My first cosplay!

Ah. A convention.

A gathering of like-minded people coming together to just plain geek out. I’m really not sure there can be a greater place to be. Even for me and my awkward social anxieties.

I had a few.

Did I say few? I meant many.

Did I say had? I meant still have to this very day.

After having been into anime for a while I decided to go to my first convention. I felt like I had waited a little too long to experience this wonder of fandom. I was 22 and had been a fan of anime for at least…geez…10 years. What hell took me so long?. Well, lack of money probably had something to do with it.

Even with my mild fear and not liking to draw attention to myself, I was going to take the plunge and cosplay. My husband (then boyfriend) was surprised at this. He couldn’t believe that I would put myself in a situation where I would have to interact with people I didn’t know and have to *gasp* talk to them! But I was committed and we got our tickets for Anime Central (ACen for those in the know).

I decided that my first ever cosplay was going to be Lucy from “Elfen Lied”. I had just finished the series and I had really enjoyed it. I love a dark gory anime, even now. Not only did I like the anime, but at the time, my hair was super long, almost all the way down my back. So I was going to dye it pink (OMG) and get myself a costume.

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Lucy from Elfen Lied

This is the outfit I was going to make. Only problem, I had (and have) zero sewing skills. At most I could sew on a button, but it wouldn’t look nice or hold up over time. The only solution  I had was to go shopping. But then there is that lack of money thing again, so to the thrift store I went. This was the start of it all.

The pieces themselves weren’t all that hard to find. A pink long sleeve shirt, a red tank top, a yellow skirt. I think I may have spent less than $10 on those three pieces. Next was her hat. I went to Joann Fabrics and bought some fabric and cute little puff balls and some lace for the tank top. Again, super cheap.

I still needed some help with the sewing, so I went to my younger sister and had her sew on the lace, make a quick hat and shorten the sleeves of the pink shirt. She did a great job.

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Myself as Lucy

As you can see in the picture the pink hair dye didn’t take to well, but I was really happy with it. And in case you are wondering, yes I did make a pair of horns. They were made out of white polymer clay that had a little sparkle in it. they came out so nice.

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I met this girl who was dressed as Lucy in the wrappings who was great. She flagged me down before I could even get in and wanted to take a picture with me. This was amazing to me. Someone wanted to take a picture with me? I couldn’t believe it. I sourced this cosplay well enough that other people liked it and (most importantly) recognized who I was. What a great feeling. And a great picture, too.

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She knew what she was doing. I didn’t. But it was still a great picture. I had this problem the whole con of not knowing what to do with myself when people took my picture, so I just sort of stood there. I had never done this before and I was like that scene in Talladega Nights when Ricky Bobby keeps putting his hands up in the frame awkwardly. I’m sure it was hilarious to my husband.

Anyway, I had a great time for the whole weekend at ACen that year. It was the beginning of my love of cosplay and it showed me that I don’t need to be a master seamstress to make a costume.

I grew up loving cartoons. I can remember watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when I was young. My before school routine wasn’t complete without Beast Wars and Biker Mice from Mars. Beast Wars is still one of my favorite shows, animated or not. (Dinobot is amazing 😍 )

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but then I discovered anime. And my life changed forever. When my mom finally let me have a tv in my room I probably watched it a little too much. I’m sure a lot of adults can say that. I would stay up at night and channel surf, not really watching anything in particular. Animation caught my eye on the sci-fi channel (as it was called then) and I stopped to watch. I had never seen anything like it, although I can’t remember now what the actual anime was that I saw. I was hooked immediately. I would search for more anime on tv. I loved it.

Sci-fi would play Captain Harlock and Speed Racer and anime movies that I should not have been watching as a junior high student. They played unedited Fist of the North Star. I shouldn’t watch, but I did.

Around the same time anime was picking up in popularity and Cartoon Network starting getting into the game. Toonami was everything to me. I would run home, literally run home so I could be home in time to watch. And when they started playing Dragonball Z, I was obsessed. I read all the mangas, I found every bit of information I could on the internet, I read fan fiction. I even had a very big binder full of printed out fan fiction, fan art, trivia, and anything else I liked. Even drawings I had made myself. Even today, over 15 years later, I still love DBZ. (Vegeta forever!)

So when I started going to conventions, of course I’m going to jump head first into cosplay. I love cosplaying. It’s fun. It’s like an escape. I can be someone else for a while and I like when people like what I create. The problem I have is it can be expensive.  And when your making minimum wage you have to improvise. So my answer to the expense was to thrift as much as I could. And it’s not as difficult as you would think. So I’m here to show the thought process and how to put together outfits and cosplay for cons. I’ve got a few years of conventions behind me so I’ll start at the beginning and work my way up to the present.

I hope that the costumes I put together can inspire people to be creative and enjoy cosplaying without breaking the bank. I find it to be great fun and hopefully you will too!