Costume Academy

The Moments in Time Costume Academy is the perfect place to learn new skills and make new friends!

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Here is our 2015 Costume Academy information to give you a sense of what the retreat weekends are all about:

The 1920s Wardrobe in a Weekend
was held September 19-20, 2015

Attendees: Download the 1920s weekend supply list packet

Great Gatsby soirees, Downton Abbey teas, Jazz Age picnics- oh my! Do you have a stack of 1920s party invitations but not a thing to wear? The Moments in Time Costume Academy is here to help!

About the Retreat

What will we make?
The 1920s Wardrobe in a Weekend will cover the essential pieces that a lady needs to build a “starter” wardrobe of 1920s day and evening wear. By the end of the weekend you will have completed (or nearly completed) a day dress, an evening dress, a piece of lingerie, and an accessory. You will also have a book to take home with everything we learned, plus several other projects and ideas to expand your options even more!

What patterns will we use?
We will not be using commercial paper patterns. Instead, we will be making our own patterns based on authentic instructions and diagrams from 1920s sources, using our own measurements to guarantee a perfect fit.

But what if I don’t have the right figure for 1920’s clothing?
Women came in all shapes and sizes, even in the 1920s! The key to looking good is making garments with a proper fit and choosing the right foundation garments. We will cover this in detail during the weekend. The patterns and instructions we will use can accommodate any figure, including plus sizes.

Do I have to know how to sew?
No! This workshop offers something for every skill level.
Previous dressmaking experience is not necessary. Even if you have never touched a sewing machine before, you will be able to complete your ensemble successfully by choosing the beginning level projects.  And if you are an advanced costume maker, you will find countless ways to transform simple designs into your own unique works of art.

What do I need to bring?
You will need to bring fabric, notions, and thread for each project that you would like to make. You will also want to bring as many personal sewing supplies (scissors, ruler, tape measure, etc.) as you are able, though a few will be available for common use. We will have several sewing machine stations set up, or you may bring your own machine. A detailed description of the projects, and a list of supplies required for each, will be emailed directly to registrants in late August (or shortly after registering if you register in September).


10:00-12:00     Taking our Measurements and Introducing the Projects
12:00-1:00        Lunch
1:00-4:00          Lingerie Basics: Chemises, Corsets, and Bras
4:00-4:30          Refreshment Break
4:30-7:30          Day Wear: The “One Hour Dress” and Beyond
7:30-8:30          Dinner
After dinner: Free time to work on projects

8:00-10:30        Accessorize for Day or Evening
10:30-11:30       Sunday Brunch
11:30-3:00         Evening Wear: French Fashion Magazines to the Rescue!

*Schedule is subject to slight adjustments. Consult your registration email packet for any last minute changes.


The base price for the Costume Academy is $120 per person and includes classes and course book, plus all meals listed on the schedule, and Saturday lodging (double occupancy).

Rooms at Senexet House have twin beds and shared baths. Bedding and linens provided; please bring personal toiletries.

If you are not attending the weekend with a roommate, one may be assigned to you (so convince your mom, sister, or best friend to come along, too, and share a room!). If you wish to ensure a single room, that may be done for an additional $50, based on availability.

Do you have a non-sewing spouse or partner who would like to join you for the weekend? Senexet House has lovely lakeside grounds and an inviting porch (bring your own Pimms!), plus easy access to antique stores, the Taylor Brooke Winery, and historic Roseland Cottage. Non-sewing companions may register with an attendee for $95.

About Our Instructors

Nicole Carlson studied costume production at the Boston University School of Theatre, where she also taught the introduction to costume making classes, in which young undergraduates who were more accustomed to table saws and power tools learned to take fabric and turn it into actual garments without running their fingers through the industrial sewing machines. No fingers were lost on her watch.

Katy Bishop, founder of Vintage Victorian, is a costume historian, vintage dressmaker, author & publisher, as well as a leader in the vintage dance community. She gained expertise in conservation while working at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts’ Department of Textiles and Costumes, and currently serves as the costume curator for the Nahant Historical Society. Her specialty is fashions of the 19th and early 20th centuries, of which she has, and generously shares, her own extensive research collection of extant garments and antique patterns.