Now let me reiterated this: planning is very, very, important.
I spend a good three to four months without a sewing machine every six months, and then, I leave myself with only four weeks to complete a full costume in. When working in such a small time frame (and that really is, comparing to the complexity and level of work that I am pushing for with my current costumes), I have to plan every moment out and try to maximize the time I do have.
As a business student, I’m good with scheduling time and working through errors, but the amount of preparation you can do is key. I make sure to finalize a design months in advance. I, then, go through the fabric I have and figure out what fabric I need to purchase. The new few months are spent looking for the perfect fabric combinations.
Typically, I begin to plan any props or the costume itself after that. I make patterns from discarded newspapers (I use the Wall Street Journal) for anything I don’t already have a pattern for. Also, I take to making replicas of my props, like Midori’s blade Dragonblossom, from cardboard and poster board to decide what needs to be worked on.
I do all of this so that when I do have time with a sewing machine, it’ll be a much smoother and quicker process to finish the costumes I want to make.