Wednesday, September 23, 2015

3 Ways Not to Reinvent the Wheel

I saved myself a lot of time and energy by realizing the
costume slipped on over my head with no additional
closures necessary! Skirt was thrifted as-is and
simply hemmed slightly. Shoes were also thrifted.
When it comes to costume-ry, there are a million little things that need to come together. And, as we all know, each of those million things takes a chunk of time to make happen, whether it's sourcing a material or painstakingly embroidering a design. While we all take pride in making [every. single. thing.] on our costumes, there are sometimes when you won't get much out of starting from scratch. Here are some things to avoid for the sake of your costume - and your sanity.

1. Button-up Shirts and Other Normal Things

There are obviously going to be exceptions to this rule ("What the hell is that weird collar all about?! Are these sleeves?"), but for the most part, any mostly-normal button-up shirt can be bought (thrifted, no less!) and worn as-is or modified if necessary. Collar is perfect, but needs crazy sleeves? Seam-rip those babies out, and you have a great shoulder hole waiting for you to set your new sleeve! Just pay attention to seam allowances, which will likely be smaller on the end of the finished shirt.

This also applies to other costume pieces that are simple and already exist: ordinary skirts, tights, gloves, jackets: you name it!

2. Custom Patterns

Sometimes a customized, from-scratch pattern is the only way to make it happen. But most of the time, you can at least start with a store-bought pattern, which can save you hours upon hours of time sizing, figuring out sleeve holes (I still suck at these), or how the heck pants even are made. Trim, tape, and otherwise modify your patterns (especially if you can get them on a super sale!), or trace them onto other paper and go from there to preserve the originals. Either way, give yourself a break trying to figure out how waistbands work!

3. Not Using Tutorials

The world is full of people who have already dedicated a lot of time and energy (and made lots of mistakes!) figuring out techniques and tips for making all kinds of things, and then being kind enough to share them! While there's pride to be taken in figuring things out on your own from the beginning, there's no reason to start all over when someone has done the heavy lifting for you. There is usually a tutorial somewhere out there that will at least get you started down the right path. Don't waste your energy and valuable materials making the same mistakes others have already documented!

I hope this gives you something to think about with your next costume, and that you'll give yourself a break in the search of excellence in cosplay!

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