As part of my on-going faculty development, I attended a three-day, costume techniques and information conference, aptly known as Costume College. I have been attending for many years both as a participant and a presenter.
The Benefits of Attending
A long, long time ago I participated in a session where we made the understructure known as a bustle. It was waiting in storage for the perfect moment to make its appearance. Two seasons ago when we did The Importance of Being Earnest, it was ready and able to be the rehearsal skirt for Lady Bracknell, a very important job!
This past summer I presented four hands-on sessions: Stenciling to Embellish Fabric, Crocheted Flowers, Loomed Ribbon Flowers, and Beginning Hand Sewing. The theme of Costume College was embellishments. I taught myself all but the hand sewing before the event, learning new ways to create embellishments for costumes and hats we can use in our shows.
This is an example of crocheted flowers, one of the many techniques demonstrated at the conference. I attended two hands-on sessions in the time I wasn’t presenting, as that took up most of the three days.
One such session was on constructing pocket hoops. This approach was developed to accommodate a deficiency in women’s clothing – both then and now. At one point in history women’s clothing did not have pockets built in—oh, wait…too often still the case! They often were flat pocket shapes on a ribbon worn around the waist.
In the 18th century, pocket hoops were worn to help create the fashionable skirt shape of the time—think Marie Antionette. They had a flat bottom to hold small objects for sewing, small purchases, etc. I had read that women kept dogs in them.
As you can see, the dogs must have been very small puppies—Dolly weighs 8 lbs.
It’s All There
Question, hypothesis, experiment, result, analyze the data, reach a conclusion. It’s all there in costuming! What a great way to fit my expertise into the broader academic environment.