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Monthly Archives: August 2014

Costume College: 1920s Tea Party Dress

The dress I wore to the Ladies Ascot Day tea party at Costume College is one I made a few years ago, but it’s taken several wearings to accumulate all the accessories.


It was my first 1920s dress, and I didn’t have a pattern. If I was making it all over again I would make some small changes in the construction, such as to the hipline. Overall, it is a very simple tube-like shape. The dress is made of a semi-sheer green fabric. The bodice is 2 layers of the sheer, and the slip underneath is made of the same fabric, with 2 layers as well.


The neckbow, hem and waist are trimmed with a pink lace.


The waist has a bow, accented by a rhinestone brooch.


The back of the bodice is plain, but the pleats and trimming on the skirt extends all around.


I made the cloche out of the same mint green fabric, lined with a very light canvas. It is decorated with flower appliques and pink ribbon.


The cloche is a little small. One day I’d like to make another slightly larger one.


The purse was a last-minute, hasty project the morning of a Gatsby picnic, so it’s a little crooked. (Shh!) The handle is made of several silver metal necklace cords twisted together.


I think I may have obtained the pink satin gloves at a swap party, and the shoes are an eBay find.

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 6.10.02 AM

The ivory necklace is vintage, and features a cool climbing monkey clasp!


Project cost: I don’t know. I made the dress a while back, and didn’t keep any receipts. I did get all the materials from Fabric Depo in El Sobrante, and everything is synthetic, so it was probably quite a bargain. I remember the brooch was $1. Aside from accessories, I wouldn’t be surprised if this cost around $50 or less.


Costume College: Costume Highlights

There are too many wonderful costumes to post here, but my Flickr albums for ThursdayFriday, Saturday and Sunday contains the rest. Some of my favorites from the weekend follow!

Elizabeth’s French court gown is a showstopper.

DSCN0946We had a lot of fun with our outfits.

DSCN0962Here is Natalie in her fantastic embroidered Game of Thrones dress.DSCN0822Check out those sleeves!DSCN0824The colors on these bustle dresses by DodiRose and Rebecca are wonderful.DSCN0864

Kim’s yellow Regency dress and hat are so charming.DSCN0914 Sahrye’s makeup was impressive.DSCN0968Merja’s work is always so expertly tailored.IMG_2351Chrissy’s 1830s gown and hair were lovely.DSCN1008 I loved this beautiful 1920s dress.DSCN1015This lady in white, and Gina in black were so beautiful!DSCN1018I liked Samantha’s ensemble . . .IMG_2301. . . especially the blackwork!IMG_2302This lady’s hat was by far the largest at the tea, and all weekend.DSCN1104 This gentleman was having a great time, and all the ladies whooping at him were too!DSCN0983

Costume College 2014 Summary

I am back from Costume College and it was incredibly fun! There were so many wonderful costumes I will have to put into a separate post. I still have a lot of laundry and unpacking, plus 600 photos to sort through, but here is a summary with my outfits. When I get the pictures from the professional photographer at CoCo I can make some more detailed posts about each ensemble.

I was there Thursday-Monday, and roomed with Natalie of Frolicking Frocks and Elizabeth, who works for Laughing Moon Patterns.


We left Natalie’s house in the morning and drove down to Woodland Hills. When we got to downtown LA we made a stop at the FIDM Museum, which was featuring a number of TV costumes and antique corsets. The highlight was the display of outfits from Downton Abbey, including several court presentation ballgowns such as Lady Rose’s Robe de Styles dress. The beautiful items were not behind glass, so we could examine them very closely! Unfortunately, photography was not allowed.

Arrival at the hotel was a madhouse. Hundreds of costumers were descending with their luggage, garment bags and hat boxes. Everyone had so much stuff. It was the first time in my life I needed to use a bellhop. I hope those guys made lots of tips that day!

That evening was the pool party, which was pretty casual. Some people dressed in costume, but there were a lot of tiki and cute retro outfits. It was dark outside, and I did not have my good camera with me, so here is a stock photo of my nautical anchor sheath dress from eShakti. I wore them with a red headband and red/white shoes.

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 2.05.49 PMFRIDAY

For most of the day I wore a cream regency dress and my navy pelisse and bonnet, all of which I have posted previously.IMG_2224I attended the Freshmen Orientation, which was a nice informative class for first-timers that explained what to do and where to do it. Afterwards, I watched “18th Century Hairstyling Demo,” run by Kendra van Cleave of Demode.  I haven’t had time to read my copy of her book yet, but it is filled with lots of lovely glossy pictures and step-by-step instructions. I received good advice to not completely fill my day with classes because the social aspect of CoCo is a major part of the fun, so I took a break for a few hours to eat and take pictures of beautiful costumes.

After lunch I took “Regency Bib-Front Dress,” taught by JoAnn Peterson of Laughing Moon. Elizabeth modeled a finished sample of the bib-front dress pattern, which looks so easy and comfortable to wear. There were also examples of several extant gowns that JoAnn brought to the class and let us examine!

After another snack break I took “How to Make Death’s Head Buttons” by Amy Lee Karow-Thara. We each received a button form, thread, needle and pin and made our own button while Amy demonstrated using a large dinner-plate sized wooden button and spool of yarn. (For a pin she used a giant hat pin with a ping-pong ball). It was a very useful class.

Friday night was the Ice Cream Social and I dressed up in 1830s Romantic, which I wore in April to the Gaskells Ball. I also reused the wig, and did not have time to restyle it. The pretzel shape on the top of my wig flopped over and exposed the peony on the back, but I think it looked intentional since Kendra was nice enough to say my hair looked “fabulous.” I wore American Duchess shoes and the purse is something my mom found in a gift shop.


Right after the ice cream social the marketplace opened up, and I went to look at things the vendors were selling. The vintage trims I acquired will be the subject of a future post.


Saturday I wore my WWII era All American Girls Baseball League uniform. There were 7 “Kenosha Comets” on our team. I made the dress and belt, and bought the hat, shoes and socks. I will post more details and group photos when we get our pictures!

IMG_2271On the second class day I went to “Hairpiece Basics: Crinoline Era,” taught by Bridget Bradley-Scaife and Lana Lily. This was a great class, full of practical and useful information. I am not good about styling my own hair (hence the wig for 1830s) so I liked seeing how the instructors were able to demo 5 hairstyles in an hour and a half. Like me, they also did not have particularly long hair themselves, and showed how to use your own hair mixed in with curled and braided hairpieces. I also got lots of recommendations on items to buy.

Next I went to “Early Victorian Corded Petticoats” by Jennifer Rosbrugh. She went over two basic methods of making corded petticoats and showed both modern and extant examples, which was nice. I took a lunch break before attending the “Ribbons, Who Would Have Thought” lecture by Candace Kling, a master ribbon artist. She had so many beautiful examples to show us, and it was a very enjoyable class.

Afterwards I changed and went out to the “red carpet” event, where I saw so many beautiful pieces that put my costume to shame. I wore an 18th century inspired ensemble of both new and old pieces that I will discuss later. The shoes and clocked stockings are from American Duchess.


Sunday morning was the “Belles and Beaux” breakfast, where we were instructed to wear undies and wrappers. I did not have time to make anything, so I am wearing a kimono-style bathrobe purchased from Amazon, a regency chemise, leather flats and a vintage beaded monkey necklace. The pockets in the robe were quite useful.


Afterwards we lined up for the Bargain Basement, which was a garage sale of donated items benefiting the CoCo Scholarship fund. I got some ivory and striped silk, and some yellow dotted trim I will use for my next Gatsby dress.

I went back to my room for a nap before going to “Can You Really Do That to Shoes” by Margot Silk Forrest. The class focused on painting modern shoes, not embellishing historical shoes, but I did get a few useful tips. I was supposed to take “Make a Pair of Mechanical Wings” Sunday morning, but the class got cancelled.

For the afternoon Fantasy Tea, which was themed “Ascot Ladies Day,” I wore my 1920s outfit. I made the dress, slip, hat and purse and purchased other accessories. (Close-ups in a future post).

IMG_2355The tea party was a lot of fun, with decent food. I have had better tea food, but overall it was still worth the ticket for the atmosphere.

After the party I went to my last class. I did not originally intend to take “How to Teach at Costume College” because I am not an expert in anything, but some friends were taking it, and it was nice to see what happens “behind the scenes,” and how they pick classes.

I changed into another casual dress from eShakti for a pizza party in someone’s room, where we discussed our costuming plans for next year, before packing and going to bed.

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 4.58.29 PMMONDAY

Monday check-out was again a madhouse of costumers and luggage, but we were on the road by 10. On the way home we stopped for lunch and peeked into an antique shop and candy store nearby. Natalie found a charming box of antique pins in paper wrappers in excellent condition, and I got a coffin-shaped tin of mints.

More CoCo posts to come: other costumes, purchases, next year’s themes, my outfit details.

I am so excited for next year!