Costume College is a five-day event held every year by Costumer’s Guild West. Days one and five are various tours and the other three days are comprised of workshops and lectures. The focus of the event is on historical costume and making. People from across the country and even from foreign lands attend Costume College.
This year I attended a tour of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising’s (FIDM) museum. We were able to do a hand’s on examination of historical garments from their study collection and view items from the museum collection. It was informative to see how different eras have created their garments. One piece of lingerie fastened in a way I hadn’t ever seen. On a 1910’s dress, the tassels were weighted to keep them hanging straight down the front without swinging out-of-place.
During the three days of workshops and lectures, I attended three workshops and taught two. I taught hand-sewing and knitting workshops, both for beginners. From student comments, both were successes. One comment was an appreciation that I let them proceed at their own pace, allowing them to get comfortable with the current stitch, rather than moving forward regardless of student readiness. Another attendee I had met on the tour told me to offer the knitting workshop again next year, as both herself and others hadn’t been able to sign-up for it due to scheduling conflicts!
The three workshops I took were light-up fairy wings, covering a hat base, making an “Regency” placemat bonnet, and making various ribbon trims. I chose the fairy wing class to keep current on the use of LEDs in costuming and because it might be an option for Xanadu. I don’t do a lot of millinery work, so covering the hat was a good refresher of those skills. I took the placemat bonnet workshop because we are doing As You Like It as our first show, and I thought they might be a good option for the shepherdesses. The director didn’t want to go in that direction, but now I have a project for my costume construction class that can be used at the end of the semester to broaden their skill set. There are so many ways to manipulate ribbon, that you can keep on learning new ones all the time! The director for As You Like It wants “hippie” headbands for the pastoral people, so I’ll be exploring ways to use the ribbon manipulation techniques I learned with either actual bandanas or bandana printed ribbon.