And that’s how I became a cosplay mom…

cover imageIt all started innocently enough. About a month ago I stumbled on a Facebook post mentioning the Great Philadelphia ComicCon, and I casually asked my 10-year-old if he wanted to go. Of course, being a 10 year old boy squarely in the throes of super hero worship, he looked at me like I had asked him if he wanted to continue breathing. OF COURSE he wanted to go! “Cool, a nerdy fun outing to share with my kid,” I thought. Little did I know…

Being a 10 year old boy, he’s also well-acquainted with YouTube and immediately started watching ComicCon videos in preparation for our adventure. And he of course found out about the cosplay aspect and wanted to go in costume. “Well sure!” I said. “That’s the best part!” While I was well aware that many of the attendees go in costume and lovingly spend hours/months/years handcrafting their wear, what I did not account for was him wanting to do so as well.

Having just binge-watched all of the Spider-Man movies, it’s no shock that Spidey was his pick. Great! I’m all about the web-slinger; I think he’s pretty cool myself. But a store-bought costume was not good enough. The plastic face mask we had from Target wasn’t good enough. He was adamant that we had to MAKE THE WHOLE THING. FROM SCRATCH.

Now I’m pretty prolific in my MacGyvering skills, but I haven’t sewn anything more complicated than a button in years. And the thought of creating a full-on cosplay costume was starting to make me wonder if I maybe should have taken that high school Home Ec class more seriously. But hey, why not? We could at least give it a shot.

True to my mantra “there’s a wiki on it somewhere,” I did indeed find a YouTube video showing how to make a Spider-Man costume out of two long-sleeved tee shirts, and even how to make the cowl out of a third. However, finding long-sleeved ANYTHING in March proved a bit of a challenge, but after trips to JoAnn Fabrics and several local Target stores we had the thread, shirts and matching blue pants we needed.

Once we got home with our finds, I sketched out and cut the red overlays from one shirt and then pinned them together on my PLEASE COULD YOU HOLD STILL mannequin. So far so good!


And then the sewing began…

And continued…

And continued…

And continued.

For a month we took turns sewing little bits by hand in between homework and dinner and all the other regular life stuff. (Yes, I taught him to sew – you didn’t think I was going to to all this work myself, did you?) Two days before ComicCon – and a month after we started – the sewing was finished. A little Sharpie action to fill in all the webbing design and the costume was complete!

He put it on and declared it perfect – “This is awesome – I FEEL like a superhero!”


feelin like a superhero

spiderman full

spiderman full back


Was this project a huge pain in the ass? Absolutely. But I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I got to teach my kid some basic sewing techniques – a good life skill to be sure – and lord knows if it wasn’t in the context of a cool cosplay costume he never would have given me more than 7 seconds of attention with it. It gave him a good lesson in planning and sticking with a long project that you really want to finish. He had the satisfaction of, and bragging rights to, making something really cool himself (ish). Most of all, we had a shared project where we could learn and create together.

And that, my friends, is priceless.

Colleen Clifford

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