Costume Con (CC) is a truly unique event that I highly recommend for people that are dedicated to the craft of costume making. There is so much to learn and it has a great relaxed atmosphere thanks to it have a mature crowd. The main pillars of Costume Con are the panels, the competitions, and socializing. So I'll break down my blog about the weekend in these categories.
My costumes for the weekend.
Click to go to their page with construction notes and galleries.
Here's a list of the most frequented websites I use related to cosplay. This listing is slightly tailored for Canadians/Americans but many of the stores listed do ship internationally. [Square brackets] are used to indicate the store's country.
Currency listed is CAD dollars.
Farthingales [US/Canada] - Corset supplies including boning, coutil, tools, books and patterns
Elizabethan corset generator - To make your corset to your measurements. Plug in your numbers and it will tell you how to make a pattern.
Arda Wigs [US + Canadian Store]
- Price Range: $30-$90
- Color variety and unique styles
- Accessories and styling tools
Epic Cosplay [US]
- Price Range: $30-$70
- Color variety and unique styles
- No lacefronts
Wig is Fashion [China]
Price Range: $20-90
–Colour variety - mostly unatural colours / big selection of lacefronts
Cosplay Wig USA / Gothic Lolita Wigs / Rockstar Wigs [US]
-Price Range: $30-100
-Colour variety and custom styles
-Market tailored: by that I mean they have specific wigs for specific geek communities "Lolita wigs" for example.
eBay.com , Aliexpress.com , and Taobao.com [mostly China]
- You can often find character specific wigs on these sites
- Check feedback before ordering and consider shipping times. Two or more months in advance is a good idea.
- Quality greatly varies - watch out for sellers who have multiple watermarks belonging to other stores
- Unless you can read Chinese characters, I suggest using a reseller for Taobao. They charge a fee to process orders on your behalf
Note: The camera used to photograph the fabric and the calibration of your screen affects what the colour looks like on a monitor. When in doubt order a swatch if it's available.
CosplaySupplies [US/Canada] – Worbla, Transpart, wonderflex, Fosshape, friendly plastic
YayaHan.com [US] - Worbla
-Also be sure to check out local plastics stores in your area, you may be surprised at what you find. I get my styrene from a signs shops.
BUYING IN BULK
Beads, feathers, fabric, trims, lace, wigs, etc
- Check the feedback of the item before purchasing, which is conveniently found on the item page itself
- If you run into a problem with a product be sure file a complaint, you will likely get a partial refund.
-Check for coupons, they often have store specific and site-wide coupons.
eBay [Worldwide] - Check the store's feedback before purchasing and try to find feedback on your item.
Taobao – [China] You may have to order from a reseller who will charge you a handling fee.
-Has a great collection of tutorials broken down in categories and sub-categories, such as: Accessories, wigs, shoes, armour, dyeing, and sewing.
Replica Prop Forum
- Mostly props focused
- Look up people's builds and post questions
- Search available tutorials or post a question
- General how-to website that has many costume oriented step-by-steps
Google - Put your search skills to use
- Search "character name" AND "tutorial" to see what comes up
- Use different terms while searching for a tutorial
- Bilingual cosplayers, switch languages and see what results pop-up
This blog details some of the advice I give at panels for cosplay beginners such as "Cosplay 101" or "How to start cosplaying" since not everyone can make it out to Canadian events. I hope you find it useful.
More blogs in the 10 year Cosplay Retrospective Series:
Week 1 -Wigs | Week 2 - Make-up | Week 3 - Armour | Week 4 - Cosplay Closet Purge | Week 5 -Planning | Week 6 - Inventory | Week 7 - Cosplay on a Budget
Comfort & Assistance
Is your costume comfortable or uncomfortable? Will you need assistance getting around the event? Is your vision limited?
The comfort of you costume will determine how long you can wear it, so you should budget your time accordingly. Prioritize your events (gatherings, panels, etc) to make sure you can attend and enjoy them.
Inconvenient or awkward costumes may require you have an assistant (aka handler) to help you navigate the crowded con floor. Be sure to check the convention policy on large costumes, as some events require you have an assistant for large or vision impairing costumes.
Consider some back up options to deal with uncomfortable costumes. I often bring a pair of flats if I'm wearing painful high heels. Also, you can make certain costume parts easily removable for maneuvering through crowds, such as wings or armour. I sometime bring a tote bag with me to carry certain costume pieces from one event to another.
Can you go to the washroom in this costume? How much time will it take you to go to the bathroom in this costume?
This is very important because with cumbersome cosplays where you need to set time for washroom breaks. Respect your bladder and go to washroom whenever you have a window of opportunity.
My Shiva costume was 30+ minutes ordeal to go to the washroom and that's not including putting everything back on again. I made sure to capitalize on some free time while waiting in the greenroom when I was competing in the masquerade.
Knowing the properties of the fabric you need to buy for a costume will help you narrow down which one you need to purchase. Here's what I consider before I settle on a fabric.
Charmeuse silk would be classified Shiny (somewhat)> Light > Opaque > Smooth > non stretch > Solid and/or pattern (depending on the costume) > dyeable > high budget.
Compare to satin which can be heavier, have slight texture, can be stretchy, can be dyeable (only with polyester dyes), and low budget.
If you can determine which attributes best describe your fabric, someone at the fabric store can probably help you pick something out. Having a reference photo handy always helps, especially if you have a hard time naming fabrics.
This was my first Costume Con, my first costuming conference, and I made my first original costume.
Costume con was a feast for the eyes and mind especially if you are looking see and learn about new techniques. Next time I attend this event I plan on attending many more panels. I was so busy.
It was an exhausting weekend but I had a great time and I look forward to attending it again. I may have to wait 3 years till it returns to Toronto but my friends and I are already brainstorming ideas.
I had a great time at Conbravo as a cosplay guest and masquerade judge.
Here's a little taste of my adventures, Vine Style.
With Marie-Clause Bourbonnais
Ottawa ComicCon was the first convention of the season. My weekend was marred with many mishaps but overall I had an okay weekend.
Let's start off by saying it took me close to an hour to bus to the event location everyday. Meaning I commuted for close to 2 hours everyday there and back, which was very draining.
I had to commute directly from work to the event. Luckily my coworkers are cool with my hobby, so I was able to get my makeup and put my Yoruichi wig on before leaving. After the long bus ride, I managed to get enough time to get dressed right before starting my Cosplay on a Budget panel with Kudrel. It was a packed room and I believe everyone left a little thriftier than before. I breifly caught up with some friends before calling it a night.
Sometimes, the cosplay gods do not favour you. It was a disaster for me to get ready in the morning in my Cheetah costume. I had to skip on coloured contact because the ones I used the day before seriously irritated my eyes. I couldn't find my body piant so I opted for eyeliner. All the primer in the world wouldn't make it stay put. I also couldn't keep my leg pieces on especially since I need to find a pair of scissor to cut the double sided tape, and it was a brand I never used, that ended up being sub-par.
Judgement day, as in I was judging the masquerade. There were almost 40 entries which Cats Luna, Suki Cosplay and myself all assessed in the greenroom. There were some tough decisions to make, but in the end the Avatar group reigned supreme with their skit including a choreographed fighting scene using ribbons for bending, in addition to having well made studded/embossed leather costumes at the novice level. (Since when do novice craft leather armour!).
A special thank you to Kim, the masquerade director, who did a wonderful job and invited me to be a judge.
I met with the contestants at the award ceremony and congratulated them on their hard work. Then I scarfed down some food with Cosplay Calamity, followed by a shoot with Belziir Photography in Yoruichi, in the cold windy field behind the con centre. I briefly ran into Marie-Claude Bourbonnais, we were both judges at last year's masquerade. The photo above was the only one I got all weekend.
I have weird friends
_ I have been going to G-Anime since it was created. The team that runs the convention is a dedicated well-organized group of people. I was fortunate to be a Cosplay Guest this year, so I was busy all weekend.
I started my Friday in my Sakura Cosplay running my Cosplay on a budget panel. There was a good turnout, and I hope all the attendees have some new thrifty skills to put to work. The rest of the evening was spent hanging out with friends, there were more than I expected. I wrapped up the day by having a great dinner at the Ardoise restaurant in the hotel.
I spent most of my weekend with my lovely cosplay buddies. You can find their work here: Cosplay Calamity, Thornrose, Dart, Mai Sheri Costumes, Jus de Pomme, and whoever else sends me their info.
Here a quick round up of cosplays I spotted on Friday.
MeltingMirror's Cosplay Blog
Learn more about my experiences in the cosplay world, from conventions to photoshoots and everything in between.