Nina have been cosplaying since 2007, She does her best to provide tips and advice for young cosplayers as they begin their journey into this crazy world of dress-up — which can be more than a bit overwhelming to newcomers.
Yes! Emily and I will be there Friday-Sunday. I don’t think we’ll have a costume schedule, we’re probably just going to wear whatever we want on whichever day. As always please feel free to come say hi if you do see us, it should be a pretty low-key and chill weekend!
I’m not sure if I’ll ever make a video about it, but I can talk about it here, no problem!
Every costume of mine has a mistake. Every single one. I don’t say this to degrade myself or be self-deprecating, just stating the truth! Every costume I’ve tackled has been a learning process, and mistakes are part of the learning process. By the time I’ve completed a project, there’s always at least one thing I would do differently if I had the chance to remake it. I’d choose a different fabric, a different method of detailing, a different wig color, etc. Maybe I messed up on a top-stitch or smudged a paint line or cut a bang section too short. Maybe I proportioned something wrong, maybe I had to rush through something to get it done on time, maybe I didn’t finish something on time and had to make due with an alternative. Trust me, those mistakes absolutely happen for me. All the damn time. Why? It’s because I’m still learning, too.
Learning = mistakes. Just accept that. Be at peace with it. If you’re still learning something, you will make mistakes. It’s okay. If you’ve never done something before, you can’t expect that it’ll be 100% perfect, no matter how many tutorials you read or how many walkthroughs you watch. Understanding a concept doesn’t automatically result in flawless execution. Cosplay, like any other art form, takes practice.
I spent the last ten years of my participation in cosplay really dragging myself down for all of these little mistakes. I’d get to the con and not even want to put on my costume because that stitch wasn’t perfect or the wig doesn’t look quite right and, man, it’d just bog me down. It was the pits. It took a lot of the fun out of wearing my costumes because I was so hung up on every mistake I’d made in the construction process, certain that people would notice and criticize me for it.
But you know what? For the most part, people didn’t care – if they noticed at all. Most people were just happy to see someone dressed up as a character they liked. At Daishocon, no one cared that I had some proportion/silhouette issues with Moa; they were just excited to see another Show by Rock!! fan. When I wore Panne, no one pointed out the paint that had chipped in transit, they just yelled “OH MY GOD BUNNY WAIFU” at me. While in Lan Fan, no one got hung up on a slight gap between my sleeve and the automail; they complimented me on my automail and then we’d talk about how amazing FMA is.
I think, as an artist, it’s important to be aware of mistakes. It’s important to acknowledge them so we can learn from them and improve our craft. But don’t let those mistakes cause you to lose sight of the best parts of cosplay: bringing a character to life and meeting other fans who love that character, too. That’s what separates cosplay from general costuming: the ability to emotionally impact another person over your shared connection with a character or fandom. Don’t lose sight of that just because of some messy stitches. You’ll have better stitches next time.
Hey! While I’m over here on good ol’ Tumblr, I want to address one thing that didn’t come up in my stream (since it was already 3 hours long, yikes).
Over the years, I know I’ve done my best to answer questions, but occasionally I’ve gotten… rather rude when doing so. I’ve had instances of lashing out when asked certain questions; not because the asker upset me, but usually because there was something else going on and I was having trouble dealing with it (personal issues, insecurity, etc). I also had a tendency to get edgy if someone asked me about a cosplay technique I’d never done or a cosplay project I had absolutely no idea how to make, since it reinforced to me how much my own craftsmanship skills were lacking. And I’m sure there are a dozen other instances of poor inbox-related etiquette that I could name; I’ve been on this site for seven years, after all. :’D
Regardless of the reason for it, there was absolutely no excuse for me to ever get angry or be rude when answering a question. If I ever directed that attitude towards you, I’m extremely sorry; you did nothing wrong. I was likely just being sensitive and overreacting because of my own personal bullshit and using a question as an excuse to lash out instead of dealing with whatever was going on. It was immature, and it set a bad example. I’m sorry if it ever made you feel unwelcome or upset as a result.
I can’t say I have the answer to every cosplay question out there, but please know my door is always open if there is anything you want to chat about or ask. (That also goes for anything I’ve failed to address that you’re still curious about, or if you’d like to offer constructive criticism or critique!) I’ll do my best to check this inbox whenever I have the chance and get back to you.
Oh, no worries, I’m happy to answer! Like I said in the stream, I really did love hosting panels, it was one of the few things about being a “pro cosplayer” that were 100% enjoyable. (Which, inadvertently caused me to try to host too many panels during guest weekends. Cons would ask me to host 2-3 panels and I’d usually offer to host 4-6 if they had room in the schedule or needed to fill up time blocks. Getting to share cosplay info with a group of real life people is 100 times more fun than talking to myself in front of a camera, alone in my bedroom.)
I’m not sure if cons will ever be interested in inviting me as a guest from now on (which I totally understand and am not complaining about!), so hosting 4-6 panels in a weekend may no longer be a possibility, but either way, I’d definitely like to apply to host panels again in the future! I’d love to be able to expand on some of the topics I discussed in my recent stream, and maybe explore more workshop/open-table formats that can generate more participation and conversation with the audience. I know I do want to be able to relax and enjoy cons more than I have in the past… but I also get restless if I don’t have enough to do, and hosting panels here and there would make me feel like I’m still positively contributing something to the community and the conventions I attend.
We’ll see what happens! Regardless: thank you so much for the support. The notion that you’d want to attend a future panel even if I’m not ~*Pro Cosplay Senpai Mango Sirene*~ anymore means a lot to me.
Thank you so much, I really appreciate that! Fem!Suga’s wig is one of my favorite’s to wear. :D I’ve seen lots of adorable interpretations of Suga’s hair for genderbent cosplays, so it was really a challenge to decide how to interpret it for my own version! I decided to base it off the “mom” role he has on the team and went with the “tragic anime mom” hairstyle of a side ponytail.
Practical for volleyball and making him 10 times more likely to be eaten by a Titan!
Honestly? Don’t bother. Facebook reach is tremendously awful these days, especially for those just starting Pages.
Focus your energy on Twitter, it’s pretty much the only platform with decent assurance that your followers will actually see what you post. Instagram is a close second but they’ve messed with the algorithms over there so much that it’s started to decline, too.
Also: don’t ever switch to a Business profile on anything. It’ll nuke your reach unless you cough up money because the platform will assume you’re using that profile to make money, so they want to charge you for it. Think of it like… A cosplayer can totally walk around a con to show off their costume. But if they start selling prints of their costume at that event, the con will want to charge them for a Dealers/AA table, since the cosplayer is using that venue to earn money. (Similar to how a lot of cons make photographers buy a special photographer badge if they’re charging for shoots at the event.)
When hemming super sheer and delicate fabrics, I am always reminded of that quote from Futurama, “When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.”
I learned this technique from Vicky, one of my frequent co-workers on shows, who is honestly far too modest considering all of the amazing costumes she has made over the years. (She doesn’t really have social media etc.) I forget the exact reason it came up, but she said it was a favorite technique she would use on delicate dresses she made for Coleen Atwood films. The key is adding machine paper (Like from an adding or cash register machine) a nice roll of almost computer-paper weight paper, nothing fancy like the shiny chemical reactant kind. This method is a little time consuming, but with practice you can get amazingly clean hems that are 1/8” - 1/16 on even the most difficult of fabrics.
For this tutorial I documented sewing the skirt of my Evelyn Cosplay, because the skirt is one continuous piece of fabric (about 5 yards) I really wanted the hem to be as clean as possible, and this technique is perfect for that. The Top two photos were Taken by Eric Anderson, or my finished costume at the Exposition Rose Gardens in Los Angeles.
Step 1 - Lay your fabric/hem edge on a flat surface, like a big table or the floor. It is important to let the fabric sit as you want it to be hemmed. So if its bias and you want the hem stretched out/ to ripple, stretch the fabric gently. If you want it natural - lying relaxed and so on. pin the adding machine paper under the hem, keeping the desired hem tension. On curved areas tear and angle the paper. Basically you are using the paper to “block out” the desired hem once sewn.
Step 2 - Stitch about 1/2” from your cut edge, as shown. (I had a 1/2” Seam allowance on my pattern) Once it’s all stitched to the paper, take out your pins and go to the iron. Using the paper as an anchor, use the iron to press the fabric on the stitch line so the seam allowance folds over onto itself. You want a clean sharpe fold. Remove the paper gently. I find it easiest to tear one side free, taking advantage of the stitch perforations. The second side will fall away much easier; any lingering little bits can be gently wiggled loose with a pin.
Step 3 - Stitch a second line of stitching next to the first/now the folded edge. If you stitch 1/8” your finished hem will be close to 1/8”, 1/16 will be 1/16” etc. I find I get a nicer result if I *very* gently pull the fabric taunt while sewing this second line. Using very small scissors (I have a curved pair I like for this) trim off the seam allowance as close to the second line of stitching as you can. Press.
Step 4 - Folding the hem one more time on the second stitch line (or as close as you can get it) stitch through all layers. Again, I find I get a nicer result if I *very* gently pull the fabric taunt while sewing. Trim off your thread tails, press it again and Viola! Done.
Top 5 Favorite Cosplay Fabrics || MangoSirene - YouTube
Fabric: the bread of the cosplay world. You can laden it with your beads, lace, and trims like any great BLT, but your fabric is the foundation of your costume sandwich. And just like with bread, we all have our favorite kinds! Whether you like melonpan or minky, taftan or taffeta, pumpernickel or poplin, or maybe something more exotic like cauliflower pizza crust or “crêpe” de chine, cosplay introduces us all to a wide variety of fabric types. And after ten years, here’s a video counting down my personal favorites I’ve gotten to use while making costumes!