Costume College 2014!! Warning…picture heavy!!




 The highlight of my costuming year is Costume College. I look forward to it all year, and feel very blessed the my work sees fit to send me! Costume College is an annual conference of costume geeks just like me! There is a whole range of people that go. All levels of talent and knowledge, beginners to advanced. It’s exciting to see the beginners learn and grow, and bring better and better costumes each year, and fun to see all the bloggers that in our costume community are like movie stars! It must be weird to them to be followed around and whispered about and have all kinds of fans, when at home they do their day job and find time to blog about what they love in between making costumes. It must be kind of fun though! 



 There are all kinds of classes and workshops and lectures, and while there are disappointing ones once in a while, most of the time they are fabulous and wonderful and I can’t get enough of them! I must add that most of the time if it’s disappointing it’s only because the description isn’t quite right for the class, so you are expecting something else, or it’s more of a beginner class, and you didn’t realize it until you were already there. Those classes are very necessary though, because this year we added 100 new people to our conference (at least, I think that’s the number I heard)!


 One of the workshops I took was on 18th Century Ribbon Chatelaines. You often see the metal ones for sale, but as far as I’m aware, they are more Victorian. I was very excited to take this class, and got my Chatelaine done by the end of class. I think it turned out rather cute! IMG_2148

 I also took a workshop on ribbon cockades. I have made cockades before, but it was nice to learn a new technique. This was before I stitched it down and added the button to the center. But keep a look out for some new fabulous cockades on our cocked hats!IMG_2016


This is the back of the cockade. 



Here are picture of some things in the display room. They were all fabulous, and it is always such fun to see others hard work up close!

I was most impressed by this Elizabethan (I think) doll. The first day we went she was fully dressed, and the next day she was in her underwear! Which was too beautiful to keep covered, so I’m glad they let us see it!











Unfortunately I did not get the name of the person who made this wonderful doll. 

This hat was just beautiful! It had lace inset and I really wanted to walk off with it! 



Abi loved this cloche, especially because of the snail! I think this is a vintage piece.



There was a whole table of American Girl dolls, all dress up in different costumes. I loved this little bathing suit. 



The butt ruffle is excellent, and next year my 4 year old daughter might just get one made for her!



I could’t resist Queen Elsa, my daughter wouldn’t have forgiven me!



One of the displays that was most impressive in my opinion, was this one. A costume group or guild had taken a painting of 9 (I think) ladies, and each one took one dress to recreate. They had a binder talking about each dress, and the person who recreated it. I would love to do this, but as it’s just me and Abi, it would be a very small painting!





You can see the painting in this picture. Unfortunately the larger picture of the painting had so much glare on it I had to leave it out.



Then there were the people in their fabulous costumes! 

Here is Merja on the left, of the blog Before the Automobile. I recognize the other lady also, but am blanking on her name at the moment. Merja is one of the movie star types I was mentioning earlier. Lauren of American Duchess and Jennifer of Historical Sewing are a couple of the others. 








Jennifer of Historical Sewing




This fellow won a bonnet in the raffle, and he kindly modeled it for us!







This ladies dress was amazingly fun! It had a giant hoop in it, and it was like walking around in the middle of a table!



Abby from Colonial Williamsburg. She is an apprentice in the Margret Hunter Millinery Shop. I was privileged to go to some of the workshops she was involved with. This is how I want my 18th century impression to look!




My husband and I right after we got done dancing at the Gala. I snagged some stuff from Prohibition (which conveniently concluded the weekend before Costume College!), and we got to dress fancy!











Abi! She took lots of selfies while we were dancing! 🙂



My feet didn’t last long in those heels, they rubbed my little toes raw, so stocking feet it was!



Abi is wearing a dress I made for the last minute store girl replacement for the last Prohibition. It is a scarf dress. I didn’t have any scarves though, so I made some, then made the dress!






Abi started out in the blue dress, but when we went back up to the room after the red carpet she changed, planning on staying in the room. I snagged the dress, made her wear the scarf one, then dragged her down to the dance!




I started out in the green one, but it was too big and I didn’t feel good in it. The blue one was a bit snug, but a much better fit!








Here are some of the outfits we wore during the day for classes. This is a regency I made last year for Christmas Carol. 





Abi in the striped 1920’s I made, that didn’t get worn until Costume College. 





Abi and I with a charming suffragette we met at the Ice Cream Social Friday night.




Abi in 1920’s. I love this hat!!








Me in my Gibson Girl golfing outfit. All I need is a golf club! And shoes….I need shoes…from American Duchess….*sigh*





Well, that’s it for this years Costume College. That’s not all the pictures I have, but all I have the patience to upload to the blog (my computer takes forever to upload pictures to wordpress)! See you next time!


1920’s Misc.

 My little darling, Elizabeth, does not like to hold still for pictures sometimes. Getting a good picture of her in this dress was not happening! We went to the Prohibition Play, and while we all intended to dress up, I only got a dress done for her. It was inspired by some catalog images, and it should have had a little slip underneath it. Luckily, she is only 4, so she can get away with it!





I should have allowed a little more space at the bottom. Making it a bit of an A shape, rather then just rectangles. The ties on the sides are cute, but they didn’t work quite right without the touch of extra fullness. 


We had store girl that needed a dress for one of the evenings, and at the last minute got switched to another shift. But her dress was already done, so here it is. 





This did have a slip a to go underneath it!

The girls also needed some aprons for the clearing tables part of the evening. We didn’t want them mucking up their dresses. I ended up making two. One was for the apartment cleaning lady, and one was just an extra. I didn’t get a picture of the one for the play, but here is the extra. 







 I was supposed to cut the skirt on a fold, but whoops! So I just decorated the seam, and I think it looks fine. IMG_1765

Prohibition Play, Part 2

 Part 2….the gents! We had coppers and gangsters and detectives…so we went shopping! The coppers we simply ordered some Civil War sack coats and matching pants, as we can re-use them on tour. They are very similar to pictures of the time. They fit a bit looser, but since they were for a play and we can re-use them, they were a win-win for us.



The gentleman in the center (Nick Riley) played an undercover detective.



Here we have Smiling Jimmy Fabrini in the center, with his dirty work helper on the right. These two, as you can tell, are gangsters. Pictured on the left is Jimmy’s girl, Linda. Jimmy’s suit got ordered online, he’s a tall fellow, and we couldn’t find what we wanted in stores. He got some awesome pinstripes!


Writer, director and player in the play! Eric Drazin played a Detective.


This fellow (Jon Harmon) played the dirty cop. I love this summer look on him. The boater is awesome!


Jordan Crother played Jimmy Fabrini’s side kick.

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The plain clothes detective with the uniformed detective.


The shoot out at the end.


Smiling Jimmy trying to make his escape!


The dirty cop talking things over with Jimmy’s guy.


After the first raid, before they actually have anything on these guys.



Looking casual, conducting business.

We ordered the badges from a party store (hey, the price was right!) and the hats from We bought most of the suits and shirts from Burlington Coat Factory, but did have some luck a local vintage store (Red Door Vintage) with some really awesome pants and sports coats, probably from the 70’s. All in all, I am really pleased with the way the costuming for this play came out. It was a great learning experience, and next time something from an unfamiliar era comes up, I will be a little bit more open and less stressed about getting everything ‘just right’ and ‘accurate’.

All photos by Mallory Drazin. Used with permission.


Prohibition Play – Part 1

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Prohibition. The time of dry laws and alcohol runners and gangsters and flappers. An exciting and scary time. When Eric told us he was writing a play on Prohibition, we were very excited. We were in the midst of the tour season, and while we did some research, we didn’t really have the time to do enough. This play was a practice in trial and error, and a lot of frustration. Everybody in the play had a thought on how their costume should be (at least to some extent), and there were a lot of strong opinions. Then there was the time issue. We had to have some of it done in time to do a photo shoot for advertising. The patterns we ordered ended up taking forever and a day to come, and we didn’t get them in time for this project. I ended up drafting some patterns out of a book. The patterns turned out ok, but we used the wrong material. Whoops! They didn’t hang quite right, and they puckered more then they should have. Live and learn! See above for the drafted dresses. The one on top turned out fairly cute, but it would have helped to be able to do a fitting for the girl it was for (who is notoriously hard to get in for fittings).  The purple one just wasn’t quite right. If we had had the proper fabric it might have turned out better. The girl it was for just felt like crap in it, and she was supposed to be this glamorous speak easy singer, so that wasn’t going to work. So after the photo shoot we started working on under-pinnings for the play itself. Under-pinnings for this era are stupid. Just go buy yourself a spanx slip and a non padded/lift bra and it will look better. Here is the brassiere from Reconstructing History. I didn’t have the right fabric on hand, so I made do. Again, a mistake.

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It turned out ok, but the girls were doing the Charleston, and she didn’t feel supported enough. So I made her this one. Which was too bulky underneath the dresses we ended getting for them.



Then there were these. For our girls that were a little more busty and curvy. Again. Spanx. Just buy the freaking Spanx. The line they give is much better. I am all for historical under-pinnings, and I was really bummed that these didn’t work, but Spanx.

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 So once I had those stupid monstrosity’s done we went shopping for dresses. It’s very odd for us to go shopping for costumes. We usually make everything in house (with the exception of some menswear) so we have this mindset that if we don’t make it, it doesn’t count as costuming. Boy, were we wrong. The play wouldn’t have ended up looking nearly as good if we hadn’t gone costume shopping. It was a very fun but stressful experience. I felt that as a costumer I wasn’t doing my job. And everybody had an opinion on which dress to get, and how it looked with spanx versus under-pinnings. And while they were right (we went shopping with all the cast that needed dresses), it was very humbling and a bit humiliating. This whole play was quite the learning experience, and I was very grateful especially for Mallory. She watches a lot of historical shows (at a lot more in that era then I do), and does a lot of graphic design for the farm, looking at fashion plates and such, and has a better feel for the era. I hate new eras. There is such a learning curve. But Mallory helped me put perspective on it, and went shopping with Abi and me (a bonus for Abi since they are besties:), and really helped us get some really good stuff. So thanks Mallory! You’re the best!

For the main dresses we went to Unique Vintage. If you get the chance, go!! It is awesome in there! Here are some of the dresses we got.


Photo by Mallory Drazin


Photo by Mallory Drazin

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Photo by Mallory Drazin

We had a dance number with three of the girls in the red dresses, and we used one of them for the waitress at the speakeasy (who was also in the dance number).


Photo by Mallory Drazin

We also got a dress and hat from Modcloth.


Photo by Mallory Drazin

Here are some of the headpieces, which have clips on the back, so we can change them out on the headbands without messing up anyone’s hair. The top pictures are before I decorated and the bottom pictures are after. The red ones were for the Charleston Dance scene with the red dresses. The other one was for the speakeasy singer who got the green dress.

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We also got some lovely shoes. Oh, American Duchess, how I love thee and wished I had bucket loads of money to spend on pretty shoes! These were for Erin, and I would steal them, but her foot is like 4 sizes smaller the mine. Damn.


In my next post we’ll look at some of the Menswear we got and some pictures of the play. Thanks for reading!