In my November post, I mentioned that I had put together a Jedi costume suitable for cosplay. While I had since worn it while trick-or-treating with my family, it had otherwise stayed in my closet. When San Diego Comic Con 2016 came along, though, I knew it would be a great opportunity for my true costumed Jedi debut. Here are a few things I learned during the process.
Helpers are great. A normal Jedi costume isn’t that difficult to put on or wear. However, unless you have eyes in the back of your head, getting the tabards (the long strips to run over the shoulders) and belt lined up and looking ready for a Jedi Temple inspection can be as stress-inducing as a nest of gundarks. Luckily Coffee With Kenobi’s own Mike Audette was with me as I got into costume. Without Mike, I wouldn’t have been as put-together as I was, nor would I have had a trusted agent who I knew would fix me if I got out of sorts throughout the day. Thanks, Mike!
Also, I have an amazing coworker who heard me talking about issues I was having with my costume. She was probably more excited than I was about me cosplaying at Con, so she offered her seamstress services. During several lunch hours over a week or so, I donned my tunics and she expertly measured and pinned. When it was all done, my costume was easier to put on, stayed in place with much less effort, and looked much better overall. An added benefit of her assistance was that there was that much more reason for me to overcome my fears – to honor her hard work. I happily texted pictures to her throughout the convention.
You start getting into it. I was a bit self-conscious during our walk to the convention center. I started to loosen up when I saw my first child dressed as a Sith Lord of some variety, and we eyed each warily. Had it not been for his mom next to him it may have ended poorly – moms have Force powers that can defeat costumed Jedi and Sith, of course. As Mike and I continued to the Con, I realized that I was by no means the most extravagantly dressed costumer, but that everyone seemed to recognize who I was trying to be (whew!).
It’s awesome when people start referring to you by your character name. It wasn’t long after arriving and getting onto the exhibit hall floor that someone called “hey! Master Jedi!” and I realized that he was talking to ME! As a person who actually really identifies with the Jedi – hence my nom de plume – I was really excited to hear that. Later, as Mike and I were hanging out at the Del Rey booth as they distributed posters and free sampler books, editor Erich Schoeneweiss loudly called out “come get your picture taken with a Jedi” to the crowd. I was a bit embarrassed at first, but as people actually lined up to do it, I felt great! This brings me to my next point….
People will want photos with you. Star Wars is of course a hot franchise these days, and Jedi are very recognizable characters by fans young and old. While I wasn’t as original as Candice Dunlap Miller’s “Yarnsoka“, Poppy Appleton‘s “Steampunk Ahsoka,” or the Steampunk Jedi, more than a few kids and kids-at-heart asked for photos or for me to pose with their kids. Two of my favorite such opportunities were with a tiny Leia and a tiny Rey (Rey’s mom even had to ask her to put her juice box down for the photo – too cute!).
My advice to anyone who has ever wanted to cosplay is – DO IT! You will never find a more welcoming crowd than at a convention. There are many online resources to research costume options, construction/sewing techniques, and advice. In addition, there are plenty of great small businesses – mostly fans themselves – who sell fantastic costume pieces at reasonable prices. There is nothing wrong about piecing together pre-made costume parts, or buying second-hand. You do not have to do your own sewing, leather work, soldering, vacuum-molding, etc. to take part in the fun. Plus, if you buy from others, you’re supporting other fans, too.
Until next time, thank you for reading, may the Force be with you, and remember –
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