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Unread 11-26-2016, 11:19 AM   #1
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Does anyone else feel like they're just bleeding money (unnecessarily) for cosplay?

Seriously I have wasted so much money just buying the wrong things or whatever and it's sooo frustrating. I don't even want to know how much money I've spent on cosplay up to this point. Recently I ran into problems with ebay and now I'm down $60+ and I STILL don't have the pants I needed. Anyone have any recommendations for how to spend less wastefully or just want to rant about how much they've lost to cosplay?
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Unread 11-26-2016, 01:48 PM   #2
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Researching thoroughly and practicing on inexpensive/scrap pieces (sewing mockups from secondhand sheets, practicing your armourmaking technique on some small scraps first, etc.) is one way to keep from expensive screw-ups. Then when you're doing the final, the old "measure twice cut once" applies too. Manage your time so you don't rush and make a costly mistake where some extra thinking and checking would have avoided it.
Second, planning well in advance so you can wait for sales, coupons or go shopping around for best prices.
Third, sign up for mailing lists/coupons/loyalty points, and ask for cosplay stuff like gift cards,wigs, paint, con badges, etc. for Xmas and birthday presents. I've saved a bundle that way.
Fourth, when getting stuff online, ALWAYS check reviews/feedback and their return policy. Many sad stories abound on the commissioner/merchant review forum here of people being scammed out of their money or getting horrible quality because they didn't check the seller's history first.
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Originally Posted by Moofingham View Post
There's a vibe here that says "We're in this together!Through thick and thin fabric! Through cold water washes and burning hot irons! Though we might super glue ourselves to our projects, cut holes/gashes/oh-god-mom's-gonna-kill-me into the dining room table, we will stand strong together. Unless there is a 75% off sale at the Fabric store. Then you're on your own. And get the hell out of my way."<3
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Unread 11-26-2016, 08:40 PM   #3
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I try not to think about how much I've wasted on this hobby in the past 5 years (we're talking probably in the hundreds), and I only go to one con a year generally. Like Shinobi said, test out patterns on cheaper materials (for sewing try sheets from a thrift store), wait for sales, plan plan plan, research research research. I've also found that as I've gone along I have improved skill wise which leads to less waste, and I've built bit of a stockpile of material/costume pieces that can be reused (which also helps lower costs).
Make good art. ~Neil Gaiman

Past costumes:Commander Shepard, Steampunk Valkyrie, Tiefling Sorcerer, Morrigan of Dragon Age, Thor Goddess of Thunder, Daenerys Targaryen
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Unread 11-26-2016, 09:39 PM   #4
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Look make your priorities with your budget straight. You need a costume designer opinion. I suggest drawing it down, and then thinking in the budget provided. Personally I do not think a person could go wrong with cardboard and newspaper and acrylics. The problem is that people do not have the discipline to work on the costume itself and just focuses on the eye-candy instead.

Do I need a $1000 wig that defies gravity or could I just find materials like a broomstick and the materials mentioned. Again this goes into costume design.
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Unread 11-26-2016, 11:04 PM   #5
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I'm always having to try new ways to make things, regardless of the help I get beforehand with how to build stuff. My most recent "mistake" was today in which I am trying to use spray foam to build huge gauntlets and the foam just fell off of the gloves. Which is weird considering the stuff sticks to EVERYTHING. And this is just a project prop, not for a full-out cosplay. I also have SO MUCH FABRIC from cosplays and ideas that I have not done.
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Unread 11-28-2016, 12:03 AM   #6
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I'm in the same boat just starting out so buying lots of random stuff. Glue gun, glue, foam, boots, ammo pouch, belt, fabric (too much), etc. Still need gloves too. Overall, I would say I spent over $150 easy.
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Unread 11-28-2016, 05:10 PM   #7
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I do tons of research before starting my projects but I still feel like I end up spending more money than I have to. Part of it is I'm really bad at estimating how much fabric I'll need; I still have two tubs full of fleece from a group cosplay I made years ago. Luckily it's fleece so it wasn't too expensive and it's easy to get rid of but it still takes up a lot of room. I also tend to forget that when you buy a yard's worth of something it's not just length but also width, so those 3 yards I bought are actually like 9 feet square or something. I'm dumb.

My other problem is I like learning new things whenever I start a new project so I also tend to buy new tools and materials. Last time it was a heat gun, maybe next time it'll be a resin kit, who knows. I've got a whole drawer full of various glues because everything calls for different specialty glues. At least now we're never lacking for adhesives around the house. I really can't complain too much because it's in my nature to be arts and craftsy but it definitely adds to the costs.

I'd say the biggest factor to avoid spending extra money is simply time. Time to research, time to wait for sales, time to determine if that expensive thing is really the thing you want to buy. Even with experience rushing anything at the last minute is going to get costly.
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Unread 11-29-2016, 09:53 AM   #8
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Man, I don't even want to think about how much my wife and I have spent over the last few years. At least we're getting to where we have most of the tools and supplies we need... until we branch out into another style of crafting, such as leatherwork or 3D printing.

I'm sure her most recent cosplay (Sith Maleficent) was getting close to $1000. Custom silicone lekku cowl and head cast; nice lightsaber; leather clothes, various accessories and trinkets. It's a helluva costume though.

Well, that's one of the nice things about being old. We both have decent jobs, so spending on our hobby isn't going to break us, it's no more expensive than other "grownup" hobbies such as buying a fishing boat or membership to a nice golf club. And we don't have to share a convention hotel room with eight other people, unless we want to I guess ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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Unread 11-29-2016, 02:09 PM   #9
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Never felt like that. What ever money I do spend I know it'll be well worth it in the end.
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Unread 11-29-2016, 05:15 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Viveeh View Post
I know it'll be well worth it in the end.
Ha ha wow yeah, I sure as hell don't. I mean there's money spent in gaining skills and having fun but there's also projects that didn't pan out, materials that were never used, events that weren't really worth the expense, etc etc etc.

No real regrets, mind you, since it's not like the money comes back if I feel bad about spending it, but...yeah for me it's DEFINITELY not well worth it sometimes.

Anyway the biggest money sink for me is travel. Even seeing people I never see otherwise and with whom i have a lovely time, airfare and hotel can gobble up most of a thousand bucks. I don't travel for cons anymore. Which is odd, because I'm making considerably more money now than I did when I was still willing to drop that kind of cash on a con.
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Unread 11-30-2016, 10:15 PM   #11
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@scunosi same I always do so much research and somehow still screw up. Also like you said every costume requires new techniques so I'm always having to buy new creating supplies r.i.p me
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Unread 12-01-2016, 10:10 AM   #12
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Haha, let's just say I'm glad I have a lot of money to spend this month... (⌒▽⌒;) And sometimes you also need new tools aside from just materials - recently got a heat gun for worbla.

Originally Posted by Mangochutney View Post
Anyway the biggest money sink for me is travel. Even seeing people I never see otherwise and with whom i have a lovely time, airfare and hotel can gobble up most of a thousand bucks. I don't travel for cons anymore. Which is odd, because I'm making considerably more money now than I did when I was still willing to drop that kind of cash on a con.
Yeah... I'm glad I live closer to a lot of cons now (so I can just go back home again after the day is over), and that a bunch of them have their own sleeping accomodations because I usually can't afford hotels, ahaha.
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Last edited by Chaletica : 12-01-2016 at 10:51 AM.
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Unread 12-01-2016, 10:49 AM   #13
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I had the great advantage of learning about big builds through theater in high school where planning and budgeting were part of the process. I also learned to be a copious taker of notes while working in order to be able to repeat processes or techniques.

My kids are at the stage where they are deciding their own costumes and putting in a lot of the labor themselves. I'm teaching them about the testing and planning process as we go.

So, yeah: test, practice, take notes.
Nothing is impossible, but some things are very expensive.
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