I've also broken one of my "rules" when costume making. That would be to look at other's attempts at the same costume, comparing my efforts and getting discouraged. Many creative types can easily feel inadequate when looking at a professionally executed cosplay. On the one hand, you can learn some neat tricks but on the other hand, you know that at your level, the product you work on won't be as awesome.
In my case I know there are MANY factors that I can't help that prevent me from achieving the high level stuff.
- My Budget is TIGHT. This limits my accessibility to high quality materials like actual scales for my scale maille.
- My Space is Limited. My apartment is a 1 bedroom unit with a balcony. I don't have the space I really NEED to store materials and tools. Instead my apartment is a small disaster area for months.
- I'm learning. Using some of these materials is new to me. I've never tried them before so I have to make a few mistakes. And due to the money issue, I have to be careful HOW I mess up. I can't simply replace some of my materials.
- I'm very distracted. Other life challenges take up a lot of my energy and attention. Primarily getting a new job.
Granted we don't see all their trials and errors or appreciate how long it takes to get a pro level. Not everyone shows off that stuff. However, I intend to try and do that. I am going to soon post costumes I am proud of and some not so much.
In the mean time, I've been drooling over this Garrus cosplay and luckily she's posted blog posts on how she made certain parts. I LOVE the results and it makes me feel inferior. (Because I am). But it's also a GREAT learning resource for my current stuff. Especially the armor stuff. I never thought to reinforce my pieces with duct tape so they're not so floppy.