Out of all the items that I own that relate to my lifestyle, the one most important to me and the continuation of my own image is my sewing machine. Since 2008, I have been part of a hobby known as ‘cosplaying’, combining ‘costume’ and ‘play’ as an event to create outfits, wigs, and makeup to attempt to look just like a character from a tv show, movie, or book. My sewing machine is representative of my five years of cosplaying and the amount I have grown in that time, as a person and as a cosplayer. Cosplay has introduced me to people that I have worked with professionally and also introduced me to the major I wanted to work with.

My current model is a Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW, with 87 stitches. I received it as a present for my 19th birthday, since I previously worked only on my mother’s 1917 sewing machine that I couldn’t bring with me to college.

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While this isn’t a product I use publicly, mentioning among the cosplay scene that you own your own sewing machine and that you make your own costumes is influential to the way I present myself. Many people in the cosplay community don’t make their own outfits, as it’s not essential to the hobby, since the presentation is more important than how it was made. However, since I make my own outfits, I often enter into competitions, and the mention of this sewing machine shows that I’m a professional.

Unfortunately, I’m often viewed by some people outside of cosplay as being very domestic (in the idea of a girl sewing to conform with common gender roles). I’ve had to explain many a time that what I do is in no way devalued because of my gender, or because it is seen as a ‘nerdy’ hobby. I stand by the fact that owning this product makes me simultaneously outside and inside societal norms, and that the contrast is a large part in defining who I am.

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