Hey there, cosplayers! This week, our usual cosplay consultant, Lauren Murphy, is otherwise engaged, so sadly I’m afraid you’re stuck with me. I know, it’s a crying shame! However, while I don’t claim to be an expert, I do want to give my own perspective as a relative newbie to the scene, and hopefully help out some people getting started with the hobby in the process. So without much further ado, this week we’ll be talking about when and how to revisit an old cosplay with a brand new bag of tricks!
So you’re at that stage where you have a few cosplays under your belt, and you can pick and choose which ones you love and which you hate. You’ve accomplished a lot of great things, but your eyes keep turning back to that very first cosplay. Sure, you love it, who wouldn’t love the first time? But let’s face it, you’ve learned a lot since you started, and somehow what seemed amazing the first time you did it just stands out as amateurish to you now. It’s time for an upgrade, so let’s show your old costume some love and attention so it can shine proud amongst your line up!
Be Your Own Harshest Critic
First thing’s first; you need to identify what’s good and what’s bad about your old costume. Be brutal! You don’t want to have to redo things again in a couple months, after all! For a quick example, I’ll use my old Rinoa costume from Final Fantasy 8. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love this costume! I will be forever grateful to my mother for knitting out Rinoa’s duster and armbands for me, much to her suffering over a pattern she found tedious to make.
However, for the parts I had to make myself, I can’t say I’m happy with them. As opposed to Rinoa’s skirt/legging combo, I cut a pair of leggings and a pair of jeans and sewed them together, because somehow in my mind that made more sense than taking the extra time to find the right skirt for the job.
On top of that, the weapon I made for her, the Shooting Star, was made out of cardboard and craft foam, and while I still attest that it’s one of the most impressive props I’ve made, and I still keep it on my wall as decoration, it was in no way sturdy enough for the convention I was going to. The hot sun on convention day, followed by the occasional bump into someone had destroyed the glue holding the prop together, and as such I was shedding pieces of it all day long. Definitely time for a remake!
Plan Your Pieces
The plus side of upgrading an old cosplay is that you can only have to do a fraction of the work (and the cost) you’d have to do for a full costume. For Rinoa, I’ll be keeping my duster and armbands, and just focusing on upgrading her skirt and her weapon, plus adding a wig closer to her hair colour since I’ve dyed my hair away from basic brown since last time I wore her.
I’ve already opted to scour the depths of eBay and find the perfect skirt for the costume this time, so all I really need to do is find black leggings and sew a white stripe into the front before that’s complete.
The Shooting Star is where things get tricky. As previously said, I keep it on my wall as decoration, but I’ve never done a proper fix for it since the convention it was worn to, so it needs a tune up on the foam feathers, and I’ll be covering it in worbla and re-painting it once that’s done. This should make it about 10 times sturdier than it was originally, and I won’t have to worry about losing parts on a long convention day.
As said previously, it’ll take you a fraction of the time to remake an old costume, so whether or not you want to rush it out to cover a convention in a few weeks, or you want to take your time and do it as a side project to another cosplay is up to you, but just make sure you give it the attention it deserves.
This cosplay might not be the most impressive in your line-up, but it’s your first and you’ve gone to all this trouble to take it out of your wardrobe for one last hurrah. You don’t want to mess it up by either rushing through it, or leaving it forgotten, so take your time and put those skills you’ve learned to good use!
If nothing else, you can use comparison pictures to show yourself and others how much you’ve accomplished in the last few years! And just remind yourself that the sky’s the limit on your skill here! Who’s to say that in a few years you won’t look at what’s currently your most impressive outfit and once more say, “Yep, I can do better!” So keep climbing, cosplayers! I for one can’t wait to see what the Irish scene has coming to it!