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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: legend of korra

Sparky Sparky Boom Lady

Michael MacWolff

Well, we're just going to keep the finished projects moving right along with this full costume of P'li from the Legend of Korra. Ok, well, we'll wrap up this string of finished projects because this is the last one I have done and won't be finishing anything new for a while, though I am starting a few new projects. Let's jump right in with some photos, cause the production was pretty simple and mostly sewing stuff so nothing you want to hear me blather on about anyway.

I started with a rib-knit sweater from the thrift store. Then the part that goes over that is just a red knit that I made the little tube-top out of. The gold trim was the trickiest part since I hand-stitched it on. It's not stretchy like the knit fabric so I couldn't really machine sew it or I'd never be able to put the thing on.

Next up are the pants and shoes! The trick with the pants was finding something dark red that wasn't too close to the color of the tube top, since the panel that hangs down in front is the same material. Needless to say, Joann's was entirely unhelpful on that front since there are about 3 standard colors of red and I didn't want to use anything obnoxiously bright. Thankfully, I came across an awesome maroon set of satin curtains, and turned them into pants.

For the shoes, I was trying to thrift a pair of boots, but was wholly unsuccessful in that endeavor. So instead, I took an old pair of cloth kung-fu shoes (which I used for Tenzin the first time I wore him), and attached a boot cover in a manner similar to this tutorial, just without covering the sole, since it was cloth so I could just attach the base directly to it. The gold bits were added after the fact, and the parts around my ankles are sew on one end, and velcro to themselves around.

Here's a little test with the last two fabric parts, the arm... things... which are just sleeves made from 4-way stretch rayon/spandex knit in black. Then the belt thing, which has the front panel attached. The belt velcros together in the back, and the brighter cold details are attached to it. I used the super heavy duty craft interfacing and appliqued on the gold satin to get the intricate design. Then I very carefully cut away the fabric outsize the zig-zag stitch. If I was being super anal about it, I would have then gone back and redone all of the outside edges with another zig-zag stitch to keep everything clean and contained but I was a lazy bum instead.

Now we're onto the shoulder pauldrons! They're craft foam covered with worbla, using sets of D-rings and straps to keep them on my shoulders. It would have been nice to have some sort of harness underneath to actually keep them on my shoulders instead of just hanging out on my upper arms but I had no easy way of doing it where it would be hidden.

Next up is the wig, which needs some love before I wear this costume again. I spent a good 2 hours trying to french braid it and finally after swearing so much my mouth dried out, I just did a normal braid with the front part slicked directly back over a little mound of black tissue paper (to give it a bit of extra volume).

Con day finally came and I clearly need some new makeup because contouring and doing her forehead tattoo were a pain in the ass, but all things considered I think my face came out pretty well.

So now the moment you've all been waiting for...

What, that wasn't what you were waiting for? Ok, I guess you can see the whole costume put together.

So yeah, I made that ridiculous face a lot. I even got the only other Legend of Korra cosplayer I saw all weekend to do it too.

Thankfully after spending the whole day looking furious/constipated, I got to unwind with a glass of wine. Needless to say, these are the best photos I have of P'li.

So yeah, I had tons of fun in this cosplay so I am super pumped for when my friends finish their Red Lotus cosplay so we can have a good group.

Anyway, that's all for now, hope you enjoyed the show!

Puppies! And FIREBENDERS!

Michael MacWolff

Welcome back friends, and thanks for sticking with me through my extended hiatus! Why was I gone so long? Well there's lot's of reasons, chief among them being the fact that my usband and I got a new puppy!

Meet the newest member of our family, Donnerschlag! Yes, that is his actual name, it means "thunderclap" in German and we got the idea for the name from the anime Kiddy Grade; Donnerschlag is the main characters' guard robot. He's a German Shepard mix and if you look at those paws you can tell he's going to grow into a BIG BOY!

So with house training and pretty much having to be aware of what the puppy is doing at all times or risk losing shoes, power chords, and flesh to his sharp little puppy teeth, I've not been able to do a ton of work on cosplay stuff, nor have I had much time to do much updating around the website here. Thankfully I've had a light workload as far as props go for these few months and I've been able to take the free hour here or there to work on my two commissions as well as put together a new costume for Matsuricon!

Most of you already know I've been wanting to start getting into crossplaying as a way to expand my repertoire of costumes, as well as my repertoire of costuming abilities, and get some good practice with things like makeup and shaping in my patterns and all that jazz! So for the first attempt at that, I'm doing P'li from Legend of Korra, since my Kya and Korra have been wanting to do a Red Lotus group for a while. You're probably wondering why I'm not doing Zahir, given my identity as an airbender. Well, mostly I just wanted to do something different! And I'm also a good height for her since she towers over the rest f the Red Lotus lol. Lastly, I like her design a lot, and with my two friends, both her and Zahir were open spots so I went with the badass combustion lady :-D

So after deciding on P'li for this group, and my cosposse deciding they wanted to do this for Matsuricon, I got right to work. I immediately went out to the thrift store and found her rib knit undershirt, and proceeded to make ridiculous faces while showing off my thrifting skills.

It took a long while to make any more progress, because the new puppy happened somewhere between then and now, but I recently discovered that Donner can be very well-behaved in my sewing room when I'm working in there. He does occasionally try to eat scraps of fabric and thread off of the floor, but he is a puppy after all.

This is his favorite spot, right underneath my sewing desk. He seems to actually like the sound of my sewing machine too, which is kinda weird since it's loud, but he'll come in from the living room whenever I start sewing on it and just plop down under my feet.

This is his favorite spot, right underneath my sewing desk. He seems to actually like the sound of my sewing machine too, which is kinda weird since it's loud, but he'll come in from the living room whenever I start sewing on it and just plop down under my feet.

So with this newfound activity that is puppy-friendly, I got right to work! The bit you can see me sewing up there is her top, made from a knit material, which you can see finished here. The gold detailing is all satin, and I basically made a large tube of fabric in that shape and flipped & Ironed it flat. I then stitched it onto the top by hand so that the stitches wouldn't keep the knit from stretching in the way it needed to for me to actually get it on, since as you may know, satin doesn't stretch.

The weird scrolly bits on her hips were a bit more challenging. I started with a base of heavy duty craft intefacing so they'd be stiff and hold their shape. then I hand-stitched on the gold satin over top.

Unfortunately, I wasn't particularly happy with how they looked when they were done, so I scrapped those and did an applique stitch around them instead, which looks a lot better, in my opinion. I whip-stitch them onto the darker gold satin belt I slapped together and added the dangling panel to the front of the belt as well. It's the same knit material as the top for consistency, and because knit drapes well. The downside is that trying to iron pleats into this knit fabric was a nightmare, and didn't work particularly well, so I just had to stitch most of the way down them. Last bits I made were the arm... things. I really don't know what to call them because they're not gloves as they don't go over her hands, they're more like... long arm warmers? Detatched sleeves? Maybe they're just supposed to be regular sleeves but I made them a separate part so whatever. They're just a quick doubled spandex knit fabric that I happened to have enough of in my scrap drawer, but they turned out nicely and fit quite well.

With all of that done, and co-opting the harem pants I made for a different costume, we did a test run. 

I don't know about you guys, but I'd call that a success! I have a few things left to do, namely figuring out my footwear, french braiding the wig (hopefully with the help of my Katara because I have no idea how to do that), and making her shoulder pauldrons, which should be a breeze at this point considering how many of those sorts of things I've made at this point.

So in just about a month you'll be able to see this combustion bender in her full glory at Matsuricon! In the meantime I'll be finishing up a few commissions which I'll be telling you all about next time! Toodle-oo!

DAMNIT KORRA

Michael MacWolff

Photo courtesy of, and starring  WOLF Cosplay

Photo courtesy of, and starring WOLF Cosplay

Welcome back to another edition of throwback thursday here at MDC. this one really isn't much of a throwback considering I just wore it a few weeks ago, and my hair still hasn't fully recovered. But hey, I'm running out of viable options and I'm trying not to just give you an endless string of Fire Emblem cosplays cause that can get out of control quickly with my history. So here he is, the airbending Avatar child, Tenzin.

Sorting ourselves into the four nations has been a thing for as long as ATLA has been around, and I feel like the air nomads and I are besties. While I'm an Aries and therefore cosmicly associated with fire, I've never been a particularly fiery person except in limited situations. I'm much more of an evade/flank type person when it comes to taclking problems, rather than facing them head on. So it should come as no surprise that I've wanted to cosplay an airbender forever. I also have the usual disposition that most of you are aware of that I prefer to cosplay characters that don't get done as often, so Tenzin was a perfect fit. Not to mention it gave me a good excuse to wear a sour look on my face all day... which is wierd because I'm generally a pretty cheerful person XD. Tenzin is pretty much the Edgeworth of the ATLA/LOK world so naturally I was drawn to him.

photo courtesy of  Lydia Joy Palmer

photo courtesy of Lydia Joy Palmer

In my usual costume repertoire, Tenzin is pretty much my perfect cosplay all wrapped up into one. Here's the list of criteria:

  1. Its easy to wear: Tenzin, while not really what I'd be wearing day-to-day in the real world, is pretty normal clothing compared to a lot of anime and video game characters. He wears pants and a long shirt (albeit technically a robe), a belt, and some capes. Yes, capes aren't really 'normal' either bit they're easy and fun to wear, so they're a bonus rather than a hindrance.
  2. Comfy shoes: 'nuf said.
  3. Wigs: I DON'T NEED ONE, HUZZAH! Hair is such an important facet to cosplay but wigs are expensive, a pain in the ass to cut & style, and are not comfortable to be wearing for long periods of time. The ideal hair situation for me is something where I can use my own hair, like Rhys (or like I tried to do with Kariya and will never do again cause it looks janky as hell). In this case, I do get to use my own hair by lopping it all off. And the bonus: I don't have to take a razor to my head because I'm a ginger; I just go to Great Clips and have them buzz it with a zero and it's short & light enough that I look bald. Ok, if you look super close you can see the tiny hairs, but all of my most impressive Tenzin photos are like that, I only actually Bic'ed my head (with the help of my wonderful roomie) once: the first time I wore it.
  4. It's good for pretty much any season: This costume is light enough that I'm not going to die in the summer but the capes are made out of a thick enough material to keep me relatively warm in the fall/winter. No, I would not stay outside for extended periods of time in -3* weather, but it can keep me warm enough walking from a car to the con center. The shoes are also not something I'd ever want to wear when it's raining or super deep snow cause they're just cloth, but that's beside the point.
  5. Recognition without repetition: As I've said before, I love doing cosplays that no one's done before, or that you see very infrequently. Tenzin fits that bill, although I do know someone personally who also cosplays him. But that's fine; I really have no qualms about seeing another cosplayer with the same costume. It's an instant bonding experience. But I'd prefer not to run into one every 50 ft. I walk down the hall at a convention. That's one of the reasons I don't like wearing Stein as much, because there are always so many Steins. Granted, I'm very proud of that costume and will wear it again because I feel I did a very good job with it, but it's nice when you're a bit rarer of a find at the con. Also, it's great to get stopped for pictures, and Tenzin gets lots of attention because the series is so popular and he's so recognizable. It's really hard to get that perfect balance between being recognizable and not having too many people who cosplay the same character and he fits in there beautifully.
  6. MOAR COSPLAYERS: By that I mean, I love cosplaying in a group cause it's more fun that way, and you're more likely to get stopped for photos. I have friends who also do Korra cosplays and I will now almost always bring Tenzin with me if one of them is doing their Korra cosplays.
Photo courtesy of   Sean Vichinsky   ; featuring Danielle as Kya and  WOLF Cosplay  as Korra

Photo courtesy of Sean Vichinsky; featuring Danielle as Kya and WOLF Cosplay as Korra

Here's the gang and we had an awesome time standing in one spot in the hallway and being asked for photos every 3 minutes. Let's be honest, most cosplayers have at least a small degree of vanity and love it when that happens, I know I do.

My debut with Tenzin was at Ohayocon a few years ago, and as often happens with my new cosplays, I'm having so much fun wandering around the con in the new costume that I forget to have anyone I actually know take pictures of me. Fortunately I did actually get a couple that time.

Clearly I like the meditation pose given the last two photos. I've decided that any time I'm just sitting around waiting for someone I'm just going to do this. Yes, I'll probably miss some cool cosplayers wandering by, but it's a lot of fun and I thin people enjoy seeing it. I did this while I was waiting for my friend to use the bathroom at this past Colossalcon and while my eyes were closed I'm pretty sure I got my picture taken at least 3-4 times as I kept seeing flashes.

Weird airbending poses are obligatory as well when I'm cosplaying Tenzin. I look like such a derp, but not quite as much as the one from my next foray as Tenzin at Youmacon. It was nice and windy outside so I made my friend Josh go out and take pictures of me airbending. Great in theory but not in practice because it was too windy to keep my eyes open and stand posed for more then a few seconds without nearly falling over. Evidenced by this...

Fortunately the cape billowing was on an epic level, but I had my eyes open for 0 of the pictures and this is the photo where my face is the least contorted into pain and frustration as I'm attempting to open my eyes. Thankfully Youmacon is also the con where I have all of my awesome photos of this costume because David and Kyoko of Cerulean Photography did a little private shoot with me playing with my airbending scarves (which would have blown away if I'd tried to use them in that wind. All of the rest of the photos were taken by them.

This was one of the most fun and rewarding cosplay experiences I've had because I literally just got to dance around and play with my scarves while they took pictures, and you can totally tell that's exactly what's happening here XD
And the end result is this beautiful photoset! The only downside was since I was spinning and moving around so much, my capes kept getting skewed all wonky-like, but there's enough motion in the photos that it doesn't really matter.

And as a bonus, without my knowledge, Lydia Joy Palmer (who took that first photo I posted) was also taking pictures of me while I was dancing. Here are a few of her other photos, including one of my favorite close-up photos of me ever.

After this wonderful experience, I've been a lot more motivated to try to get professional photos of more of my costumes because they're just so darn pretty, and with as much time and effort as I put into my costumes, I want some nice photos of them.

Well that's all folks, so from this air nomad to all you benders and nonbenders out there, peace.