Costume College – Day 3

20 Aug

Saturday brought an early morning. Up for breakfast and straight into Jennifer Rosebrugh’s (of Historical Sleeve Fitting for Victorian Bodices class. I learned SO much in this class! I have hacked my way thru self drafted sleeves many times but the fit has not been perfect. Its been a sore spot for some time. I learned 2 critical rules or tips that I will absolutely note forget. 1 – the snugger the fit of the arm pit area the more movement. This is absolutely contrary to every modern plus sized pattern from the big 4. So often pattern companies (even some small ones) just enlarge a pattern instead of properly grading a pattern up. Even if it is properly graded modern ideas of ease make for huge uncomfortable arms-eyes. Now I know how to check the patterns fit in this area BEFORE I even start cutting out the pattern. In reality I knew how to do this before but now it has completely sunk in. Sometimes you just need someone to come up with the words to explain what you already know. The 2nd rule I took away was – start the decorative details of the sleeve after the break point. My notes describe the break point as just above the muscle on the arm. Jennifer went into great detail about the terminology used drafting a sleeve, most of which I could not regurgitate for you. Having never taken a true pattern drafting class most of this was new. Over all the class showed me how much I actually do understand but how much I still have to learn. I am certainly a bit excited to draft a new sleeve pattern for myself! And if I see a pattern drafting class offered some where I should probably take it.


Marie Antoinette en chemise, portrait of the queen in a “muslin” dress, by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Next up was La Chemise a la Reine presented by Sarah Lorraine. I periodically read her blog (  and knew she was presenting a class about her research. 18th century costume is not currently my passion so I knew very little about a Chemise a la Reine, just what I had scanned from her blog.  I had no idea how much Marie Antoinette was rebelling against the system or why and what part this dress had to play in that rebellion. I loved that the presentation was mostly paintings and art history. Sometimes I forget how much I love art history. Over all the story that Ms Lorraine is telling about this garment is enthralling. Or maybe its her excitement is catching. I understand why people love the era and I might come around soon. I was very sad I had to leave before the end of her presentation but I needed a lunch break before my first limited class.

The ribbon techniques I learned.

The ribbon techniques I learned.

Limited classes at CoCo, I am learning, are hit and miss. My first one of this year, Victorian Ribbon Work by Sandra Durbin, was kind of middle of the road. I loved her as a teacher, very fun and encouraging. The class over all was an intro class and went by so fast. I walked away with several good techniques I can use to trim future projects. I am sure I could learn all of it from a book but sometimes you need a teacher to build confidence. Plus the teacher was very fun and different.

After the ribbon class it was time to get ready for the evening Gala. I had arranged to go to a restaurant off sight with Rebecca Maiten and some of her friends that I did not know. I wore my very simple maroon early regency dress. My plan of wearing something simple and not getting stopped for too many photos worked. The red carpet experience still terrifies me a little  but the simplicity of dress made the evening far more pleasant. Over all I am very pleased with the dress. Its comfortable and reasonably flattering. I love the jewelry I made (my first real attempt at jewelry making) and the shawl. My hair was AMAZING! Totally worth the time to do pin curls the night before. I had made a set of transitional short stays and BOOOOOO! by the end of the night they were digging into my back. In the trash they go! Hopefully the true regency stays I am working on fit better.

Rebecca had gathered a large group of ladies who opted to eat at an Italian restaurant across the street. Rebecca looked fabulous in her court gown and we all made quiet a spectacle walking over there. After dinner another spectacle as we walked back and then to the photo studio for pictures. I stopped in at the Gala to see some of the costumes but the stays were starting to bother me so I called it a night.  Over all it was a very pleasant evening with some lovely ladies (whose names I sadly don’t really remember). But the best part of the night? Taking those bloody stays off!


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