Name: Mandy Schnecke
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Facebook: Dins Forge Cosplay
Tell us about your cosplay. What was your inspiration?/why did you choose this character?
This cosplay is a character named Ophelia from the Nintendo series Fire Emblem: Fates! For this costume instead of doing her default outfit, I decided to create her reclassed Sorceress outfit from the cipher card because I wanted to challenge myself! I made a couple of modifications to the design including the color of the characters hair and the crown. In the game, Ophelia’s father is a prince from another kingdom so I chose to make my wig blue instead of blonde, and I used chose to give her the Crown of the Exalt as a throwback to that lineage.
I chose to cosplay Ophelia because she and her father Owain are my favorite characters in the series!
How long did it take to make your Cosplay?
I would say that it took me about a solid month to put together Ophelia.
What was your biggest challenge?
Fantasy costumes can often be a challenge to bring to life because they aren’t really created with practicality in mind, they’re just made to look cool. So for me patterning was the biggest challenge, especially when it came to the body suit. They were actually created to be like a pair of legging that extended up my torso and tucked under the band of my bra. A lot of time went into drafting them so that there were as few visible seams as possible. Since power mesh can be delicate to work with, one of the other interesting challenged of the bodysuit was top stitching the pleather diamonds on without ripping the mesh. They actually had to be made twice since I accidentally tore a hole in the mesh initially trying to top stitch them down.
What was your budget? Approximately how much did you spend?
I went into this project knowing that I wanted to compete with it so I didn’t give myself a budget for this project. All of the elements of the combined (two wigs sewn together, over 250 individually set Swarovski crystals, resin embellishments, feather trim, etc.) I spent around $550 creating my costume.
What special techniques did you use?
One of my favorite techniques is satin stitching, which I was able to use in quite a few spots on the costume including the veil, hip guards, tabard, and collar.
What was the most satisfying about making this Cosplay/What made you proud?
To me, one of the most satisfying parts of this costume was the cape. The base is a stiff suiting that started as a half circle that I modified to look more like wings. From there I sewed down lines of feather trim on both the inside and the outside of the cape.
If you had to remake this Cosplay, what would you do differently?
I would completely redo the collar piece. I wasn’t really satisfied with the way it sat and I would have liked to add some additional applique on the front, since everything I added on the back was covered by my wig.
About Cosplay in general:
How often do you Cosplay?
Very frequently. Right now I attend about 5 conventions a year in addition to doing location shoots.
How many cosplay do you do?
Oh gosh haha! Between the ones I’ve made and the couple that I’ve bought, about 50.
What do you want to make next?
The next big costume I’m working on is a character named Lydia from the podcast The Adventure Zone!
Favorite cosplay moment?
One of the most special cosplay moments for me happened at Anime Central 2017. I’ve been a huge fan of the book series Percy Jackson and the Olympians since I was in middle school and I managed to organize a group of friends to cosplay it with me. We had about 18 characters from Camp Halfblood, 5 from Camp Jupiter shirts, and 3 Hunters of Artemis. All of the camp shirts were custom designed and made using heat transfer vinyl and cut out using a Silhouette. This series meant a lot to me growing up, and it made me unbelievable happy to have so many of my close friends get together to make this dream group come true.
Favorite fandoms to follow?
Fire Emblem will always have my heart, but right now I’m very in to The Adventure Zone and My Hero Academia!
What sewing machine do you sew on?
I sew on a Husqvarna Viking Rose 600, and my serger is a Janome New Home.
What materials do you like using?
I love working with peachskin, matte satin, and velvet.
What materials do you want to try?
I’ve always wanted to try working with leather.
What materials do you wish were easier to work with?
Velvet haha. I love it but it isn’t always the easiest to work with.
What techniques are you dying to learn?
I’d like to try more projects that involve pieced seams in body suits. I got to work with this technique while I was working on the under suits for a Voltron cosplay, but I would love to try more complicated designs in the future.
All of the profession photos are taken by Anna Lam, here are her pages: