1 Inch Too Long and Needs More Sepia: Attention to Detail- Part I

I think I’ve mentioned before that cosplay daughter is a perfectionist.  If she is going to create a costume based on a character, then by golly, it’s going to look EXACTLY like the character.

I was reminded of this in the last week, as she and I embark on a new costume for a new character-  Elizabeth from BioShock.


We bought the boots- (one more thing that we’re waiting for to arrive via mail!) but we’re going to make the skirt and the shirt.

Deep breath.

I was a Girl Scout. I can sew. But I certainly don’t have my mother’s mad sewing skills (she made all my formal dresses) or the experience to feel confident.  Adventure, Ho!

On the plus side, I recently had my sewing machine serviced after it took me at least 450 hours to make a simple circle skirt for cosplay daughter for Homecoming (the machine kept unthreading itself. I called it many, many ugly names):

2014-09-05 21.29.01

(It was a 50’s theme and instead of a “poodle skirt” she wanted a “portal skirt”- get it?) After a nice man serviced it, the machine works much better now.

But in the case of the portal skirt, we had invented the idea and the look. I wasn’t being held accountable to a specific image.  This time, by golly, the skirt will have to be perfect. How perfect, you ask?


First we went to three different fabric stores with 5 different reference photos looking for the right color of fabric. Once we got the fabric home in natural light, however, cosplay daughter determined that it needed more sepia (BioShock is a Steampunk-y sort of universe).

So….off to a bucket of strong black tea for the fabric. It soaked. We waited.

Yesterday, we got the fabric out of the tea-dye and started cutting pieces, with two of the reference photos looming over us for guidance:


and?  Upon further work with the material, it still needs more sepia.  Pieces are now cut, but soaking in tea again.

(there’s a cowbell joke to be made here, but I’ll refrain)

Anyway, here’s the truth: I. CAN’T. TELL. THE. DIFFERENCE.  the shading is so slight that it looks virtually the same to me.

But it’s not my project, not my costume, and I am not going to compromise with her artist’s eye or vision. On this or on the sleeves.

Deep breath again. The sleeves.

So I know that neither one of us has the skill set to sew something so tailored as a fitted dress shirt.  So we’re going to rework and repurpose an old white dress shirt that we got at a thrift store.  We looked at it yesterday, talking about adding the blue to the collars and cuffs.

That’s when she asked “what we were going to do” since the sleeves were too long.

I looked at the shirt. At the reference pictures. Back and forth for several minutes. Again- LOOKED THE SAME TO ME.

So (increasingly frustrated with my dimness as only a teenager can be) she walked me through it and demonstrated. And sure enough, they are maybe an inch too long.

You know what’s amazing to me? She SAW that. I didn’t.

But a judge in a cosplay competition might, and more importantly, her trained eye did.

I do a lot of deep breathing.  I offer up prayers for patience.

But in the end, her power, agency and self-esteem will not be helped by me making fun of her attention to detail.

They may well be, however, by my respect for her vision.

By cosplaymom

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