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When Cosplay Gets Rough (and Why You Shouldn’t Second-Guess Yourself)

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Since I started making costumes that weren’t bed sheets or old clothes ripped to sheds, there have been lots of problems. Almost every costume I make gets it’s very own special freak-out, courtesy of my dumb mistakes. It’s embarrassing how many times I forget to put my right sides together, and that’s just basic sewing 101. So you can imagine me working on the big dresses that I so adore.There is always something that goes wrong, and I am usually left crying in the corner for a few minutes until I realize – this is stupid.

Mistakes will always occur. This is why, to me, cosplay is equal parts sewing, trying to force fabric to defy gravity in weird ways, and covering up mistakes by finding multiple ways to do something. I plan out how I’m going to do something too the last detail – and then halfway through the costume, I screw up somewhere and work around it. If I feel myself starting to get frustrated or starting to screw up, I step away from the sewing machine and do something else for a few hours. Being mad and operating machinery is not a good combination. The only thing my frustrations have led to is more screwing up. It’s okay if your seam puckers or your invisible zipper doesn’t zip (my current problem). Get out the seam ripper, rip out the offending seam, go watch some TV, come back and make it better.

The other day I was freaking out and had a scary thought. “Maybe I’m not good enough to do this?” Then I metaphorically punched myself in the face. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t cosplay because you are bad, especially yourself. That is all the motivation I need to really work hard and improve myself. Everyone has room for improvement. Start with making it look good on the outside – don’t worry about raggedy threads on the inside (but please, for the love of God, press your seams). Work at one thing and become great at it – then find costumes with similar construction. Move on to more and more things and do them step by step, and pretty soon you will have a great portfolio. But don’t let your thoughts get to you. You don’t have to.

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