Monday, August 1, 2011

Cosplay 101: The Costume Postmortem

Shadowen will have your regularly scheduled link roundup a little later, but I wanted to show you one of the most useful things you can learn to do as a cosplayer: a costume postmortem.

While you're wearing your costume, it's hard not to notice and focus on all the problems you encounter. This rides up, this falls down, this has a hole, etc, etc. But as soon as you take it off, you'll forget everything, only to remember it the next time you put it on, when it will be too late. So as soon as possible after you wear the costume, sit down and write exactly what went wrong and what went right.

As an example, I'll be showing you my postmortem of my gender-swapped Dr. Orpheus costume. I can't actually post a good picture, because all the good pictures of me are under copyright to people I don't know (you'll see some in the link roundup), so I refer you to this picture from Venture Bros. Blog. When I do this, I list every single costume piece, from the bottom up, including things like hair and makeup (even if you're going natural). So here's what my postmortem for the Orpheus costume looks like:

-The spats (not pictured, because I had already abandoned them) failed to work entirely. New provisions must be made. I'm not sure what, exactly. I've thought about actually sewing the top part of the spats to the shoes and then ripping them at the end of the day. IDK if it would look good. Buying shoes may be a better step (remember the insoles and the breaking in!).

-Why is the sock glue not working? Either way, they seemed to stay up fine on their own.

Booty shorts (underneath robe)
-No complaints. Saved my life.

-Robe blew open a lot, which is why booty shorts saved my life. Consider sewing shut? Would that work? If nothing else, Kimono straps are needed.

-Hem ends of sash. Starting to fray.

Dracula trophy
-This is the main problem here. It was attached by means of two clamp barrettes, but one was gone by the end of the day, and the other seemed ready to make a break for it. Maybe put on a necklace? Hot glue is not my friend here.

-No complaints. Check hem to make sure Jackson didn't fuck it up when he stepped on it (OMG y'all Jackson Publick stepped on my cape). Possibly put the red diamond that's missing from the back on it, but that's minor.

-No complaints. Shirt dyed it pink temporarily, but it is no longer after a wash.

-Not totally happy. Using my beloved red shadow was a great idea, but I need something bigger, I feel. The costume lacks a certain element of drama.

-This is a problem. IDK what I need exactly, but I need bigger hair. It looked incomplete, like I had just forgotten my wig. Maybe just tease it out? Maybe go back to my original idea of a black wig? Maybe wear it down? Provisions must be made.

So now, I have a full list of everything I need to work on before Dragon*Con. This is good even if you don't plan to wear a costume again- you might want to sell it, give it away, display it, etc. Writing is your friend! Remember every ticky detail you can, and get on it as soon as possible.


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