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 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/