I recently attended Costume College, a 3-day event for costumers. Costume College is comprised of lectures open to everyone and hands-on limited attendance classes.
I attended 7 lectures, 3 limited attendance classes, and was the presenter for 2 limited attendance sessions. People come from all over the world to attend Costume College. Marion Boyce, the costume designer for the PBS mystery series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, is from Australia and presented the keynote address and other lectures.
Attendees often wear all sorts of costumes all day long. Mine this year were a change of hat for each day. It must be something along the lines of “the cobbler’s children never have shoes”!
I presented Hand Sewing Basics and Create A Period Croqui. Both groups were diverse, with learners from beginning to advanced. A very advanced student shared a technique new to me with the group that I will use in the fall; a very beginning student went through quite a frustrating learning curve. I think we finally figured out why her thread kept knotting. She stayed after to tell me I was a good teacher. Quite a compliment from someone who teaches middle school—I respect those teachers so much! Students in the Croqui session were pleased to have learned a technique they can adapt to any costume era when sketching.
I learned how to make wired ribbon roses and leaves, how to transform basic slopers through the slash and pivot method, and how to tie a few new styles of cravats.
Wired ribbon opens up a world of color and texture for making accent flowers for costumes. I’m thinking about using it as a small hand stitching craft project for my beginning costume construction course.
One lecture I attended was about the underpinnings used to create the various silhouettes from 1850 to 1920. The shift in social mores from the artifice of the late 1800’s to the openness of the flapper is mirrored in the undergarments women wore.
I also attended lectures on the history of corduroy, the designs of Paul Poiret, how to source men’s accessories, lace identification, and costume design and all it entails. It was refreshing to hear that the process I teach my students will serve them well in the world beyond Vanguard. I also now know the lace on my sweater is pointe de gaze, machine-made, of course.