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Buying a cosplay VS Making a cosplay

Buying a cosplay PROS and CONS


  • Can find good prices
  • Best ideas if you can’t sew
  • Great if you have no time to work on a costume
  • Usually it’s good quality
  • Can be found online (eBay, commissioners) and offline (cons, anime stores, costume shops)
  • Commissioners allow variations requests
  • Less stress and mess (making costume can be stressful and messy)


  • May not arrive on time for con
  • High Risk (no control over result)
  • Price may be higher than thought
  • Possibly poor quality
  • Possibly inaccurate
  • May be hard to keep in contact with seller
  • May not always fit properly

Buying online always has its risks since you won’t see the actual item until it gets there. Sellers might steal cosplayer photos and use them to promotes their costumes, so what you see could not be what you get. Commissioners sometimes have a great gallery but may not always put in the same effort on your costume. There is also the risk that it will get lost in the mail, arrive late, or never arrive at all.

Making a cosplay PROS and CONS


  • Can enter contests and say you made it
  • Learn many new skills
  • Possibly a lower price than buying
  • It can fit you exactly
  • Can be higher quality than bought costumes
  • Can be altered however you wish (ex. different length of skirt)
  • No added shipping costs, or waiting time
  • Low/No risk of getting scammed


  • If you can’t sew, then it may turn out poor quality
  • High stress
  • May be disappointed with results
  • Much more work involved then buying
  • Can take a long time to make
  • Possibly get injured (sewing pricks, small burns)

Making a costume requires you to have some ability sewing, building, or crafting. If you have no costume making abilities and want to cosplay right away, it is probably better to commission it. But if you have the time and want to make your costume then the resources are out there.

Making A Cosplay Vs Buying A Cosplay

Making A Cosplay Vs Buying A Cosplay

What is cosplay?

The term “cosplay” comes from the Japanese “kosupure” which puts together “costume and “play”. In the US, cosplay was more know as “costuming” and used in historical or sci-fi materials.

The best supported origin story on the Internet says that in 1984, Nov Takahashi, founder and writer for the anime publishing company Studio Hard, was sent to Los Angeles to cover the World-Con science fiction convention. He was impressed by the fans’ costumes and the elaborate displays at the masquerade, and when he returned to Japan, he coined the term to describe what he saw. After anime and anime conventions boosted in the 90s and 2000s, the term “cosplay” became more and more popular.

“Cosplay” can refer to a character from comics, manga, anime, video games, fan art, books, television, movies… basically anything!

Why do people cosplay?

That fully depends on the cosplayer! Some do it because they love sewing, crafting, or prop making. Some love acting like their character and want to aim for a 100% accuracy while others like changing their appearance with wigs, contacts, and makeup and or learn new skills!

Where do people cosplay?

Cosplayers are usually found at anime, sci-fi, and gaming conventions. Cosplayers will also do photoshoots or promote other activities outside conventions.

Do cosplayers require any actual skills?

Is you treat cosplay as a hobby, it can be as simple or as complex as you want! You can always buy a costume and a wig, OR hand-sew heavy detailed stuff on homemade corset. Some of the skills associated with cosplayers would be sewing and clothing altering, patterning and pattern modification, jewelry making, resin casting, prop making, wig styling and modeling.

Is there a difference between Cosplay and Halloween costumes?

Cosplay usually imply more craftsmanship associated with it than Halloween costumes. Cosplayers will build and modify much of their costume instead of buying a pre-made costume. Cosplay will always be more specific and detailed. A generic pirate is a good Halloween costume example compared to a cosplayer who will choose to go as Jack Sparrow.




How to choose what to cosplay

Deciding which character to impersonate is the first logical step when you want to create a costume. No matter if you are a veteran or just starting to cosplay, deciding which costume to work on can be challenging.

There are a few things that can help you decide. You can start by making a list of characters that come to mind immediately, then work on narrowing it down by asking these following questions.

1. What is your current favorite series, book, show, or movie? 

The first thing you have to think about it what series to cosplay from. This is a pretty simple question – just think of your current obsessions and look back a bit.

2. What is your favorite character? 

Sometimes, we develop some kind of a connection with a character and immediately want to recreate them, but sometimes, it takes a little more digging. The favorite character may have an interesting design and sometimes the best character designs may be the characters you hate!

3. Will you feel comfortable in this costume? 

Before going any further, you should assess what the character is wearing. If you love everything about the character, but you don’t love booty shorts, then it may be time to look at an alternative outfit or a different character.

4. Is this costume within your skill level? How expensive can the costume get in the end? 

Next, think about whether or not you can reasonably make the costume. Would you need to work with unfamiliar materials? This is the step where you usually figure out whether or not a certain cosplay is possible. There are some costumes where you will have to wait until you are more skilled.

5. Do you have a deadline? How much time would it take to finish this costume? 

These questions can help you decide when you can complete and wear the costume. Bigger projects may take some planning ahead to make sure you can finish in time. For quicker costumes, you may be able to commit a week before the convention and still get it done!

Group Cosplay Picture

Group Cosplay Picture