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Class Reviews > Costume College 2005, Costume Guild West

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Posted by: Lee Ann Hawkins
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About Lee Ann Hawkins star
Member since: 1/11/03
Reviews: 37 (classes: 1)
Skill level:Intermediate
Favored by: 24 people
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Posted on: 8/1/05 11:53 AM
Rating: starstarstar
Review Rating: Very Helpful by 5 people   
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I didn't know whether to review this as a class or an expo, it is sort of both. My dd, Katie, as always widening my horizens, talked me into attending this. It is an annual event of the Costume Guild West, held at the Airtel Plaza Hotel in Van Nuys, CA. Van Nuys is a bedroom community of Los Angeles, cheek by jowl next to Burbank and Hollywood. The event runs from Friday to Monday. The cost is $60.00-$95.00 for the college (depending on whether you are a guild member--you join for $20.00 and simply registering, all are welcome). Some classes are limited and there may be an additional fee--for example an all-day corset class is about $55.00 but all materials are included and you have personalized instruction and come out with a finished product. Others may cost $3.00 or so for handouts).

The list of classes include such things as beginning chainmail, constructing a Victorian corset, how to make handmade buttonholes, discussion of the Viking costume from a 10 gore dress dug up in an excavation in Greenland showing pattern construction, hand stiching and the fine linen and wool of over a 1,000 years ago; french drape pattern making, pressing techniques, hat making (pill box, boater, medieval banded hats). You get the idea. I had no idea what to expect--but was delighted with the whole experience. I have never met such a friendly, accepting group of people. I would guess several hundred are in attendance. The instructors are not trying to sell you something as is often the case in sewing expos. The students in the class may be novices or experts; many work in theatre and studio costuming; many are historical buffs with extensive knowlege in a period's clothing, politics, manners, etc. Everyone was most generous with their knowlege and lively discussions ensued. I learned so much from each class--it was wonderful just to indulge in something new. I took a class in make up of the 1920's, 30's and 40's from a former stage make up artist and used the techniques to go with my 1920's dress for the tea. Many people wander around in historical or fantasy dress, from the sublime to the not-so; but no one looks down on any one else's efforts. It is easy to begin conversations with people you meet in class or who are wearing something wonderful. Everyone shares a love of design, technique, fabric.

The event is very well organized. There are tours you can sign up for ( LA fabric district, King Tut at the museum, etc). There is a gala on Saturday evening (you have to reserve early for this and the Sunday tea). At the gala all are dressed in costume, they have a formal dinner and a dance and raffle. We peeked in--such a fun atmosphere. At the Sunday tea most are in costume as well and there was a Gilbert and Sullivan theme with a singer and pianist. (The singer happened to be one of Simplicity Pattern's historical costume designers who was sent by Simplicity to lecture at the college, and offered to entertain, as well!). There is a marketplace that has vendors offering specialty products and books for costumers.

All in all a delightful experience and we would love to attend again. I highly recommend this for anyone who is interested in this area, or even for sewists who would like to spend a weekend with others who share a passion in fiber arts in a relaxed setting--sort of sorbet between the heavy courses of tailoring & general sewing we do at home! Many of the attendees do not actually sew or fit patterns the way we do. . .

If you live locally this is a bargain. If you are interested and want to fly into LA to attend, come early so you can go shopping in LA fabric area, bring your machines and do some sewing at the hotel. The rooms are large, with a desk and a vanity area also, lots of plugs, lights, mirrors; the staff was very helpful about carting up loads of luggage, costumes, equipment. The cost per day was about $115.00 which includes parking and a very nice hot breakfast buffet each day. There is a pool and 3 spas.

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Lee Ann Hawkins said... (11/14/05 6:46 PM) Reply
alkeri, yes, if you are into costuming. It is a unique conference. Also, you could fabric shop in LA.
alkeri said... (11/10/05 11:58 AM) Reply
I live in Puerto Rico and will love to go.Doyou think it is worth?
marionetta said... (10/11/05 5:16 PM) Reply
I'm going. DH has come to realize the mother of his children needs a weekend off once a year and next year that is my weekend! I've never been to Costume College (I usually go to Costume Con) but many friends have gone and all I've ever heard are raves. I can't wait!
Lisa Laree said... (8/11/05 4:24 PM) Reply
Wow! I want to go! Since I've kind of backed into doing costume sewing here and there, it would be really good to get some idea of what I'm doing... ;) wonder if I could talk DH into it...
Mary Reed said... (8/11/05 11:18 AM) Reply
I vote that we have a PR hook-up for next college. After drooling over the courses for YEARS, I am going. And to make sure I go, I will organize a time for PR folks to get together. Anyone interested? It is a long way away, but if I put it on my calendar, I will get to go.
almost said... (8/10/05 10:14 AM) Reply
Oh this sounds like heaven! I live locally and have never heard about this event....thank you for sharing!
Georgene said... (8/6/05 11:52 AM) Reply
Waaah! I want to go! I remember reading about this and thinking it would be so fun. We should start a message board thread about 6 months ahead of time and see if we can mount a PR expedition to this event next year.
kathi s said... (8/5/05 10:31 PM) Reply
Sounds like a lot of fun! Thank you for bringing this resource to our attention!
Lee Ann Hawkins said... (8/1/05 12:28 PM) Reply
I forgot to add. If you want to attend, the next year's session is August 4-6, 2006.
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