Handmade: Cosplay, a Good way to meet new people

Jocelynn Brown
The Detroit News

Kristie Good has used cosplay as an icebreaker for the past 15 years. Self-described as “a little shy,” the Wayne resident finds wearing a costume in a room filled with others, who are totally or somewhat disguised, makes meeting people easier.

“I get to meet a lot of people in the community, and it’s a great conversation starter at things like conventions. It definitely makes it less scary to meet new people because you’re a character that they know. They’ll say, ‘I really like that costume you made. How did you make it?’” explained Good, who met her husband, David Pratt, through cosplay. The two “bonded over cosplay, and a few years down the line, got married” and they’ve been cosplaying together ever since.

Cosplay is a combination of the words costume and play, but what exactly is cosplay? Good describes the playful activity, which became popular in the early ’90s, as “wearing a costume that is representative of a (fictional) character from a book, movie or TV show – usually bringing the 2D into the 3D, and having fun while doing it.”

Good, 34, has been “hooked” on cosplay since college, after a friend wanted to make Halloween costumes of characters from anime, or Japanese animation. With the help of a relative, she made her costume and was inspired to teach herself how to sew to make more costumes for wearing to anime conventions where people cosplay.

Good is selective about the costumes she makes. “When I’m deciding on a costume, it’s either I really like the character, or I really like the costume design. So, I either want to interact with people as the character, or I really want to make whatever that character is wearing – whether it’s a uniform or a big dress,” she said. “I use what’s called Franken Patterns. I will take multiple pieces from patterns and mix them together to get the shapes I need.”

Making costumes can “get expensive if you don’t watch your budget,” but Good has learned to cut cost by using pieces from her wardrobe and thrift stores. For footwear, she said, “I often use what are called bootcovers – where I sew the shape or design of the shoe needed for the character, and then adhere it on top of an older shoe.”

The cosplay expert has made more than 60 costumes, and has “a whole bunch more” she’s working on. Some have taken 100-150 hours to create, and the number she makes in a year depends on the competitions she plans to enter. “I have been competing since around 2005, and the last (time) I counted, I have probably won close to 20 awards, ranging from Judges Choice all the way up to Best in Show,” she said. “The most recent Best in Show was in Youmacon (an annual anime convention held in Detroit at both the Renaissance Center and Cobo Center) in 2015. I performed with a friend of mine, and we won for both quality of costume and performance on stage.” This year’s Youmacon is Nov. 3-6.

Good will autograph copies of her just-released book, “Epic Cosplay Costumes: A Step-by-Step Guide to Making and Sewing Your Own Costume Designs” (Fons&Porter, $25.99) at the American Sewing Expo, set for Sept. 23-25 at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, where several of her costumes will be on display, and where she’ll also be instructing cosplay seminars (Sunday). A manga-styled artist for more than 14 years, Good created all the illustrations in her book, and made the sample costumes.

Visit my Facebook page for a review of the book, and if you’d like a chance to win a copy, just email yours truly at with a paragraph about why you should be the winner. Please put the word “Cosplay” in the subject line, and remember to include your name and address. Good Luck!

Detroit News Columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150, or Handmade.

Contact Kristie Good at or