So you want to get into cosplaying? That’s great! Cosplaying is a fun, creative hobby; it’s a great way of meeting people who are interested in the same things as you are. The first thing you need to know about getting into cosplaying is that cosplay is not a cheep hobby. You’re buying materials, accessories and possibly wigs and props; not to mention going to conventions. If you don’t have a lot of expendable cash, or not confident you can budget properly for it, then getting into cosplay might be difficult for you to get into.
Say you don’t really have the skills to make a costume, or you just don’t really have the time to learn. There are options for buying costumes online. In Japan there’s more options and stores that cater to selling cosplays. We’re not so lucky within the US. Most sources online come from various Chinese mass produced costumes. You can find a lot of them on ebay or the Chinese site Taobao. Taobao is a Chinese ebay/amazon, but most of the stores will require a shopping service to be able to buy most things.
The advantage to buying a costume is that you won’t have to worry about making it yourself, and that you can get everything at once. Some of the disadvantages include getting something that might not fit you perfectly, something that might require adjustments to fit you. Depending on the site you order from, the quality of the costume might be questionable. Another disadvantage is shipping time. You might have to wait a great deal of time before your costume can come in.
You also have the option of commission someone to make you a costume. When you commission a person you pay for their service to custom make a costume for you. In the community, a lot of commissioner services have come up, such asGod Save the Queen Fashions. The advantage is that you can talk to the maker directly, and get something made to fit you. The disadvantage is this may cost much more then buying a mass produced costume, and you’ll need to do some research as to who would be good to commission.
Making your costumes
Making your own costumes is something that’s grown and really taken off in the US cosplay scene. Since the US doesn’t have the same resources buying costumes as the Japanese have, many have taken to learning how to sew, and creating their own. Since sewing within the community has taken off, resources and tutorials have become more readily available.
Some of the advantages of sewing your own costumes is that in the long run you’ll be saving more money, since you’re only paying for the raw materials to make it. You can also make whatever you want, that’s within your skill set. You’re not limited to what’s in the stores. Some of the disadvantages are you can only make whatever’s within your skill set. If you’re not experienced in sewing, making a complicated ballgown might not be a good idea. You’ll only be able to get as much done, as whatever you’ll invest your time in. It’s become commonplace for a lot of cosplayers to leave things for the last minute (whether it be a busy life or just no real motivation) and struggle to get things done right before a con. Also if cosplay isn’t a hobby you want to get in depth in, then learning to sew and buying the supplies is a big investment.
I’m someone who makes all my own costumes. My reason for learning is so I could eventually cut the costs down, as well as learning a new skill. Here is my basic setup that I have at home when I’m working on cosplay.
Any one of these methods have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to cosplaying, you just have to pick the method that works best for you.