When my daughter started her first Cosplay costume, I thought, "how hard could this be?" We'd find a pattern, we'd figure out the fabric. Sure, we could do this!
Was I wrong. There are no patters for video game character outfits because most of them defy the laws of physics. Pieces stand up on their own in animation, but it real life it takes some real "figuring-out" juice.
Knowing the basics of sewing would have been helpful. But instead of teaching my daughter to sew, I'd taught her how to play catch. Instead of teaching her a skill, like design or stitching, I taught her how to run bases and be dirty. And while I don't necessarily regret all the time and money (and hours spent at ball parks during Arizona summers.... don't get me started) spent on travel team Softball, I realize now that Cosplay would have been more fun, less time away from home and we would have learned a real, could possibly make a living with this, skill. Throwing a ball - for girls - is a hard way to make money.
We plowed forward, ignorance be damned. Google and Youtube are incredible knowledge banks, if you know what you're searching for. Well, if you know what everyone else calls/tags/describes what you're looking for. Getting the lingo down is a good place to start.
We made a hat. Not just a regular bedazzled baseball hat, but a mad hatter type of hat. It came out really good. We were so proud of it. It was so easy, we thought, we could actually do this! I laugh at our innocence and ignorance now.
The next piece to make was a bustier that was striped. We made our fabric, cutting strips of different colored fabric to sew together to make one bigger piece of fabric. Like quilt making, only nothing like quilt making according to my mother who is a quilt maker. Whatever, I had my little fun pretending I was making a quilt.
Problems arose quickly. Our stripes were not even. I had to rip out stitching and do it again. And again. Then came fastening. Lace it? Put in a zipper? Snaps? We opted for the zipper, but then discovered that wouldn't work because the bustier needed to be super tight. Which split the zipper. We switched to lacing it up, but that all had to be hidden because our characters bustier did not lace up.
One thing after another, we googled and youtube'd our way through. We must have visited Joanns Fabric store 100 times for that one costume and bought things we may never use thinking they were the answer to our dilemma of the moment.
While we worked on figuring out how to create and attach a collar that defied gravity, there were boots to buy, makeup, undergarments (and things like "ckicklets" and duck tape) and a wig to style. I learned you can tone down a wig with fabric softener, who knew? I also learned that rubber cement leaves a permanent stain on concrete. And spray paint really does float on air and stick to the side of the house.
Maybe that's another niche industry of cosplay - cleaning up?
In the end, the costume turned out great. And the experience of creating it, even greater. It was one of those, yeah-the-costume-took-this-much-time-and-money-but-the-result-is-priceless, kind of moments.