Costume College

Back from Costume College

And back from the dead! The week before Costume College I literally spent every moment not at work hunched over in my sewing chair, killing my back and right arm from way too much handsewing. I took some pictures as I went along, but the fact that I just got a new computer and didn’t yet have Dreamweaver etc. meant I wasn’t able to update. Mea culpa! I promise to be better! A full report will be forthcoming tomorrow. Spent 2 nights packing WAY too much crap.

On Thursday I drove down to LA with Sarah Lorraine and Trystan, spending the whole drive handsewing my sleeve ruffles (which were the only thing not done on my gala dress). We got in early, with plenty of time for a Target run. First I had dinner with some secret people to plan a certain secret project; then it was off to the LiveJournal meetup. A bunch of us wore our fantasy gowns, and there were a good number of LOTR dresses — I wore mine as well. It was so exciting to meet costumers I’ve only known online! Sarah wore an amazing medieval-esque dupioni gown with this amazing overgown; Jenny was there in her Rohan gown, which I had a hard time not ripping off her. Athene provided drinks and pizza and we pored over some vintage pieces Katherine brought.

Friday I only had one class — Intro to Blackwork — so after hauling myself out of bed for breakfast, I had time to change into a vintage 1940s dress and to do my and Sarah’s hair in 40s rolls, which have never turned out better! I shocked myself. Although it was funny, because mid-20th century just doesn’t register on costumers’ radar and there was a sad lack of picture-taking except by Sarah and I. (And yes, to answer your question when you see the picture — Sarah is 4’11” and I am 5’11”. We decided she’s mini-me). The blackwork class was good, except that it took a good 2 hours to get to actually sewing, which was the exciting part. I definitely had some wonky bits in mine, but I feel like I could really do it now!

Friday night was dinner and then the GBACG meetup. I hemmed and hawed over what to bring to wear, and finally went with my Wings of the Dove dress. I styled Trystan’s hair into 1940s rolls for her goth pinup outfit, and we all agreed that there isn’t a more flattering hairstyle. There were tons of amazing costumes at the meetup, as usual, although Teresa won my best dressed prize for her outstanding 1919-ish dress and hat — I just love 1910s! Yay! I couldn’t stay too late as I had to head back to my room to finish my $SAFD!@# sleeve ruffles for my gala dress, in which I finally succeeded at 12:30am.

Saturday morning I spent in the “Sleeves – Basic Block to Period Variations” class, which was taught by the fabulously entertaining Rory. Only problem was most of the class was spent on drafting the block to a standard set of measurements — I’ve drafted a block before, so most of it wasn’t new — I had been hoping we’d have been working with our own measurements. Oh well, he’s an entertaining teacher! After that it was off to get into costume, then Rodinella’s class on constructing 16th c. Italian bodices. Her method focuses on not including a corset (corsets probably not being period), instead using canvas and boning to add support to the bodice itself. It was very interesting, although I will admit that I’m partial to using a corset, as then you don’t have to repeat the process every time you make a new bodice. Afterwards, I taught my Overview of 16th C. Venetian Women’s Costume class, which went well! I wore my courtesan gown and ended up stripping in class to show how I constructed my bodice.

Sat. night was the gala — everyone looked amazing. There were a bunch of people in 18th century, including four sacques (Lauren in an amazingly trimmed ivory gown, Cindy in lucious brown silk satin, and Sarah in a beautiful brocade), plus Loren in her fabulous repro of the red/white striped 1780s jacket from the Kyoto book. Trystan wore an amazing black and silver vintage 1910s dress, Sarah Lorraine her stunning Venetian with fabulous new sleeves, Diane Yoshitomi in an amazing Erte reproduction, Katherine in her outstanding “spring garden” 1880s brocade/satin gown, Jenny in her beautiful “bee” gown with gorgeous diadem — there were bustles, Regencies, 1890s… the list goes on! Dinner was great but the real fun comes after, when everyone runs around taking pictures and talking shop.

So there I am, wandering around, when some guy steps backwards without looking and steps on my train. RIP. Oh god. He mumbles an apology, I say it’s fine, run back to my table — one of the bodice side back seams ripped out (luckily just the threads, not the fabric). Super Athene comes to the rescue with toupee tape (ha!) and safety pins, and she and Bridget fix me up. All seems well and good, when about 30 min. later I’m heading to the dance floor with Bridget and she steps on my train. RIP. Why me? There were at least 10 other trains there, and I was being so careful! Bridget looks so aghast that I start to cry a little bit, and lots of people stared at me while she and Athene once again pin my gown. Not terribly fun. There was dancing, and more picture taking, but by now I was so depressed that I ended up leaving earlier than usual… although I know it’s all repairable, it was still upsetting. At least the dress turned out fabulous and I felt like a queen (one with unruly subjects!)

Sunday I had to be ready to teach my 9am (groan) 1830s overview class; then it was off to change into my 1780s polonaise — made it to the 17th C. Overview class and am determined to make one soon (just need to find affordable silk satin duchesse!), then taught my 18th C. Overview class. I spent $50 (eek!) on 2 yards of the perfect ribbon for my planned 1860s Meg March summer dress (for a Little Women event I’m hoping to do next year).

Monday we went to the garment district where I found the perfect fabric to make Gwendolen’s purple & white striped 1870-ish day gown. Then we drove to Anaheim and ran around Disneyland for two days, which included a stop at the Princess Celebration Lunch where we examined all of the princesses’ dresses (poly satin, poor things, but high quality). And I just got home last night (had the fun of flying on the liquid-terrorism day!) — spent all of today working on pictures and site updates!

So here you are:

Phew! Does that make up for the recent radio silence?

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