Photo : Felix Wong.
I was surprised that so many people at the convention recognized who I was cosplaying! I expected that not many people would know because my character is not from an anime or a comic, but most people that I spoke to undoubtedly knew who I was! I had an overwhelming amount of people talk to me and praise me on how well this costume turned out- and I couldn’t be more humbled and overjoyed. It is so nice to know that all of my hard work is appreciated and enjoyed by everyone who was able to see it in person. Thank you, everyone, who came and talked to me about my costume!
Carlotta from the Phantom of the Opera has been on my cosplay to-do list for many years now, so it was a no-brainer when I was looking for something new to wear at Holiday Matsuri! I always have a list of costumes that I would like to make for myself, but sometimes they sit on the back-burner until I feel that I am technically skilled enough to take on the challenge of creating it. That was the case of Carlotta for many years because at a glance it is such a daunting dress to construct! But I finally felt like I was comfortable enough with how much work it would be to make, so I set my mind to it and chose to make it for this convention.
And although The Phantom of the Opera is not an anime, manga, or comic, I felt that the costume itself would fit the holiday theme of Holiday Matsuri because the colors are all red, green, and gold- even if people did not recognize who I was cosplaying as, they would at least appreciate the colors and the styling of this costume.
Creating this cosplay took three months of sewing to construct, but nearly a year in total to include the planning, patterning, and sourcing of materials. I began shopping for this costume early this spring, made my first cut into fabric in October, and I completed it mid-December. The construction and components are familiar to me and fairly simple to make, however the sheer amount of material and trims is what made this a more challenging costume to make. I began by making my own elliptical hoop skirt out of hoop boning, twill tape, and little satin bows for details. Then I made the corset using Yaya Han’s pattern McCall 7339 out of red and green crushed velvet with a burgundy satin lining and gold hand-sewn trims and crystals.
Next came the skirt, which is made from green taffeta with over 18 rows of different trims and 9 different rows of fabrics- the bottom portion of the skirt was 10 yards long, and then I pleated it down to 5 yards to make up the hem of the skirt. After the skirt I created the draped train out of matching green taffeta and burgundy satin with matching trim on the hem. The four vertical panels around the skirt are made with crushed red velvet, lined in burgundy satin, and have multiple gold applique and trim details. Then I created the back bow and tails out of the same velvet and satin which is attached to the underside of my corset! To finish things off I hand beaded and added rhinestones to my gold bra and embellished my crown to match.
Cosplay is literally my life. I don’t know who I would be without cosplay. I began cosplaying fifteen years ago when I was in middle school, so this is a passion that I have grown up with and it has really helped to shape who I am. Cosplay has given me a way to creatively express myself and to connect with people who share similar interests. I am a naturally artistic person who likes to make things with their hands, and cosplay is a great way for me to do just that!
With each new year of cosplay I am continuously learning, growing, and improving my technique in sewing and crafting- with each new costume I create, I always try to learn something new or do something that I never have before! Cosplay is equally important in my professional life; because of cosplay and my years of experience I have been fortunate enough to work in the costuming field professionally. I currently am a cast member for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in their Creative Costuming department – a role which I don’t think I would ever have been given the opportunity to have, if it was not for cosplay.
Holiday Matsuri is hands down my favorite convention. I have been attending Holmat since their first year in 2011 and have been given the honor of appearing as a cosplay guest three different times. Holiday Matsuri is one of the best, because the events are wonderful and entertaining, the attendees are always kind, the staff are helpful, and the cosplays are out of this world!
Where else will you see a Deadpool cosplayer wearing red and green instead of red and black, and wielding a candy cane for a weapon? I love the creativity that the cosplayers have when it comes to creating or enhancing their costumes to fit the Christmas/holiday/winter theme of the convention. It is always so much fun to arrive to the convention to see what people have brought to the table!
Originally posted on Cosplay in America December 2019