I remember seeing Dame Deadly at a convention a year or so ago and being absolutely blown away by the attention to detail in their costumes! Honestly, I wish I could sew like that. From characters we’ve loved since we were kids to niche comic book characters, Dame Deadly has an excellent repertoire of costumes at their disposal.
Location: Devon, UK
Favourite food: Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups
Who or what first inspired you to start cosplaying?
I’ve always loved dressing up, even as a kid I would put so much effort into any excuse to dress for a theme. In secondary school I discovered manga and anime and that was sort of my gateway into cosplay! Through cosplay I discovered crossplay which started my journey into exploring my gender identity and my confidence in myself.
What was your first cosplay? How does it compare to your more recent work?
My first cosplay was Kakashi from Naruto, which was a bought costume, and my first handmade costume was the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland! It’s so different from my current work, although I do still like to work with faux fur! For starters it was a male cosplay and involved pretty much no structure. I really try to push myself with each new cosplay – from wig styling to make up to the costume itself! I think that cosplay is really rewarding as you have so much capacity for learning and craft within the hobby! I have also been waist training now for 5 years to help give silhouette and shape.
What’s your favourite part of the costume making process?
I’d say my favourite part is when it all starts to come together and look recognisable. You get such a rush when you look in the mirror and see it forming. With a lot of my costumes they start big and take a lot of tailoring to my proportions so when the fit gets there it’s a magical moment! Oh and I really like researching and learning about the concepts/original designs for the costume I’m making when I can!
What would you say has been your most complex costume so far?
I’d say my Ruthless in Red Cruella de Vil! The coat was a huge undertaking, and I really wanted to get the scale of the movie, that or my Winifred Sanderson cosplay, as I decided to replicate all the symbols on her coat by making stencils and then applying them in gold, I also “water damaged” the coat with watered down paint and hand stitched on the trims. I made long nails and the book prop too!
Do you have a dream cosplay you’d like to work towards one day? Could you use anything you learned from Cruella or Winifred to help you with it?
My dream cosplay forever is actually another Cruella costume! Her red dress from the 102 Dalmatians live action film. It’s a huge undertaking though as it’s pretty much all embroidery and sequin work – I’ll get there one day! My more attainable dream cosplay at the moment is Rita Skeeter’s dragon suit from Goblet of Fire. I think the thing that both of those cosplays taught me the most is that patience is important and to think through what you are doing. Also I now tend to draw out what I’m working on, sometimes even in the individual pieces, just so I can work out in my head the construction and patterning. Oh, and try to give yourself enough time before the con or deadline to make or work on your costume – still trying on that last one though!
If you could go back in time and give newbie Dame Deadly any advice, what would it be?
If I could go back in time and tell newbie Deadly anything it would be: Trust yourself and follow your gut! Making mistakes whilst sewing and creating is all part of the process and use your mistakes to learn and adapt! Don’t worry about elitist opinions, it’s fine to buy, chop up, change, mod, wing it, do anything! As long as it helps you learn and makes you happy – do it!