The Costume Con 29 Report

(Saharazara and I with too much RAWK for one hand…)

Whew.  It has been a busy few weeks.  So much sewing in so little time….

I went to Costume Con 29 this past weekend in New Jersey.  It started with issues with the airline which resulted in a VERY long lay-over in Chicago Midway (not as long as Swimmer’s 8 hour lay-over in Detroit, though).  While there and on the flight to Newark I got to meet Katherine of “The Fashionable Past” who was very funny and frankly very inspiring in her work.  She was one half of the team that won Best in Show in Historical at Con in the Master’s Division.  It was a very well deserved win.

TOL (The Other Laura) and I wound up almost not having a room at the hotel at almost 1 am,  and only got about 6 hours of sleep before we had to wake up to get ready to go into New York.  Our other friends Saharazara and Terry got up early and watched the Royal Wedding in tiaras, then joined us.  We started out in NYC at Lacey’s Wig Company, the actual headquarters for Lacey Wigs.  They don’t have a website, but they do have a catalog with e-mail, and they have a small space in which to try on wigs.  One thing I learned – do not contradict the man who has been matching hair for decades.  He knows your hair color better than you.  I got a great deal on a full wig, a clip long curly piece and a medium length pony for $85, which was cheaper than Max Wigs and many of the other manufacturers.

We hit Daytona Trims (as referenced by Gertie), and other small shops on 39th street between 7th and 8th.  There was a store that sold nothing but linen and the top rows of the shelves had a linen sale for $4.00 a yard.  I got lace and sequins and braided trim and feathers and all sorts of trim like goodies for me and Princess and the Cheap Chick.  We went to a fabric store where I found some really fun black and red beaded/sequin trim and got some gorgeous blue floral silk brocade for $10 a yard.  At one point I texted El Jefe and told him that I was having so much fun we were going to have to move so I could shop there all the time.  He said he would get right on it.

We did have to stop at Mood Fabrics as my 13 year old really wanted me to thank them for her.  I bought some really nice feathers and got S a plastic Mood bag.  She was terribly excited about it.  It was really an amazing store.  A little pricey for some things, but SO BIG.

Back at the hotel I met up with my roomie Artemisia of “Dress Diary of a Renaissance Seamstress” and she is a hoot.  LOVE her.  We had a blast as roommates.  As the Chick likes to say, she is made of win.

At the social in the evening on Friday we had decided to do a sort of 50’s theme.  I wore my now converted from Elizabethan I Love Lucy dress (although I need more bangs next time), Arte wore a lovely recreation of a Simplicity pattern (?) with a vintage fur wrap, Saharazara had her Bettie Page going on in her blue Hawaiian print halter dress with lace wrap and raspberry colored petticoat, TOL wore a wrap dress and did some amazing Victory Rolls on Swimmer’s hair for her Marilyn style dress.

 Then we went out to dinner and frightened the local townsfolk with our festiveness.  I also learned that it is practically impossible to turn left in NJ (at least on 17) and was told by Arte that in NJ if I have at least two feet of clearence I should merge.  This goes completely against my Minnesota nature of waiting for folks to pass.  Hopefully I did Arte proud.  Hee.

Back at the hotel we discovered that Arte’s 18th century robe a la francaise had some construction issues due to the poor directions on her pattern and had to pull together to help make her dress a reality.  Around 2:30 am we called it a night and got some sleep.  The next morning we wanted to go to an anime wig class (which was very informative and where I learned that you can use Sharpies to dye wigs – who knew?) and so we rushed into our morning outfits, and suddenly filled Con with The Sound of Music:

Gretl, Louisa, Maria (complete with small purple Ukelele) and the two Liesls all had a blast.  People cracked up whenever they saw us and I am here to say that this is the most comfortable costume I have ever had.  A little shorter than what I am used to, but SO comfortable.  Particularly in the 70 degree weather.  We went into Hackensack to get fabric from Broadway Fabrics for Arte’s petticoat, to get some lunch, and to pick up awards for the MNSOC Hotdish chapter awards for the Masquerades.  We looked a little bit like a crazy cult group wandering through town, but we had a pretty decent lunch at a local Ecuadorian place.

We had decided that trying to give away the ingredients to a hotdish was rather excessive, so we decided that a can of SPAM (made in Austin, MN) would be a suitable award.  After checking with a bodega (“Spam?”  “Meat in a can.  Do you have that?” “Um, no.”) we found it in a 7-11, except they only had LITE Spam.  And buying two cans of SPAM in my Liesl dress was certainly an unusual experience.

Our best intentions to nap and sew went awry and we found ourselves scrambling to get dressed for the Sci Fi/Fantasy Masquerade that evening.  TOL looked awesome as our Anti-Alice/Alison Wonderland:

Swimmer was a very cute White Rabbit, and we finally got to see Arte’s Steampunk Mad Hatter in person:

My White Queen turned out better than I had hoped after some massive design changes.  I was trying for “imperious” and “regal” in the photos but instead look a little “constipated” and “pissed off.”

(See the White Queen page for a final write-up on the costume tomorrow.)

At the Masquerade there was an excellent recreation of the Mad Hatter and the White Queen and when I saw her version at first I thought, “Crap!”  Then I thought, “I am SO glad I didn’t do the exact movie version or I would have looked like her bloated older sister.”  Both of us used the same Joann fabric for our skirts, which was pretty funny.  Her rendition was really quite nice.

TOL and I gave out the SPAM/Hotdish award to a really amusing entrant called “Showboat” and the SPAM was well received.  Which really just means that there were lots of giggles in the audience when we announced it.

After another late night of sewing Arte and I slept in and decided to skip the classes (which other than the wig class didn’t seem to be that great anyway) and stayed in our pjs and finished our French dresses.  TOL and Saharazara and I turned Arte’s Cher-like wig into a thing of 18th century beauty, and with the help of some hair covered scrunchies and Saharazara, I managed to make up a passable 18th century hairdo, although with a bit more forehead than I would like.  (El Jefe calls it “five-head.”)

Saharazara looked beautiful in her red anglaise with Really Big Hat.  She was kind enough to lend me a feather for my hair.

We had dinner and I managed to keep my dress completely clean until a random flying bit of steak left several small spots right over my left breast in a very obvious spot.  TOL lent me a cameo (my future ancestor from Victorian times) to cover it.  I had also stiffened the stomacher too much for the curve of the 18th century stays (which wound up being completely done but the bindings of the tabs on the bottom) and I had to put a washcloth under it to get the correct shape.  And a big thanks to Cathy Hay of “Your Wardrobe Unlock’d” for her info on bindings around corners.

The dress was made at the very last minute the night before I flew out to Newark, and I thought it was completely done.  When I tried it on Sat. night I discovered that my cheat of making a muslin that fit and then draping the pleats on the back had gone horribly awry.  The side seams were too far forward and gave me a pleated bubble butt.  If I put the pleats back, the sides were too short to cover the stomacher.  After much frustration, I decided to turn it into a modified Anglaise with pocket hoops.  More “historically inspired” than “historically accurate.”  I am going to make changes to it later, but at least that night I had something to wear.  I am going to write up some info on the dress and my issues with it and fixes on a separate tab this week.

Swimmer wore her Teslacon French inspired outfit made of thrifted bridesmaid dresses and extra fabric, TOL wore her lovely Black and White Victorian, Terry had a stunning “King and I” dress and Saharazara wore her amazing Civil War dress.  I drooled a little over her gathers.

The Historical Masquerade had some really amazing entries.  There was an 18th century French done up in Star Wars fabrics with a tiny little Carbonite Han Solo on a necklace, and a lovely Victorian Bustle gown that won Best in Class for Novice:

I met Maggie of Padawan’s Guide/Costumer’s Guide to Movie Costumes who had a lovely dress made of Spoonflower fabric with skulls and piratey things on it, and there was an entry that recreated the costumes from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure that cracked me up.  They won the “SPAM” award from MNSOC due to the “Go Big or Stay Home” nature of the award.  They seemed rather excited to win, and the whole crowd chanted “Spam, spam, spam, spam…” which was pretty amusing as well.

Katherine and Aubry looked lovely in their award-winning “spotty” gowns.

My favorite entry of all time has to be the Haynes Sisters from White Christmas:

My Mom, my Sister and I all have a love for that movie that is HUGE.  I squealed when I saw them.  I SO wanted to give them the MNSOC award but it didn’t meet the criteria.  Sigh.  We met them last year as Steampunk Suffragettes, and they joined us for drinks in the hotel bar later that evening:

After staying up into the wee hours having drinks and desserts and watching the news (when someone asks me where I was the day I heard Bin Laden had been killed I can say I was wearing a frilly pink 18th century dress in the bar of the Hilton Hotel in NJ) we finally got to sleep around 3.

I hated saying goodbye to Arte, Glynnis and Terry, but am looking forward to seeing them again next year at Con 30 in Arizona.

Making and wearing those outfits were fun, but I am SO excited to be able to FINALLY get to work on Eleonora, and to start getting work accomplished on my Antea.  I have fabrics for it and a PLAN.

Bring on the Punch Needlework!

6 thoughts on “The Costume Con 29 Report

  1. The Cheap Chick says:

    So. Jealous. Ofyouguys!!!! I wish I could have been there and seen all the cool peeps. I can’t BELIEVE I missed the Hayes Sisters! SOB. But I’m already gearing up for the next Cos Con. And Gail and Nola will be there! And maybe Cassandra and Kathy! And all the other cool peeps we’ve met in the costuming community.

    Also, Arte and Glyn are made of win. It is so true.

  2. Isabella D'Angelo says:

    I was in red regency up on the tenth floor overlooking Manhattan when I heard about Bin Laden…and then proceeded to wake up the entire hotel. 🙂

    It was wonderful to meet you and the rest of the auxiliary group of people that actually wear costumes at costume con. 🙂

    • Laura says:

      I was a little surprised at the lack of costumes at this con. The con last year was small as well, but SO many people dressed in such wonderful costumes that this year was a disappointment. Your outfits were lovely. I think I missed some of the 9!

  3. Artemisia says:

    I had a great time being your roomie. Thanks for all the time you put in to my gown. It is displayed on Dummy Diana, waiting for tweaking. Can’t wait for next time! 🙂

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