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Ask Ani-Mia: Pleated Skirts, Similar Cosplays, & Patreon

Ani-Mia addresses questions about wearing the same cosplays as others, how to make a pleated skirt, and more!

Ask Ani-Mia

Hey there cosplayers and cosplay enthusiasts. Welcome to Ask Ani-Mia, a running advice column where you can ask questions on any topic that may be cosplay related and get an answer. Hopefully my years of cosplay experience can help shed some light on questions you may have been dying to ask but for some reason or another haven’t. So let’s get started.

Hi Ani-Mia, I’m working on a Rias Gremory cosplay but want to make the skirt myself. What’s the best way to make pleated skirts? - Emily

Pleated skirts can be a bit time consuming but you feel so accomplished when you see the finished product. To begin, you want to make sure you take your measurements and purchase the correct amount of fabric. Remember that when you create each pleat, you will be losing inches of fabric for the fold itself. I use a quick rule of thumbs of having 3 times the length needed. Meaning if you have a 30” waist, you’ll want 90” of fabric.

Then determine the width of the pleats you want to create. On the wrong side of the fabric, start marking your pleats using double the width of the intended pleats. When it’s all marked, start pinning your pleats together one by one, matching up your markings and folding the pleat to one direction. Keep doing this until your entire fabric length is pinned.

(There is a handy trick that you can find videos of on YouTube using a fork to maintain equal pleats and help with folding them.)

Now all that’s left is sewing across the pleats at the top of the skirt to hold it all together, sewing the ends together and installing a zipper or buttons for closure at the waist. If you want to ensure all your pleats lay correctly before you run it through the sewing machine, take a minute to iron your pleats down first.

Dear Ani-Mia, I don’t like saying this but I sometimes get a little jealous when I see cosplayers wearing the same cosplay as me at a convention, especially if I am cosplaying someone not popular. I know I shouldn’t feel like this but I do. Help. - Anonymous

Jealousy is a natural human emotion and we all feel it every now and then. What’s important is figuring out why you have this feeling and it could be a number of reasons. Jealousy usually comes from comparing ourselves to another person. You might see another cosplayer dressed as the same character and start comparing your cosplay to theirs; but what you’ll forget is that everyone has different skills levels, access to different construction materials or interpretations of the characters. So it’s not fair to you, to unnecessarily judge yourself against others when there are so many different variables as to why your cosplays are different. Instead, focus on your cosplay and the things you love about it and what makes it unique.

Look at that other cosplayer as someone who loves the same thing as you, especially if it’s a rarely seen cosplay. Go up to them and introduce yourself or let them know you like the fact that they enjoy the same character. Change it from a negative feeling to a feeling of opportunity. The opportunity to meet someone who you can enjoy something similar with. Who knows, you might just make a new friend.

Hi Ani-Mia, I have been a big fan of a popular cosplayer for a long time and have been subscribed to her Patreon. It’s been months since I have received what I’m supposed to have gotten through her Patreon and can’t get in contact with her. What do I do? - Anonymous

This question really hurts because as a cosplayer who has been selling prints in my online store for more than 8 years now, I couldn’t imagine a cosplayer doing this to their followers. Especially cosplayers that make this their full time job and make their living from the support of their fans whether buying prints or subscribing to them online.

Physical rewards take a lot more time to process and send out than releasing digital content and if it gets overwhelming, it can be hard to keep up. I know that when I’m traveling during the convention season, keeping up with orders at the same time takes a lot of time, even when very little is available. But even then, there’s no reason why orders should be months behind.

I’m going to take a moment to address cosplayers with stores or Patreons, basically those offering a good for money. Once you open an online store to sell prints or a Patreon offering subscriptions with rewards, you are a business as well. If you are not sending out what your customers have ordered, that is theft and it is unacceptable.

Delays can happen but you need to let everyone know on social media or directly emailing as soon as you realize you are not able to get things shipped out in a timely fashion. At that point, be a responsible business owner and pause your store or Patreon. Do not continue to take money from people when you haven’t fulfilled orders to others for far too long. Set aside a day a week or schedule a few days a month which will be solely dedicated to getting all orders out in an acceptable time.

Now back to what you should do as a fan and customer. First step would be to contact the cosplayer via their store or Patreon. There could have been a mistake or something got lost in the mail. It’s rare, but accidents can happen (multiple accidents continually, are even rarer). If you cannot get in contact and have not received your order, do what you would do with any other business and contact either Paypal or your bank to contest the payment. It’s hard because sometimes we want to love our faves but at the same time, you shouldn’t be stolen from either. With Paypal you have 180 days from the date of sale and honestly, if an order isn’t for a pre-sale item, there is absolutely no excuse why an order should ever be 180 days late.

So sorry this has happened to you and I hope that this experience is a rare one within the community.

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Ani-Mia has been cosplaying since 2008 and her love for video games, comic books and anime are reflected in her wide variety of cosplay costumes. She has been a cosplay guest at over 150 conventions across the globe as well as judged championship cosplay contests, appeared in both online and print magazines as well as television appearances. She’s also the Cosplay Writer for Otaku USA Magazine, the premiere print magazine about anime and manga in the United States, and an official video host for PreviewsWorld catalog and Sapphire Studios.