An Open Challenge to Cosplay Audiences

I’ve seen a few people talking about their discontent with cosplayers who do choose to put their bodies on display. While I’m sympathetic to the frustration of talented seamstresses being overlooked in order to favor “sexy cosplay,” I’m not comfortable placing any blame on the cosplayers themselves. Sex sells – unfortunately. Instead of pointing fingers at cosplayers who are comfortable with showing off their bodies and/or may not care about more elaborate costumes, we should consider our audiences and the consumers who lavish attention on the “sexy stuff.” The impetus is not on the cosplayer to change or censor themselves. While I have personal reasons for choosing to not do “sexy cosplay” and I like to see elaborate craftsmanship rather than lingerie shoots, I will no longer fault cosplayers who choose to do “sexy cosplay.”

If you are frustrated with the proliferation of “sexy cosplay” and would like to see more craftsmanship, I encourage you to feature cosplayers you admire. Kylee of Colfox Cosplay & Photography suggested this to me last week and I think it’s a magnificent idea. For the record, this is something that @PrincessBilbo on Instagram has been doing regularly and I perk up every time I see her feature posts! Sam Skyler will be starting a new cosplay positivity art series this week and I can’t wait to see what she does. You can also read through Ginny Di’s post about new cosplay blood and check out the new feature page, Up & Coming Cosplay.

Now, for my own part in promoting amazing cosplay craftsmanship, here are three cosplayers whose skills I greatly admire (in alphabetical order). Share a cosplayer whose work you admire in the comments so I can check them out!

I’ve been following Ginny Di since she did the Doctor Who Regeneration Carol with Matt Eleven. Her Arya Stark costume is impeccable and her One-a-Day-Cosplay week was so fun to watch! Find her on Twitter and Instagram @itsginnydi and see her perform with Geekiarchy.

Ginny’s 2015 cosplays, shared on Facebook.

I recently found Major Sam on Instagram, but she’s also on Facebook (which I just found out). I love her progress documentation and she makes hats! She makes hats!! Her detail work inspires the hell out of me and I really really want to see her costumes in person one day.

Three of Sam’s works, shared on Facebook.

Jennifer of Tangled Threads Designs primarily does commissions but she has a closet full of phenomenal Disney princess dresses! I’ve known Jen for over 10 years and it has been an honor to watch her skills develop since then. Find her on Instagram @aurorahermione.

Commissions Jen made in 2015, shared on Facebook and Instagram.

My Fear of Sergers

I learned how to sew when I was 15. I grew up with my mom and grandma constantly making things for me, so when I decided I wanted to learn how to do it too, I did. I primarily use a Brother Ex-660 because it was the machine given to me for my birthday that year, though I’ve also dabbled with other machines (including but not limited to Viking, Bernina, Singer).

But I never learned how to use a serger.

Both my mom and my grandma have sergers and both of them use them from time to time. About half of my sewing friends have sergers, which they’ve let me use for straight lines under their supervision. But I have no idea how to use one and reading the manual for my Singer Ultralock (a gift from a former coworker who had never used it) did not help me an ounce. My biggest issue is with threading the machine and an even greater concern is in accidentally unthreading it. I’ve read the guides, watched the youtube tutorials, and tried time and time again to thread both my and my mom’s sergers. I just can’t figure it out.

Hopefully that will change. As I’ve been working on new projects this year, I want to have clean seams wherever possible and vastly improve my personal craftsmanship. I have plans for projects that use velvet, satin, organza, spandex, and even more fabrics where a serger will be helpful. And I want to make use of the machine I was given so it doesn’t just gather dust.

I wish I could say that “No Fear” from The Swan Princess plays through my head but this serger has been a desk ornament for the past few months precisely because I am full of fear. Since I don’t want to let a perfectly good machine be a paperweight, I’m going to reread the manual for the umpteenth time, scour countless online tutorials, and do my best to follow the color-coded numbers that tell me exactly where I should place each thread.

Wish me luck.

visual of serger thread guide
After threading the machine & successfully sewing a few lines! (Sorry for the lint.)