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Things to Avoid

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I feel like my mishaps are very "commonplace" but since this is a place for sharing, I will gladly do so:


1 - My first ACen was in 2008. Ironically, I had discovered the 2007 one just days after it ended and upon seeing how great the convention site was, I planned then to attend 2008. I researched pictures and had chosen who I wanted to cosplay. I felt really great that I had gotten a head start. Then about a year passed and here it was March of 2008 and while looking through my bookmarks on my computer I saw all these images of the character I wanted to cosplay. Suddenly I remembered that I wanted to attend this convention! I rushed through EVERYTHING! But the worst part was that, since I had not saved up during the time like I wanted to, my cosplay budget with minimal. The outfit I had originally wanted was now out of my price range. I had to find something else that i would like to do that I could afford. I found Kukau Shiba. She was fun and a bit arrogant so I figured why not! I placed the order and even went a size up from what they recommended because online sizing is always wrong. The cosplay arrived in good time (1 week or so) and I was super happy...til I tried it on. The top fit well enough but the skirt was not only too small but was also see through! I took it to my tailor and had to have it altered for the same price as the cosplay originally cost! When I got it back, there was a huge water stain from god knows what ( i think they tried to clean it once they were done) wher the dye on the cloth had faded.

Moral of the story: Don't procrastinate and always research sellers before buying.


My second mishap really isn't a mishap, just something I think I did badly: Original cosplays or cheap interpretations

2 - Also at my first ACen, I decided to do some closet cosplays to fill the other days since the Shiba outfit was...not super great for multiple wearings. I decided to make a cat form of Yoruichi and an original character from Witch Hunter Robin (amon and robin's daughter).

My cat form cosplay consisted of black leggings, black top, black boots, black gloves with claws, black tail and black ears, and whiskers. It looked...like a bad halloween costume and no one really knew who I was. I think I could have maybe done better if I had done a furry version. As for the original character, in an attempt to reference the series characters, I styled my hair similar to Robin's, wore a dress and trench coat similar to hers and her pendant. Essentially...I would have been better calling myself Robin because I looked so much like her that people were calling me Robin. If I wanted to do an original character, I should have been completely original.

Mora/lesson learned: Don't do things half way. Commit completely or just let it go.

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I'll throw my .02 in here. My first cosplay was Venom from Guilty Gear. I bought a cheap, unstyled wig from a costume shop. I'm not exactly used to such things. I looked like a crossdresser, because not only was I clueless about wig styling, but I shaved with an electric razor, and I still had a five o'clock shadow. Moral of the story: If you're a guy wearing a wig, learn to style it, and use Nair or something that will remove ALL hair from your face!


My most recent cosplay was Dudley from Street Fighter. I got the curly mustache, got a decent Dudley haircut, and brought roses. I decided to go with alternate colors because they were easier to find that green tuxedo pants (and I like red, but I digress). I felt like a pro! At some point, I put the gloves away so I could actually interact with things, and I lost my bowtie. Until I put the gloves back on, everyone thought I was Mario. Moral of the story: Keep your props and key character traits in plain view at all times! And, learn to tie a bowtie!

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I make my own patterns and sometimes when I've made a pattern I'll have seam allowance, other times I won't, so I guess my advice is: always check/confirm seam allowance! Also, I tend to make my patterns in advance or re-use patterns, so another bit of advice is always double-check your measurements before you make your cosplay! And while tracing patterns onto the final fabric, make sure you have both sides of the body traced! There's nothing more frustrating than tracing two left sides, cutting it out, realizing you don't have a right side, and worse, having fabric that is not reversable. Double check everything before cutting out!


Also, not sure if anyone else does this, but because I make my own patterns, I would go through a lot of scrap fabric attempting to perfect a pattern. While one can easily go to a Joanns and buy the cheapest $1.99/yd fabric for scrap, it's even more economically efficient to go to your local thrift and buy the biggest bed sheet there for like $3 for scrap fabric. I bought five king size bed sheets on a thrift's sale day for like $7 :clap: Also...sometimes at thrift...you can find a bedsheet that is nicer than standard bedsheets and the perfect shade for a cosplay outfit...just saying. (Don't judge, it works!) Be sure to check for stains and wash it if you'll be wearing it though!


Lastly, write down every step/piece of your cosplay, so that 1) you have ALL supplies when you start and 2) you can properly manage your time with realistic goals to make it and 3) you sew everything in the correct order and don't forget a detail or make it more difficult to put together than it has to be.

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I saw someone mentioning binding. I would suggest to never use bandage tape to bind your chest. Not only will it chafe, but it can turn into a medical disaster.


"Ace bandages are made to be wrapped around sprains to compress swelling. As you breathe you push the bandages out and they compress tighter and tighter. This leads to cracked or broken ribs. You can also become very short of breathe as it constricts around your upper body and faint." - Why Not to Use Ace Bandage


Duct tape is also a no. I've done both of these, suffered, & almost passed out twice (it felt like it was compressing my spine, to be honest.) Though what I quoted says to never use anything but a binder for binding, I have been told from multiple resources that a back brace works well for binding if a binder is out of the question. I have not heard anything negative so far on using one.


(I ended up not using ace bandage the second day in one of my cosplays because of the pain/uncomfortability, & the cosplay still turned out fine! I used two sports bras instead, & my baggy shirt hid my boobs most of the time. I'm a C-cup, too. Pic of the {...}/Zombie cosplay!)

Edited by pyrrhicvictini

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Boy did I find this thread at the right time. Thanks to various friends I'm starting to amass a whole cosplay group (all from Bleach). I'm also the only one who makes things by hand, so they keep asking how I just whip up stuff. The answer? I DON'T, and here's the evidence:


1. 2007--my first ACen, I wanted to be Robin Sena, but I was at college away from home, and I was told about the con right before Spring Break. So I trusted Mom to order it for me. She did, but she somehow didn't realize she was ordering a China commission, so my dress came TWO WEEKS AFTER ACen. (The upside was that it fit like a glove.) Moral: if you're going to commission a cosplay, do it WELL in advance, and make sure you know how long it'll take to ship. Also make allowance for 'fixin' time, in case things need to be altered/sent back, etc.


2. 2007--again Robin. On my measly college-student budget, I decided to make Robin's pendant out of Model Magic and poster paint, bought from the Wal-Mart down the street from my dorm. It came out FAIRLY well, but I didn't think to use sealant, so the (cheap!) paint rubbed off easily. By the time 2008 rolled around, the thing had broke and I had already learned my lesson and made another, BETTER one. Moral: don't use cheap stuff, and if you paint something, use sealant to protect it!


3. 2008--Sakura (Cardcaptors). I did an artbook costume in which she wears a black dress, and as a frugal solution I bought a priest's costume from a thrift store and cut it up. It actually worked great...except that when I cut the bottom, I made it equal length all around, not accounting for...uh...badunkadunk. Luckily I wore spanks. :blush: Moral: when you're altering something, make sure to measure and/or wear it beforehand.


4. 2008--again Sakura. For her Star Wand, I made the staff head detachable so I could pack it in my luggage, but I didn't build in any kind of stabilizer. So in the middle of the Dealer's Room, the (already wobbly) staff head fell and the wings broke right off the styrofoam wreath. Moral: Don't be so jiggly with your props, and if there're any detachable parts, make sure there's a way they can be REALLY secured.


5. ...And when I went back to the hotel room to try and glue the wings back on, I didn't bring the (what I now know to be) foam-friendly glue. Instead I ended up with a melted Star Wand. Moral: not only bring an emergency kit, but bring the right tools in that kit so you're not moping around the rest of Saturday.


6. 2009--Temari (Naruto). I made my own ninja sandals using socks and flip-flops. For no comprehensible reason, I left a layer of sock on the bottoms. Only when I got to ACen and remembered that over half of it is laminated flooring did I realize my mistake. Moral (someone said this already but it bears repeating): take into account ALL the terrain, not just the outdoors. Also hydrate. Or else you'll end up with a charley horse that ruins your Friday night.


7. 2009--'Angel' L (Death Note). My first crossplay. Went cheap on the binding. Moral: Need I say more?


8. 2010--'Angel' L. This time the exact opposite happened. Moral: Don't FORGET your binding, either, and don't always hang your hopes on baggy clothing.


9. 2010--Link (LoZ: Phantom Hourglass). By this time I really got into making props, and with Link I went a little crazy. Moral: Know how much you can carry comfortably and plan accordingly. It's no fun juggling your camera/purse/ACen swag ALONG WITH a Bombchu, a life-sized Nintendo DS stylus, and an actual Phantom Hourglass.


10. 2011--Tima (Metropolis). My first time seriously styling/reworking one. I wanted to reuse my Temari wig, but I wanted to straighten it, and I followed dum-dum advice and just dumped the wig straight into hot hot water. *insert scream here* Moral 1: Know thoroughly what synthetic wigs can and can't take. Moral 2: However, certain mistakes can be salvagable. After that mishap, I was able to save the wig using a soluble conditioner spritz, hot curlers that weren't too hot, and a suitable comb/brush.


11. 2012--Yumi (HiHi Puffy AmiYumi). In the rush of packing, I forgot the skirt to go over my purple leggings. On top of that, the friend who was going to do Ami backed out, so it wasn't as enjoyable anyway. Moral 1: Don't pack in a panic. Moral 2: It's probably not a good idea to soldier on with a 'group' cosplay if you're the only one in the 'group'.


12. 2012--Alan Gabriel (Big O). Moral: Test makeup thoroughly. I only applied some to a small patch of skin prior to the con, and underestimated how heavy the makeup would feel on my skin when it was FULLY applied.

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My only moral is "measure twice, cut once" : The first time I went to a convention, I did a closet cosplay of a character with hair the same color as mine. I needed to trim my bangs, but I was also in a hurry because my ride was coming, so I clipped them very quickly...and of course I did them way waaaay too short. Not good for the display, and also made for some interesting conversations at school the next week.


Also something to be aware of-- most people are not perfectly symmetrical. If you're drafting a pattern to fit your body exactly, don't start "correcting" the pattern if you notice the two sides don't match. I noticed this when I drafted a bodice. The left side of my ribs stick out more, so the left side of my pattern is bigger. At first I thought I cut the paper wrong, but luckily I realized what was going on before I started discarding pieces I thought were "wrong".

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At my first ACen, I cosplayed Lenna from Final Fantasy V. I was still new to sewing, and I wasn't that great with picking out fabrics at times. Since I chose Lenna's freelancer sprite outfit, I wanted to make it a little more interesting. I saw some really sparkly orange fabric that I thought was going to be perfect for the outfit, and it was cheap so I bought it (of course it ended up being costume satin). The night before the con, my friend was helping me make the outfit, and she helped make the dress more fitted to my body. I tried the outfit on and walked around a bit, but didn't try sitting down or bending over with it. When I got to the photoshoot, I discovered that I couldn't sit down (unless I was in a chair) because the dress was too tight at the bottom. I also couldn't crouch down for very long because I had uncomfortable high heels on. My costume ended up looking horrible in pictures too, because the fabric was awful. It was definitely my worst cosplay to date, and I'm finally getting around to remaking it this year to redeem myself.


Morals learned:

- Stay away from costume satin; it's cheap for a reason.

- Even if a costume is very simple, don't wait until the night before the con to make it. Anything could go wrong, and you want to have time to fix the costume.

- When trying on your costume, practice sitting down, walking up stairs, and bending over to make sure your costume isn't preventing you from doing such things.

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YEAH I'm looking at all of you homestuck cosplayers.


There is always face/body paint sealer for sale. USE IT.


if you are poor like me, baby powder is a good alternative.


For real though and for the love of whatever brand of god you worship, don't be like me in my fjrst cosplay...aradia medigo. GRAY PAINT SMUDGED AND MELTED EVERYWHERE.



ok done with rant.

Edited by Fantasia

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The single biggest mistake I ever made cosplaying was poor footwear. I've done two "bad footwear" cosplays in the past...you think I would have learned after the first time... One in which my shoes were a little too small and the other in which they were slippers, effectively. It was a nightmare. I thought it wouldn't be a big deal because I could walk around my dorm or my house and not feel bad. The con was something else. It wasn't long before my feet were red and throbbing.


If you cosplay, either make sure your character has decent footwear or you bring a change of footwear for non-pictures. On that note, don't make a "rookie's" mistake and think you'll spend the whole con in your cosplay unless it's comfortable. Plan on walking around in regular clothing. Who wants to ruin the whole convention experience just by limping around in a hard-to-wear cosplay?

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I have to add these to save people from my embarrassment when I looked over my last year at ACen.


Make-Up, always do a precheck before the con: Last year was my first year at ACen and I did a Gothic, red, petticoat dress with red eyeshadow. Stupid me, I didn't practice how they make-up would appear from all angles. Needless to say I was looking over some pictures I took before I left the room once the con was over...My eyeshadow smeared into my corner of my eyes and I didn't see it. I still cringe at how I must have looked.


Poses, test your poses!!! I was Helba from dot hack and if you know the series Helba makes appearances what is commonly seen standing or observing like a guardian. Needless to say I made up a pose on the spot and stuck with it. The costume looks great but I still wonder "What the ***** is that pose?" It burns my soul.


Heels, be prepared for pain. Both of my costumes used a pair of white five inch platforms heels that nearly made me 7 foot. A lot of woman know where I am going. After hour 3 my feet hurt like hell. Hour six I felt as I was bleeding. Day 2, it hurt to even move my toes, sitting down felt sooo good. Know your limits everyone and be prepared. I love wearing heels, but ACen nearly broke me.


Avoid the escalators! This is for people who costumes flow past their feet or flow outwards and if you are wearing expensive heels. The thin steps were a stopping ground from both my costumes so much so that I had to lift them up to get one and off and I still nicked my heels.

Wigs, check, and triple check your wig and make sure to pin that hair. Wigs looks great on the foam head and in our hands but they stretch and tighten when we apply them so make sure your wig is right. I use Airly Wigs and since I have a big head it is hard to get the bangs right. Before all that be sure to pin your hair if it long. There are youtube videos on how to do your hair for wigs and the longer it is the harder, trust me I have thick, shoulder long, curls. A trick I have learned since last ACen is combing it down, pulling it into a pony tail, and folding it over my head and making a sort of pun my skull. Don't tie it, just twist and place on your head pulling tight so the back is nice and flat. Bobby pins are your friend here. I used about twenty to bind my hair tight than cover with a solid hairnet from a salon store. Netting doesn't work for me.


If you have a roommate or friend looked into what is call wig braiding. It is were you braid tiny circles to your head so you so the wigs stays flat. There are examples on youtube, but beware it a very time consuming process.


Take a break: This comes from time acting and working on stages and in events. I know ACen is fun as hell but take a break. Sit down, kick of the shoes if you can, and get some food and water in your system. You would be surprised how excitement and dull out your need for water and food.

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