Adulting · Cosplay

Costuming is Expensive Y’all

I have lots of plans for costumes coming up, and have been unable to move on any of them until I get settled in to my new job.  Because….*insert adorable Sailor Moon transformation gif here* Costuming is expensive!

So, what’s this rant all about? Well, I got asked at the last con how much my whole Saber costume cost. I stopped for a good second, and thought about it, and after some quick mental math I told the girl ” A lot….in the end”. And it was a lot. It boils down to materials, trial and error, and time. I was going for true to anime, relatively authentic fabrics, and durable. The durable part is where material cost starts to creep up. I could have made her armor out of foam, but the cost would have turned out the same after buying the materials to coat it so it didn’t bend and crack and actually look like metal. The way I did it is relatively sturdy, and I didn’t have to patch and fret all weekend to fix issues. It was also expensive.

Example. Saber. Here’s an estimate of materials for Saber, and why I will wear this costume every opportunity for as long as it holds together:

Wig: $100 I actually own 2 wigs. One is a lot less nice than the other, but is good for emergencies.

Dress: $300 The dress was a commission piece, and it turned out great. Beautifully tailored, sturdy and comfortable material.

Petticoats: $150 – I wear 2 Petticoats under this gown now. They are both bridal (I wore one of them on my wedding day)

Boots – $150 + – I own 2 pairs of boots for this costume. The heels (which I despise and will not be wearing again) and the black boots I wear when my feet hurt too bad to walk in the other ones. This figure will be going up after I make the armored boots.

Skirt Panel – $40 – This was for the fabric and the gold edging and thread

Sewing Machine – $175

Pleather – $15

Velvet – $60 – For the cloak, which is huge and is a double layer

Fake Fur – $15

Armor: We’ll break this down:

Wonderflex – $134 – I used 2 Jumbo rolls of Wonderflex. and had itty bitty scraps left at the end

Foam – $ 5 – To pad the chest piece

Ceiling light Panel – $15 – To make the mold for the skirt armor panels

Heat Gun – $28

Snaps, straps and buckles – $30

Paint – $150ish – I’ll be totally honest that I lost count of the amount of paint I had to buy eventually. I know I went through 4 cans of filler primer, 4 cans of regular primer and at least 4 cans of silver spray paint, and 3 cans of a sealing topcoat.


Sword – $40 – For the fence post, dowel, sand paper, paint and foam.

Silver Leather gloves – $30

So for those of you playing along at home. Saber is roughly worth……$1300 dollars. Yup. All the little purchases here and there really add up fast.

All that said, Cosplay can be done on a budget. One of the best cosplayers I know pops out a new costume every few weeks. She’s a great seamstress, and hunts bargains and coupons like a mad woman. She is also a lot more experienced than me, and thus makes fewer costly mistakes. Some of my favorite costumes (mostly ones we put together for Chris) have been “Closet Cosplay” from thrift stores. We made his Kikaider costume entirely from Goodwill, and it looked AWESOME. We also did his Blackjack (Tezuka) this way, and it looks so so nice.  It can be done! Just not some of the more elaborate stuff.

As I get, well, fancier in my costuming I’m realizing that I will need to start budgeting for them. It’s an expense I can totally justify in my world because I enjoy it so much. It may just be a few more weeks before I really rev up my next costume push….cause shit’s expensive yo.





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