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Category Archives: Costume College 2014

Pretty Fabrics and Trims, CoCo Souvenirs and Costume College 2015!

I recently received this lovely sari trim in the mail. It will be part of a gown I am still accumulating materials for, but will become my Next Big Project. I love the golden threads and tiny pearls!


It reminds me that I’ve acquired a number of pretty things at Costume College, either in the vendor’s hall or the bargain basement, that I still haven’t posted about.

First up is some silk fabric! The cream fabric on the left is a very thick taffeta. There is not a lot of it, but it is rather sturdy, so I am thinking it could make a nice corset or stays. The fabric on the right is a striped yellow and light brown taffeta. I am not sure yet what it is going to become, but I am leaning towards a jacket or a fancy petticoat of some kind.

DSCN1178I also got a woven upholstery fabric.  I like the color on both sides, and I will be cutting out some of the medallion motifs for the Next Big Project since the fabric is too heavy to use as is.

DSCN1180This is a netting trim, decorated with lace and polished cotton, that you might recognize as having found its way into my Gatsby Picnic Daisy Dress.

DSCN1184One of these vintage flowers, made in a country that no longer exists, was used for my Gatsby hat.

DSCN1191I also bought some yellow French ribbon from the same vendor, but didn’t end up using it on the hat. I did use it to tie up my hair for the gala.

DSCN1193From the same vendor I found this beautiful embroidered velvet ribbon. I have no idea what I am going to use it for, but I couldn’t pass it up! If anyone has some ideas, please let me know. Here is a picture of the front and back.

DSCN1195I also picked up some delicate green lace. I plan to cut apart the leaf motifs.

DSCN1187From the same vendor of vintage trims I bought this beaded lace. I have very little of it, so it may become a belt and cuffs on a dress.

DSCN1189At the Ladies Ascot Day tea party we were given yellow flowers to wear, commemorative notebooks and fake racing tickets.

DSCN1197 DSCN1204 DSCN1205 DSCN1207This is the badge and the ribbons I accumulated. Since my friends and I were called the “Rowdy Table” at the tea, maybe we should pass out “Rowdy” ribbons next year.


I pre-ordered my 18th Century Hair and Wig Styling book, and had Kendra sign it at CoCo.

DSCN1199 DSCN1200

At CoCo we all received these purple tote bags to carry around our loot!

DSCN1216Here is the flyer for next year’s Costume College 2015! The gala theme is Handsome Heroes and Legendary Ladies. The ice cream social theme is Around the World in 80 Days. (Perhaps I could dress up my hot air balloon ensemble). The pool party theme is Atlantis (but I already have a secret group costume in mind). The tea party is Nancy Drew. I think that is a good excuse for a 1930s dress, but I don’t have one at the moment. Sunday morning is Breakfast with the Bennets, and I already have a regency gown I can wear, but will need a fichu. I’ve got a lot of sewing to do!



AAGPBL Kenosha Comets Uniform (A League of Their Own Baseball Costume!)

“There’s no crying in baseball!” -A League of Their Own

The most comfortable thing I wore at Costume College was my reproduction AAGPBL (All American Girls Professional Baseball League) WII-era uniform. There was no corsetry or special undies other than a pair of shorts, plus it was easy to pack (and wash afterwards!)

A group of us decided to do some DIY uniforms and dress up as the Kenosha Comets! (I am on the far left).

IMG_1179-2-(ZF-2606-04749-1-009)(Photo by Andrew Schmidt).

We decided to do their white home game uniforms instead of their light green ones because we had trouble finding the right color twill. We modified a basic shirtdress pattern by extending the front so that the dress buttoned off-center, like the ones in the movie, and added belt loops. I modified Simplicity 1880.


Our team and arm patches were made by Emily, a team member, and Barbara of Of Corset.

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I was number 8, which was Pauline Pirok on the 1943 team. Sorry, my mannequin does not have scoliosis, I just put the uniform on funny.


I added a pocket to the side, which wasn’t part of the original design.


My hat was a custom order from The Turnip Seed, an Etsy seller who does monogrammed hats. I sent her a picture and she was able to do exactly what I wanted. Some of the other girls on the team got plain wool baseball hats from eBay and made their own patches.  Some other people bought the officially licensed hat from K&P Weaver.


Underneath the costume we all wore green satin shorts. I drafted my own, but a pair of men’s silk boxers would probably work as well. From beginning to end the shorts took about an hour, and I think you can tell! I was rushing to get these finished, and was afraid my sewing machine was dying, since the tension started doing some weird things.


For “cleats” I got a cheap pair of black sneakers at Target because I don’t like wearing very casual shoes, and didn’t see myself getting any use out of them the rest of the year.

We had a blast at Costume College, and plan to do it again next year! (The rest of the team photos are by Andrew Schmidt, official CoCo photographer).

IMG_1122-2-(ZF-2606-04749-1-011) IMG_1169-2-(ZF-2606-04749-1-010) IMG_1182-2-(ZF-2606-04749-1-008)

Did you spot the lonely Rockford Peach?

Improvements for the next wearing:

  1. I need to hem the dress shorter. I tend to make my skirts a little longer for modesty, but it’s pretty clear in the team photos it’s much longer than everyone else’s dress.
  2. New socks. I need to get some darker green ones.
  3. New belt. I made mine with D rings based on an example picture, then looked at some more old photographs, and found that most of the belts had buckles. I didn’t have time to make a new one.
  4. I had to order my materials online because I was home sick for a while with the flu. The “twill” that arrived in the mail was a lot thinner than what I was expecting. Part of me wants to remake the costume more properly with the right materials, but realistically, I’d rather use the time for something else!

Project costs: Although having to pay for online shipping for a lot of things upped my cost, overall this was not too bad. My general goal is to stay below $100 for each project, unless I am doing something extravagant, and I got to stick to my budget, even with shoes included!

  • Pattern: $4.99
  • Cotton “twill”: $22.39
  • Spruce Green Kona cotton: $4.62
  • Hat: $12 + $5 shipping
  • Buttons: $6.36
  • D rings: $1.09
  • Green satin: $5.89
  • Patches: $12
  • Socks: $5.99
  • Shoes: $14.99 + tax

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!

Costume College is Coming!

There is less than one week left until Costume College! I was unexpectedly sick for a while, then busy with work, so I did not get everything I wanted to completed. However, I am not too disappointed since I do have two new outfits, and I have plenty of old stuff to wear. I think it is a good use of my remaining time to try on outfits and accessories to make sure everything is complete, then pack as I go, to reduce my worry that I’ll show up and realize I’ve forgotten the matching stockings or shoes for a particular outfit.

My tentative plan:

Thursday: Arrive, unpack and put on a retro sailor-themed outfit for the pool party. But which one!? I realized that I have 4 nautical-themed dresses, and that’s only because I sold one. If I count navy-colored dresses I have 6, I think.

Friday: Wear Regency during the daytime and my 1830s Romantic gown for the evening ice cream social. I heard the rooms are AC’d so I hope it’s not too hot to wear my pelisse and bonnet.

Saturday: Wear my WWII-era women’s baseball uniform during the day and 18th century during the evening gala. (I made a waistcoat, but did not finish the embroidery on the frock coat or start the pants, so I am deciding whether to wear my old 18th century male drag outfit, or silk mini-length sack back).

Sunday: Put on a kimono wrapper over casual clothes for Sunday Undies breakfast, then take off the wrapper and run to my morning class on mechanical wings. (It might be messy, so I don’t want to dress too nicely, and didn’t have time to make my steampunk mechanic jumper). After class I’ll get dressed for the tea party. I am wearing a 1920s outfit, and deciding between my pink/green dress and cloche, or white/green dress with big hat.


Costume Planning for 2014

This is a tentative list of items I’d like to complete next year. Looking at this all typed out it seems a little ambitious, so I’ll have to see how much I get done!

Navy Regency pelisse and matching bonnet

I have all the materials and I cut out the pieces, but stopped when the event (GBACG Tall Ships Adventure) I was making the set for got cancelled. Then I got too busy with work and baby things.

Deadline: TBA

1830s Romantic ballgown

The group of ladies who did the Gibson Girl dresses last year have decided our theme for the April Gaskell Ball is 1830s. I am planning to use the Truly Victorian 455 pattern.

ImageDeadline: April 26, 2014

Vintage 1940s AAGBPL baseball uniform

I haven’t decided on a team, but it will be something cute and comfortable to wear for Saturday classes at Costume College.

Deadline: CoCo 2014 (August 1-4, 2014)

18th century court gown

This is for the Saturday night ball at Costume College. I have no idea whether I will make something from scratch or reworking this gown if I run out of time.


Pastel Regency gown

There is an ice cream social at CoCo, and I would like to wear something that has a dessert color scheme.

Fancy bloomers

I already have a corset, and need some spiffy bloomers for the “Sunday Undies” breakfast at CoCo.

Fantasy Tea outfit

Most likely I will recycle an existing outfit for the tea party at CoCo, but with some new accessories if I have time. I may wear my silk 18th century-inspired cream outfit.

Image(Photo by Sally Norton)