When making a cosplay it’s hard enough finding the right fabric and materials you need, but what are you suppose to do when you just can’t find a pattern to fit it? There are a variety of ways to adjust existing patterns or even make your own to fit your costume’s needs.
Most patterns are very broad and can be easily adjusted for any costume. For example, a pattern for a basic, knee-length dress can be extended (with newspaper) to make it a long dress. It can be shortened (note here, do not cut the pattern to shorten it, there are instructions on the pattern itself on where to pin it to make a short or smaller version of the design) or even just use parts of it for a unique look (again, do not cut your pattern. Simply take parts aside or trace your pattern onto the fabric and edit it that way).
Another option for your pattern is to create your own. Newspaper is a great substitute for pattern paper because it is very thin and can be maluable to the fabric of your choice. Simple trace your desired pattern onto the newspaper (tape sections together to make the newspaper a complete pattern) and cut it out. Some people like to pin their pattern to the fabric to remember exactly where to attach other pieces you would need to cut out on another sheet of fabric like sleeves or belts. You can do this easily through the newspaper but taking your pin and pushing it through the paper and fabric facing you, underneath both layers, then bringing it back through so you can see the head of the pin and the end. Warning: Do not try to trace a complete dress, sleeves and all. You will want to look at an old piece of clothing that won’t be used again or a small piece of clothing to see what pieces you will need exactly to put it all together.
If you simply cannot find any pattern or example to use for your cosplay, this is a great last resort. Take an article of clothing that looks similar to your desired cosplay piece, rip out the stitches (tear out the seams most likely on the shoulders and sides of the clothing piece) and iron it out flat. Now you have a custom-fitted pattern to use for your cosplay needs! Be warned, if it is an old piece of clothing or something that’s been worn many times the fabric might have been stretched and warped to a slightly different shape that what it originally was, so always try to adjust an existing pattern or create one yourself if you are experienced with patterns before resorting to this one.