Sonntag, 12. August 2018

Costume College!

One year ago, in early August 2017, I decided to no longer just dream of going to Costume College, but actually go! The announced theme was soo tempting!
Dressing the Royals!!!
Hello playing princess for an entire weekend and (hopefully) nobody rolling an eye at me for dressing up!
I did not really expect my manager to sign my vacation approval (summer holidays, three month before everybody else would get approval...) and my sister said "you will never dare to travel all alone. I believe it when I see it".

And then my manager signed!
I was bummed.
I really did not expect that. My instant thought was "will I really do this? I don't know a single soul, I have never traveled alone into the completely unknown, I don't have a credit card, I have never crossed an ocean, I have never in my life been to a costuming event!".

There was still a little more time left until regristration started, so I pushed all thoughts to the back of my head and didn't think of it until the end of october.

When I heard of Costume College for the first time I desperately wanted to go. All the people! All the Dresses! But it seemed just too daring to travel around the globe just to play dress up.
"A waste of money" was my thought back then...
Every year I would scann the internet of all the photos to see as much as possible of the coco magic and all the pretty dresses and apparently all the things one could learn!

October came and I had to make my decision. I woult go to Costume college for real!
I registered at once and, as soon as the link opened, booked a hotel room.

Needless to say that it was overwhelmingly exiting to be so daring and just book a trip soo far away from home and on the far sinde of the world!

It took a long while to actually realise that I now have to sew ALL THE DRESSES! Of course I wanted my wardrobe to be special. Not just because of the royal theme, but also because it was going to be my first costuming event and I had absolutely nothing to wear. Right?

On facebook I joined the Costume College Forum and found a group that planned a Titanic Movie Dress meeting. I wasn't 100% sure I wanted to make a Titanic Dress, but I liked the idea of beeing part of a group.
Knowing nobody and going to coco was a huge challenge for me. I have a really hard time talking to strangers and making new friends...

Anyway, month went by and in april (thats right - 4 month before the event) I finally started planning my outfits.
It followed sewing madness and frustrations galore, but also excitement of new learnings and accomplishments!
Of course the thought appeared if I was "good enough to go". The photos I had seen from the event were of impressively perfect dresses. I don't consider myself a beginner at all, but regarding events I really was a complete newbie and that thought scared the hell out of me!

When I finally started sewing I really focused on quality so in the end I would be able to say, that I really gave my best and my dresses would reflect my current skill level.

July came and of course I was not done sewing. At all. My gala dress took three weeks too long to stay on plan with all my sewing... I have read before that july is insanity sewing month in preparation for coco and other events. My insanity sewing started in may. I spend all my non-working-time in my sewing room to finish my dresses, which naturally should be just perfect (from my sewing perfectionists point of view). By mid july I was exhausted and fell ill... So no more sewing for a full week.

After I registered, I dreamt of having the perfect dress for every moment of the event, but it turned out I would be lucky if I finished something for the evening events at all...

However I did not want to do final sewing at the hotel, so I cut down my plans bit by bit and ended up with
1. a gala dress with new corset and petticoats
2. a fantasy tea dress with new combinations, hip pad and petticoats
3. a tea gown for sunday breakfast
4. a dirndl for daywear
5. a last minute Titanic dress (because some ladies announced they would go to the Queen Mary before Coco to take pictures and I just had to join in!!!) with new corset and my mock up as petticoat

The only little sewing project I took on the plane was finishing a reticule for the Titanic dress.

And then came traveling day!! I had slept two hours the night before and my taxi to the airport arrived at 4:30am. Both my sisters had borrowed me their big suitcases (to get everything one needs for one weekend) and on I went!

The flight was long and when I finally arrived in LA (after seeing Greenland and Las Vegas from above) I was tired, but soo excited! When meeting the "Queen Mary Group", Rebecca, Sarah and Patricia, they were all so friendly and nice, that I instantly felt nothing but happiness that I actually had dared to travel this far to make my dream come true!
Also: Palm Trees wherever I looked! And Palm Trees mean vacation!

We spend a few hours on the ship enjoying food, view and the many photo opportunities (which we took), before driving to the hotel. By that time I have been awake for close to 30 hours and fell into bed at once...

Rebecca, Patricia and Sarah


I just wanted to see the propellers...


I had not made any plans for thursday except for some ironing, so I joined some new friends for a shopping trip to Burbank and had quite a relaxed day to recover from all the traveling.

And then costume College started!
When I came down to regristration there were dressed up ladies everywhere! Awesome! Since I didn't manage to make something new for thursday I catched up on a joke some people made on the forum a few weeks earlier and just wore my Pyjamas and a Tiara. I felt splendid!
But I also didn't quite know what to do and where to go and whom to talk to. I then followed the masses and found my line to register. A bit later I found Rebecca and attached myself to her like a lost puppy (thanks again for taking up with me!!). She showed me around and introduced me to many lovely ladies, which made it a lot easier for me to feel comfortable.

In the meantime my roommate Megan (matched up thanks to the rommate matching service!!) and her friends had arrived and we went to the poolparty together. It was so nice to see so many dressed up people! And most of them made their own costumes! Finally I felt to be in the perfect spot on our planet with all those lovely people, who shared my passion for sewing and costumes!!!

On friday classes started and after freshman orientation and I was super busy all day learning new things and techniques. I took my favorite class of all weekend "Gold Bullion Embroidery" which was awesome! Four different kinds of metalthread and bullion embroidery were teached.
Jen and I wearing Dirndl on Friday
After my last class I went back to the hotel room to dress up again in my Titanic dress. It took a while and I had the feeling I was way too late for the friday night social when I finally arrived downstairs.
However, I met up with all the other Titanic Ladies and got pictures taken in the portrait studio. There were soo many beautiful costumes all over the place and I was so busy admiring all the awesomeness, that I kind of forgot to take many pictures...  Over the entire weekend I made 300 photos, when back in february I made 3.500 on vacation in 12 days...
The Titanic Group!

On saturday I took one class. I learned to sew shoes! What an experience! Back home I attached my bullion embroidery and have now shoes, that I actually made maself.

After class I took my time to prepare for the gala! I did my hair and Megan helped me into my dress and then it was time...
Both scared and excited I went down to do the red carpet. When I stepped out of the elevator we were guided to the queue and I got a first glipse at the splendour happening around me! Oh My God! You can't imagine all the beauty and happy faces and awesome creations! And I was a part of it!

The line went on rather fast and too late I realised I had no idea what to do when actually on the red carpet! Everyone would stare at me! The only instructions I saw were for the spectators, so I just copied the beautiful Lady in front of me. The Lady behind me in Line, Libby (in a beautiful dress from her great-grandmother and perfect styling), invited my to sit with her at the gala and I thankfully accepted.
I browsed the room to see all the creations. Everyone I talked to was so happy and proud of their work, I was again really happy to be with so many likewise minded people.
The food was good and I unfortunately spilled some veggies on my dress... This kind of destroyed my mood for 5 minutes, but they left just a tiny spot I could hide in a fold. Before dessert we went to the portrait studio and just as Libby estimated there was close to no line at all when earlier in the evening there was just no way to get through the masses. After dessert the dancing started, but to be honest, it was just too loud for my taste. After one dance I went outsinde to the hall and apparently this is where the party was! Most of the attendees were not dancing, but chatting and taking photos and admiring all the bling and prettiness.
I made my way around to meet some new friends and I felt soo good and pretty!

One more step and I would be on the red carpet! The most exciting moment! Photo by Tanya Klowden

photo by Amanda Le Blanc

Photo by Tanya Klowden

Photo by Natalie Wiener
Quite unfamiliar was the fact that literally every two minutes someone would step up to me asking to touch my sleeves! I loved that it was normal to walk up to someone and just ask how she made her dress/ a detail of it and actually get an explanation. I also liked talking about my dress whenever asked and very much appreciated that my answer was actually listened to.
My gala dress is my personal masterpiece and I am so proud of it (details in a separate post). I was very comfortable wearing it and though I absolutely love trains, I was glad not to wear one in the crowd. Aside from the sleeves (get through a normal door wearing those!) my dress was very easy and comfortable to wear. I enjoyed this night immensly meeting up with so many new friends and seeing all this awesome work everybody was so proud of!
After a long night I fell into bed happily.

On sunday morning I put on my Tea gown and went down to the breakfast. But I was so hot I took it off during eating. Afterwards I wanted to go to the portrait studio, but they changed the opening hours and so I had to wait one hour... I took this time to visit the bargain basement and make a small purchase (patterns, a hat, a few supplies, a book).
During the day I learned about wool, linen and 1830s hair and enjoyed the fantasy tea.

For monday I had booked the fashion district tour. We got into the bus with all our luggage and I had a nice chat with my new friend Michaela. On the bus we got suggestions on where to go from our tourleader Natalie, based on what we wanted to buy. In a small group of girls we went out into the Los Angeles heat to concour the fabric stores around! I set out to buy a pressing ham (I did) and focussed on sewing supplies, rather than fabric. That was until we came upon the loveliest piece of silk and I just could not resist... What was I supposed to do? buying 10 yards, of course! From the fashion district Rebecca, Michaela and I took a car directly to the airport to take us home in all different directions.

I still had some time to kill so I made my way to the gate slowly. The security Lady was very interested in my pressing ham, though! (what is this? What is in it?) I was glad it was originally wrapped with the function stated...
She let me pass and I bought some souveniers for my family before flying back home.

What a weekend! I have been asked by many colleagues/ friends why I would fly to the USA for just a weekend and I understand that most of them did not understand my motive.
I don't regret a single Penny spent to make my dream come true!

As a matter of fact: I will do it again!

I realise this was quite a lot to read through, thanks for hanging on!

As you may have noticed this blog has now seen my actual face for the first time! I realised there is no sense in making headless shots, when my face is on the cocosphere anyway...
More may follow


fashion plate