When she was a child in Hong Kong, Alice Law deeply admired a particular character in the Japanese manga Cardcaptor Sakura. Not so much the heroine Sakura, with her magical abilities and cool outfits. No, Law loved Tomoyo Daidouji, Sakura's close friend and personal seamstress.
"I loved the costumes!" Law gushes. "Yes, they're all very exaggerated, maybe a bit 'much,' but they are so gorgeous. The little details, the ruffle..." In the manga, created by a group of female artists who collectively go by Clamp, Tomoyo discovers that her classmate Sakura is a superhero and she insists that every superhero needs a closet full of special costumes.
"She was such a very creative designer," Law says, "and she even finished most of the costumes in a night." The characters are often depicted shopping at craft stores after school, and Law says this felt like a sign to her. She wanted to live a life like theirs one day, always working on arts and crafts in her spare time.
Now 24, Law lives with her husband and their six-month-old baby Claire in Michigan. She did teach herself the crafty skills she admired so much as a kid, borrowing library books on sewing and even graduating beyond the use of a pattern. "I'm not a very precise' person," she says, "and I hate being restricted to rules when it comes to crafting."
Just after Claire was born, Law says she struggled with post-partum depression and temporarily set her sewing aside. "It was a horrible first few months," Law says. "Claire was an easy baby, but I still had a hard time bonding with her, and I felt so bad about it. After I started taking medication and seeing a therapist, I feel like a different person." She knew she was getting better when the urge to create art returned.
Best of all, sewing costumes for Claire became the perfect bonding opportunity. When Law got behind the camera and coaxed smiles out of her daughter, she says it felt like magic. "I don't know if she just likes looking at my phone case or if she's happy cosplaying, but it makes me so happy to see her smile," Law explains. "Claire's little Goku get-up was the first hit. "She loves to kick and she just fits the character perfectly. I took a slow-motion video of her kicking and it was so funny! She was laughing and kicking happily in Goku's costume and I couldn't stop laughing."
What was it like to transition from sewing your own clothes to making baby cosplay?
I started making baby cosplay three months ago. I had already made a few dresses for Claire before, and I wanted to make something cuter for her. When she grows up, I hope she will look back at these cosplay pictures and know how much we enjoy having her, and how much we love her.
How did you decide to start?
My husband and I were playing Mario Odyssey on Switch, and we realized that I could turn her into Baby Peach! I wanted to turn her into Toad at first, but then we thought we should make something more girly for the first piece.
Besides, as my husband was still in school, we didn't have a lot of money. But I knew I wanted to sew. Therefore, I wanted to challenge myself to create something under $10. To make me keep my "promise" to myself, I started to blog about my $10 costumes. Luckily, sewing for the baby is so much cheaper than sewing for myself.
Do you guys get to play video games and do lots of geeky stuff at home?
Hmmm... I am not sure about in Michigan as a whole, but in our home, my husband is very into video games and computer games. He is a big gamer. We went to Hong Kong for a month on vacation and he brought his PS4 (with two controllers) and Switch (with four controllers) with him in his backpack. I don't know how he fit all of it in. As a family, we have video game nights (mainly playing Switch) every week.
What about you? What geeky things were you into as a kid, and are you still into them now?
Growing up in Hong Kong, I loved reading manga. I loved and I still love The Kindaichi Case Files, Detective Conan (Case Closed) and Chibi Marukochan. I also love reading Harry Potter! I will definitely let Claire watch all these animations (Conan and Chibi Marukochan), and perhaps when she is older, The Kindaichi Case Files and Harry Potter too.
Do you work during the day as a professional seamstress, or are you focusing on the blog?
I was working in a library before I had Claire, at the reference desk answering patrons' questions. It was very different from designing and sewing, as I needed to talk and talk, so now I can just focus and enjoy the silence when I sew.
If you had unlimited resources and time, do you know what your ideal next cosplay would be for Claire?
I'd love to turn her into Anpanman.