The Triangle Issue

In working out your costume or prop, there are three things to keep in mind when you are constructing.

  • I want my item now.
  • I want it cheap.
  • I want it to be perfect.

You can only have two out of three. This is something people have issues with. Kinda like if you went to Walmart and bought your costume. It is cheap and you have it now, but be serious. It is not going to be perfect.

But I want it now and perfect. OK, but rush jobs are not cheap. Well then I want it perfect and cheap. Then I have to put this on hold until materials are found that are in my price range. Well....... Poo. I may have to resort to polyester. Just kidding, polyester is never the right answer unless the question is "What fabric should I not use?"

~Figment the Goblinsmith

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So  how does one solve these three issues, Figment?

You have to work out which of the two is the most important. These are the things to work out when you are shopping for an item or if you are building an item. 

So what would you suggest for the person with this question to do and how to resolve this? What sage advice or examples can one provide for guidance?

It comes down to what are you willing to sacrifice. Time is the easiest to factor in when you know your goal. If your goal is to have your project done by the next Dragoncon, then you can sacrifice that portion of the triangle. You have the time to find the materials you need and can hold off on getting the expensive shipping on a package or can do the research so you do not have to get the giant tube of silicon rubber from Smooth on. There are cheaper alternatives. Casting materials can come from big name businesses online or you can go to Home Depot and get silicon calking. If you work out your schedule, you have the ability to do the research to make smart and economical choices. 

If your time is the factor, you may just have to bite the bullet and get the materials you need to finish the project when it is scheduled to be done. This is a big issue when you have a specific budget to fall within to. Watch your budget, either personal for an upcoming product or others if for a commissioned piece.  If it is for a commissioned piece take your time into account when you give them a quote. Plus, look at the materials and research you already have. If you knew you can get cheaper materials from somewhere in town then that will help you meet your goal time. 

If you want your item now and you want it cheap, well this is where things become tricky and as a former college art student I understand the all-nighter. Your finished project will not be to your standard and that is when things mess up. If this is for you and if you can live with it then go for it. This is the hardest one of the three. This is when people break out the paper mache and the spray paint.

My advice; watch your schedule, do your research, watch your funds and have fun. Oh and never underestimate the power of a good nights sleep on your work. Art school sucks.

Thank you for the wisdom, Figment. This should help all within the quandary you have posed.

Most welcome and thanks for the conversation.



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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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