Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cosplay 101: Make, Modify, or Buy?

When I've mentioned in past Cosplay 101 posts that buying items is an option, many people seem surprised! For many costumes, it's either not reasonable or not possible to make every single piece. This week, I thought I'd share how I personally decide whether to make, modify, or buy something.

Cosplay 101: Make, Modify, or Buy
(Click to view the chart larger!)

For me, there are three main things to balance when making the decision:
  • Accuracy
  • Cost
  • Time/ease
Makes sense, right? Sometimes, if something is slightly less accurate, but will save me a lot of time or money, then that's fine with me. Sometimes, I want something to be totally accurate to the source material and don't mind spending more time, effort, or cash on it. And sometimes, the costume is so fantastical you have to make most pieces yourself. It depends a lot on your costume, your time constraints, and your budget, as well as your personal preferences. Your priorities may be different! 

SDCC 2013

So let's do an example! For this costume, I made, modified, and bought pieces. Here's how I made my decisions:
  • Hammer: I could probably commission this, but it was more cost-effective for me to make it, plus I wanted to learn a new skill. Commissions tend to be expensive, so I save that for items I definitely couldn't do otherwise, like complex wigs or these awesome superhero cowls.
  • Hoodie: I needed a hoodie with one stripe. I couldn't find one the right color with the stripe, so I bought a hoodie in the correct color and added the stripe myself. I definitely couldn't make a hoodie myself!
  • Subspace bag: Making the bag is beyond my skill level. I found some handmade bags on Etsy, but they were just as expensive as this movie replica that is more accurate, so I chose to buy this one.
  • Socks: Ramona's socks only have one stripe, but it wasn't worth it to me to correct that or paint my own socks, so I purchased these as-is.
I hope this gives you a better idea of how to break costumes down and decide what you need to spend more time on and what you can purchase instead of making!

What are your priorities when making a costume?

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