Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Cosplay Prep: Things I learned at Fan Expo

When going to large conventions you end up sitting in a lot of panels (well at least I seem to). There are ones for celebrities, there are one for fandoms and comics, creator panels and even how to get a business going. This year I attended a few of the Cosplay and costuming panels. They were quite interesting and I came out with some great information. (above is a Picture I took of Yaya Han at her Q and A panel)

So I thought today I would share some of the tips and tricks the experts shared with the panels.

1) Build pockets....

I know this may sound a little silly but a lot of Cosplay outfits don't have pockets in their original design. It is all fine and dandy in a post apocalyptic world that people don't need to carry anything but in the real world and at conventions you totally need pockets. If you have no pockets than you run into the issue of needing something or someone to carry your stuff, and that can be totally cumbersome.

Source: The Seasoned Homemaker

2) Get a Walking Foot.

This is a foot that I really need to purchase for my sewing machine (heck I really need to get a whole new sewing machine too), it provides a different set of feed dogs for the top of the fabric. Allowing the fabric to be pulled through more consistently and easier. If you want to read more about this versatile foot you should check out the Seasoned Homemaker's site, her walk through of the foot is quite good.

3) Build a Fitted Garment to use as a Measurement guide.

I know there was a term that Lee Scion used in her talk and of course I left my little notebook with it at home... ah well. Basically, what she suggests we use instead of a mannequin or dress form (although they are useful as well) is a well fitted base pattern to measure and adjust all other patterns too. This is a great way to see if the pattern you are working on will fit appropriately when you don't have someone else there to pin things to you and also allows you to deconstruct things easier for a better fit. I honestly never thought of doing this and since this will be making my own especially for shirts. The smart thing about this is you can make different ones that fit appropriate to specific undergarments, because we all know a corset or body sausage will drastically change the way an over shirt will fit.

4) Have a Sherpa (or Handler)

If you are creating an elaborate costume that is difficult to walk around in you should totally have a Handler. This is a friend (or partner) that is willing to help carry your stuff and get you around the convention. The more elaborate the harder it is to do anything (including use the washroom or have a drink) so to have a dedicated person that is willing to stay with you through out the convention seems like the best idea I've heard. What this means though is don't plan a group cosplay where you and all your friends are in poor maneuverability costumes, try and have at least one out of costume or in a costume that has easy maneuverability.

5) Have fun with it and don't offend people accidentally.

There was a theme that seemed to be apparent in all the panels I went too. Have fun. Explore ideas, concepts and variations, BUT don't dress as another race. Do your research. If you want to represent another culture be aware what the symbols and religious connotations of the items you want to use actually mean. Another person's culture is not a costume! Be empathetic with others and if you are drawn to another culture (African American, Native, Indian, Chinese, etc.) know what the styles, fabrics and symbols are all about. Some things may be only used in Wedding traditions, others only in Funeral traditions. Be aware and have fun with it! Don't be scared to try, just approach the task with some patience and if you don't know for sure ask someone of that culture what their thoughts and opinions are. They usually will be more than willing to help you if you are respectful.

There was so many more things I learned and as I go I'm sure I'll share them all for you. I loved all the Cosplay panels and the awesome Cosplayer's that were there running them. Over all they all said the same thing. Have fun! Be creative! If you are a girl and want to be a guy then go for it! If you are a guy and you want to be a Robot why not? Just have fun with it. You are dressing up in these costumes because YOU love them. You are doing this for YOU! So as long as you are happy and not hurting anyone then just Go For It!

Until Next Time
Keep on, Geekin' on