Introduction: Tamatoa Cosplay Walkthrough

About: Seamsetress, Foam Fabricator, Sculptor, Pattern Drafter, Photographer, Videographer, IT Nerd and all around Pop Culture Enthusiast!

Welcome to ANOTHER cosplay walkthrough! I made this costume for a Halloween debut but encountered issues (OH WELL) so here it is: Tamatoa from Moana! This is a CUSTOM design that I created myself (yes, I did the illustration too). I started planning this costume before the pandemic hit full stride and paused it until summer time (when I was able to acquire the necessary materials via shipping). So enough with the dawdling, let's get started!



  • Sewing Machine
  • Fabric Clips
  • Fabric Pins
  • Tailor's Chalk
  • Soft Measuring Tape
  • Seam Ripper
  • Stretch/Universal/Heavy Duty Sewing Machine Needles
  • Bobbins
  • Thread (Purple, Black, Gold, White)
  • 4-6 yards stretch purple fabric with glitter
  • 2-3 yards stretch ombre fabric (purple to pink)
  • 1 yard Pink/Peach Neoprene
  • 4-6 yards Gold Coin Fabric
  • 1 yard Purple Chiffon
  • 4" thick elastic (for waistband)
  • Sew On Snaps
  • Sew On Corset Back
  • Bodysuit Pattern
  • Wrap Around Skit Pattern
  • Bodice Pattern
  • Fabric Scissors


  • Cosbond Reinforcer
  • Cosbond Attach and Build
  • Gem-Tack
  • Oomoo 25 Silicone Rubber
  • Fast Cast Resin
  • Monster Clay
  • Sculpting Tools
  • Bowl (for mold making)
  • Measuring Cups
  • Respirator
  • Spray Paint (Black/Gold)
  • NU-Foam
  • Metal Bar Pins
  • Nylon Webbing for Strapping
  • Purple Wig
  • Adhesive Facial Rhinestones
  • Rhinestones (200-300 in pink, purple and holographic at 3mm - 6mm)
  • Cutting Shears
  • 4 mm EVA Foam
  • Drawing Implement (pen/marker/pencil/etc.)
  • Gorilla Glue Super Glue Gel
  • Rhinestone Tool

Step 1: Skirts

For the skirts I took my own measurements and started a wrap around skirt pattern. I did this my measuring the following:

  • Outseam
  • Hip Circumference
  • Waist Circumference

I drew a rectangle that matched these measurements and draped it on my mannequin to check the fit. Since the underskirt is a gold coin fabric I had to complete prep work before I could sew the seams shut. The gold coins had to be removed at the seams. KEEP THE COINS! Once you finish sewing the seam you will need to sew the coins you've removed BACK if there are any bare areas (the coins are attached to a stretchy mesh material with clear thread but you can use gold thread).

Since the gold coin skirt was going to possess the elastic for the waistband I knew that I needed to reinforce the mesh. On the underside of the waistband I added several layers of Cosbond Reinforcer. This acted as an adhesive interfacing and created enough strength for me to sew the elastic waistband into the skirt. Next, I created a copy of the gold coin skirt (only a bit shorter) using the glittery purple spandex fabric. I sewed the skirt on top of the gold coin fabric (right at the bottom edge of the waistband). Finally, I took the purple spandex and created a waistband cover (to hide my attachments) used the Cosbond Attach & Build Adhesive.

As this is a wrap around skirt, I needed some way to secure it. I added two gold snaps to the front for easy on/off access. During this process I lost a couple gold coins. Some I sewed on and a few I used the Cosbond Attach & Build to re-secure the missing coins.

Thus the skirts were crafted!

Step 2: Bodysuit and Corset Top


For the bodysuit I took an existing suit I use for another costume and traced it's shape onto my fabric. You can choose ANY pattern for a bodysuit but I HIGHLY recommend this one by Kwik Sew. Next, I took an old button up shirt and removed the sleeve for a pattern (I like to use garments that are older/retiring for patterns as they are easy to store and iron when needed). I used command/fabric clips to secure all the seams in preparation for sewing. Once sewn, I added snaps to the groin area (metal snaps about 1" in diameter) and the bodysuit was complete!


For this, I took an old tank top made from a neoprene/spandex hybrid material and cut it apart at the seams. I laid those out to create a pattern for my corset top (I widened the straps and lengthened the torso). Next, I layered the retired shirt on top of 2 way stretch peach Neoprene, cut out the shapes, pinned everything into place and sewed the garment together (leaving the side seams open). I flipped the fabric inside out (to hide my hem line) and sewed the sides together.

The last step was taking the corset back from an old corset (one that was broken) and attaching it to the top. I made sure that the top portion of the corset top would remain open so I could avoid it being caught up in the cape I was making later. I tested the lacing on my mannequin (to ensure no seams would pop) and the top was finished (for now).

Step 3: Legs

Tamatoa's legs took a bit of thinking. Originally I was going to create them using Poly-Fil but I wanted more movement and less volume. So I decided on using NuFoam Furniture foam as the base.

It started with me dividing the foam into 5.5" strips. From there, I sketched out the general shapes of the legs and proceeded to cut off the excess material with some shears. Once I had the foam ready I traced the shapes onto 4 stretch ombre spandex from Spandexworld. I cut out the shapes and then sewed each leg together (front side of fabric facing in). I flipped the fabric inside out and stuffed the foam into the little sleeves that I had created for it.

With the leg sleeves complete, I pinned them to my corset top for size testing and was ready to move onto making the pin backed coins to support them.

Step 4: Crab Coins

At first, I was going to commission someone to 3D Print these for me. I changed my mind when I discovered the PERFECT coaster in my kitchen drawer. I took some Monster Clay and sculpted a little crab onto the coaster. I added Maui's hook to the top of the crab and allowed the clay to harden as I looked for a bowl to settle this sculpt into.

The coaster served as a negative for my mold making. I used the Oomoo 25 quick setting Silicone Rubber to create a mold that I could cast resin in. 3 hours later, the rubber was cured and it easily popped out of the bowl I used to keep the mold secure in (you can build a mold barrier with cardboard and other materials too). Next, I mixed equal parts resin into measurable containers and carefully poured it into my mold. 15 minutes later I had a crab coin!

After casting 3 more coins I attached metal bar pins to the back of them using Gorilla Glue Super Glue Gel. Since metal and super glue do not always cure properly, I reinforced the backing with the Cosbond Reinforcer.

The last steps were priming the coins with 1 coat of black Plasti-Dip, painting them with one coat of Metallic Gold Spray Paint AND sealing them with Plaid Acrylic Sealant from the Cosplay Pros.

Now I was able to attach the coins to the legs and then attach the legs to the corset top. Tamatoa was coming to life!

Step 5: Armor

This is relatively simple. Let's break it down...

  1. Create a pattern for your armor (I like to use painter's tape and a marker)
  2. Transfer pattern to foam
  3. Transfer pattern to fabric
  4. Create fabric sleeves for your foam
  5. Cut a slit in the back of the sleeves to flip them inside out and hide your edges
  6. Stuff the foam into the pocket you've created
  7. Use the Cosbond Reinforcer OR thread to close the slit up
  8. Attach the armor to your build using Cosbond Attach & Build Adhesive

That's it! Creating a sleeve/cover for your armor ensures that your color is EXACT each time. It also protects the foam and keeps it from breaking down due to environmental exposure. Finally, covering your armor fabric (instead of paint) saves A LOT of time (no priming, no painting, no sealing and no touch ups).

Step 6: Rhinestone Details

I have NEVER put rhinestones on by hand before. I have used gem sheets or other fabric glam options but NEVER did I try to do this manually. It's A LOT of work. For the small amount of rhinestone detailing I added it took about 5 hours and nearly 300 rhinestones.

To place rhinestones onto your garment you will need...

  1. Rhinestone tool (I used the Silhouette Cameo Tools Pick Me Up Tool)
  2. Rhinestones (I used 3mm-4mm and 6mm rhinestones)
  3. Gem-Tack (or some sort of Rhinestone adhesive)

To add rhinestones you apply a small amount of Gem-Tack to the fabric. Next, you pick up the rhinestone with the "soft" end of the tool. Finally, you drop the rhinestone onto the adhesive (if you have trouble with it releasing you can separate the "hard" end of the tool to push the rhinestone off). Rinse and repeat however many times you like.

Step 7: Final Result

This is the final result! I made the bodysuit so I could have something to wear when the weight of the lower skirts become burdensome (the two layer lower skirts weigh almost 8 lbs).

Take Aways...

  • Cosbond does not always work on stretch fabric - use some snaps and thread to reinforce as needed.
  • Metal Bar Pin Backings have weak pins so be careful how much fabric you grab them with.
  • Gold Coin Fabric is HEAVY
  • Edna Mode was wrong: CAPES ARE AWESOME!

For the cape (which I forgot to mention), I just took to scrap rectangle pieces, attached them to some nylon webbing covered in spandex and added snaps to the front of the costume for securing it. Sweet and simple.

I am SO PLEASED with how this turned out. It required A LOT of experimentation as it was my first time using NuFoam, Gold Coin Fabric, Cosbond and Rhinestones. Overall, I am happy to be so SHINY!

Halloween Contest

Runner Up in the
Halloween Contest