Getting Judged, Helpful Hints

7 Aug

At Otakon last weekend I attended a panel called “Costuming for Competition and Art”by Ana Aesthetic, Sam, and Steven (Sam and Steven are UMA Cup Champions)

It was epic. They were so open and easy to approach about their approaches to costumes and what materials they had used.

Best panel ever. Anyways, I’d thought I’d share some of the tips and suggestions they gave the room about being Judged, the next few weeks’ posts will probably be inspired by them.

Tip #1: What are you judged on?

Craftsmanship, Accuracy (two of the most common factors), and Embellishment (If you did it, why?)

These criteria vary based on competition. If you want to know exactly what you will be judged on, it’s best to go to the convention’s website and poke around the Costume Judging section to find the rules and regulations.


Always. Always. Always. As many as you can. In as many angles as you can. This helps with the accuracy points.

Tip #3: Progress Shots go leaps and bounds.

Ana talked about a particular incident where a girl being judged hadn’t thought to bring progress shots and she didn’t end up winning because even though her sewing was fabulous, it was almost too fabulous. They couldn’t verify that she had actually made her costume.

Even if they are just cell phone pictures (hehe, mine are) it keeps you from being accused of buying the costume and taking credit.

Tip #4: Don’t Discourage Yourself

Just because you think your costume is crap, doesn’t mean it actually is. Don’t let that keep you from entering. Sam cited a moment where they entered a compeition and then were bumped from the Novice division to the Masters Division because the judges thought their costumes were so great.

Tip #5: Showmanship vs. Craftsmanship

One of the more interesting things Ana, Sam, and Steven pointed out was the difference in costuming for the Stage and costuming for walking around hallways. They encouraged us to make sure that we crafted for Showmanship when we needed to. Even if the fabric looks horrible in normal light, if you know its going to look amazing on stage, do it. You may have to defend it to the judges, but that’s OK.


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