As we approach Halloween, social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit explode with photos of creative and unique Halloween costumes. Gone are the days of going down to Party City, paying $60 for a shoddily sewn costume made from questionable fabrics that don’t look good on anyone.
What's scarier? The monster or the faux fur boots?
Image retrieved from http://www.halloweenexpress.com/womens-flirty-
But as the conventionality of cosplay (see the Special Interests tab for more) becomes more mainstream, more and more costume enthusiasts are running to their local craft store and stocking up on sewing machines, fabrics, and patterns. Homemade costumes and clothing aren’t a shameful secret anymore. Whenever I tell someone I sew and that I do cosplay and have a very vested interest in getting a job in the costuming industry, I’m met with gasps and declarations of wishing they knew how to sew.
My sewing machine and dress form with a corset mockup on it.
But to most, the idea of sitting down to create a garment is very daunting. Where to start? How to start? What do all the weird markings and symbols in this sewing pattern mean? The mere thought of taking a few yards of fabric and turning it into something fabulous has the ability to frighten someone away and let them go back to buying those bagged costumes from popup Halloween shops. But fear not, sewing novice! All is not lost. Because sewing has become en vogue once again, it is simple to find detailed tutorials and countless forums online for extra support.
Professor Pincushion is a lifesaver!
Video retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8WM4yjqawU
Creating our own costumes is a thing of pride for those of us in the cosplay and costuming communities. There are even those that seek to be considered “cos-famous” (attaining fame and recognition as a cosplayer) and those that have clenched that goal are often invited to sign autographs at conventions, judge costume competitions, and even compete on reality television programs.
Yaya Han as Chun Li from Street Fighter.
Image retrieved from http://yayahan.com/uploads/images/chunli-smaller.jpg
Yaya Han was featured on Syfy’s Heroes of Cosplay in 2013, a reality program based around cosplayers famous within the community. Because of her success on the show, Yaya Han now has a line of fabrics available for purchase at Jo-Ann craft stores in the United States and even has patterns for some of her more popular costumes available for purchase through McCall’s Sewing Patterns
My small collection of Yaya Han patterns.
Because of the mainstream presence of cosplay due to the growing popularity of pop culture conventions such a San Diego ComicCon, sewing and creating costumes has become trendy once again. Social media has aided the DIY craft boom with websites like Pintrest and Instagram allowing users to show off their creations for the world to see. And with sewing machines becoming more modern and user friendly, gone are the old frustrations of attempting to sew a buttonhole or straining your eyes to thread a needle. No one really knows how long this trend will be considered “in,” but one thing is certain: the life skills those that take advantage of the trend will gain from it will be long-lasting and beneficial for years to come.
---. The new DIY boom: Sales of sewing machines are soaring and craft courses are booming. (n.d.). Retrieved October 09, 2016, from http://www.independent.co.uk/property/interiors/the-new-diy-boom-sales-of-sewing-machines-are-soaring-and-craft-courses-are-booming-2245310.html
Catherall, S. (2016, September 17). Sewing, it's all the fashion. Retrieved October 09, 2016, from http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/fashion/83554452/make-and-mend-how-the-sewing-machine-got-hip-again