Tag Archives: Rebecca Maiten

Costume College – Day 4 and the Fabric District

13 Jan

Sunday brought the last day of classes for Costume College. I got up rather early in the morning and made it down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast before they were open. I did not dress up for Sunday Undies as I deemed my morning as too busy to don a bustle and corset thru classes. I was joined for breakfast by a Seattle costumer I had met last year, Denise and had a very relaxing breakfast ogling everyone elses undergarments. After breakfast I rushed off to check out the Bargain Basement and claimed a few trinkets and fabric for future projects.

My first class of the day was Tasteful Tints and Textures presented by the ladies of Truly Victorian Patterns. I have come to love their patterns and was excited to hear what they had to say. The class was very informative about the “rules” of Victorian clothing and had a lot of detail(they should write a book!). My costumes are always a little bit to the left of historical accuracy so I didn’t go into it with any expectations. In some ways that can be the best way to learn. And boy did I! The history is fascinating. These ladies really know their stuff! I will definitely sit in on any future classes they teach.

After that I sat in on History of Corsets. Obviously I already have a pretty good understanding of corset history but I wanted to see if I could add anything to my prep for my Geek Girl Con corsetry panel (more on that in a future post). I actually learned a lot especially about pre-victorian corsetry. I haven’t done a lot of renaissance costuming so I got a lot of great info about that era and the beginnings of boned bodices.

The purple puff is the start of my chatelaine and the black flower is a kanzashi flower.

The purple puff is the start of my chatelaine and the black flower is a kanzashi flower.

The afternoon had two of my limited classes – Kanzashi Flowers and Ribbon Chatelaines. The Kanzashi flowers class was very fun, easy and a great way to spend a few hours and socialize with other people. I will certainly make more flowers in the future and they are easy enough that I dont think I will forget how. The Chatelaines class was less social but very interesting. I have always wanted a chateliane and was excited about having one without spending hundreds of dollars on a sterling one. Unfortunately I ended up leaving early because I started feeling terrible. I think it was a lack of sleep because I went back to my room and passed out for several hours. I figured staying in my room and resting was a good idea given the fabric district tour was the next day.


Vendor room gloves, trim, buttons and paint.

Now the fun part! Pictures of my treasures from the vendor room, bargain basement and the fabric district. The trip to and around the fabric district was fairly uneventful. I spend most of the day with Rebecca and occasionally with a few others I had met on the way. Its really nice to have a few people to follow around who know the area better. I went down with a little bit of a list and of course got a bunch of unexpected things.

In the Vendor room I got more fabulous metal buttons, a few bunches of random ribbon and trim, a nice pair of gloves suitable for Victorian and 20th century day wear and some shoe paint. I am excited to try the paint but of course need to find the right project.


Bargain basement trim, trinkets and buttons.

From the bargain basement I found a few trinkets, buttons, beads and ribbon as well two bundles of fabric. For the blue checks I have a 1940’s simple day dress in mind. The floral (I think its chintz but I am not very good with fabrics) I saw as a mid to late 18th century polonaise dress. I couldn’t pass it up. I think there are 8 yards of it and I ended up paying about $1 a yard. I need to do more research since 18th century is not my era.


Bargain basement fabrics. Is that chintz?more research on that one. Its not generally my era but I have definitely been inspired recently by other costumers.


My fabric district haul.


The silk haul

This year I had the fore thought to bring half loaded suitcases down to LA with me knowing a I would need the room after I hit up the fabric district. And I was right. I went with a short list including more black and chartreuse silk. They were out of the taffeta of the chartreuse but had the dupioni, so another 10 yards of silk came home. I also brought home a yard each of purple silk velvet and purple charmeuse.


Pewter and white cotton

I did come home with a few practical pieces. I found a yard of pewter cotton satin for lining whatever I make out of that pewter silk I got earlier in the year. I bought I think 10 yards of a light weight white cotton for $1 a yard to use for mock ups. I also found the quilting fabric I used for my tree skirt and Christmas stockings (the skulls and roses). I can find it locally but way more expensive.


Green and black wool. Its much darker in person


Umbridge silk

My impulse buys are a little more random. I had a vague idea for a German renaissance costume and founds some light weight hunter green wool for a decent price and bought 5 yards (hopefully its enough). I also fell in love with some pink silk suiting. Rebecca came up with an idea to do bustle gowns for the Harry Potter teachers and I quickly claimed Umbridge. The silk suiting really says Umbridge to me. Sadly there are less than 3 yards. Not sure how I am going to make it work yet. I also found the pink plaid as a back up for Umbridge in case I cant find something better. It might also become a 40’s dress.


The cottons: Umbridge plaid, Christmas quilting fabric and swiss dot for a regency dress.

I also found some black Swiss dot which I absolutely love. I have been wanting to make another Regency dress but not white. It seemed the Swiss dot would be perfect and not scream mourning dress. Very excited for this project.


The fabric district trim. Its amazing how cheep trim is down there.

I bought some beautiful black trim that I just couldn’t resist. I ended up getting 23 yards for $20 cash which was a way better deal than getting the 10 yards I wanted. Ah well. The pink trim I bought with the intention for using it for Umbridge but I am not sure its quite right. The smaller black is just plain upholstery trim that in Seattle is $4-5 a yard but I got for under $1 a yard. Its always good to have some basic trim on hand.

That evening I had dinner with a few ladies I had talked to on the bus ride back. Then spent an uneventful night in my room packing up.

I think that covers it. I flew home on Tuesday morning with bags stuffed to the gills. I am so looking forward to next year and all the projects in between.


Costume College – Day 3

20 Aug

Saturday brought an early morning. Up for breakfast and straight into Jennifer Rosebrugh’s (of Historical Sewing.com) 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 (modehistorique.com)  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!