There will always be someone that you feel is better than you. Always. Learn to accept that.
What takes you two days now will, with practice, take you two hours later. Keep at it.
There will be people who tell you that you’re too fat, or thin, or black, or white to cosplay a character. For every one of them, there are 10 who love your cosplay. Don’t listen to the hate.
Keep the first cosplay you ever make. Or at least photos. It will remind you of how far you’ve come later.
Always map out how much fabric you need and buy a yard more.
When you see a $0.99 pattern sale, buy as many as you can. You never know when they’ll come in handy. (It’s also fun to see the crazy high price under “you saved” when you buy 30 $20 patterns for 99 cents each).
When you go to a convention in the first costume you ever make yourself, there will be a 100% chance of a more experienced cosplayer in the same cosplay. And you will want to throw yours away. Don’t do it.
Muslin is your friend. It’s $1 a yard and it’ll help you figure out if the pattern your using will fit before you cut into your $10 a yard fabric.
There is nothing wrong with starting simple and starting small. Know your skill level when you start. Stay relatively inside it and you will be less frustrated and more proud of your work.
A little later, pick cosplays that have aspects you know how to do and aspects you don’t know how to do. Look up tutorials and try new things.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but make sure you try to help yourself first. Keep bookmarks of online tutorial and guide resources.
Don’t be afraid to start over from scratch. If you don’t like what the end product looks like don’t let the hours you spent on it force you to keep it. Rip seams. Re-do hems. Go out and buy more fabric. All the work will be worth it for a cosplay you’re proud of.
Have cosplayers you look up to, but do not try to become them. Become you.
Invest in good materials. Starting with cheap products like $5 scissors means you will have to replace them much more frequently as your experience tells you that they aren’t good enough and you need better. Get better from the start.
Don’t be afraid to cosplay alone.
Get a sewing machine with at least 5 different types of stitches on it. You may not know how to use them now but as you learn you will want them available to you.
There will always be someone who gets more attention than you for the same cosplay. Don’t let that make you bitter. Likewise, don’t let it make you power hungry.
Don’t let notes on tumblr of favorites on deviantart dictate the quality of your cosplay.
Set goals and work to achieve them, like “5 new cosplays this year” or “win something in a costume contest.”
Finally, there will come a day when you become great at cosplay. You will make all your own cosplays and even win some contests. You work hard on all your costumes and you put great effort and skill into making them detailed and perfect. And you will look at someone in a poorly made costume and a ratty wig and something deep, deep inside you, in a place you didn’t know existed, will twinge with elitism. You will not know where it comes from and you will not know how or when it got there. But fight it back. Remember where you started. Because one day that cosplayer may become great too. And they’ll have looked up to you like you looked up to others. Be a role model. Be the cosplayer you would have liked to know when you were starting out. Give back.