Miss Marquin’s Guide to Lightning Fast Cosplay
A Note from the Author
Welcome to Miss Marquin’s Guide to Lightning Fast Cosplay. People consider me well-known in the community and I’m highly flattered by this. People often compliment me on my craftsmanship and wig work, but if it’s one thing that is almost always said to me, it’s about the speed at which I work. People constantly ask me how I do it.
I can’t tell you, because I don’t really know. Anyone who has seen me work in person can only say one thing: I just work fast. That’s literally there is to it. Still, people are always interested in my process and since I can’t have EVERYONE coming over to observe me… I’m writing this as a little insight to how I do what I do. Take everything seriously.
Thank you, and enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: COSPLAY IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. In no way shape or form is this book guaranteed to grant you lightning fast sewing skills. Also, in an afterthought, there is no guarantee that you will not be reduced to a pile of frustrated goo, prone to ripping out your hair and crying for hours upon end.
Picking your cosplay is an inherently personal thing. I personally have a list about ten feet long of potential cosplay ideas and I never pick any one of them. I always go with something not on the list and last minute decisions are almost constant.
Another determining factor is my budget. The smaller my budget is, naturally the more complicated I go. The more trim/buttons/sequins/beads, the better. ALL the glitter. ALL the stuff.
And, we can’t forget the pressure of time. The closer I am to a convention, the harder the cosplay is. Yea, I can finish that full suit of armor in a week and a half, no problems here.
Oh, and brocade. Brocade is a must, no matter how much I tell myself never again. Despite the fact you can’t iron it, you can’t wash it and it frays like a cattle dog that sheds in the height of summer, I still torture myself with it.
My first course of action is to write a list of materials that I need for a costume. Only about half of what I actually need ends up on there.
Stores are always tricky for me, because once I get there, I suddenly remember everything that I’ve forgotten. Or most of it. So, I end up buying about twice what I need.
And then things I don’t even need end up in my cart. “Well, I might use this,” I tell myself. When it gets home, it sits in a bucket for a year before I remember it’s even there.
I am a master of couponing and I will not hesitate to argue with the cashier about it. Maybe it’s my years upon years of retail experience, but you can’t fool me. I actually read those coupons, believe it or not.
When I actually start on a project, I realize that my initial list lacked several items and that when I bought everything at the store, I still forgot something. So, I have to trip back out there, forget it again and buy something completely different. Typically on my third trip, I finally remember what I intended to buy and end up buying way too much of it.
I generally realize that I forgot to factor in my wig about a month into a project. Judging by my previous cosplays, I don’t usually only need said wig, but also insulation foam, maybe a bit of wire, and always a shit-ton of glue.
Despite setbacks, I still manage to cosplay on a ridiculous budget. I am pretty sure that I’m made of magic.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s not cosplay if there isn’t procrastination, and any copslayer who tells you that they don’t procrastinate is telling you a big ‘ol fat one. I typically don’t feel like beating up my sewing machine after an eight hour shift of slinging sandwiches and red wine vinegar around.
For me, this is the most important part of my cosplay making progress and the most lengthy. There are just so many other important things to do.
Panic sets in. This is the turning point and where I’m almost certain I turn into a magician. Or maybe I’m a woodland elf, but whatever happens, I gain magical powers and start busting shit out like my grandmother is breathing her last breath.
Everything starts out brilliantly, and I bust out half of the project within a night or two. I just tend to get very, very focused.
I spend no less than ten hours, per project, beating the crap out of my sewing machine. Lucille very temperamental and I think she can read minds. If she’s bad enough, I’ll even switch to my other machine, effectively putting dear ‘ol Lucy in timeout.
But if Gawain isn’t in the mood to work with me, my temper worsens.
I start to throw things in frustration. Usually a book.
Sometimes I only feel better if I strangle my dressform with my tape measure.
Basil likes to help me. Sometimes by laying on my fabric as I try to straighten and mark it. Sometimes by chewing up my pattern paper while I’m cutting it out. Sitting on my feet while I’m trying to use the foot pedal on my machine is another way he likes to ‘help’. Eventually, I have to get up and play with him, entering a mode of procrastination once more.
Eventually, I lose all hope and go to the corner to cry. Sometimes, I’ll drown myself in alcohol, while I continually ask myself, ‘WHY?!’. If you are pregnant, apple cider or chocolate are good alternatives.
When I hit rock bottom, I start to pray to Pagen Gods. Or the Patron Saint of sewing. It really just depends on my mood at the time, but there’s lots of praying. And more crying.
I eat a steak. Medium Rare. Eating steak makes me feel better.
Once I get back on track, I start to do much better and I resume working at the speed of light.
Or not, because in reality, I rarely pattern shit. This is a bad cosplay practice and I advise against it. I usually throw a gaggle of fabric over my dress form, randomly tucking things here and there and hope for the best. I’m usually lucky and it almost always works on the first try.
I usually measure only once, cut only once and sometimes I fuck it up. This isn’t fun to fix and I advise highly against doing this. Always double check everything you do. This is one of those things I try to do better at, and fail miserably, because I hate ‘extra’ work.
This is why I rarely do mock-ups. This is something else I try to get better at, but let’s face it—I’m just way too lazy.
I don’t take it slow. I usually just throw my fabric through the machine, and it comes out looking like a garment.
A French seam, what’s that? I have a serger and I just throw the fabric through that afterwards. I should probably be careful and watch where I’m putting my hands, but ain’t no one got time for that.
I pause and marvel at the fact that I have never sewn my finger to anything.
When I start to lose focus, I arrange a cosplay work day. I generally work better around other people, but it depends on who. If I’m around Matt, Rachel or Justin, I end up just procrastinating more. Don’t get me started on Katheryn. I’m sure if she was there, I’d spend the entire time wanting to make out with her. Don’t tell my Fiancé that.
When I’m done with my main sewing, the Garment typically looks like it came from a nice factory, at least on the outside. I see every flaw, but others don’t, and that’s all that matters.
This is where I take a long needed pause… and go sew something for a friend.
It’s usually Justin. I’m okay with that.
For some reason, I always save wigs for last, even if they are very intricate.
I usually make first and figure how to transport it later.
I routinely run into problems trying to fit things into the car… And sometimes I have to get creative.
I usually don’t try everything on all together until right before I head out the door at a convention. This is usually because I’m working on things last minute.
Routinely, I have to glue things to me and pray that they hold together—at least through the contest. This is never the case. Eventually panic sets in as a strap falls off, causing my whole top to hang precariously on me, as I frantically set about screaming, “HOT GLUE GUN, HOT GLUE GUN!” at the top of my lungs.
I manage to get it reattached, albeit a little crookedly and make my way to strut down the catwalk in a parade of too loud dubstep, like the model that I never will be.
And that’s the secret folks. My creative process is long and complicated, and more often than not horrifically grueling. It really is full of pain, longing and a lot of crying and screaming profanities to no one in particular (by that, I mean at my sewing machine). But I still wouldn’t change it for anything.
In the end, we suffer because we love our hobby.
KEEP CALM AND COSPLAY ON.
Be the villain! A traditionally animated side-scroller where you get to be the bad guy! Kidnap Princesses! Thwart heroes!
This is my friend’s fiancé’s design:
“It’s time to explore the dynamic between villains and princesses. So many damsels in distress are largely absent from their games, even if they are the subject of the title! (We’re looking at you, Zelda.) What’s their story? The hero is only 1/3 of the story. It’s time to explore the other 2/3.”
For those who don’t know our follow me on Facebook, my fiance is worKing on a game. There’s only two days left to raise almost 20k on Kickstarter. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE SHARE THIS AROUND. Help him make his dream come true. T_T
NEW CAMMY PHOTOS AHHH! I know I’ve shown off the last one, but here are a few more! Taken at the Hope Graffiti Park in Austin, Texas! I loved this place, even if it was a little scary to shoot at. I might look like I’m on the ground, but the place is an old building foundation, so I’m actually standing and crouching on ledges… about ten feet in the air. Those that know me personally, know that I’m TERRIFIED of heights, ahh!
Still, had but loads of fun shooting this costume again, especially since I’m totally in love with my new wig! Photos, as always, are by White Lily Photography, who can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/WhiteLilyPhotography?fref=ts
Best times on the fluff with missmarquin!!!!!!!
Who is a fabu Sesshy if I may say so!!!
My fluff was sought after during the contest.
High Quality Hans in 500px [4/?]
Now that Mechacon has come and gone, I can finally share the progress of my Secret cosplay with evyerone—- Queen Beryl!
I was asked to be Beryl for a skit that was being performed at the convention, and I jumped on the chance to bring out my inner villain! HUE HUE HUE! This cosplay brought forth a bunch of new techniques and things that I had never done.
The dress is made from Taffeta. It was the first time I’ve ever worked with this sort of material and I kind of hated it. Blegh. The top is lined with a purple lining and lightly boned with plastic boning. I’ve never really done boning before, so I’m pleased with the way it turned out. It holds the dress up pretty well and I didn’t have to worry much about the dress slipping. The back has grommets and laces up. :D
For the wig, I combined two 100cm wigs! This was a challenge, because it was really hard to keep them from tangling while doing so. I pulled out the wefts of one, glued them into the other, and then glued the skin top of one to the top of the other. The finished wig weighs somewhere around 6-7 pounds. It took TWO HOURS for me and tabbycatmittens to curl the thing!
I had TONS of fun wearing this cosplay and the skit went off amazingly! I got to yell at people, act evil and choke Prince Endymion…. played by Twin Fools. AH. I can’t WAIT to get the few photos back of this one~ <3 <3 <3
Seong Mina is the one character that I want to cosplay literally every version of. It was only a matter of time before I took the plunge and cranked out her SCIV version…
LiftedGeek.com asked me to write an article about what into making one of my most popular cosplays— Seong Mina! Be sure to check it out to see the tips and tricks I learned, as well as to see some old progress photos that I don’t really show around. xD