This was one of those costumes that looked simple to create, but was actually somewhat complicated. There were a lot of new skills learned in terms of working with new materials and techniques. Thankfully, Kinpatsu Cosplay shared her patterns so I was able to use that as a resource. Pattern creation and modification takes a good bit of time, so I was happy to have that step eliminated. This was my first time working with 4-way stretch vinyl, spacer/neoprene, and iron-on vinyl. I actually messed up the iron-on emblem the first time and had to remake the top. In addition, I made my own pattern for the skirt and it took 5 attempts to achieve the look I wanted. In addition, the boots were the most complicated I’ve ever created (again, shoutout to Kinpatsu Cosplay for creating a tutorial on that, too!).
I discovered cosplay on the internet, back in the early 2000s. At the time, there wasn’t an anime con in my medium-sized town, to my knowledge. The closest convention that I knew of was Anime Festival Orlando, and as a high schooler, my parents wouldn’t allow me to go. It just wasn’t a “thing” yet and my parents weren’t into anime, comics, fantasy, sci-fi, etc. So I actually didn’t have the opportunity to attend conventions until I was a freshman in college (2003). A group of anime club friends traveled to Atlanta to attend Anime Weekend Atlanta every year. It was honestly a dream come true – to be surrounded by like-minded people and celebrate fandom. That weekend I wore two costumes – Aya from Ayashi no Ceres (thrifted) and Lieza from Arc The Lad (sewn by an online friend). Nobody really knew who I was cosplaying, but it didn’t matter to me. There was a sense of community and spontaneity at cons back then, even with different costumes/fandoms. I still get that feeling today at cons sometimes. I attend conventions in a different way now (usually just for the day because I have other priorities), but I still remember that feeling of walking through the Renaissance-Waverly hotel for the first time.
I’ve been working on a Rapunzel (Tangled) costume for 10 years. I guess I have a creative block with it and put the costume on a pedestal, so I’m scared I’ll mess it up. As for life, I’m currently processing/grieving the passing of my father in various stages depending on the day. Even though it’s been 2+ years, sometimes it doesn’t get easier. I was also recently diagnosed with a health condition that isn’t the norm for my age, so I am working around that and trying to make the best of things.
Cosplay has taught me to be creative and love myself. I didn’t really have other creative outlets growing up, so it was nice to find out as an adult that I do actually have a hobby to express myself with. The process of gathering materials, sewing, crafting accessories, styling wigs. etc. has been therapeutic for me during some very stressful times. Life will always throw some crazy things at you, and it’s nice to have a hobby to retreat to as a positive way of processing that.