its not my thing but my sister is into cosplay in a big way, and from what she says making your own is a must and buying an off the rack one is frowned upon, having someone make one for you and you alone is also quite common, she says it as much about the creation of a costume as it is attending the events to show it off.
Anyway, she has been doing it as a hobby for well over 10 years, shes got a dress makers dummy in the front room, sewing machines and is a regular at Leeds market picking up fabric, shes pretty good too, she normally takes two costumes to a convention, one for each day, there are parades and i think prizes in categories.
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