Sunday, June 23, 2019

. . . And a Costume Party

This week/weekend, I took part in the 2019 Historical Novel Society Conference at National Harbor in Maryland. It was a fabulous convention, with wonderful panels and much networking. The highlight for me was the costume party/contest on opening night, which was this past Thursday.

I recently wrote about the process of sewing my tan dress, which I actually completed a few months ago. Aside from putting it on and swanning around my apartment (which was fun but limited because my apartment is small and full of furniture), I hadn't worn my dress out anywhere. This was a perfect occasion, and I was both stoked and a little nervous. I mean, what if things started going wrong when I wore it for more than half an hour at a time and started moving around in it for real? What if the hoop started falling down, or buttons starting coming off? And what if someone stepped on my hem or spilled something on my dress? It is the result many, many hours of work, and everything about it is entirely irreplaceable.

You will be happy to know that everything went swimmingly. Once I had the whole costume on (drawers, stockings, shoes, chemise, corset, hoop skirt, dress, snood; I borrowed a friend's hotel room to change), everything felt secure and looked great. I'd spent months thinking about this event and had been really focusing on it for at least a week. I was really well-prepared, though, and I need that kind of preparation for things to go smoothly.

Once I was dressed, I had to get to the event, and I didn't quite know how to get there. I got lost in the hotel/convention-center. In the process, I discovered that I could stride along perfectly well in my hoop skirt. I had no trouble walking, and I didn't get sweaty or uncomfortable (that's right; I was wearing a corset and it was fine). I also discovered that people were fascinated by a lady striding around in a hoop skirt!

I did find the party, and I had a blast. I was "Jo March", and everyone was very complimentary, especially when they discovered that I had sewn the dress myself. I have never in my life been asked by people if they could take a picture of me/with me, and I got that so many times that evening! It was unexpected and a little strange but ultimately a lot of fun. I didn't win the costume contest, but I was fine with that. I was so pleased to *do something* with all my hard work and show it off!

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