Feature Friday: Black Orchid Atelier

One silver lining to come out of the past year is the increased availability and accessibility of online education, and this month’s feature is the perfect example! In early 2021, Black Orchid Atelier launched the Costume Skills Institute, a platform dedicated to helping costumers of all levels learn and grow. With both lectures and workshop-style classes, the curriculum is designed to build itself so you can mature your skills with each new course.

Founder Kristen Darvill-Foggie says,

“Costume Skills Institute is for all levels of costumers. We want to encourage people to learn how to get started with costuming and continue learning new skills. This is a ‘odd hobby’ surrounded in lots of controversy, but it’s really a hobby for anyone who loves to play and pretend.”

Currently the classes have a historical focus, but soon they plan to expand to classes focused on skills for cosplay, steampunk, and more.

Stylish Evening Headdresses w/ Lynn McMasters

The next round of class offerings starts in August, but tickets are on sale now. Upcoming classes include Stylish Evening Headdresses w/ Lynn McMasters, which has both a lecture and workshop option. In the class you can learn how to make a hair ornament perfect for the 18th century through the 20th century. Or you can go wild and use the techniques to create an amazing fantasy hairpiece.

19th Century Rouleaux w/ Astrida Schaeffer

Perhaps you are still dreaming of the Regency and want to learn a new way to trim your next pelisse or evening gown? 19th Century Rouleaux w/ Astrida Schaeffer will feature an in-depth lecture with extant examples followed by a step-by-step tutorial on how to recreate the technique yourself.

From Regency to Romanticism w/ Carolyn Anne Dowdell

Or maybe you are curious about what comes next in the fashion history timeline? From Regency to Romanticism w/ Carolyn Anne Dowdell will track the shifts in fashion from 1820 to 1840. The lecture builds on her previous Regency lectures, but can also be taken on its own.

This is just a small sampling of the courses they offer so be sure to check out their course catalogue for more!

You can also support the Costume Skills Institute on Patreon. Some of the patron perks include a private Facebook community to support your learning, monthly virtual sewing circles, and discounts on classes.  

Belle Epoque Corset Cover

Black Orchid Atelier also has an Etsy shop where Kristen sells costume patterns and accessories. Some, like this Belle Epoque corset cover, come as a PDF pattern or in a kit, perfect if you want to save yourself some time and get creating right away.

Snow White dress

Kristen’s shop also has range of costumes and accessories for adults and children. Some, like this adorable girl’s Snow White dress, are ready to ship, but others can be custom made.

You can find all the Costume Skills Institute classes at www.blackorchidatelier.com, and all the patterns and clothing at www.etsy.com/shop/BlackOrchidAtelier.

And you can find more information and inspiration on social media at:

Instagram — @blackorchidatelier

And Facebook — www.facebook.com/blackorchidatelier

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