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Kim (Anchorage, AK)

I am a self taught seamstress, and aside from one class about how to thread my machine back when I was 13 everything else has been a mix of trial and error as well as help from YouTube and fellow cosplayers! My first costume was a crazy mix of spandex and cotton with princess seams and stretch boot covers, and my next was a vinyl and fur bodysuit, so I’d say if I can tackle crazy fabrics so can anyone! The characters we are planning to cosplay are Lulu and Ginko from Yuri Kuma Arashi, and the planning was super last minute! 

In this photo we’re comparing colors and fabric materials to the reference photos. These outfits are only in the artbook and not actually shown on screen for the anime but we really wanted to do something cute and unique and Yuri Kuma Arashi definitely fits those guidelines! JoAnn is a staple for cosplayers here in Alaska. 

We’re very limited on the types of places we can shop for fabric, aside from Walmart and quilt shops, JoAnn is it (at least as far as I’m aware!). While we do have a leather shop, most cosplayers tend to stick to fabric which is also extremely hard to shop for online given the crazy shipping prices that we are asked to pay, even for swatches. 

Without JoAnn I honestly probably couldn’t afford to keep cosplaying in this state, though having friends who can shop for you in fashion districts like LA and NY do help a bunch!

I’ve been a cosplayer since 2009 and started sewing and making my own costumes since around 2012, so half a decade now! I’ve lived in Alaska part-time since 2010, but moved up here full time in 2015. I got into cosplay after googling pictures of Naruto characters to use as a wallpaper for my computer and saw someone cosplaying Sakura and was instantly like, “I want to do this!”. Little did I know that cosplay would have introduced me to my best friends and a whole new avenue of creativity.

My first costume was a closet-cosplay of Misa Amane from Death Note, no wig, no makeup, but people still recognized my character which I thought was amazing and instantly hooked! My first hand-made costume was of Homura Akemi from Madoka Magica, which introduced me to sewing stretchy boot covers, sewing bias tape, patterning, and experimenting with different types of seams. Definitely not what I would consider a good first choice, but I learned so much! Since then I’ve always tried to challenge myself with something new in each costume, from different types of fabric, to different costume elements like wig styling and even working with leather. Finding ways to adapt 2D designs into 3D ones is something I love, and I hope to keep doing it for many years to come!”

Catherine in this shot is working on Ayame from Inuyasha. I’m pretty sure this was one of the first costumes she made from scratch by herself and in the shot she’s brushing out fur and adding in extra piece to add to the accuracy, which she’s really great at! 

All of her costumes she puts 110% into and it shows! We met about 5 years ago working at a local GameStop in Alaska, and even though I’ve moved out of state once before and she has too, we still remain close thanks to conventions and cosplay! 

John is the angel on my shoulders! Even though he’s only been to two cons, he’s helped me countless times by being my photographer for location based shoots around the state and by being my voice of reason and confidence. If I take on too much (which I tend to do) he’ll be the one to tell me to take a step back and relax as well as encourage me when needed if I’m working on a difficult piece. 

All in all, without him I’d probably be a lot more irritable haha! At conventions however, we just have a ton of fun! Conventions before normally had some level of stress for me, whether it be the large crowds or trying to fit 10 costumes in the span of 3 days, but with him we’re able to just enjoy each other’s company and soak it all in.

Velouria is a character whose design I instantly fell in love with upon seeing the images from Fire Emblem Fates. Her wolf meets Little Red Riding Hood design was too cute to not replicate, and I really wanted a character that I could take photos of in Alaska that would fit the beautiful scenery we get year-round. Her personality is borderline obsessive, but her lazy side I found super relatable. I started creating the outfit around March and finished in August, piecing together things as I found time between working and going to school full time.

The cloak is probably my favorite piece, partly because of how much I love the lace but it’s also functional and ridiculously warm! The corset was also fun to modify, and the pants and boots I actually use in everyday outfits because they’re great outside of cosplay! I didn’t have anyone recognize me at Senshi-con, but that’s okay, a couple people knew who I was at PAX West and it was nice getting to know other fans!

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