When I was a kid, probably around 7 or 8, my grandmother taught me to sew with a machine and how to follow clothing patterns. I mostly made Barbie dresses and sometimes something for me. As I got older I started to get more and more into making cool Halloween costumes. By the time I got to college I was spending a lot of effort on my costumes.
Most of them pretty much involved sewing and not much else, so sewing is what I’ve gotten pretty good at. Though at some point I felt that my efforts were wasted on silly Halloween parties, where the craftsmanship and effort weren’t really appreciated by the drunk party-goers (I really don’t blame them, their priority is being drunk). I then stopped making costumes for a couple of years, becoming interested in other things.
Then one Summer my boyfriend got an internship in Boston. The weekend I visited him happened to be the weekend of AnimeBoston. We ended up going because his friends were going. At this point I had thought conventions were just “nerdy” things (really ironic considering I’ve been a nerd all my life) and that I would be bored. Holy poop, that was not the case. I wasn’t a big anime fan (as in, I’d only seen a handful and enjoyed them, but I didn’t actively pursue watching more), but I really enjoyed myself. The first thing I noticed was that everyone was wearing neat costumes, and I felt the immediate urge to make costumes again. Turns out other people were obsessed with making costumes, I wasn’t alone! So later in September I went to Dragon*Con for the first time dressed as the Major from Ghost in the Shell, my then current obsession.
It wasn’t the best costume (I’m actually kind of embarrassed looking back at it), being a material and style I’d never worked with, but it was pretty popular. I loved it so much I went to Anime Weekend Atlanta a few weeks later and ended up doing the costume contest! I didn’t win anything of course, but I got to see amazing costumes up close and talk to cool people. Afterwards I was a bit burnt out from working so hard, so my brain left costume mode for awhile. For the next Dragon*Con I was just super lazy and went as a Sim. (Ironically, a ton of people loved it and took pics of me)
That was the only costuming con I went to that year (not counting PAX East, I feel costuming is kinda considered lame there). Then in 2011, the Game of Thrones show came out. I had a new obsession, Daenerys! So for Dragon*Con 2011 I did the silver (purple for me) wedding dress and a golden egg. I worked pretty hard on it, but as usual waited till the last minute and didn’t execute it as well as I wanted. (Except the egg, that turned out amazing.)
Again, didn’t do any other costuming cons (again, not counting PAX East). And then Skyrim came out. And Lydia was a character, a character with my own name! I knew I HAD to be her. Someone mentioned carrying a “burdens” bag for comedic effect, which I ended up doing. So I started thinking about it (since November-ish 2011) and officially started in May 2012. I’d never done armor before, so it was quite a feat for me. Except for taking a few weeks off at one point, I pretty much worked on it constantly until the con. If you want more detail on this costume, check out the post I made on it. So I barely finished it and did the Friday Night Costume Contest and parade. I also ended up making a quickie Skyrim tavern wench outfit to wear when not doing the contest and parade.
That was such an amazing experience. I got to talk to the other contestants (while waiting around ~5 hours) about how they made their costumes and got some great tips. I also got to drool over the amazing Skyrim iron armor costume that won Best in Show. I didn’t win anything like I expected, but still had fun, which was the whole point! This is really hard for me to say because I know it makes me sound like a super awful jerk, but I will admit I was a bit confused about the people who won in each category (except Best in Show, that one was like “duh, of course it won!”). They had costumes that I hadn’t really paid attention to because they weren’t automatically “impressive” at first glance. However, the next day I went to the “Meet the Winners” panel on a whim. Boy am I glad I went. The judges themselves explained why they chose who they did, and I totally understood. They also explained what they were looking for in detail. As a bonus I got a picture with Harrison (Volpin), the awesome the Skyrim winner!
Anyway at this point, something changed in me. I had been super nervous about the contest, and was waiting to calm down now that everything was over. I was waiting to feel relieved and move on, not thinking about it again until at least 2013. It didn’t go away, however, because of that experience. Instead, (as corny as it sounds) a fire lit inside of me. I felt this extreme urge to make a new costume for next year with the goal of impressing these judges. The rest of the con I immediately started researching costumes and trying to find ones impressive and detailed enough, yet still meaningful to me. This page is already long so I’ll continue in another one detailing what happened in the panel, and how it will directly affect my costume making from now on. I would like to clarify that I love making costumes because I just freaking love crafting them and being awesome when I wear it. However I’m a fairly competitive person and love a good challenge, so that’s why I want to make the ultimate competition costume for next year. :-P
So in summary, I’m starting this blog in an effort to be more serious about my costuming. I really need a place to put down all of my ideas for future costumes, as well as document my current costumes for other people to see (and for me to reflect upon in the future). So far making these posts has calmed my nerves a bit, as it feels good to get it my ideas and thoughts out or I might explode with anticipation. I’d also like to get feedback from other people as well to improve my costuming skills. :)