- EVER EVER EVER say a bought costume is your own! It is not only disrespectful but also makes you a liar. It isn't bad to buy your costume, many people do it and it doesn't make you "less" of a cosplayer, but do not say it is your own creation!
- Wait until the last minute...you will regret it! I almost always start my projects at least 6 months ahead of the convention I want to take it to. Granted that is for a small project! Most of my big projects I take my time and I don't put deadlines on them because finances and the fact that I am a full time college student so my studies come first :) .
- Think you know everything about a particular design. Research is more important than you know, so do plenty of it.
- Wait until 2 months before the convention to get a hotel room and expect it to be close by. This is more for the bigger conventions, and isn't much of an issue for much smaller conventions. I suggest getting a hotel that is within walking distance of the convention. Makes life a lot easier when you don't have to try and find a parking space or pay for an expensive cab ride.
- Cosplay to just win costume contests. It only ends in disappointment if you don't win and kind of sours the entire experience.
- Have a good time! Many cosplayers get so distracted from the speedbumps of making your own costume that they forget to have a good time at the convention. I have been to a convention missing whole pieces of my costume and guess who noticed? Just me. Its not a big deal if it isn't "perfect", just do your best and have fun!
- Get some pictures of your costume for yourself! There have been a couple costumes that I wore that I didn't get but 2 blurry cell phone pictures out of and it makes me kind of sad. I wish I had some pictures to show how much work I put into them or how much fun I had.
- Pick a costume that is at or slightly above your level. I am all about challenging yourself! (Thats all I do :) ) but until you get the hang of it, you may want to stick to things you know you can do. If you want your first costume to be a 1/16th scale gundam than by all means go ahead and try, but know when to put it down if it is doing nothing but making you stressed out. You don't want your first experience to be nothing but a downer!
- Go to at least one convention! I started just making costumes for my own enjoyment and that was fun and all, but then I went to a convention and got to meet a whole bunch of new people and made many new friends because of it! Don't be shy! If you are curious how someone made something, ask them! Most are more than happy to answer(minus the elitists : / )!
- Bring an emergency kit! I don't mean for medical emergencies, unless you need one, I mean a cosplay emergency kit with things like: electrical/duct tape, super glue, hot glue, a needle with every color thread that is in your costume, batteries (if your costume has lights that require batteries), etc.
- LOTS AND LOTS OF RESEARCH! That includes, printing/saving pictures of at least every side (some exceptions if there are no shots of the back ever) you can take stills of cinematics if there are no in-game shots for video game characters. However official concept art are great indicators what it is suppose to look like.