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Here's where the magic happens. I'll be posting about all of my experiences and experiments (both failed and successful ones), introducing you to my costumes, sharing fun stories, linking tutorials and useful products, and who knows what else!


WIP Wednesday: Frelian Finery

Michael MacWolff

Hey folks, welcome to another WIP Wednesday edition of MDC. This week, we're taking a look at my current personal project (since I don't have a ton of commissions in process at the moment) for some time next year: Prince Innes from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones.

If you can't tell just by his art, he fits into the "Asshole Archer" archetype that we see a lot in FE games.

If you can't tell just by his art, he fits into the "Asshole Archer" archetype that we see a lot in FE games.

Innes has been a favorite character of mine for a while, despite being kind of a jerk, so I decided it was time to make it happen! I got started immediately after Youmacon, riding my post-con high which tends to lend itself well to getting a head start on projects. I honestly still have no clue when I'll be debuting him, but it seemed a shame to waste my motivation so I got right to work.

He is so fancy it's absurd.

He is so fancy it's absurd.

Since Innes was somewhat recently released in FE Heroes, I had to make a tough decision: which design was I going to go with? I really like the fancy designs on his Heroes coat, and the artwork is a lot clearer/you can see the details a lot better, so I decided to base my design primarily on that version.  I am planning on using his original bow, however, because I don't like the look of the one they gave him in Heroes. The designs (particularly the white scrawling pattern) was a little too intricate for me to easily be able to do, so I simplified it a bit.


To get all of the intricate designs onto my lovely light blue fabric, I made a pattern on some cardstock, ironed on some stabilizer to the back of my pieces, and traced the design onto the stabilizer. Then came the arduous task of satin stitching all of those pieces on.

To do that, I pinned a sheet of the light satin to the front, satin-stitched around the design, and then clipped out the excess fabric from the front.


You can see the white designs here, both before and after the excess fabric was cut away. After the designs were set, I got to do it again with the gold.

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At this point, the satin stitching is finished for everything except the sleeves (since I don't have enough of the gold to do both, and I want to make sure they at least match each other if I have to use a different satin). But with the designs done, that means I could start sewing the actual garments together!


Since the capelet is smaller, I got that finished first, and added the gold trim, which is all satin ribbon that's been folded over the edges and hand-stitched on.


The buckle-thingies were both done with layers of cereal box, and the actual belt buckle has a clip in the back so I can actually put it on when the belt part is attached. Obviously, they look a little fancier all painted.


With those done, I finally made it to the store to get more gold satin for the sleeves... except that whatever I have doesn't seem to exist any more. Frustrated, I did find some lining fabric that was really close in color (as close as anything I could find anyway). but it doesn't have the same luster as the satin. I got it anyway, along with an entire bolt (almost 10 yards) of one of the casa color clearouts because I cosplay FE so I'm definitely going to use it. And I don't want to run into this problem again, ever.



So after agonizing over it for a couple of hours, I finally had moment of clarity that manifested itself on Twitter...


I had sleeves, the details matched, and there was much rejoicing. That meant I could progress a little (or maybe a lot) further on the project and actually wear the thing without looking like a goon.

Some more trim and a zipper later, I have something wearable.
But that's not all, since the weather has been super warm [because our climate is fucked] I could actually work in my garage and I decided to start working on his bow.

Now originally I was planning to make the bow in his original artwork, because I thought the one in his heroes design looked stupid. 

Look at this, it just looks like it has knobby ends that he's going to NEVER MIND

Look at this, it just looks like it has knobby ends that he's going to NEVER MIND

But then I found artwork of it that's not at a dumb andgle and it's SUPER COOL. Those are snake heads on the end, that's why they're wider like that!


So obviously I had to make it because SNAKES and it is a legendary weapon, after all. I wasted no time in getting to work!


The base is wood and the details are worbla scraps I mushed together and molded. They even have fangs *KA KAH*

So with things being wearable and half a bow finished, it was finally time to try everything on!


There's obviously a bunch of work left to do on both the bow and the costume, but I'm incredibly happy with how this is turning out. I just wish I had a con to wear it to, but I don't have any more conventions until Ohayo at the end of January. Alas, my pompous prince will just have to wait.

Blacker than a moonless night, hotter and more bitter than hell itself...

Michael MacWolff

Welcome to another throwback thursday! This time, we're going to have some fun with that sultry prosecutor, Godot!


Godot was actually my first Ace Attorney, and I made him primarily because i have a good friend who cosplayed Mia Fey. He unfortunately got left behind once I started cosplaying Miles Edgeworth, however, because I adore that frilly man so pretty much any time I want to cosplay from AA, I'm going to choose Edgeworth over Godot.

Maybe you should keep your claws out, and show them what you've got... Kitten.

Maybe you should keep your claws out, and show them what you've got... Kitten.

It seemed silly to only cosplay Godot, when Diego Armando is pretty much the same cosplay with a few alterations. The vest is exactly the same, which was the only part of the costume I actually had to make besides the mask. It helped that I also already had a wig that would work well enough.

The best part about Ace Attorney cosplay is that all of the chatacters wear fairly normal clothing, so it's all comfy and was pretty easy to thrift most of it and construct the leftover bits. The biggest pain was the vest, because I couldn't find one that worked, nor could I find suiting fabric that was right, so I had to pinstripe the fabric myself. It was a pain in the ass but it turned out really well.

Did you forget already? In my world, the color red doesn't exist. These must be… my tears.

Did you forget already? In my world, the color red doesn't exist. These must be… my tears.

Interestingly enough, I had a moment while wearing it where this quote was relevant. I was at Ohayocon and there was a table where another convention was advertising. On the there was a white board with information written in marker, but I couldn't see any of it because it was written in red. I asked my friend a question about it and she was like "it says so right there" and pointed at the seemingly blank sign. It was a pretty perfectly unintentional in-character moment.


Because of the style of Ace Attorney, it was really easy to get a lot of good shots, because there are plenty of easy reference poses to follow. The spit take was one of my favorites to try and photograph because I basically had to spit water everywhere about 10 times before we got a good one. Sadly, it wasn't until much later that we realized I should have been using Coke or some other colored liquid. Oh well, at least it still came out pretty well.



And of course i had to end with my favorite photo because it is just too perfect with the flash reflection lining up the way it did. This was of course entirely unintentional.

And there's Godot. I'm actually selling the bits I have left (the mask died a while ago) so you might see him around, but I won't be the one wearing him.

Materials Monday: MDF

Michael MacWolff

Well, it's been a while since I've done one of these so I figure it's high time I got a regular thing started here... at least until I run out of useful materials to talk about.

This week we're going to talk about MDF, which stands for Medium Density Fiberboard.


MDF is very similar to wood in the way I use it in props. It comes in thin, flat boards that can be cut and sanded to fit your needs. I would even go so far as to say I generally prefer it to wood, and here's why:

  1. Unlike wood, MDF will be perfectly flat, and remain so, even when you're working with thinner boards. Thin craft wood can often warp or bend, either before you purchase it from the store, or even after you start working with it.
  2. MDF doesn't have a grain. This means that you won't have to sand/coat/sand/coat.sand/coat/etc. as much as you would with wood to get a perfectly smooth surface. In addition, it's going to be sturdier than wood when you have thin pieces. 

The scissors I made for Ramos are made out of thin craft wood, and the skinny parts that connect the handle to the blade section on each piece both snapped along the wood grain. I plan to make a new set of shears with MDF for the next time I cosplay him.

  • MDF comes in a lot of different thicknesses so it's pretty versatile for different projects. Wood does too, but it's hard to find the variety you need for some projects.
  • MDF usually comes in long, wide boards which mean you can buy a single board and often use it for multiple projects, depending on what all you're making
  • MDF is a little "softer" than most craft wood. What that means is it's a little easier to sand. I've used my dremel with a sanding bit and gotten a really nice beveled edge on some of the swords I've made with MDF
  • MDF is pretty easy to work with, assuming you have the right tools. You will need a jigsaw or something comparable to cut it, and you'll probably want a dremel as well to make sanding easier. But of course you can always sand your stuff by hand, it just takes longer.

    The only real downside to MDF is that it tends to be heavier than wood, so if you're using it for larger projects they're going to be a lot to carry around at a con.

MDF is great for a lot of different types of projects, but is probably most useful for swords and other blades because it's thin, flat, and sturdy!


Now, let's look at a few MDF projects I've done! 

The FF XV engine sword I made for Heckin Sleepy Cosplay has a base made from MDF. 


Now there's a lot of weird details on this sword, most of which are made from random plastic things, but this little guy is also made from MDF, so you can see it works well for smaller stuff too.

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You can also see in this photo that I sanded the edge of the blade into a nice bevel, as well as sanded out some details, like the line across the top of the blade. I did all of that with a dremel tool & sanding bit, and then used some fine-grit sandpaper to smooth things out.


The second major thing I made using MDF is the Rengar set from League of Legends. Both the base of the large sword, as well as the smaller arm blades are made from MDF.


I cut out & beveled the small blades directly on the MDF, but for the big blade, I ended up using foam board to achieve the bevel, since it was too wide to have easily been able to do directly on the MDF. I did, however, bevel the small points around the guard on the sword.

MDF worked out great for this project because of the width of the blade. It would have been difficult to find a wood board that would have been wide enough to make this, and even if I found one, there's a good chance it wouldn't have been perfectly flat, making the foam board more difficult to mount effectively.

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If you're curious about the work I did with the foam board here, you can check out my first Materials Monday post, which is all about foam board.

The other project that comes to mind when thinking about MDF is the Crescent Rose I built for my husband. 


Now most of this was done out of foam board, because to have made it all out of MDF would have been super heavy and downright unwieldy! But there are a few spots that would have been too weak to make out of foam board: the blade on the end, and the spear point on the back.


I don't have any photos of the spear end, but here's the front blade. With it being made out of MDF, there's no worry of hurting the end if it accidentally get's whacked, and you can set the point down on the ground to pose with the "sniper rifle" mode, because of course it's also a gun. 

I put it on my foot here, because of course I could still chip the paint if I wasn't careful, but if that were foam board this wouldn't even be possible!

I put it on my foot here, because of course I could still chip the paint if I wasn't careful, but if that were foam board this wouldn't even be possible!

So, I hope this has been helpful and informative for all of you folks!
I'm hoping to do Materials Monday about once a month, on weeks that I don't have Throwback Thursday posts, so I hope you'll tune in next time to learn about more great prop-making materials!