Back to cosplay! Took longer than I meant because I forgot I was moving. ^_^;; But that’s all done.

So, for Otakon, we decided as a group to go as Fullmetal Alchemist. As always, I was the group seamstress. By the time everything was said and done, we had a Winry (she had to pull out last minute, but I had finished majority of the alterations on her jumpsuit), Scar, Colonel Roy Mustang, First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, General Olivier Armstrong, and Edward Elric. ~counts on fingers~ Yes, that’s it.

Summertime is green

Where I sew when I'm at home and it's warm.

Ed, I only had to make the jackets, tank and automail. She had leather pants and a belt that would suffice (though I did the belt later, too). I never finished Scar’s jacket, I am, in fact, still fighting with the sleeves. If I can’t find a way to fix the sleeve head, then I have to start over, since it’s a very touchy custom dye mix for the right shade of yellow. The rest are done, but for hemming my pants and adding fastenings. What, you think the seamstress for a group ever has the finished/best constructed costume?


Cats: they like to help at sewing

We decided, once again, to go with “fabrics and methods that would make these look real.” This meant mostly natural or natural look fibers, since 1915 didn’t really have polyesters (rubbers were okay in boots and such). The three military uniforms are made of 25 ounce felted wool, a type called Melton that was historically used in military uniforms around the world until the mid-1900s. Hot and itchy and beautiful and, surprisingly, a dream to keep clean (incidentally why they used it for military uniforms; it sheds dirt and smell). The trimming is cotton, the undershirts are all cotton blends (rib knit black for me and Olivier, woven shirting for Mustang). For Ed, the red jacket is wool suiting with black fabric marker for the Flemel crest, black and white twill for the underjacket, linen for the tank top and eventually leather for the belt, and craft foam/spandex for the automail. Scar has a linen shirt, cotton denim pants, and, in my closet, a twill jacket. And lots of hair bleach.

The pain!

Uniform and cuff pieces for three uniforms. Yes, I kept them all straight.

Otakon went well, except for my week of four hours of sleep per night. I brought a machine and a serger to the con. See, I had a bit of an issue all last year and into this one. I couldn’t wake up, ever. I was super-sleepy, and this took my usual “finish it the night before” level of procrastination into “not going to finish in time” territory. This was a first, and I really hope our Ed doesn’t hold it against me. ;_; My lovely friends fed me caffeine and hyper, and I finished all but the automail, my jacket, and Scar’s jacket in time. I slept soooo much after Otakon. (also, they found out and treated what was making me sleepy, so all is good now!)

Post Otakon, we wanted a photoshoot. A friend has a fantastic eye, and our Ed has a fantastic camera. We got them over to my end of Pennsylvania for a very appropriately locale for FMA. Now, we did the shoot mid-August. I had a job, and was still trying to shake off the sleep deprivation from Otakon. I made the automail in the three days leading up to our shoot (and it only took that long because a few steps needed hours to overnight cure time), sewing and gluing the sleeve the morning of the shoot (when there was an earthquake! but I didn’t really feel it). My jacket only got finished for day 2 of the shoot, and Scar’s… the sleeve heads are so screwed up, I just didn’t have the time.

We ended up really, really late. I feel terrible about this.

Finally we got to Pittsburgh, enlisted our Ed’s old ‘Burgh friend for the role of Winry, since ours couldn’t make it, and headed off to the Strip for Primanti’s and pictures (not in that order).  We got some fantastic pictures in some back alleys. Scar, my brother, really played it up. I’d list the things going against us for his costume that day, but he played it up enough that you can hardly even tell.


See him back there? Totes in character.

Ed and Scar ended up the best of friends by the time we finished shooting them in a million different fight poses on and around this steel scaffolding.I’d never done a prop before, either, so I’m very happy with how the automail turned out. So happy that I’m making a second piece for me, just for lulz.


Also, look at that automail. So proud!

We managed a few scene recreations with Winry before the sun went down. We wandered around, trying to find a good area where we could still get some shots, since it wasn’ttoo late, just dark. A row of warehouses on Smallman Street would have been marvelous, but during the day there were too many people, and at night the lighting was irredeemably yellow.

Lighting test

FMA: Now with more jaundice!

But we kept wandering and found a blank brick wall with a single spotlight. We got some amazing pictures from there, one of which is posted in the dA account I’ll link at the bottom (not mine). A few scenes we tried turned out all right, but I think I’d like to redo during the day. Finally, we finished up with Day 1 and drove home, where  finished things for Day 2.


Mustang was mocking me... so I returned the favor.

Day 2 dawned hot and bright and too early. While Ed and Mustang finished getting ready (Scar was unavailable that day), me and the photographer drove out to town to pick up… something. I can’t remember what. Along the way, we got lots of delicious drinks and snacks to keep us energized. The other two finally arrived and we began our second shoot, in a small post-industrial PA town (of which there are a million, if you ever need a good post-industrial, beat-up looking location).


They threw a hand at me while I was fighting with the pins in my jacket. Mustang disapproves.

We started on the streets, using an old brick church as the background. While Ed was getting some solo shots, I fought with my jacket. They are hot. Neither Mustang nor Ed, who’d had to wear theirs at Otakon, when the temperature broke 115 one day, had any pity whatsoever for me and my accuracy-loving sewing.

Hot hot hot hot hot hot hot hot. -_-

This is the first time I ever saw myself in full uniform, thanks to our photographer and digital camera tech.

We could have wandered the streets longer, but the crown jewel of our shoot was calling to us, beckoning from so near we could have walked, had we wanted to. But we didn’t, it was summer and we were in wool and leather. We drove over to an old steel mill warehouse that is no longer used. It’s been mostly gutted, and the big bay doors are usually fully open. I was nervous about going in, but I knew of legitimate, upstanding people who used this (one had suggested it, in fact), and that it was obviously used for less-honorable means, as well. And, well, the big bay doors were open…


As soon as Ed realized that Mustang had his antenna, Mustang was kicked.

It was fantastic. All the brickwork was gorgeous. There were footprints in a thin layer of dust all over the main floor, and evidence of parties or just a few kids getting drunk. There were old lights, lined up in one area, as well as piles of newer lumber that had sat long enough to still look okay, but had several millimeters of dust on them. Some areas and corners had literally inches of dust. I saw a ladder with the rungs piled with little triangular rows of dust on each rung, and shook it as hard as I could. It was so solid that not a mote of dust fell. This inspired me to climb, testing each rung and floor section as I went. We didn’t go very high, or to anywhere that moved even a hair.

Eventually, we ran out of time and I had to leave for a sleep study (it was negative, but did send me on a row of new doctors that led to several very helpful diagnoses, so all is well). Needless to say, the other patient that was in the waiting room and the nurses were all quite bemused by my costumed and excessively dusty appearance.

I have some pictures already posted at my account here:

I’ll soon be putting more up on my dA here (and I’ll try to remember to directly link, rather than leaving this general one):

Ed’s already got some of our pics up on her dA here (these are a treat, we played with EL wire to get awesome alchemy effect):