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Blog

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!

 

Filtering by Tag: akechi

CAW-CAAAW

Michael MacWolff

It's time to show off my newest cosplay! Ok, sort of. Mostly just regale you with tales of how I constructed it because I don't really have many photos of the whole thing yet, those will come when we get proofs back from out awesome Phantom Thieves photoshoot at Youmacon!

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So first things first, let's take a moment to appreciate how ridiculous this outfit is. For those of you unfamiliar with the Persona 5 universe, the Phantom Thieves' costumes manifest themselves when they are in the Metaverse (the supernatural portion of the game world) and are based off of that person's idea of what a revolutionary/subversive hero would look like. So apparently Akechi sees a revolutionary as a super gay drum major with a crazy bird beak...

I can't get over it.

Anyway, let me regale you with the tale of how I put this bad boy together. I actually started with the accessories before I put any of the outfit together.

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I patterned out the mask on cardstock, then transferred it to craft foam and did my usual worbla-wrapping method, mushing the center seam together to get the mask. You can see the first iteration above. I liked it, but I overdid the beak a little, so I trimmed the bottom, re-mushed the wworbla, and go this much more acceptable beak.

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Then it was time for.... you guessed it: Mod Podge-Mania! Several coats later, we were ready to paint. I sprayed it white to start, then sprayed the bright red over it, then brush painted the parts around the eyes with a darker red. Not to brag but I think the fruits of my labors were pretty damn juicy.

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Next up was the sword, because of course this flamboyant young man would never weild a normal sword, he has to carry a freaking lightsaber.

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Well, fortunately for me, I had a few extra lightsaber blades from my commission a while back (I made a lightsaber based on the 10th Doctor's sonic screwdriver) and a flashlight that fit perfectly on the end of it. I also had some tubes that fit just the way I needed them to, so constructing the hilt was actually quite easy. I used the rigid tube, some craft foam, and a bunch of E-6000 to attach the flashlight to the blade. Also, I should note that I put 2 layers of blue plastic folder on the end of the flashlight to give the light a blue tint.

I guess a fair amount of masking tape was also involved...

I guess a fair amount of masking tape was also involved...

The guard was all just card stock and worbla, though getting the right curvature took a few tries. The back end was actually the plastic wheel from a roll of scotch tape, which miraculously fit perfectly on the end. The thin hand guard it thin vinyl tubing with heavy gauge wire in it. Put it all together and you get...

Apparently I also added an extra layer of craft foam on the grip...

Apparently I also added an extra layer of craft foam on the grip...

We have once again come to the mod-podging stage, along with painting. I'll spare you the boring  and repeptitive details.

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Now that the props were done, I felt a little better, because nothing else involved several coats of paint and having to wait for things to dry... Oh wait.

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The belt buckle originally had a butterfly on it with some rhinestones. I covered it with craft foam & worbla for Goro's iconic "A."

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The "A" pieces on his epaulets were just layers of cereal box coated in mod podge & then painted.

Which brings us to one of the most frustrating things in shopping for this costume, because I had a hell of a time finding satin, braided chord, and braid fringe that were all the same freaking color. Fortunately I got close enough but there was lots of profanity flying around the trim isle at Joann's.

So, time to start on the jacket. I patterned it off of an athletic jacket I found at the thrift store which fit me about how I wanted it to. It's not as tailor-fit as it could have been, but it's comfortable and I can raise my arms without my belly showing so that was the important thing.

I used a white bottomweight for the base fabric, I believe it was Target or possibly Rodeo, I don't really remember. I got a bottomweight partially because I was hoping not to have to line it, but that didn't work out, and I had to line it anyway because f*** white fabric. 

After cutting out all of the pieces, it was time to add the weird white mountain-trim bits to the front. Little did I know this trim would be one of the most frustrating parts of making this costume. Each strip had to be about a yard long, and each one took an inordinate amount of time to sew together because of all of the stupid little mountain peek things every 3/4"

And, let's take a look at that reference artwork again...

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Excuse me, I need to make HOW MANY OF THOSE?!?! 2 for the front of the jacket, 2 for each sleeve, and two for each pant leg is a total of 10 of this f***ing mountain trim. I was annoyed, but I made the first two so I could continue working on the jacket.

So let's take a quick second to talk about what making and attaching this trim entailed, in case any of you guys are looking at this to help you make your own flaming drum major costume. You stitch along the marked lines, trim the inside so you can flip it & flatten it out, but not so close that your fabric frays along the stitch line and you have to start over again (FML WE'RE NOT GONNA TALK ABOUT IT). Once it's successfully flipped, which I had to use a mechanical pencil point to get all of those little peaks pushed out, you'll want to press it flat, and then line it up & pin it onto the outside of the coat.

IMPORTANT NOTE: With the way I'm doing this, you want the peaks to be facing the opposite direction that they're supposed to point when you're done, because we're going to fold the trim over after we stitch it.

Once it's in place, you'll do a zig-zag stitch along the raw edge. Here's why I did a zig-zag stitch: the fabric will fray a little bit, but with a zig-zag it'll keep that to a minimum and make sure you have a nice, tight seam line on the trim.

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Once you've stitched it to the front, take it back to your iron, fold the trim over your zig-zagged edge, and press it flat. So now our raw edge is hidden under the trim and the peaks are pointing the proper way.

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Now that they're pressed, you'll want to stitch them down. You can do this on your machine by running a top stitch along the edge of your trim, though with the weird shape of the trim, it'll take while. On the other hand, if you are a masochistic perfectionist like I am, you can hand stitch it down.

Thankfully, the base came together nice and easily, and I did a pretty good job sticking to my pattern so there weren't any weird spots between the lining and the outside. After the excruciating process adding the trim to the front I needed this part to go well for the sake of my sanity.

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Once this part was done, I decided not to immediately attach the sleeves, because they were going to need that stupid mountain trim added to them too. Instead I decided to put together the cape.

Construction on the cape was fairly easy, I simply patterned it straight from the pieces of the jacket I tore apart to make the rest, I just had to add the standing collar, which wasn't particularly difficult, but it did turn out a bit big for my neck.

The most time consuming part was hand-stitching the gold braid along the top, but even that wasn't that bad, and I got through a few Tiger & Bunny episodes as I worked on it.

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The epaulets are just as absurd as the rest of this cosplay, but thankfully they were pretty easy to put together, and I could machine-stitch the chord fringe to them, which was nice since I had to hand-sew all of the gold chord. The center thing is a cover button with gold satin on it, and the "A" embellishments, as I stated earlier, are made from cereal boxes.

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With the cape done, it was time to delve back into trim hell and repeat my mountain trim 4 more times for the two sleeves. I made it through and the rest of the sleeve construction was surprisingly unproblematic (sleeves often give me trouble, too so this was a welcome surprise).

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Of course in the references there are two different types of gold trim on the sleeves, so I used satin ribbon for the flat part, and more of that gold braid.

Well, things are looking up at this point, as all I had left was the gold braid closures on the front. Little did I know that that aspect alone would take just as much time as putting together the entire rest of the f***ing costume.

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3 days later I'm down to my last 3 sections of braid and my fingers can barely hold a needle, I've lost several mL of blood from stabbing myself so many times with my needle, and I am desperately trying not to just bleed all over my pristine white costume, so instead I'm just sobbing onto it because I can't help myself and I'm supposed to be leaving for Detroit in 24 hours. Hell, I'm about ready to just set my whole sewing room on fire and just be done with it.

It is at this point that something miraculous happened. As I was listening to my nerd music playlist, Prince Sidon's theme came on. Now, for those of you who haven't played Breath of the Wild and are unfamiliar with the Zora prince, he is a treasure. He is very affectionate and encouraging with Link. Now, at Tekko this year I met an awesome artist named voidbug who made this fantastic print of Sidon.

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Coming home from Tekko, I immediately hung this print up in my sewing room to give me encouragement while I'm working on cosplay and let me tell you , IT WORKED. The combination of hearing his theme music and looking up at this print with my 8ft tall fish boyfriend giving me encouragement... I continued crying but they weren't tears of frustration any more. This art actually got me through this cosplay; it's a miracle.

So I buckled down, grabbed a pair of pliers (since my fingers were all sore at this point) and stitched the last sections of braid down.

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I was so happy to get it done, and I absolutely love how it turned out. There are a few things I could do to make it a little better, but none of them are that important and frankly I think it looks awesome as is.

The best part about all of this was that I got to be part of a full group photoshoot at Youma, with a bunch of really good cosplayers (like, REALLY GOOD. Two of them won a Hall competition trophy that weekend for other cosplay they had). Here's the photo we have now, the rest will come later, when our photographer has a chance to go through and edit them.

Photo courtesy of   back_of_beyond_cosplay

Photo courtesy of  back_of_beyond_cosplay

Not sure how often I'll end up wearing this, but I do know several friends want to do P5 cosplays too, so I'd fit right in. I have no intention of cosplaying any other version of him though, this one is just too fabulous.

Youma 2017

Michael MacWolff

Welcome back, folks! As per usual, sorry for the prolonged absence! October was a bit hectic, between hosting and recovering from my Harry Potter weekend, and launching full-force into a commission that needed to be done and shipped before Halloween, plus the serious con crunching I did with my last minute necessity of doing an extra cosplay. So, I'll be rolling out all of the details and construction of that stuff this week, but while Youma is still fresh in my mind, I wanted to give you guys that rundown first.

But before I do that, I wanted to plug my social media expansion:

Mikey is finally on Instagram! 

I finally caved after 8,000 people have told me I really should be. And it'll be pretty exclusively cosplay-related photos, because I have no reason to post other stuff there (except maybe photos of my dog, because he is a good boy). So, you can follow me @mikeydoescosplay for the easiest updates on my WIPs and cosplay photos, since you won't have to sift through the inane stuff on my Twitter account.

And with that, on to Youma!!
I'm including primarily photos of my own cosplay here, if you'd like to see the hall shots I got of other awesome cosplayers, check out my Youmacon facebook gallery. 

Thursday

Thursday was super chill and I got up there way earlier than I needed to, but I was glad to since it meant I got a decent parking spot and didn't have to worry about a ton of traffic. When folks finally got there, I did eventually change into Masrur from Magi, since two of my friends wanted to get our little group together at last. Unfortunately, one friend got in super late and the other just never got into costume, so it was just me. But that's ok because at least i finally wore the cosplay I made about 2 cons ago! And I got a few photos! And a few people even recognized me, even though there weren't that many con-goers around yet.

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I'm super happy with how he turned out, and he's actually not that uncomfortable, other than the breastplate rubbing a bit under my arms. Eventually I'm hoping we can get our little group together but I'm not in any rush now that it's all finished.

Friday

Friday was great because there were still a bunch of city folk out and about in the convention center and I got to watch as they slowly disappeared and more con-goers arrived. I was dressed as Hestu for most of the day, which is the first sime I've worn him since I altered his head.

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When I initially made his tree head, I just made the whole thing out of cardboard, including the but that actually went around my head. There was some foam for cushioning, but it was still super uncomfortable, and gave me headaches after wearing it for 30 seconds. So I decided to change it up because I want to wear this cosplay more since it's more fun and let's be real, Hestu and I are pretty much the same person... plant... being... thing. So to fix the issues I was having, I found a baseball helmet at the thrift store and pretty much just glued what I already made to the top of it. I added some extra fleece wrapping to cover the helmet, reattached the eyebrows and the velcro to attach the mask, and voila, I had a tree head that didn't make my actual head feel like death any more.!

The best part about wearing Hestu around on Friday was that apparently being a tree meant that I was more approachable/less intimidating that most of the other cosplayers? Because no less than 10 times I had normal people come up to ask me what was going on and/or if they could get a picture with me. One couple in particular was super excited to get photos with me, and the lady and I posed with the maracas. It was fantastic. I also had someone from a local news station come and talk to me but sadly I can't remember what station, nor was I successful at finding a video online, alas.

Once it got into the evening hours I changed out of Hestu and into my brandy-new cosplay that I finished sewing literally 24 hours before I left for the con (and those of you who know me know that's cutting it way closer than I ever do). I'm of course referring to Crow for my P5 Phantom Thieves group. 

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Despite the incredible frustrations with having to hand sew on the ridiculous amount of trim involved in this cosplay, I am SO HAPPY with how it turned out, and so glad I managed to get it done in time to be a part of this Phantom Thieves photoshoot. I had so much fun and everyone's cosplay was ON POINT.

Photo courtesy of  back_of_beyond_cosplay

Photo courtesy of back_of_beyond_cosplay

It was such an honor to be a part of this group of incredibly talented cosplayers. You should check them all out on Instagram because they have a bunch of other wonderful cosplays too:
Skull: climbingtartarus
Queen: madster.photo
Oracle: lightofhope18
Joker: galbadian_aristocrat_cosplay
Panther: lyssalalaa
Noir: I don't have her info but I will share when I find out!
Fox: multiversecosplay

We shot with Robert Tate Photography and I cannot wait to see how the photos turn out! I will be sure to share them when we get the proofs back.

Saturday

Saturday was another awesome day with 3 group cosplays planned, all of which were great!
The morning started with some good old-fashioned Ghibli cosplay: Howl and Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle. Ok, we also had Turnip Head, Calcifer, and Heen. The best thing about doing Howl this time: I had a new wig that wasn't totally disgusting.

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The weather was lovely (if a little chilly) so we got some wonderful photos outside along the riverwalk. I'm hoping some day we'll be able to get my Markl in here too, and perhaps find a Witch of the Waste so we have a full crew!

After spending time wandering the con floor, I went back and changed into Mad King Ashnard for the Fire Emblem shoots. We organized a little Tellius gathering (which only had 4 people but was still great) before the main FE shoot.

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I love this costume so much, it's ridiculous. I don't care that almost no one recognizes me, because the ones that do are keepers, I made a new friend that was as a matter of fact. And that cape is so freaking luxurious. And the shoulder pauldrons of doom are wonderful. And the giant terrifying sword. I even really like how I look with that wig and weird facial hair. The only thing I need to do is find a better way to attach the shoulder armor to the cape, because every time I moved my arms they would pop off, and I actually lost one of the spikes as a result. But that aside, it was great to get some awkward family photos with my friend cosplaying Soren.

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We also decided to recreate the HERON PUNCH since my Sophie from earlier came back as Reyson.

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I didn't take any photos at the big shoot, since my phone was dying by that point and I didn't feel like worrying about it, but I did get a nice villain photo with my friend.

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Reyson also got a lovely selfie of us with my friend's Ike.

Reyson also got a lovely selfie of us with my friend's Ike.

While the photoshoot was of course dominated by Awakening and Fates cosplayers, I was impressed at the representation there. We had at least one cosplayer from every game except Thracia 776, Binding Blade, and Sacred Stones, which all things considered was pretty good!

After the shoot was over and I was tired of wearing 18 lbs. of velvet cape, I went back to the room to change into Junpei. Unfortunately the rain picked up on my walk back over to the Ren Cen so everything got wet, including my already heavy-as-hell cape. But there was a very sweet guy walking behind me who offered to hold my cape so it didn't drag through the puddles.

When I finally dried out a bit it was finally bro time with my senpais!

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It was so nice to be back in normal, comfy clothing and I had a blast hanging out with two of my best con friends. It's been forever since we've all cosplayed together so it was nicce to be able to just chill. We got some food and I of course refused to take a serious photo the entire time I was in Jupei.

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As the evening went on, I ended up splitting from the group for a bit because some guy lost his phone and his friends so I lent him my cell to get in contact with them. Somehow during that time they decided they didn't want to go to the Persona gathering and went back up to the room, evidently having a seriously harrowing journey on the elevators. I decided I didn't want to deal with it so I huffed it up the 25 flights of stairs to the room and consequently passed out.

Sunday

Sunday was actually pretty good, since we got an extra hour of sleep with the time change, so I slept in to what felt like 9 but was actually 8. I got my stuff packed in my car without having to deal with busy elevators and went to breakfast in my Hufflepuff gear with a few extra critters.

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We wandered for a bit and said goodbye to the friends we ran into. I eventually decided to shell out the $25 for a Sunday badge so I could wander through the dealer's room and I'm glad I did because there was a lot of great stuff. I ended up spending almost all of my cash (but I was smart and kept enough for tolls on the way home).

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Here's the haul! There were so many awesome artists, and I didn't even see everything because the hall was so big and I ran out of money before I made it all the way through lol. My favorite purchases were definitely the Jill/Haar print, which I got to chat with the artist about Tellius-series FE for a bit and re-motivated myself to fix up Haar for this year. Also the Krem pillow that I have been snuggling with the entire time I've been writing this post.

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As per usual, coming home from a con this awesome has motivated me to plan out and start working on some cosplays for next year (since I have no more cons this year), and I'm hoping to channel some of that motivation toward some commissions I have to work on, as well as a few more posts about the commission I just finished, the rest of the magical creatures I never posted about, and my Crow cosplay since I did actually take a decent number of progress photos with my recently joining Instagram.

So stay tuned, folks, because there will be a few more posts coming in the next couple of weeks!