A Noob’s Guide to Costume College || 2018


Good morning! So it’s about quarter to 8:00 on Thursday
morning and today I’m leaving New York to go to California to attend Costume College. If you don’t know, Costume College is an annual
3-day conference out in California in which costume people from all over the country,
all over the world, really, come together to teach classes and to take classes and to
meet one another and to wear pretty clothes–or not wear pretty clothes–and just generally
have a good time. I’ve never actually been before, so I’m really
excited to see what it’s all about, I’ve heard very much about it all over the social media
and I’m excited to take you along with me too! Whether you’ve never been to Costume College
before and are interested in finding out what it actually is or if you have been before
and you just really want to see a noob flailing around, trying to figure out what to do for
the first time, let’s go on a nice little adventure. So I’ve just gotten to the hotel here at Costume
College in California. Look at the view, it’s sort of insane. It’s about half past five, Pacific Time now,
which means it’s about half past eight for me. I’ve just ordered some dinner because I’m
starving, and I’m going to have a shower and try and transform this swamp hag, just-walked-off-of-an-airplane
look into some sort of fairy because tonight’s theme for the pool party, which is the evening
social event, is something about goblins and labyrinths, but it’s also like fairies too,
and I’m so here for that. So I’ve got a sort of nice little fairy look
that’s hopefully gonna happen soon, if I can revive myself; I’ve got a nice big cup of
tea to help with that, and soon I shall have some food, and all will be well. So here is my little fairy outfit. Hopefully I’ll try and get a better full picture
of this. This is probably the least heavy costume I
think I have ever worn, which is perfect because I am also roasting, cause it’s California. And on that note, let’s go see what this is
all about. So I’ve just gotten back from the pool party
evening event tonight and it was so much fun, I got to meet so many wonderful people, people
that I recognized from Instagram and who recognized me from Instagram, and so it’s been really
great to sort of put a face to the projects that I’m seeing on the internet. We’ve got these lovely little registration
packet–booklet–tote bag things, which say ‘Costume College 2018’, and then we’ve also
got little swatch books which I actually haven’t even looked through any of this–oh my goodness,
this is exquisite. It’s just got fabric samples. This is actually quite useful. Anyway, I’ll look through that a bit more
in depth later. We have a program here that lists class descriptions
of what the classes are, we’ve also got a schedule of when the classes are taking place,
and then we’ve got a cute little notebook here that says ‘Costume College’, just in
case you forgot your own notebook. And then we’ve also got our name badges. I have mine here that says my name, it says
where I’m from, and then there’s also apparently this thing with ribbons where everyone gives
out ribbons, and the objective is to sort of collect as many ribbons and make as long
of a tail of ribbons as you possibly can. I’ve only got three but there were people
with like seven, eight, already, just the first night. So, interesting little idiosyncrasy of this
particular event, and quite intriguing! So I’m looking forward to seeing what sorts
of ribbons I come across in my adventures here. So I’m now going to de-fairy myself, and then
I’m just gonna sit down and go through the class booklet because some of the classes
change and get cancelled, get altered, or get moved around, added, from what’s posted
online, so though I went through and highlighted the things that I was interested in, I have
a feeling things might have gotten moved around. So I’m just going to go through and see the
updated class schedule, see what I’m interested in taking, and what my tomorrow and Saturday
and Sunday morning are going to look like. So I’ll see you in the morning. Good morning! It’s about half past seven on Friday morning,
and I’m about to head out the door and go to the Freshman Orientation at 8:00, which
is for us fellow Costume College noobs, just to sort of gather, perhaps meet each other
but also to have someone who actually knows what they’re talking about explain to us what’s
happening and where to go and where to be and when. So I think that’s probably something useful
that I should go to, and also since I’m still on New York time, I was up at 6:00 this morning. So I have nothing better to do! So after that I have one or two classes that
I’m interested in taking. I won’t be filming in the classes, for obvious
reasons, but I shall come back onto the video, if I remember to do so, and sort of explain
what they were, what I took, how they were, which I’m sure they’ll be fantastic, because
everyone here really loves what they do. Also, I’ve decided as a sort of social experiment,
I’m going to make all of my notes in my classes in quill and ink. We’ll see how that goes. See you in a bit. Also, pro tip: since I’m staying at this hotel
and this is California and you sort of can’t walk anywhere to get food, I didn’t feel like
paying for hotel food for three meals a day so I actually brought a bowl and a spoon and
some porridge, and then I just run downstairs to the Starbucks, get some hot water, make
some instant porridge every morning, just saves me quite a bit of money. So, highly recommend if you are coming to
Costume College and want to save a little bit of money. But I want to stress, if you’re not having
fun, you’re doing this wrong. [Laughter] So I’m back in the room now, it’s
about 1:30. I had some amazing classes this morning: I
took a corset binding class with Cathy Hay and Cynthia Settje of Redthreaded, and that
was so interesting. But then after that I took a class on publishing
for the costuming community, and that was with the ladies of American Duchess and with
a woman called Kendra whose surname I’m blanking on and I should look it up, but she is a self-published
writer on historical hairstyles. And so that was a really interesting conversation
between the commercial versus the self-publishing worlds. Even though I do not plan to publish a book
any time in the near future, it is still something that I’ve been exposed to and I thought it
might be relevant just to hear about other people’s publishing journeys. So yeah, I had a really great time at that
too. I’ve shucked my little blazer in favor of
this nice cosy shawl, and I’m just here having a little peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You know, I thought I over-packed, taking
this massive suitcase that was six pounds overweight, but then I actually arrived and
saw all of the luggage carts teetering to absolute fullness that everyone else was wheeling
into their hotel rooms, and now I feel like I got off very lightly? But to be fair, most of my luggage honestly
was consumed by food because, let’s be real, I don’t really fancy paying for hotel meals
all weekend. So yes, of course I brought stuff for peanut
butter and jelly sandwiches. I have quite a few more classes that I’ve
highlighted for this afternoon that I really want to try and take but so many of them overlap
so I will probably have to make a decision as to which ones I actually want to do. Also there are so many other things to do
at Costume College that are not classes. So there’s an exhibition of people’s sewing
work that I really want to try and go see, there’s a hospitality suite filled with snacks
and good company and tea, I hear, all free, and then of course there’s always just like,
sitting in public places and sewing, and just chatting with people as they join you with
their sewing, and walk by and you just get to admire people’s wonderful outfits, so that’s
also something that I really just wanna try and do but I’m also just really tired. Because jet lag is still a thing. But I’m gonna have to try and fight it because
I am here to do costumey things, not to take naps. Also, you can sleep when you’re dead. So it is nigh time for the Friday evening
social event. I am here with my weird wizardy Victorian-type
outfit thing that’s happening, but first I’m off to go seek out a cup of tea. So I’ll see you down at the event. So I’m here with Gracie of–what’s your Instagram
name? @GracieSews. At-GracieSews. Hi! Gracie, who are you wearing today? I am–I recreated the 1790 portrait of Maximilian
Robespierre. They don’t know who painted it, but it is
held in a museum in Paris, I can’t remember which one. Um, and I sewed a coat, a shirt, a waistcoat,
and a pair of breeches. All hand-sewn, I am so very impressed. Thank you! Not that not hand-sewing is not impressive
but, particularly–your hand-sewing is incredible! I am absolutely astounded right now because
apparently Gracie did these beautiful buttonholes while watching my buttonhole video! What?! Here we have Beth Grover; Beth, who are you
wearing today? I am wearing a Regency pattern from Past Patterns. I made it with $1/yard fabric from the FIDM
Scholarship Store. Yes! Hi! How you doing? We’re at Costume College 2018. This is our used-to-be-an Ice Cream Social,
it’s not an ice cream social now; it is a cookie and cheese social? And it is an excuse for people to get super
dolled up for one hour. And then go back to their room or go out to
dinner. So Noelle, who are you wearing? I am wearing vintage Comic Con 2018 and Levi
Strauss. Sketchers. Well that was lots of fun. I tried to sort of make a point, I know there’s
been a lot of conversation floating around the Costume College-related social medias
about people who feel a bit apprehensive about coming to Costume College because they don’t
feel that they have anything to wear or the skill to make something, or the money or the
time to make something, and therefore they cannot attend Costume College because they
can’t dress up. I feel like recently there’s been a huge push
amongst people who have been to Costume College to try and prove to people that not everybody
dresses up, even to the big social evening events. During the day especially. But everybody still has a good time. Coming in costume is not a requirement. Obviously it’s encouraged and it’s something
that people enjoy working towards, but it’s certainly not a requirement of coming to Costume
College and people are so supportive of you either way, whether or not you decide to come
in costume or out. While I haven’t been to many conferences or
conventions or any sort of things of this nature, but I feel like the community within
and surrounding Costume College is just such a supportive and welcoming group of people. There’s really nobody here who’s just maliciously
judging your hems or your fibre content or the fit of your gown. Everyone’s just here to have a good time. And so I know there’s been sort of a bit of
a push, especially this year, although maybe just because I’ve noticed it because I’m here,
but I feel like there’s been sort of a bigger push this year to demonstrate the fact that
not everybody dresses up, and to try and document that fact. Because very often you see all over the social
media just the really pretty and the really fabulous and the really showy and spectacular
costumes, but in reality, especially during the day but also during the evening social
events, there is a fair percentage of the crowd that is not in costume. So I just thought that was something worth
addressing and is something that I’m hoping to try and capture on this video. So I’m going to go to sleep now and wake up
tomorrow morning, I haven’t even looked at my Saturday schedule to see what classes I
was interested in taking but tomorrow is another day full of classes and fun people probably
lots of sewing, and there’s the gala tomorrow night, which I have heard many things about
but obviously never been to. There’s a red carpet that is open to everybody,
so I may do that, and then after the paid ticketed bit of gala is a gala for everybody,
which I think I’m going to go to. So, stay tuned for that. Also, a ribbon update of the night: this is
getting only a little bit out of control. Good morning! It is Saturday morning and I have no classes
flagged for this morning, so I’m going to take this opportunity to go wander around,
there’s a marketplace that opened last night that I didn’t go to, so I think I’m gonna
go check that out, and then head to a class I’m taking on ruffs at 2:00. So let’s go have some more adventures! So I have found Marlee of @ThreadedThistle–hello–in
the marketplace, and Marlee has bought quite a few things, and she is going to show you
a little marketplace haul? I suppose? I suppose that’s right. We started off with this hat, because I am
a vintage hat enthusiast. And then I got a second hat, because hats
are amazing. I’ve never filmed one of these before so. Neither of us know what we’re doing in the
slightest. Wait, can I put it on you? Sure. Works wonderfully with a Victorian updo. Obviously! Costume College is all about clashing periods,
isn’t it? Oh, most definitely. If you’re not wearing four different periods
at once, are you even doing it right? We love this because it has a vintage Ravenclaw
vibe, which I mean, I’m not a Ravenclaw–oh, that’s the Ravenclaw hat that you were talking
about–this is the Ravenclaw hat. So I think I’m gonna do a vintage Ravenclaw
look with this one. We got this vintage lace which is absolutely
gorgeous. And what are you planning to do with this
lace? Well there’s two yards of it exactly, which
is exactly what I need to make an 18th century, um, tucker for this evening. For tonight. Because, last-minute costumes for the win. That’s how it rolls around here, apparently. And then, because, last-minute, I have a giant
feather to wear in my hair for tonight, so. And that’s what I got at the marketplace at
Costume College. I’m about to head in the same direction. So I’m back in the room now, I took a wonderful
class on making and setting ruffs with Constance Mackenzie, it was absolutely fascinating,
I really enjoyed it. Also I did end up going to the marketplace,
and I didn’t buy anything when I was there with Marlee, however I did go back after the
class that I took and found a few things that I bought. So I thought I’d just show that to you to
you. First I bought this nice little vintage blouse
pattern which I thought was quite nice, I’d like to make myself some blouses. Next I bought some cotton bobbin lace, which
I think is really nice, because I just walked out of a ruff class and I really wanna try
and make some ruffs for myself. So I just thought these were quite nice for
little edging lace. They are cotton instead of linen, so they
aren’t quite the right fibre content, however they do have kind of the right shape and texture,
so I’m really excited. Stay tuned for some ruff videos, probably. These are admittedly something that I can
probably get in the garment district, however they were like 60 cents a yard, which is not
something that happens in the New York garment district. So I took this opportunity and bought ten
yards of each, and I’m very excited to use these one day. And lastly I bought some brown silk buttonhole
twist thread. This is 2-ply silk thread which, if you’ve
watched any video that I’m using silk thread in, you’ll know my enthusiasm for 2-ply silk
thread because you can’t often find it. Usually it’s 3-ply which wasn’t really used
historically, if at all, I don’t think? Most of the silk threads are 2-ply and these
are 2-ply! So I found some threads. They were $5/spool–or 5 for 20, so they were
quite expensive and I only bought one color. However, when I have a brownish reddish project
coming up that needs some silk thread, I will be very happy. Now it’s about 4:30 and I walked through the
lobby of the Costume College area and they are starting to set up the red carpet. So I suppose I should start getting dressed
for this gala event, because I guess I’m walking the red carpet. So the red carpet is this little, optional,
you-can-do-it-if-you-want, you-can-not-do-it-if-you-want opportunity to show off. I guess this is the big project of everyone’s
Costume College, is the gala gown, so it just gives people an opportunity to show off in
front of the people who actually just want to sit and see everyone’s gowns. So I shall be wearing my 15th century medieval
gown, which you may or may not have seen the making process of; if you haven’t, I’ll link
those two parts. And without further ado, I suppose I should
start taking off my make-up, because this is the 15th century, doing my hair all 15th
century-style, and putting on this gown. Hopefully I can actually walk the red carpet
and not…fall. I am off to the red carpet, and can no longer
raise my arms high enough to vlog, or to hold a camera, really. Also, I don’t have pockets in this thing,
so, sadly I will not be filming the red carpet, but I will get some footage at the actual
gala event. So I shall see you then. The struggle is real. Good morning, it is Sunday morning. It is my final day at Costume College. I actually have to leave for the airport today
at 12:00 noon, so I’ve just got the morning to wander around. I’m not taking any classes this morning. There is the bargain basement that’s open
this morning, which is basically when everyone just donates all of their remnants and unwanted
materials and you can basically just go through and put everything in a bag and pay not very
much money! So I’m gonna go check that out today, and
probably wander around and find some people that I met who I would like to say goodbye
to. Also I hear talk that the Sunday morning after
the gala is when everybody comes down to breakfast in their underwear–historical underwear,
of course. So I’m wearing my 15th century shift. Let’s go wander around. So I am back in the room now, back in my ye
olde civilian clothes because I’ve gotta get packed up and check out so that I can make
it to the airport. Um, but I did make it to the bargain basement. I walked away with a literal bin bag full
of stuff, of fabric and lace trimming, for $15! Which is absolutely ridiculous. I told myself I wasn’t going to buy anything
at Costume College, only because like, who has money? But…it was so cheap. If you’re interested in seeing what this is,
I don’t know, maybe leave me a comment but, right now I just can’t be bothered to pull
it all out. I’m just gonna throw it in my suitcase and
get on with my life, so. Well, I am back in New York after a wonderful
weekend at Costume College. It is now time to get back to work and life
and reality, but I’m now feeling so inspired after meeting so many wonderful people and
seeing all of the amazing costumes, and learning so many things in all of the classes. So my project list has grown about 112 items
but I’m really excited to start working at it. And with that I think I will go ahead and
end this colossally long video. If you’re a regular round here then I shall
see you soon with my usual disembodied historical sewing videos. And if not, then it was lovely adventuring
with you. So, have a nice day, and all that.

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