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Costume Con

Costume Con, events

Back from Costume Con 27

And wow, am I beat! On Wednesday, myself, Katherine, Sarah, Trystan, Leia, and Lindsey went to Colonial Williamsburg. We only had the one day, and to be honest it was the reason (for me) to make the trip. It was GORGEOUS!!!! We lucked out and had lovely cool, overcast weather (I was afraid I’d either sweat to death or be rained on). We stayed in one of the Colonial Houses, right in the heart of Williamsburg, and had an amazing time rambling around taking pictures and being period and silly (and had our pictures taken by other tourists so much that we got pretty cranky about it late in the day).

We did some shopping, and didn’t get around to going into any of the interpreter’s shops until late in the day, when we found that contrary to what we’d been told when we booked our lodging, we had to pay about $30 each to get official tickets. Given that it was about 3pm by then, and really our goal had been to run around, take pictures, and be pretty pretty princesses, we decided to skip it. So, I’ll have to go back another time to see the milliner’s, wigmaker’s, and other shops! In the evening, we went to Christina Campbell’s for dinner, and I think we’re all spoonbread converts now. After dinner, we went to one of the taverns for drinks, where we sang Irish and Renfaire songs (which are probably all 18th century anyway) and chatted with some of the interpreters. Probably the best part of it all was when, around midnight, some of us wandered through Williamsburg (still in costume), tipsy and just loving the magic of it all – that’s a memory that will stay with me for a very, very long time. I’ve posted my photos from Williamsburg to Flickr.

Thursday we went to visit our friend Loren in northwestern VA. She lives in a restored 18th c. farmhouse, and she’d put on an amazingly beautiful tea in her home for us and other area costumers. The spread was gorgeous, and we had fun chatting, eating, drinking, and wandering around her beautiful farm (despite arriving about 2 hours late!).

Friday we headed to Costume Con in Baltimore. I’d originally planned to join the costumed tea, but I was so beat from all the running around of the past few days that I opted to skip it, which was probably a great idea. Instead, I was able to unpack, take a nap, and make it to the Friday Night Social without turning into a crabby 2-year-old. The social was fun – there were TONS of people there in 18th c. costume, and the eye candy stretched for miles!

The con itself was fun, although I missed many of my West Coast costume peeps. As per usual, there wasn’t TOO much programming of interest to me, so I mostly focused on hanging out and socializing. The masquerades were both great — the scifi/fantasy one was so crowded that a group of us went up to my room (which had a window overlooking the atrium in which the show was held) and had a bird’s eye view of the show. The historical masquerade had many wonderful entries from a wide range of eras/inspirations, and it made me think more seriously about my next foray! My photos from the con are on Flickr.

Wearing 18th century all week was on the one hand fun, but by the end of it I was vowing “No more 18th century for me!” Except that now I’m back and I have a pet-en-l’air swimming around in my brain and poking me from time to time. However, I do have to say that after yet ANOTHER mad rush to finish lots of new costumes, and watching everyone else’s stress, I am determined to stop participating in the “must have new stuff all the time!” madness (for my own sanity). I’d just much rather noodle along, taking my time and enjoying myself, than giving over every free moment to frenzied sewing.

So with that in mind, I’ve revised my future costuming plans. Nell Gwyn is still on the docket, but she’ll be my Costume College gala dress, and that may be the only costume I make between now and then. I’m definitely still going to make the 1775 maja gown, but I want to REALLY take my time with that, as it will be my next Costume Con masquerade entry (2010? 2011? who knows!), and I’d like to make it by hand, and add to it new 18th century undies. My goal is to make just one costume to the utmost of my abilities, and that’s going to require time, time, time.

But for now, I think I need to be a bit of a hermit!

1770s polonaise, 1770s turque, Costume Con, events

Williamsburg/Costume Con Sewing & Planning

Agh! One week to go before I leave for Colonial Williamsburg/Costume Con and while I am on target, I am feeling overwhelmed. I spent most of the weekend making a hat, which didn’t end up being what it was supposed to (but when do hats ever behave)? I am 99.99% done on my polonaise – just need to add ties to the petticoat skirt and figure out the polonaise-ing. Pics soon. This week, I need to add lace to my turque, then that will be done.

I also need to bang out another 18th c. shift, dye my hair, create a packing list, and pack. Agh!

In terms of what I’m bringing… obviously the two new dresses. I might bring one other 18th c. dress (but which one? agh!). Two wigs (hedgehog and pouf), the new hat. Mustn’t forget shoes and pocket and jewelry and makeup and… CRAP, maybe it would be a good idea if I got organized for my panel! Ok, off to hyperventilate.

Costume Con, events, Frock Flicks, shopping

Costume Con Documentation!

And no, not the historical masquerade variety! I have been SO wiped since Costume Con that I didn’t even upload my photos/video until yesterday. But I finally got it together to post my photos to Flickr (posted there because most of them are very, very random) and videos (most of which will be boring if you aren’t in them – the cupcake dance, the cupcake dance pt. 2, and a bit of the Eugenie ladies standing on stage after receiving our award [I do like Trystan’s fist pumping action!]). Also, Trystan posted the latest Frock Flicks podcast, recorded live at Costume Con 26 – please to enjoy!

I am working on getting all the info up on the Eugenie dresses, but unfortunately am waiting for the official Con photographers to post their photos from that night (altho there are lots of photos of us out there, most of them aren’t the clearest).

On Saturday I went to Cain’s Crossing Renaissance faire with a few others from Bella Donna – no stage show, just lots of singing and having fun. Now I am seriously jonesing for a new Venetian dress, but of course not for the fabric I already have! Where oh where can a girl find a green & gold damask (in silk or cotton/rayon) without spending $10,000, I ask you?

Costume Con, Eugenie, events, projects, teaching

Costume Con Report pt. 2 – the VERY Long Version

I arrived Thursday morning, checked into my room, and headed off to help install the exhibit by about 11-12ish. The exhibit was REALLY cool, but HA-UGE — I ended up spending eleven hours helping install, and they weren’t even done when I left! It was really fun to look at the various costumes close up, especially because some of them were vintage. My mourning dress (front and back) ended up near the back of the exhibit, but still viewable.

Friday I wore my Bet costume, as it is relatively comfy and silly. That was a busy day – first we had the live, studio audience recording of the Frock Flicks podcast, which should be online in a week or two. From there I went to docent the exhibit for an hour, then ran into the 18th century social, then missed the GBACG mini-board meeting in favor of last minute historical masquerade DRAMA (which I won’t go into, but was major and caused many a melt down).

Friday evening, post-drama, was the Victorian Underwear Social, to which I refused to wear Victorian undies! My undies are boring, sorry kids (except maybe my 18th c. stays, which were on my dress form in the exhibit). Instead I wore my candy cane bustle dressevening version – and had a lovely time chatting and talking shop with other costumers.

Near the end of the social, Trystan and I retired to our room to host the Pretty Pretty Princess party, which turned out to be the party of the CENTURY (yes, even though we’re only 8 years into it!). Apparently we were the only party going that evening, so we had a TON of people there – many good friends, and a bunch of people who I don’t know. There were many cocktails and much jumping on beds singing “I Will Survive” and other ridiculousness.

Saturday my historical masquerade entry group had to be up at the crack of dawn to rehearse our presentation at 8am – urgh! However we got things together quickly, so that was good. I had planned to wear my black & ivory 1920s dress, only to take it out and find it was stained and needed a cleaning. Oh well, jeans for me! I hit the dealer’s room, lounged around, then taught my draping demo in the afternoon. Later I popped in to the GBACG tea in the hospitality suite, then went to Bess & Teddy’s really, really great 16th century panel.

Saturday night was the scifi/fantasy masquerade – I wore my Florentine which continued to have bodice wrinkles and be generally evil. I didn’t make it too late that night – hit the wall of tired and went to bed around 1am (which was early, compared to most everyone else!).

Sunday was mostly spent prepping for the historical masquerade, with workmanship judging and giving ourselves LOTS of time to get ready. The masquerade itself was amazing – definitely very nervous waiting to go on, but then there we went and I forgot about being nervous. There were a lot of really amazing costumes, although I only got to see most of them from backstage – a really gorgeous late 1860s couple, and a woman who did Mme de Pompadour from Dr. Who. I was most excited about Lindsey’s Venetian and Bess’s Elizabethan gowns, both of which won awards, so that was great!! Our presentation went SO well, I was really thrilled – not only did the audience start applauding when Lana/Empress Eugenie came out, but apparently we had some people giving us a standing ovation when it was over. Wow! Totally thrilling! I had so gone into this thinking about wanting to do something amazing and share it with people and NOT about winning awards, so it was the icing on the cake to not only win, but win something so major. After the masquerade a bunch of us hit the bar. And then it was off at a decent hour Monday morning!

So my review? It’s hard to say! Costume Con’s focus is competition and socializing, vs. Costume College which is educational (in fact, I believe College was founded in order to do something that Con was lacking?). Given that focus, I think it was relatively successful. The main gripe I’d have is that while the hotel was large and fabulous (two mirrors/sinks in the bathroom! yes! lots of restaurant/bar options!), it was so spread out that except for the Social and masquerades, you couldn’t actually TELL there were about 800 people there – I would have thought there were more like 100. The Social did well to bring people together; the masquerades in a way did, but at the same time you’re sitting watching a show, not interacting. I’d almost like to see another social added Monday evening, but I’m sure everyone’s too dead by then and has gone home (I know I had).

The programming definitely was lacking. There wasn’t much of it, and it was scheduled so that many like things (ie historical panels, which was my interest) were scheduled against each other. I know they had some major problems with organizing programming, including technical failures and problems working around people’s schedules (for example, I’d organized an 18th century panel with Loren and Katherine/Koshka, which they didn’t use because of scheduling problems). However, I’d suggest going ahead and scheduling programming for Friday morning (during the ICG meetings) and Sunday during the fashion show (not everyone wants to go – I know I didn’t!). Con moves around geographically and is organized by different people, so this doesn’t apply to future groups, but I wish that CC26 had taken better advantage of local costuming people and organizations to help with programming (GBACG, for one, who volunteered to help many times but was told it wasn’t needed).

However, I did have a great time with the socializing that I did accomplish, and I got to meet and hang out with many new people and old friends. There were some amazing costumes being worn – Loren’s 18th century wardrobe (especially the pink pirate!), Lindsey’s 16th century doublet, Trystan’s 18th c. music gown, Sarah’s red Elizabethan, Jennifer in some gorgeous goth/corset ensembles, Lisa in some beautiful medieval gowns, Katherine W.’s gorgeous Tudor, Jen L.’s beautiful blue 1860s balldress… and many people whose names I don’t know and specifics I can’t remember.

Sadly, I did NOT have the photo gene at ALL for this event – I did take some on Friday but starting Saturday totally slacked. Luckily, there are a ton of photos on Flickr if you search for “Costume Con” or “cc26″ — and soon enough the official galleries will be up, which I’ll post the link to. (I’ll put my few photos up on Flickr, too, just to be thorough!)

Now, it’s time to recover and go back to having a real life!

Costume Con, Eugenie, events, projects

Costume Con Report Part 1

A much longer report will come soon, but first things first – the top secret masquerade project! A CRAZY group of us reproduced the Portrait of Empress Eugenie surrounded by her Maids of Honor in the historical masquerade – and WE WON BEST IN SHOW!!!!! OH MY GOD!!!! It was an utterly amazing experience – and actually, I was most excited about the audience reaction to it, which was overwhelming.

Here we are – and here’s a video of our presentation. Rest assured that I plan to do a DETAILED write up of the project (including all the gowns!) but it might take me a few days to get that up.

And a much, much longer CC26 report shall be forthcoming!

Costume Con, events

Costume Con – I’m Off!

Whew, I think I just packed the entire house! Lots of sewing the last 2 weeks, but I finished most everything on Sunday morning. Of course, since then I’ve been working on masquerade documentation, making packing lists, etc. You’d think I was off for an Arctic trek!

The current plan is to wear Bet on Friday (I never would have thought I would, but Cynthia is wearing Nancy, and Nancy needs her Bet! Besides, it’s comfy, which I want for day costumes), the evening version of the candy cane bustle dress Friday night, the 1923 black & white dress on Saturday (again, comfy, plus the hat is fabulous), Florentine on Saturday night (dressy but also comfy, since I’ll be sitting for hours at the scifi masquerade), jeans on Sunday (you know I’ll be sick of corsets by then!), the secret masquerade dress on Sunday night (details as soon as I get back!). And the mourning dress will be in the exhibit – I promise a full report when I get back!

Anyone who is coming, a few things to plug – first, on Friday we’ll be recording a special Con edition of the Frock Flicks podcast, with audience interaction! (12:30-2pm in the Gateway Foyer). Also on Friday, I’ll be hanging out at the exhibit 3-4 for the “meet the costumer” hour (there are set times to chat w/ the people who made costumes in the exhibit). On Saturday, I’ll be demoing bodice draping (2-3:15 in San Jose).

Hope to see many of you there!

Costume Con

Somebody Stop Me!

So I’ve found out (thanks to Trystan) that I don’t have to put my 18th century corset on my dress form at the Costume Con exhibit, which means I can wear 18th century – yay! Of course, I’m suddenly fantasizing about quickly finishing my jacket just so I have something new to wear – and am contemplating maybe pushing it back to a 1740s-50s jacket, with a laced-over-stomacher and cuffs. Wouldn’t that be cute? And I finally found an inspirational image for my new Venetian dress, which under no account can I start until after Costume Con, but I am busy fantasizing about it nonetheless! Okay. Deep breaths. IF I get the masquerade and exhibit dresses done, I can finish the jacket and fulfill my need to wear something new. I shall NOT think Venetian! No way!