuits and partials with legs. Here is an open guide (thank you very much Mischief Makers!) showing just exactly what I would like from you.
How long does it take to make a costume?
Costume-making is time consuming, and each studio treats this process differently. Currently, The Fur Collective is taking and completing commissions in batches.
If you would like your commission finished by a specific date or event, please give at least 2 months advance notice. If your costume has a complicated design, it will take longer to complete. TheFurCollective does not officially guarantee any deadline. However, deadlines expressed early, with the suit paid off and Duct Tape Dummy already sent are likely to make the deadline.
Do you do rush orders?
I am hesitant to say that I will do rush orders. If you want a costume within one month, I will probably refuse you. However there are exceptions and you may ask. Note that I will allow myself the month of work after receiving ordered materials, your payment and DTD.
Rush orders increase your quote price by up to 20% (possibly more if your suit is detailed)
I will not make a habit of accepting rush orders, so don’t expect to receive one. The reason that this will not happen often is that I don’t want to see my commission queue turn into an auction for the number 1 slot, and leave someone waiting far longer than they ever should for their costume to be completed.
The most likely scenario that a rush order would be allowed is if the commission was already accepted, and a deadline was added after work had begun. After both parties agree on the date, the 20% rush fee will be added either immediately, or tacked with the shipping cost.
Where do you get your fur?
I purchase my faux fur from anywhere I can get my hands on it. This includes my local Joann Fabrics, or websites.
Some websites I buy fur from include:
(Pretty general assortment of furs)
(Often have discounts, and have a small collection of very pretty faux fur)
(My personal favorite, but the most expensive. The main fur that we purchase is called “punky muppet.”
How many yards of material does it typically take to make each suit?
Generally, it takes about 4-5 yards of material to get the job done. However, I use many varying lengths of fur which usually means I purchase more but have a bit extra.
What does digitigrade vs. plantigrade mean?
Implementing digitigrade padding is a matter of personal preference in aesthetics. Humans and bears are plantigrade, our heels touch the ground naturally when we walk. Dogs and cats have digitigrade legs, they walk on their toes, with their heels off of the ground. Creatures such as horses that are unguligrade (walk on toenails) will be considered digitigrade for the purposes of fursuit making. Digitigrade legs will be more expensive, as it requires extra materials and time.
Do you require a reference sheet?
Yes. If you have something specific in mind, then I need a very thorough reference sheet. However, if you want something very generic, then I don’t. If you ask for a pure white wolf with blue eyes and a purple tongue, and these are the only guidelines you care about, then you don’t need a reference sheet. The visuals on a reference sheet will take precedence to any designs described in email. (unless otherwise noted)
If I discover that you are attempting to commission me for a character that is not original to you or owned by you, I will refuse your commission, and end work immediately. The refund you will receive depends on how much work was completed. I will also not take a reference sheet that was made by someone else if it wasn’t made for you. Especially if you use someone else’s reference sheet and write notes about just changing certain colors.
I provide reference sheets if you would like to commission that on the side.
Can these suits be washed?
Of course! Please do.
More on Washing and Caring for suits here.
Where are the zippers located on your suits?
Front zippers are standard, but back zippers are just as easily done by request of the client. Back zippers will come with a string to help with zipping yourself up.
Do you add zippers for bathroom purposes?
No. It is best to remove your suit completely for bathroom purposes, as not to expose the faux fur to bacteria and other potentially harmful pathogens in bathrooms. Don’t let your suit become a walking, hugging illness!
Where is the vision located on your suits/How good is the visibility?
Realistic suits have tearduct vision. The toony suits will have vision through the iris and pupil of the actual eye. Toony eyes have the best vision. Peripheral vision will always be limited in any costume. Always remember to take breaks, these masks require some getting used to, but can also lead to headaches if you don’t take adequate breaks or drink enough water.
What size are your masks and how dense are they?
Our foam-based masks are on the larger side. They can look a little big when worn as a partial, depending on the size of the wearer. They are made from dense expanding foam. They do have a slight squish, but do not lose their shape very easily even when crushed.
How long do your suits last/What is the longevity of your fursuits?
Fursuits are not immortal, and unfortunately due to the nature of the material, are prone to aging over time. This is a hard question to answer, because the longevity of the suit will almost always directly relate to how well it is maintained and taken care of. With moderate use, and good cleaning, our suits should not need any kind of repair for up to 3 years. After this point, a few popped seams are to be expected and are simple fixes. Feet will need the most attention, and will wear out over time. Outdoor style feet will last the longest, but it may be a good idea to save for a replacement pair every few years.
What is your body padding material made out of?
Body padding, including manes and digitigrade legs are made from lycra pillows stuffed with polyfil. This allows for greater dexterity and breathability in the suit. Over time, these pillows may become flatter. To avoid this, make sure to only use cold water when washing them. To fix this entirely, you can also strip a small hole in the pillows and re-stuff them. Stuffing can be found at most craft stores.
Do you use real materials (fur, leather, hair) on your suits?
No. There are no organic materials being used in my standard suits. All furs are synthetic, and noses/handpaws are all silicone, vinyl, fleece or minky. Sometimes, the whiskers could be made from horse hair (sold with the purpose of arts and crafts.) This is specifically based on preference.
Are your suits hypoallergenic?
Not completely. I have a dog and a couple cats. They are not allowed in the studio, but fur can travel. As well as this, I might use latex on the noses and pawpads of my suits. Let me know of any allergies, and I will do my best to accommodate your suit in an allergen-free zone. However, if your allergies are severe and you aren’t sure, consider commissioning someone else and put your own safety first!
Which paws have the greatest dexterity?
Paws that have no extras (pawpads and claws) will be best. Precision is lost a great deal with pawpads, silicone ones especially.
Do you line your suits?
Hands, feet and masks are lined with flannel or cotton materials. Bodysuits are not lined. Repairs are much simpler without lining, and lining may trap excess heat. There are steps that can be taken to protect sensitive skin from rough faux fur. I highly recommend lycra shirts and pants to wear under the suit. Not only does it protect your skin, but it also helps keep your suit clean by wicking away sweat. Do not wear your suit naked, or in just underwear. Sweat is very corrosive to faux fur over time.
What will you NOT make?
I do not make copyright characters that are not owned by you. I don’t want any legal battles. Period. However a ‘style’ is different. If you aren’t sure where your commission would lay in this category, just ask. I do not make duplicate suits, and I do not make characters that are owned by other people for you. At this time I will not be taking any original species that are not made up by you. This includes Sergals and Fluxs. The exception to this is Dutch Angel Dragons, as we have been given explicit permission by the owner.
Do you send progress pictures?
I do! I send updates as pieces are completed. For example, if the feet are finished (but nothing else) then I may send photos of the feet. Once something is considered completed, I will not make any changes to it unless I made a design mistake that is clearly visible on the reference. Changes to your commission can only be made before the down payment, but minor changes may be allowed only IF I have not begun construction of that part of the suit.
Can I request that you keep my suit a secret until (date)?
Absolutely. If you don’t want your suit associated with you, or for me to include your username or what-have-you with your suit, that is your right. I will eventually post your suit to my site, since every suit is a significant portion of my portfolio, but only after said date has passed or if I lose contact with you without a deadline.
Do you have any cooling systems?
Yes, we may implement fans on request for resin-based masks. Amount of fan-power is dependent on the size of the muzzle of the head that is commissioned. Smaller heads have smaller fans, larger heads may have larger fans. Foam on balaclava heads cannot have a fan installed.
Will you remake an old suit/can I buy one in your gallery?
Every costume is unique, and sold by commission. None of the ones in my gallery will be available. I might have pre-mades for sale up on my Furbuy account, be sure to check there 🙂
Do you make any non-traditional species?
I will make any species, but if the species has not been done by myself before, it is likely that the completion time will increase. This is due to the research and new sculptures and casts that will need to be made for the costume. It is possible that I may need to decline your commission if it is too non-standard, if the cost to make the new pieces cannot adequately cover the demand for the species.
Can you accommodate for glasses?
Foam and resin based masks can both accommodate glasses. Be sure to tell me right away if you need space for glasses in your commission.
Question not answered by the FAQ? Let us know at thefurcollective (at) gmail (dot) com