Sunday, May 11, 2014

Recap from Figments & Filaments

In things that kind of blow my mind, we now have a costuming convention right here in Kansas City last weekend.  Figments & Filaments was a first year costuming convention whose goal seemed to be to draw together as many of the different avenues of costuming under one roof.  There was a heavy representation by the SCA and Ren Faire contingents, as well as a ton of steampunk.  Not too many of the recreationists (is that a word?  I think I'll declare it one) and definitely not the usual 'con costuming' vibe.  But this was great, because it meant that almost everything there was new to me.  I brought out mine and my niece's hanboks for the display gallery, which turned out really well.  I was surprised by just how many people recognized them as being Korean and were knowledgeable enough about them to have good discussions.

I started my weekend off with a lecture from Matthew Gnagy.  I can't even remember what the official title of his talk was, but it was two hours of everything from fashion education to historical costuming to tailoring for TV.  What really stuck with me, though, was how many Ah ha! moments I took out of his talk.  You know the feeling.  You've been working on something for months or years, plugging right along, when some little thing that you read or see somewhere just makes you go OH!  THAT'S how that's supposed to be done.  Weird shifted sleeve gusset things and the shoulder padding in suits were demystified.  As well as the concept of using trim as both a stiffener and anchor for gathering, rather than sorting out the garment, THEN applying the trim.  So lots of time cuts and the like.  There was also some great discussion about the history of (and the differences between) tailoring and dressmaking that gave me lots of thinky thoughts to ponder while noticing my own hand-sewing habits (good and bad).

I also attended a great show-and-tell about cotton and other textiles in Medieval Japan.  Getting to touch all of the fabulous fabric types and examples of the different dyeing techniques was a real treat.  Another surprising jem was the talk on the changes in military uniforms leading up to and throughout World War I.  A group of living historians from the Liberty Memorial came out and they had TONS of fun stuff to look though.  I learned a lot about the changes in warfare tactics and how the uniforms had to change because of it.

Saturday, I co-hosted an informational meetup for the Kansas City Costumers' Guild.  Which meant fully dressed first-thing in the morning.  But we had muffins, so that made it okay.  We got a lot of new faces pop up, so hopefully we'll be able to use that to help boost activities in the Kansas City area.  Our first post-F&F activity is a sewing circle at my house next weekend, so we'll see how it goes.

Saturday night was the fashion show.  I got V to wear her Poison Ivy dress again and I showed the kimono and obi that I made for my mommy.  Unlike the usual con crowd, a hotel full of historical costumers instantly zoomed in on the little details in the beading and embroidery, which was a lovely ego stroke for me.  They had a neat setup where they projected complementary images on the backdrop, which I thought was fun.

Lounging about in the halls, putting the finishing touches on my petticoat.
It's a bit warm, but oh man, the Mr Freeze smoking jacket is so comfortable.

Sunday morning was largely a wash for me, as we stayed up late the night before eating pizza and doing an MST3K of Man of Steel.  By the time that I rolled out of bed, I had to scramble to both dress and pack at the same time.  Luckily, I had slotted my 18th century getup for this, which required no doing of the hair and makeup.  Yay for caps!  I've got 8 different projects from the Historical Sew Fortnightly in this outfit, having just completed the short gown a few weeks ago.  I was tickled to finally have a complete outfit so that I could get some use out of the things that I'd been working on for the better part of the last year.

And the best part, they've just announced their dates for next year. APRIL 24-26th, 2015 at a new larger) hotel down in Overland Park.  It's three weeks ahead of Costume Con this time, so there should be plenty of wiggle room to do both .  So excited!


  1. Hey Jennifer! This is so crazy...I'm moving to Kansas next week and I've been dying to find out what kind of historical costuming opportunities or groups there are and here I come across you post!!! I would love it if you could send me some info about the groups you're a part of and the nex Figments & Filaments! My blog is and my contact info is there. Thanks for sharing this post. Your costumes are beautiful and it's fun to connect with other Fortnightliers :D Have a beautiful day!

  2. I looooove the Mr. Freeze smoking jacket!!!!!