Monday, September 26, 2011

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Sewing Machine?

If you've just started costuming, it's very likely that you've never sewn anything in your life. Why should you? Your clothes are already put together when you get them from the store, and you have people like moms and great aunts for when a button falls off or you need that bridesmaid dress hemmed.

So you think "Sewing is hard, and sewing machines are scary. I'll just buy a costume." Neither of those thoughts are true! Sewing is easy, and sewing machines are fun and fast. If you scour garage sales and especially estate sales, you can find old but AMAZING sewing machines for very very cheap prices. Like under $30! Take it into a shop for a quick tune up and you'll be set to go for years, and if you do break it, well...it's not like you spent your life savings on it. Old sewing machines also have the advantage of being harder to break and easier to fix when they do mess up because the insides are more metal than plastic and have no electronic parts.

Also, if you buy a costume, you can't be sure of the quality or the fit. (Of course the same goes for most first-ever-costumes, but you'll improve quickly and save a lot of money!) This goes for everything from renfair wear to cosplay outfits. I could buy a skirt for renfair for $50, or I can spend $15 on fabric and two hours of my time to make one which I'm sure is the perfect length and fullness. Also, there is a certain attitude towards store-bought costumes, particularly in the cosplay community. In cosplay, making your costume is considered 75% of the hobby itself, and many people consider buying a costume a kind of cop-out. Many cosplay contests do not allow costumes that you did not make yourself. It definitely differs from place to place and person to person, but is something to keep in mind. You'll have much more cosplay street cred if you make it yourself.

Maybe you still think, "Okay, I want to make my costume, but I don't believe you that sewing is easy! That's why glue was invented! And if that fails, there are staples! And that no-sew iron-on stuff!"  Yes. Those are indeed options. BUT...

If you want your costume to be worn for more than a few hours, if you want it to look sharp and pro, if you want to be that costumer who people come up to and ask to have pictures taken with...you should definitely man up and learn to sew. Would you buy/wear a prom dress if you saw that the manufacturer had just glued together? Probably not. And the best part--sewing is EASY. No really! I think it's easier to whip something through a sewing machine than to painstakingly try and glue fabric. It's definitely faster and less messy.

So. Have I convinced you to make your own costume? Have I convinced you to sew it instead of gluing it? Good! Stay tuned for the next parts!

Coming Soon:
Sewing Vocabulary and Hand Stitching
Using a Machine
Deciphering Commercial Patterns







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