Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Stress Cake and Anxiety Salad, Saturday at Costume College

This blog post had too many words. Saturday was a mixed bag for me. We had arrived on Wednesday and I only had to finish the trim on my Gala dress, so I thought I would have plenty of time. I just didn't. So when Saturday rolled around, I was a stress case. I had my only limited attendance class; "It's the 1860's and still handsewn" I didn't think this would be a problem for me since I've actually sewn an entire Dickens dress by hand before. I kind of thought it would be cake.
Stress Cake
The class started out fine. We practiced some hand sewing. I was actually a little further ahead than some of the people around me, so I was feeling a little cocky. Then the part happened that I had completely forgotten about. "we will fit your bodice using a 19th Century pattern system and then you will start construction" I hadn't worn my corset, so when we were going to begin the fitting process, I had to run to my room to put on my corset.
Bonus points if you know what movie this is from
I ran up to my room and grabbed my corset. Even though I had laced it to make it possible to put on myself, I COULD NOT GET IT ON. I was getting increasingly agitated, not knowing if they were waiting for me, not knowing if it just didn't fit me anymore. Arrrgh. Finally, I just grabbed it and ran back downstairs to class hoping someone would just help me put it on.

Well. I had completely not taken into account the fact that we were going to be draping the pattern for each other and I would be completely responsible for the fitting of someone else's costume. I have draped a piece of clothing for another person zero times. Nope, nope, nope. Here's the thing. I am great in a crisis. I have saved lives. Literally. I'm the person you want in a zombie apocolype, but my being responsible for a fitted bodice for another costumer, nope, nope, nope again.
For some reason, I had though we would be fitting our own bodice. On ourselves. This would be almost impossible, so I don't know why I thought this, but I did. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't stay. They thought of trying to maintain while pinning on another person that I didn't know, just started giving me that 'Wa wa' feeling in my head. Any of you who have had anxiety attacks or a panic attack know that feeling. So I calmly took the teacher aside and kind of explained what was going on and that I just couldn't stay. She was very very nice, but I was twenty kinds of relieved to get out of the classroom.

Since I now had a large chunk of free time ahead of me, I decided the best thing to do was just sew. I ran into Jennifer (of So Steady as she Sews) and of being a friend, and told her what happened and she was calm and I felt better. I went to the Marketplace again because shopping is my happy place and ran into my roomate Tanya, who is one of the most maternal people I have met and I felt even better.

I went to the room and grabbed my bodice and sewing stuff. I decided to go up to the Hospitality Lounge so I would be around other people sewing last minute stuff. No one was sewing though, so I decided to head to the bar to sew (as you do) Now that was super positive. I sat next to Ariel, the little mermaid, who was having a nip or two and met Chrissy (of The Laced Angel) and of being really cool. I had a little cocktail, some good chat and got my sew on. The whole drinking with a mermaid thing put me in a good mood, so I made a lot of progress.
Photo from Most Popular and Best drinking games on the Web because that's a thing
Now somehow or other it was TIME FOR THE GALA. I know time must have passed slower than that, but between the tears and the vodka, I don't remember it passing. I literally couldn't have dressed without Tanya and Melissa. They ironed my dress, sewed on a hook and eye, hot glued my bodice flowers, etc. Melissa even had to SEW ME INTO MY DRESS. I had to be sewn into my dress because my corset did fit me, very tightly and the bodice was now too loose.

They were ready before me and looking fantastic by the way. These photos are "borrowed" from Jennifer.
Once Ken and I hit the red carpet and then entered the Gala, it all was worth it. Everyone was stunning. The food was excellent. I met Gina of ( Beauty From Ashes) and of super talent.
Gorgeous Gina. Photo from Marie-Jo Dulade-Coclet
Gina also managed to get a great picture of Ken and I in all our glory. There are things I will change on the dress (not being sewn into it for a start) but all in all I was pretty happy and Ken is so great at dressing himself. I did have to beg off early because my corset was just too tight and even though my friend Mary tried to help loosen my stays, I just couldn't move.
Photo by Gina White
I learned some hard lessons this day. Finish the garments you plan to wear to events before Costume College, no matter how little you think you have to do. Friends are good to have,especially when they can also sew. There is no substitute for an actual bustle under a bustle dress. Don't tight lace your corset when you have eaten all the carbs. There is no anxiety attack too great that it can't be helped by drinking gin with mermaids.


  1. So glad to have run into you at the bar! That's actually one of my favorite things about CoCo; it was totally normal to be sitting at a bar sipping cocktails in the afternoon talking about sewing while someone hand stitches a costume piece :P
    Also, your bustle dress looked amazeballs at the Gala. Welcome to the sewn-into-your-dress-at-the-last-minute club!

    1. Aw, thank you. Me too! Overall, I had a really great time. I learned some things about how to make it less stressful for myself. The first year of any new event is always tricky and slowly you start to figure it out. I was really inspired by (and a bit intimidated by) so much talent around me. Ultimately though, it's pretty amazing.

  2. If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would ever get done! Your dress looks fabulous, and I love the idea of a) stress cake and b) drinking gin with mermaids.

    p.s. Run Lola Run. Excellent film

    1. Yes. Extra points for you on the movie. Stress cake has no calories and while you may get drunk drinking with mermaids, you remain completely hydrated.

  3. I had really wanted to attend that 1860s dress class. I'll have to pick your brain about it sometime. And fitting others IS weird. I'm lucky that my costume buddy is a legit professional who could walk me through the process (several times). Perhaps CoCo needs a class on JUST draping/fitting? No pressure, just yards and yards of 99 cent cotton and all the pins in the world. Or better yet, perhaps we need to do this on our own in somebody's hotel room so we can have cocktails while we do it. ;)

    1. I like the way you think Jennifer. Unfortunately, I was in that class for about 20 minutes so their isn't a whole lot to pick.

  4. Ok, I would NEVER in a million years have guessed when I saw you at the gala, that there had been anxiety and stress earlier in the day! You were calm and serene and oh so beautiful!! It appears that you conquered everything and were able to enjoy the evening! You (and Ken) were so gorgeous in your outfits! I LOVE your dress! And never guessed about the sewing into of it! I too suffer from anxiety and panic attacks...they are sooooo NOT fun and can, if given the chance, ruin something that is meant for joy! I am proud of you for sticking up for yourself and excusing yourself from the class! There are just some things that are not worth the stress...Huzzah for you!!! You are my hero!

    1. Thank you so much Gina. That really means a lot to me. I think that 4 years of theater training helps hide the stress sometimes, but by the Gala I was doing okay. It was done. I was there. Nothing else to do but enjoy. But NEXT year, I'm wearing something I can dance in! I also want to take more classes next year, but I'm going to be taking a very close look at what they involve. I like learning new skills, but there's pushing the comfort zone and going over the zone and into the abyss.

    2. Yay for wearing things to dance in! I too want to take more classes...this being my first year, I was very excited to meet other costumers and bloggers and the time (as it ALWAYS does) got away from me and I missed or was late to classes. And while learning new things is good, it is also good to know where our comfort zone lies...good for you!