To be honest Militarystuck Dave was the first cosplay I ever made from pure scratch. I felt a strong connection to him in the web comic Homestuck. One day on Tumblr I came across this "fan art" or rather I would say that it was art of Dave in military style clothing. I then decided to add him to my never ending list of "future cosplays". I bought fabric from Walmart and pretty much took a t-shirt apart and traced around it for the pattern. Then eventually I was stumped on how to sew in sleeves. I looked up so many tutorials on how to do it and eventually I came across one by MangoSirene on YouTube showing how she sewed in sleeves so I used that as a guide. Ever since then I have had no problems with sewing in sleeves. For pants I just got a pair of white skinny jeans because what the heck why not? I had to make another long sleeve shirt that didn't close for his waist shirt. Then I took a studded belt I already had for his belt. I made the pearl necklaces he had and bought the hat off ebay as a base which I then added the final touches I needed to complete his look.
The first time I ever wore him out to a convention was at Phoenix Comicon 2012 I believe. I was in a rush last minute trying to finish him for it since I wanted to wear him on day one. All the Homestuck cosplayers said I looked awesome and that made me feel really happy inside since it was the first cosplay I had ever made. Before then I used to "closet cosplay" with just clothes from my closet. I did a closeted Alois Trancy OVA version at my first con in 2011 and after that convention was over I decided to simply learn to sew and start making cosplays.
Since making Militarystuck Dave I have grown as a cosplayer and learned new sewing techniques. Usually by looking up tutorials if needed because other than that I pretty much just wing it and hope to god it all comes out the way I want it to. I am self taught after all so of course I'm still learning new things with every cosplay project I take on.
The first time I heard about cosplay was way back when I was in high school. One of my friends was into anime like I was and she was always looking at people in costumes. I didn't realize it at the time what it was called until I asked her what it was. She told me it was called cosplay. I thought it was really interesting so I waited till after I had graduated to start doing it. My first experience was a wild one. I took one of my friends with me to Saboten Con 2011 and asked her to cosplay with me so I didn't feel awkward. We had so much fun at the con and it was one amazing experience. Even though we had pretty much went as closeted versions of Kuroshitsuji characters we still got a really good response from everyone and were happy to see that they knew who we were even. My friends didn't think it was weird that I cosplay when I told them. My family used to think I was strange for doing it then eventually realized that cosplaying made me happy and were always excited to see my new cosplays for any convention afterwards. I usually don't tell my co-workers that I cosplay unless they ask even though I know most of them go to conventions too - just they don't cosplay like me. If I were to go back in time and give my younger self advice I would tell her to stop, step back, breath and everything will be okay and to stop stressing about the little things.
After so many conventions you would think "hey why do you keep going back and cosplaying". To be perfectly honest it's because it's fun and it's a major stress reliever from my real life. I get to be someone else for a few days and that's always a nice feeling. Even if I don't get stopped for pictures I am still having fun no matter what because that's what a convention is for and what cosplay is for not just only me but for so many others as well. We are all just one huge nerdy family really.
Through out my years of cosplay I have learned a lot of things. For example, never ever wear a layered cosplay in 100 degree plus weather. I felt like I was going to die in my Noiz cosplay one year because it was so dang hot, but that was partly my fault since I had made some poor fabric choices and picked I think it was soft cotton and linen. Another one was to never stack three petticoats that were one size too small and wear all of them at once and expect it to be comfortable. I couldn't even sit down for long periods of time in my Doll cosplay since it hurt to sit and again that was my fault since I got the wrong size for my bases. Oh well, you live and you learn so there is always going to be some mistakes a long the way. Nobody is perfect after all.
In a way I guess you can say that cosplay has allowed me to express myself. It's like a form of art but only it's bringing a character that's in an anime, web comic, comic book, movie, cartoon, etc to life and recreating that to the best of your ability to show everyone that it's okay to walk around like your favorite character. Doesn't matter who you are or where you come from because if you like that character then you go for it and cosplay them. Nobody is going to judge you and if they do then just brush it off and walk away from them like it never happened