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Category Archives: Costume College 2015

Costume College 2015 Sunday

Sunday was the last day at Costume College (and the last post in this series). Soon  we can get back to the regular business of sewing!

Sunday morning was the Breakfast with the Bennets event. I brought a Regency dress and originally planned to attend, but I decided to eat breakfast in my room and then line up early at the bargain basement. (On the last day of CoCo, there is a huge garage sale of donated items that benefits the CoCo scholarship fund. There is always a ton of fabric and trims, and various other things like clothes, accessories, and books).

I didn’t have time to make a new dress, so I wore an old one that’s been retrimmed once before. I really should make a new Regency dress. I’ve sold/given away the other ones, and this is my only one at the moment! My matching bonnet also had an unfortunate mishap in the week leading up to the event, so I am bareheaded.

DSCN1918I didn’t take a lot of photos on Sunday, because I was in class for the bulk of the time. In the morning I was in Mela Hoyt-Hayden’s wonderful millinery flowers class. (Afterwards so many of us wanted to get together to make silk velvet flowers!) I also took Kendra’s amusing class on 18th century hats.


The ladies from Colonial Williamsburg had a great class on 18th century mantua-makers, and draped a mantua right in front of us! I was impressed that the cutting was eyeballed, instead of measured.

IMG_5111 IMG_5112 IMG_5113I had a few favorite outfits on Sunday. First, there was this wonderful Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell group.

DSCN1915Look at these cute regency outfits by Abby and Nicole (and check out the dagging on the spencer!)   IMG_5105I love outfits that are simple, but well-done and accurate, and Natalie did a wonderful job of recreating Liotard’s Chocolate Girl painting.

DSCN1927It was an exciting CoCo, and I am looking forward to next year! I already have some outfits planned . . .


Costume College 2015 Saturday

Saturday at Costume College was another great day for seeing lovely costumes! I spent a lot of time chatting, taking photos, and browsing the marketplace. I would have taken more classes, but never underestimate how long it takes to make several costume changes, and feed yourself in between!

I had been thinking of taking the “Haslam System” classes, but slept in, and took my time getting dressed and socializing. Saturday morning I wore my Game of Thrones Kings Landing dress.

DSCN1705DSCN1710 In the middle of the day I attended my limited class “Mysterious Illusions: Creating Seamless Lace Garments,” taught by Rory Cunningham. I also wandered around and ran into many lovely garments, such as these bustle dresses by Merja, Elizabeth, and Jen.

DSCN1746There were mermaids by the pool, and Kim helped one back into the water.DSCN1756I was very excited to see Jenny Rose’s black chemise gown, since I have been planning to make one of my own. I loved making my white chemise so much I want more in other colors!

DSCN1739Before changing into my gala dress for the evening I had one last outfit change: getting into my AAGPBL Kenosha Comets baseball uniform with my teammate Monica!

IMG_5076There were many stunning gowns at the Gala and in the line on the way in. Natalie’s gold and black teens dress is just like a fashion plate!

DSCN1771This Queen of Hearts costume was really awesome in person.

DSCN1796   Lauren and Kaila looked so pretty in their 18th century gowns.

DSCN1767Kendra’s court gown was just faaabulous.DSCN1804And the other court gowns in attendance were quite lovely, too!

DSCN1897At the Gala dinner there were these kooky flower costumes.

DSCN1881I really liked the use of beetle wings on this gown.DSCN1785The green and black looked great together, and the silhouette is just perfect!DSCN1788For the Gala dinner I wore my silk chemise a la reine. I forgot to bring along my blue book, to appear more like the portrait the dress is based on, so I used the purse I had for my Friday Night Social outfit. My wig got a little smashed on the trip down, but I like how the whole ensemble turned out. I am looking forward to making more chemise dresses in various colors of cotton voile!

DSCN1814 DSCN1816More photos from Saturday can be seen on Flickr.

Costume College 2015 Friday

Friday was the first day of classes at Costume College! For the morning several of us dressed in our Downton Abbey maid costumes, and attended our very first class, a panel hosted by Lauren Stowell of American Duchess, Abby Cox of Colonial Williamsburg, Cathy Hay of Your Wardrobe Unlock’d, and Mela Hoyt-Hayden, milliner and costumer.

DSCN1602 DSCN1603I previously posted more pictures and details about my outfit here.DSCN1616I was very excited to see Jen Thompson’s Grey Lady of Ravenclaw costume!

DSCN1628And Loren’s Rita Skeeter costume, complete with a moving Quick Quotes Quill, was another great Harry Potter costume!

DSCN1635I only wore my maid outfit for a few hours, because I changed into casual clothes for my Pomatum, Powder, Cushions, and Caps! class, taught by Abigail Cox, Janea Whitacre, and Nicole Rudolph. It was a great class, and we all left with a cushion for an 18th century hairstyle of our choosing, and powder and pomatum supplies. Plus, we had hair ready for the Friday Night Social!

The lighting washed out the details on my dress, but it is a silk dress inspired by 18th century fashion, but in a shortened version. It has faux pearl beading, lace, and silk and ribbon flowers, with a sack back super hero cape! I wore it with brand new, super pretty Dunmores from American Duchess. Abby helped me a lot with my hair.

DSCN1664Here is a slightly better photo, taken at home. I made this dress a while back, but this was the first time I wore it with panniers instead of round petticoats.

IMG_4996There were so many gorgeous outfits worn that Friday night!  Here are Rebecca, Breanna, and Lauren, spanning several time periods.


Gretchen’s bustle dress was so sporty.


Amanda, Natalie, and Kaila always look lovely.DSCN1687 DSCN1694

Abby’s large hat was full of awesome.DSCN1645Aimee and Loren wore beautiful Game of Thrones dresses.DSCN1649It was great to see Nicole’s jacket in person!DSCN1644Katherine’s entire ensemble was quite pretty.DSCN1662More of my photos can be seen at my Flickr account.

Costume College 2015 Thursday

I am back from Costume College, and all unpacked! There were so many wonderful things that I will have to make multiple posts to summarize the whole event.

We drove down Thursday morning, and 4 of us met up partway down for lunch, and then again at FIDM to check out their costume exhibit. There were a lot of outfits from Emmy-nominated shows (most of which I had never seen), but what we were there to really see were the historical gowns on exhibit. Here are a few of my favorites.

IMG_4999 IMG_5012IMG_5005Check-in at the hotel was an adventure, since their computer system decided to go down on one of their busiest days of the year! Luckily, we did not have to wait too long for our room, although some people who got there earlier had to wait more than 2 hours.

Right before the annual pool party there was a special taping of the Frock Flicks podcast, hosted by Kendra, Sarah, and Trystan. It was a lot of fun.

IMG_5052Effie Trinket (of the Costumer’s Closet) also showed up.

IMG_5054Our Bevy of Bathing Beauties group assembled at the podcast before going down to the pool. We made Victorian bathing suits and took some silly photos!

IMG_5030 IMG_5031Maybe next year we’ll have more than one Bathing Dude.


IMG_5026More details about my outfit were posted previously.

IMG_5038 IMG_5040 IMG_5051

Curtis was the only one brave enough to go into the pool. Some of us feared drowning.IMG_5065Stay tuned for Friday!

Victorian Bathing Suit

Costume College is just days away! Yesterday I finished my Victorian bathing suit for the Thursday night pool party.

I was inspired by this bathing suit from the Met Museum.

IMG_4848I made mine out of a gray and black wool/polyester blend. I didn’t have time to order red petersham, so I used grosgrain ribbon for the trim. It looks nice on straight lines, but doesn’t curve as well as I would have liked for the collar and sleeves.

Here are a few quick photos of the outfit!

IMG_4932Oops, I didn’t notice I put my belt on off-center.IMG_4934 IMG_4936 IMG_4938I didn’t have time to make bathing shoes, so I bought some cheap $6 flats from Amazon and used up the rest of the ribbon I had left. This photo looks like it was taken by someone else, but really I leaned over, then turned it upside down!IMG_4941I used Ageless Patterns #1410 to make the dress and bloomers.

1410The pattern isn’t awful, but I can’t really recommend it. Ageless Patterns are traced from extant patterns and magazines of the period, which makes them historically accurate, but lacking in directions and specifics about size. This pattern was simply listed as “medium.” (I think it fits more like a large). The arm holes are also strangely big, the shoulders are rather low, the sleeves didn’t quite fit right, and the collar piece was completely useless. It was a bizarre shape and didn’t fit. I eventually gave up and just bound the neckline.

The good thing about the pattern, aside from the sleeves and collar, is that it is ridiculously easy to put together. The dress consists of one back piece and 2 front pieces, and you gather at the waist. The bloomers consist of a front and back for each leg.

Since the pattern was large on me I was able to cheat on the closures. I put an elastic channel into the waist, which is covered by the belt. The dress from the waist down is sewn shut, and the top half closes with hooks and eyes. The buttons are false! No making buttonholes! I just pull this dress over my head, put the belt on, and then hook up the top. Super easy, and comfortable, too!

Project cost:

  • 4 yards wool blend: $54.35 including tax (hooray for the clearance table at Britex!) – I still have more than 1 yard left
  • 3 yards Kaufman Duet Linining: $6.86 including tax and shipping (with a coupon and free shipping from
  • 2 rolls of grosgrain ribbon: $5.23 including tax (with a coupon from Michael’s)
  • 10 buttons: $0, kit left over from my maid dress
  • shoes: $6.27 including free shipping from Amazon
  • pattern: $15 + $4.85 shipping from Etsy

Total: $92.56

(Edit: Post updated! I forgot to add in the price of the pattern).

Downton Abbey Edwardian Maid Dress (Part 3) Finished!

My Downton Abbey Edwardian maid outfit is finished! It was actually completed last week, but I didn’t have time to take and post photos.

Here are the front, side, and back views with the apron on:

IMG_4826IMG_4828IMG_4830Here are close-ups of the top and bottom of the apron, featuring the same antique lace:
IMG_4836IMG_4839The lace on the collar and cuffs are the same, and also antique lace purchased in the same lot as the apron lace.

Here is the dress by itself. Although I originally thought of using wool, I ended up using black Kaufman Kona cotton, which I found to be decently thick, and a good value. I made the fabric-covered buttons using a button cover kit.

IMG_4816I used Butterick B6229 pattern for the dress (but not the apron), which I recommend. I found the pattern to be true to size, and the pieces fit together nicely. I used the pattern mostly as-is, with a few small changes:

  1. I made the cuffs smaller. I found them to be disproportionately large compared to my small hands.
  2. I shortened the height of the collar. If I followed the pattern the collar would be rather tall, and cover most of my neck. Although you can find old photos of Edwardian maids with similarly high collars, I wanted the shorter collars featured on the show.
  3. I lengthened the belt an inch or two; I found it a little short.
I normally don’t pay full price for a Big 3 pattern, but it was so new it was not in my local Joann’s or being sold for cheap on eBay, so I had to order it online. However, given how easy it was to work with I think it was worth it!

For the headpiece I sewed two pieces of antique lace together and gathered the center.


I sewed wig clips to the back to hold them in my hair.IMG_4835  Project total costs:

  • Antique lace: $16.95 + $2.50 shipping (from Etsy)
  • Butterick pattern: $12.50 + $5.58 shipping and tax (from
  • 5 yards black Kaufman Kona cotton: $24.82 including tax (It’s normally $5.98/yard from but I had a coupon, free shipping bundled with other items, and a bonus half yard for free)
  • 3 yards white cotton broadcloth: $8.24 including tax (normally $2.98/yard at
  • Button cover kit: $5.75 + $2.25 shipping (from Etsy; I still have buttons left over)

Total cost: $78.59. (I still have 2 yards white cotton, and a lot of lace and buttons left over for another project).

See parts 1 and 2 for more details.

Downton Abbey Edwardian Maid Dress (Part 2)

The apron for my Downton Abbey maid dress is finished! I made the bulk of it over the weekend, but decided to change the straps a little last night.

IMG_4572Although I am planning to use Butterick B6229 for the dress, I did not use a pattern for the apron. The Butterick pattern relies on ruffles and pintucks to add visual interest to the apron, but I wanted to use antique lace accents. You can see in the picture below that there is quite a lot of variation between the aprons on the show. There are different hem lengths, and different ways to arrange the lace on the upper part.

r-DOWNTON-large570I sewed 3 strips of insertion lace into a V shape, then placed another strip of lace across the top, to make the center of the apron top. I then used 2 long pieces of wide lace to finish off the sides.

IMG_4574The bottom of the apron is about 44 inches wide. (I used the width of the fabric I had, which happened to be the same width as the lace left over from the top part of the apron).  I added lace on the hem because it’s pretty, and to save me a few rows of pintucks! Pintucks aren’t difficult to do; I just avoid them because I’m a little OCD and it bugs me when they’re not perfectly straight and even.

IMG_4577Most of the aprons on Downton Abbey have plain, pintucked hems, but some have lace, like Ethel’s on the far right.

tumblr_m1hgaycfA01r9qe4yInstead of having two sets of ties (at the waist and upper back) I used one very long pair of ties. (They are about 2 inches wide, and 60 inches long, and probably too long). They come out of the shoulder lace, criss-cross on the back, go into loops sewn into the waistband, then tie at the waist. This way I only have one set of ties to worry about, and the straps across the back will hopefully stay more neatly arranged.

I wasn’t fond of the way the back looked in its first iteration . . .IMG_4579. . . so I pleated the lace where the straps meet, and I think it looks much better.


See Part 1 here.

Downton Abbey Edwardian Maid Dress (Part 1)

My next project is an Edwardian maid dress, inspired by Downton Abbey. I plan to use a recently released pattern (Butterick B6229).

IMG_4411 IMG_4413I couldn’t find a lightweight wool I liked so I ordered some black Kaufman Kona cotton from My order came with this cute sticker on it!

IMG_4410I ended up with an extra half yard for free! I also bough white cotton broadcloth for the apron. It was a very bright white, so I ended up tea-dyeing it, then washing it in Oxiclean to get rid of the excess color. It still appears white, but no longer looks so stark next to the antique laces I am using. The fabric on the right is my broacloth, next to some pure white fabric voile for comparison. IMG_4420I purchased a group of 20s and 30s lace trims from Etsy, that I will be using on the apron bodice, the maid’s cap, and the collar and cuffs of the dress. If there is enough I might use it on the hem of the apron, since I really dislike doing pintucks.IMG_4380 IMG_4381 IMG_4382 IMG_4383 IMG_4385I hope this will be a very comfortable day time outfit for Costume College!

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!