No, You’re Not Doing it Wrong.

A few years ago I had lunch with a coworker who is now a dear friend.  Steampunk and costuming came up in the conversation, and I clearly remember her telling me that she’d been collecting pieces, but couldn’t dress up in steampunk because she didn’t have any goggles yet.

I remember how surprised I was by the concept that you “must” have certain things in order to participate, and we ended up having a great conversation about building our own unique characters who fit into what we wanted to wear or what we had.

 

For people who are new to costuming fitting into an expectation or a certain character profile can be staggering. If you’ve been to a convention you’ve seen that irritating but vocal minority of fans who enjoy picking apart costumes. I’ve overheard things like “Your cape isn’t the right shade of red” and “your hair isn’t blonde enough to be that character.” While most people in the cosplay community are not like that at all, it only takes one jerk to intimidate a new or an aspiring costumer into feeling insecure.

I think one of the coolest things about steampunk, and steampunk costuming is that there is no true right or wrong. Imitating a specific comic or movie means that the character you’re cosplaying has already been designed by someone else.  In steampunk you have the freedom to make your own character, and dress that character however you like.  What is steampunk cannon?  It’s a genre that’s been inspired so by many different authors and artists, and new steampunk material is being written, drawn and filmed every day. Each of these steampunk inspirations is different, and have their own versions of the world.  With that in mind, there’s no way to do it wrong, just an unlimited number of ways to do it your way.

If you want to wear a classy skirt and military jacket, do it. Think of a character who might need to use both. If you want to incorporate something a little more modern into your outfit, do it. You’re from a world that’s more  technologically advanced, or you’re a character who can travel through time or dimensions.  If you want to wear a tutu, do it. A steampunk ballerina would be beautiful.

It’s all about creating a costume that works for YOU, and that you feel comfortable in. In an environment based on fiction, there’s no way your story can be wrong.

 

 

Amanda Groulx is an avid fan of many genres whose favourite way of showing her passion is through cosplay. She loves to spend time working on new pieces with her friends, and is part of an award winning group of costumers. When she’s not participating in Fandoms, Amanda is employed in Broadcasting and enjoys cooking and writing.   You can find Amanda’s cosplay on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/modernmythscosplay/

Getting Started in Steampunk Costuming

Walking into a convention is like walking into a different world. You step outside of your day to day to join so many others who are both like and unlike you as you celebrate something you enjoy. You have the opportunity to walk around and observe, to meet new people, to shop, and to participate in all sorts of fan activities.  There are people at these events taking a chance to be their true selves without judgement, and others who become characters they love, acting or dressing up to show their passion.

For those of us who have been doing this for a while, conventions and their quirks are normal, freeing, home. For someone new to the scene these events can also be overwhelming. So many of the people on the con floor seem to have this world figured out and that can be intimidating to someone new to the experience. Steampunk especially, has its own unique style, and steampunkers in costume tend to appear put together. My own experience when I started looking into this unique fandom was to gawk and the amazing corseted dresses and fantastically detailed props, and think that as beautiful as it was – it was never something I’d be able to do.  I thought you needed to be very advanced to make a corset, or steampunk jacket and my skills just didn’t add up. These people must not only be extremely talented (true), they would never want to talk to little ol’ gluegun-weilding, anime nerd, halloween costume making me (false).

Over time I’ve had the chance to meet so many people within the steampunk  and cosplay communities, and I’ve learned that they are both open and welcoming to new people and excited to share what they’ve learned in costume creation.  Within hours of my first steampunk event (an art opening a friend was featured in) I’d been given suggestions for thrifting my first costume pieces, been invited to more events, and had pattens suggested to me. I lucked out and stumbled upon some experienced and talented costumers who were willing to teach me and while I still have SO much to learn, I’m finally at a stage where I’m starting to be able to show some of what I’ve learned to newer costumers too.

This community is amazing. The people in it are fantastic. I am so grateful to the people who have taken their time and had the patience to show me what I’ve learned so far. I am even more grateful for the knowledge that, with the help of those wonderful friends, I will continue to learn and grow as a costumer.  I am living proof that with a little support, anyone who wants to participate in steampunk costuming can get started, and create something to be proud of.  I’ve met people who draft and sew full gowns from scratch and people who go to Value Village and turn curtains and a tablecloth into a beautiful skirt without even owning a sewing machine. All you need to do is just take that first step.  Wonder up to that fancy looking steampunk table at your next con, and introduce yourself. You’ll make some friends, and get some tips… you never know just how far that first step can take you.

Over the course of this series I’d like to share some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned from other costumers. Many of the things I’ve learned as an adult getting into costuming are things that seem like common sense to people who have been sewing since childhood. I can still remember some of the jaw drop moments my friends have had while looking at how I think something is made, and the solutions they’ve taught me.  You’re never to old to start learning, you don’t need to already know how to sew to create a great costume.  There are so many wonderful resources available, and I hope to be a tiny tiny one of them!

See you on the con floor,

Amanda

Amanda Groulx is an avid Fan of many genres whose favourite way of showing her passion is through cosplay. She loves to spend time working on new pieces with her friends, and is part of an award winning group of costumers. When she’s not participating in Fandoms, Amanda is employed in Broadcasting and enjoys cooking and writing.   You can find Amanda’s cosplay on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/modernmythscosplay/