Cosplay Conversation – Kathy Skirmont

Name: Kathy Skirmont
Location: California, United States
Instagram: kathykaydee
Cosplay Affiliations: Rebel Legion, 501st Legion, Captain America Dancing Girls, Avengers Initiative

Tell us about your cosplay. What was your inspiration?/why did you choose this character?
This is my recreation of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion tightrope walker (Daisy de la Cruz or she’s also been more recently called Sally Slater). She is seen in one of the stretching portraits when you first enter the attraction. I love attending Mickey’s Halloween Party, and this looked like a fun one to put together for the event. I also love doing group costumes whenever possible, so this opened the door for friends and family to choose other characters from the Haunted Mansion.

How long did it take to make your Cosplay?
I worked on this costume on and off for over a year. It took me a while to find materials I was happy with over the summer, so I missed my original October deadline and had to finish it the following year. In all, I worked on it full time for roughly 5 to 6 weeks the first fall, and finished it up in roughly another 4-5 weeks working intensely around the clock the following year.

What was your biggest challenge?
Hand painting the silk skirt took a lot of trial and error with a variety of materials.

What was your budget? Approximately how much did you spend?
I honestly didn’t create a budget, I just went into it buying the materials I was happy with going all out to make the costume with silk fabrics. Luckily, I have several go to discount fabric sources. I lost track of the spending between trying out different silk paints on test yardage of my silk, etc. Between the custom dyed shoes, wig, parasol, and all the fabric the costume is easily well over 500 dollars.

What special techniques did you use?
Silk painting, recovering a parasol, staining & finishing wood, wig construction & styling.

What was the most satisfying about making this Cosplay/What made you proud?
I feel like it was seeing the entire look come together that made me proud, and I was very happy when cast members at Disneyland said they felt my costume looked better than their official appearance character for the parks.

If you had to remake this Cosplay, what would you do differently?
At the time I made this costume there were not fabric print shops that would print on silk for me. They have since expanded their selection of fabrics so I’d re-visit having it all professionally printed rather than struggle with hand painting. I was also unhappy with the method I used to add wefts to the back of my wig to create a center part, so I’d try a different method if I were to remake my wig.

How often do you Cosplay?
Roughly 10 times per year, more if you count each day of a convention as a different opportunity to wear a different creation.

How many cosplay do you do?
I have over 35 costumes.

What do you want to make next?
That’s always changing! Currently I’ve been preoccupied with making running costumes which I don’t actually qualify as cosplay.  Perhaps I’ll eventually get around to creating a Can-Can dancer from Moulin Rouge, a Biker Scout from Star Wars, or a new Victorian dress for the Dickens Fair. Most likely it will be none of the above and some new inspiration that has not hit me just yet!

Favorite cosplay moment?
I have so many! One highlight was dressing as Princess Leia at Skywalker Ranch for the Course of the Force event. That was a surreal moment. I also enjoy marching in parades like Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, and the annual Dragon Con parade in Atlanta, GA with our Captain America USO Dancing Girls group.  Any time children or families are thrilled to see me dressed in character at hospital visits or conventions is special as well.

Favorite fandoms to follow?
Star Wars, Marvel, and most things related to Disney.

What sewing machine do you sew on?
Viking Designer I

What materials do you like using?
It honestly depends on the project. I use polyester duchess satin for many costumes because it has a durable weight and good hand that is easy to sew with. You can hand wash it to really scrub it clean, and it has a duller look to it that is more like natural silk than shiny polyester.  For Victorian historical garments I like silk taffetas and dupioni when I can find it for a good price. I also tend to use a lot of sequin mesh fabric.

What materials do you want to try?
One day I’m sure I’ll delve into a project where I learn how to sew things like neoprene, and get better with sewing stretch vinyl. I’d like to become more proficient in leather working as well, I just need a project to inspire me.

What materials do you wish were easier to work with?
Silk charmeuse and silk velvet.
Some day it could be useful to learn how to silk screen so that I’m not limited to hand painting or iron on vinyl.  And perhaps some day I’ll find a project that introduces me to creating armor-like items with materials like Worbla and EVA foam.  All of the armor costumes I see at conventions are so amazing, but the fandoms they often come from (video games, anime, fantasy) are not ones I have a passion for. I find I have to be crazy passionate about having a specific costume before I spend all the time and money learning a new technique.

Thanks, Kathy, for sharing your cosplay and photos with us! Want to be featured on our site? We would love to show your cosplay to the world!  Check out our Submissions page and send us an email! 

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