First posted on @extermikate in 2014. I’d like to say I’ve learned since then, but I really haven’t.
This is my first year really getting into the cosplay thing; all of my previous costumes for conventions have been half-assed closet cosplays using things commonly found in closets and dressers everywhere, like flak jackets and neon pink spandex crop tops. Sci-Fi on the Rock is two days away and I’m nowhere near ready. I’ve made the same mistakes over and over. I have not learned from them. I’m posting them here so that maybe you will.
- If you think you need one of something, buy four hundred, because you will need at least that many. Probably more, but it’s a good start.
- No matter how many of something you have, you’ll run out. At this point, you will discover that it’s been discontinued, even if you only bought it yesterday. (Note: this is only true if you have already used that thing and your cosplay is half-finished. If there’s still time to substitute a replacement with minimal emotional/financial distress, the thing you need will be in stock at every store.)
- The fabric store cannot be trusted. Go to thrift stores instead. They too cannot be trusted, but their wares are varied and far less confusing.
- If you are using a tutorial and skip a step for any reason, that step will turn out to be crucial to the structural integrity/overall appearance of the piece, no matter how insignificant or unsuited to your needs it appears to be.
- The sewing machine is filled with evil spirits. Do not let them taste your blood, however sweetly they lie to you. Their thirst cannot be quenched.
- Even the fussiest cat will happily eat wigs, taffeta, and tulle. Guard these things accordingly.
- If you have big feet, you will never find the footwear you need for your cosplay. Ever. Don’t even try. Put paper bags over your giant yeti feet and stomp anyone who questions it.
- Always do the entire costume in one sitting. The whole damn thing. If you pause for any reason, you’ll return to discover that every choice you made was bewildering and nonsensical, and you will not be able to reverse-engineer your own work to figure out exactly what you were trying to do. If you’ve done this, don’t worry — just light your work on fire, scatter the ashes, and start over from scratch.
- Is your costume made of weapons-grade steel, soldered together by the best metalsmith in the business? Too bad! It’s still going to fall apart unless you keep a roll of tape on your person at all times to ward off the cosplay demons.
- Whatever your budget is, you will spend at least twice that much, and still end up scouring your house for leftover paint and bits of old curtains to finish your costume.
- Redesign an item to make it more comfortable? Yeahhhhh, it’s still gonna be a pain in the ass, so don’t bother.
- In a pinch, you can use a beloved childhood toy in place of a wig head, but the results will be terrifying to behold. Do not try to hide it in the closet; it just makes it creepier. And angrier. And hungrier.
Expert cosplayer? Know a risk-free incantation to ward off vengeful fabric spirits? Share your tips and tricks! (No, seriously, share them. It may be too late for me, but there are still novices out there who could be saved.)