Captain Patch-It is a costume created by a man who understands the plight of the common cosplayer. Outfitted with needles, tape, and thread in every color imaginable, he roams the convention floor looking for cosplayers in need - and comes to their rescue just in the nick of time!
Now it’s time to meet the man behind the proverbial mask.
M: How long have you been attending conventions as Captain Patch-It, and what motivated you to begin the project?
CP: At the moment, I've attended three cons as Captain Patch-It, with another 3 - 4 lined up for 2014! The whole idea really stemmed from me not having a real idea for a cosplay to attend a convention in at the start of the year, so I thought 'Hey, instead of doing my own thing, why not help others with their costumes?' - I ended up running my idea via the folks in the Melbourne Cosplay Community - (A Facebook group with a whole bunch of lovely local cosplayers) who helped out with extra suggestions of items to carry as well as giving the initial support that the outfit would actually come in handy! From that point, once I actually wore the outfit, it all kinda just snowballed into what you see today!
M: What has the reaction from cosplayers/the cosplay community been?
CP: The reaction from cosplayers has been pretty awesome! People have been generally supportive and although a few people at Supanova were a bit apprehensive about asking for help, (possibly worried that I was charging money?) once people realized what I was doing, they'd be happy to come up for a chat and assistance!
M: What about non-cosplayers?
CP: The reaction from non-cosplayers has been kinda polarized! Some people have told me that it's a great idea, helping out others in need, while others haven't understood the spirit of it all and have told me that I should charge for my services - to which I've told them off for... Luckily most of my friends (who aren't cosplayers at all) have been in the supportive category!
M: What does it take to don the uniform of Captain Patch-It, both literally (in terms of materials and supplies) and more figuratively (in terms of attitude and disposition)?
CP: The costume took about 2-3 weeks to put together, paying regular visits to local craft stores for supplies each time something new got suggested! The second-hardest part was trying to find items to make it all as portable as possible (cordless hot glue gun, decent capacity usb charger). The hardest part was trying to work out where to fit everything! Each convention, i'll usually run into something which prompts me to add more supplies and tools to the outfit, resulting in an ever-changing supply list!
In the 'real world', I generally try to be helpful towards others - so there wasn't too much of a change in disposition needed!
M: Are you a cosplayer, yourself? If so, what have you cosplayed before?
CP: I got into cosplaying a few years ago (2011) and generally go into group cosplays - I liked helping out friends by creating costumes for themed parties years ago, but never really got into the cosplay scene until my cousin suggested I should come along to a convention, and that's when it all really started! I usually attend a couple conventions per year now, and so far I've cosplayed: Scott Pilgrim (Scott Pilgrim group), Captain Hook (Peter Pan group), The Black Knight (Monty Python group), Purple Tentacle (Day of the Tentacle) and Marty McFly (Back to the Future) - I generally aim for old, yet still recognized characters!
M: We want to know a bit more about the person behind the thread-laden vest. What kinds of things do you do when not coming to the aid of cosplayers?
CP: Myself? You'll normally find me working full time then doing volunteer work on my days off, though in my spare time I'm usually trying to juggle too many interests, before discovering another interest and wandering off to do that! At the moment, I'm starting to get into sewing, learning to ride a motorbike, getting around to learning ukulele, wanting to learn accordion and intending to get around to playing Skyrim (I keep having the issue of trying to do too many things at the same time.... Notice how there's a lot of 'getting around to'?)
M: How do you feel about the prospect of other people taking a leaf out of your book and creating their own mobile cosplay repair stations?
CP: I didn't realize how popular the whole idea would be to begin with! But once I discovered Tumblr, I began to see notes that people had written saying how they'd want to do this themselves! With that in mind, I ended up creating a Facebook page for the 'International Cosplay Corps' to somewhat inspire/assist/organize other similar-minded people worldwide! (We're up to 75 patch-a-teers worldwide, at last count!) I've been all for others doing a similar thing, though if I end up coming across someone else cosplaying Captain Patch-It, (as someone suggested) I'm not entirely sure how I'd react! (Isn't it a fashion faux pas to be wearing the same thing as someone else? Would I have to change my outfit? Or should we use it as an opportunity to confuse/prank other people?)
M: Do you have any crazy/interesting experiences from wearing the gear to a convention
CP: I don't think I've had many super-crazy times yet, though it sometimes gets really surreal, having so many people actually know who I am!
Although Captain Patch-It hasn't been around all that long, it's been such an amazing experience so far, and it's really thrown me into the deep end of the worldwide cosplay community! It's been a lot of fun, and I think i've given myself a very good excuse to attend as many conventions as possible! :D
M: Anything else you’d like to add about your experiences as Captain Patch-It?
CP: I can't think of anything else at the moment, but if there's room, I'd love to do a bit of a shout-out to my girlfriend Laura for putting up with me putting so much time into all this, the Melbourne Cosplay Community for being so supportive and full of ideas, as well as Katrina Bevan for getting me into cosplay and helping this idea get off the ground to start with! - Guys, without you, this would have never even been a thing!!
Have you ever had a cosplay incident on the convention floor? Tell your stories in the comments.