Working with Leather for Miss Fortune

Each project that I decide to tackle is chosen based on potential new skills and materials I might be exposed to through fabrication and Miss Fortune was no different. When I first decided to do MF, I studied her splash art (above) very thoroughly and was relatively stumped on how I would want to tackle all the pieces of  her outfit with all the decorative elements on them.

A very long time ago a friend suggested I use leather, and I originally thought, well.. that would be too expensive because the hat would require too much material, but once I decided to normalize the size of her hat and guns (based on the new splash art) I realized it wouldn’t actually cost that much at all.

Sketching

Thankfully I had a class project at Otis involving leather in a previous semester which forced me to learn how to work with cowhide (a big thanks to Gwyneth who taught me a lot), so I had some previous experience. I used really thin cowhide for most of the leather, except for the hat which needed to be thicker to hold its shape.

One of the first steps I had to do was examine all the different parts of the outfit and sketch out all the designs as well as I could. I’d blow up the image and mess with image level settings to have the design pop out more for better interpretation and then I’d just sketch away!

The most difficult part of this process was having to design my own patterns in a few areas.. part of the hat pattern was hidden because of her gun, and the very top of the hat was extremely difficult to read.  Thankfully the sleeves were extremely straightforward, but since only one side of her pants sash is visible I had to completely create my own patterned design for that.

The shoes aren’t even in the image at all, so that was 100% my own design work right there. I’d take elements from the hat and pants and mix them together to create the pattern for the shoe flaps.

Illustrator templates

Once I finally sketched out all the designs, and patterned everything out on cardstock, I scanned and imported all my sketches and templates into Illustrator.  I spent hours upon hours on this step… I had to clean up my design sketches and actually fit them onto my patterns.  The hat was probably the most tedious part to do, because my pattern wasn’t 100% like the splash art (2D vs 3D limitations).

If you look at my design for the show flaps (above), you’ll see I had all my pieces prepared for laser engraving and cutting.

Engraved leather

When I finally got my leather pieces back, cut and engraved, I was so ecstatic. This was my first time doing something like this and it turned out beautifully. I was actually almost a little sad about having to do anything more to the leather, because it already looked like art as it was, but I knew it had to be done.

Dyeing and painting

Here’s a neat littler comparison of what it looked like before and after being dyed and painted! Each piece was dyed with leather dye and painted with gold Angelus Acrylic Leather Paint. Needless to say it was an extremely tedious process. The arm bands were really easy because the pattern was so big, but the hat, shoe flaps, and pants … well.. let’s just say each piece probably took anywhere between 8-25 hours each of hand painting.

Hand painting the details

Here’s a nice detail shot of how tedious it was to hand paint all the designs in. I had to use a tiny brush and go over each design a minimum of two times to make sure it was bold enough. I always needed a very direct light source shining on the part that I was painting so I could easily see the engraved pattern. In hindsight I could have laser cut all the patterns and created a stencil instead, but I felt that this process really taught me patience and it forced me to be more precise than I’ve ever had to be before.

The final step after painting was to coat each piece with leather balm, which gave each piece a beautiful sheen. This sheen matched perfectly with the boots I had purchased to use as the base for the costume. The only downside to the leather balm was that it would dull the gold paint so I had to go back and do a third, sometimes fourth, coat on all the patterns. If I could have, I would have loved to simply do the balm then the paint, but the paint didn’t go that nicely on top of the balm so it would have been ten times more difficult to get decent coverage.

Miss Fortune

Needless to say I was extremely satisfied with the final result of all the leather on this costume. I used leather for the vest top that hovers over her white bra to make sure that all darker elements of the costume matched together.

If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below!

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8 Comments. Leave new

I always intended doing something with leather but like you, I thought it would be too expensive. You did really well. Maybe I will try it for my Soraka Cosplay (wonder if leather works on her cape because thats what it looks like ingame…)

About your shoe-problem: I know that you tried to stick to the artwork but do you know “lolskinviewer”? If not check the page out! Helps me a lot.
http://lolskinviewer.com/#Miss Fortune

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You should definitely give it a try sometime! It’s a magnificent material. :)

I don’t particularly think leather would be the best material for Soraka’s cloak unfortunately; you’d have to use lambskin so that it would still have moment (cowhide is too stiff and heavy for a cloak), and if you used lambskin you’d have to sew together a bunch of hides to make the full thing (the hides are kind of small).

What you could do though is make all her belts using leather! Then you’d be able to experiment with tooling and dyeing the leather! Not only that but then you could tell people they’re real leather belts. ;)

I’d love to see your Soraka when it’s done!

There’s a bunch of skin viewing sites and they’re all really awesome and helpful! I haven’t seen this one before though! I couldn’t the in-game model for the shoe decor in particular though because the patterning on old MF (which is her in-game design) is completely different than the new splash art’s decor. I’ve definitely been using model viewers for Wicked Lulu though!

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I stumbled across your Miss Fortune costume, and I just wanted to say that I think you’ve made the best MF costume, period.

There’s the obvious “I think you’re pretty and pull it off excellently,” but I’m very much more impressed by the apparent immense amount of work and effort that went into the construction of the guns and the leather work, as well as all the attention to detail. Things like using Illustrator to create intricate patterns I’m quite familiar with, but the fact that you fabricated guns with working triggers blows my mind away.

Anyway, apologies if a post about MF leather work is out of place for this, but I figured some public praise was necessary for the overall package, because I think you’ve made the best MF costume out there.

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Thank you so much! That means a lot! Miss Fortune, to most, seems like she has a simple design (that’s what I thought going into the project as well), but once you discover how much detail there is… you realize how big of a project she really can be hehe.

No worries at all! I truly appreciate the comment! Thanks!

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Hello! I know it been a long time since you made this costume, i hope you can give me some advise. I’m new to this cosplay thing and i was planning to start by cosplaying MF… i was just checking on your “big hats” tutorial to get some help on MF’s hat when i found this tutorial. I don’t have much time and expertise as you on making costumes, but i want my cosplay to be good quality. So, what other material do you recomend to use for the clothes? because, i don’t think i can afford leather and i don’t even know how to work with it. And do you think the hat can be made like your lulu’s hat? what did you use for the guns? I hope you can help me :)

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Other materials that can be used for the hat are foam or vinyl/pleather. I have a pattern available for it in my store (https://www.vensyprops.com/shop/miss-fortune-leather-patterns/). You can use pleather for the majority of the costume pieces too. In theory the hat can be made like the Lulu hat, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

I also have a write-up for my guns, but I made it using molding and casting, so it’s a bit more pricey. (https://www.vensyprops.com/2014/03/miss-fortune-shock-awe-prop-write-up/)

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Hi Vensy n_n I wanted to ask the measurement of the hat the lenght and width if possible I really love this costume and arcade *-* hope you can reply me :D Im gonna try to make it

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I don’t have access to the hat, so I can’t tell you the final width/length, but I have a PDF available online with all the patterns if you’re interested.

https://www.vensyprops.com/shop/miss-fortune-leather-patterns/

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