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Karen Schnaubelt

One of the Founders of Costume-Con

Karen Schnaubelt has been costuming since 1973, doing both media re-creations and her own original designs, and has won major awards at every level of competition in 5 different decades.

Her work appears in the STAR FLEET TECHNICAL MANUALTHE COSTUME-MAKER’S ART, and COSPLAY WORLD. She is cited in WATCHING ANIME, READING MANGA as one of the earliest anime-based cosplayers in the U.S.  ...continue reading "Karen Schnaubelt"

The Single Pattern competition provides entrants with a small selection of commercial patterns to construct and put their own spin on the finished product.

The Single Pattern Competition will take place before the Friday Night Social party, in a simple fashion-show style format.  No skits or other types of detailed presentations are required; entrants will walk in front of the judges in a separate room, show off their outfit to best advantage, and then walk out to mingle at the Friday Night Social.

The patterns listed are to be used as a starting point for creating an outfit. Participants may stay close to the original pattern, or alter it dramatically, but the final product must be recognizable as being made from one (or more) of the patterns.

Participants must be a registered members of the current Costume-Con to enter or model garments in this contest. Participants may make and enter more than one garment, but an individual should plan on appearing in front of the judges only once. If they wish to combine garments into a “look”, say a dress and cape or jacket, participants can model them at the same time.

There will be 2 competition categories:

  • Adaptation – The garment can be modified with fabrics, alterations of style, fit, fabric manipulation, etc. The finished product must be recognizable as the pattern. Participants may modify, embellish, and ornament the garment in any way they choose, but it should retain its fundamental shape and form when it is compared to the pattern illustration(s).
  • Transformation – Try your hand at adapting your pattern into a completely different garment. Judging will be based on the ability to recognize the pattern pieces used – at least 75% must be incorporated.

Participants can use one or all of the chosen patterns in their creation.

Simplicity 1248   

Coming Soon

Our programming schedule will include an exciting variety of panels, lectures, round table discussions, demonstrations, workshops and meetups on a wide variety of costume and community-related topics. Most programming items will last about an hour, but you may see a few longer sessions, especially workshops. The complete schedule will be available closer to the convention!

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The Historical Masquerade showcases costumes from historical periods and cultures of human civilization. Special attention is paid to such aspects as period-specific techniques and accurate details.


Rules for the Historical Masquerade

The Costume-Con 36 Historical Masquerade celebrates the history of costume, including all cultures, periods, and types of dress. It recognizes creativity, scholarship, stage presentation, and workmanship skills in the context of historical clothing. “Historical costume” is costume based on clothing that was worn or could have been worn somewhere in the world through the end of the year 1970.

Anything in the years 1971 and after will not be accepted into the Historical Masquerade unless it falls under the Ethnic Costume/Dress category. These rules for the Historical Masquerade follow the International Costumers’ Guild Guidelines for Ensuring Fair Competition. Please read them carefully; while similar to those for other masquerades, they are not identical to them.

I. Competition Categories

The Historical Masquerade will have four categories of entry:

  • Historical Recreation
  • Historical Dress,
  • Historical Interpretation, and
  • Ethnic Costume or Dress.

Entries in all categories are eligible for Best in Class and Best in Show.

Category Definitions:
  • Historical Recreation is for a costume that is based on an existing garment, statue, painting, description, or illustration. The goal of a Historic Reproduction is to re-make a costume that existed in the historical time period (no later than 1970).
  • Historical Dress is for a costume that is intended to look like it came from a particular period of history. This includes original costumes meant to look as if they were designed and made in a particular period. It is acceptable to use modern approximates for period materials for reasons of availability, cost, or safety; these approximations should be noted in documentation. Modern machine sewing is allowed.
  • Historical Interpretation is for a costume that intentionally and visibly departs from the period on which it is based. It ought to be obvious to the viewer that this costume was not intended to be totally authentic. If the judges have to ask what makes your costume an interpretation, it probably belongs in Historical Dress.The distinction between these two categories is based on the costume’s intent, not its execution.
  • Ethnic Costume or Dress may be of any period (including the present). Ethnic means “of or pertaining to a religious, racial, national, or cultural group.” Any costume that would fall into any religious, racial, national, or cultural group may be entered as Ethnic Costume or Dress. If an ethnic garment is from the past and no longer worn by any of the above-listed groups under the definition of Ethnic, the entry may still be considered Ethnic Costume. This category is one of reproduction, NOT interpretation. Therefore, your requirements for design and creation techniques (e.g., sewing), choices of materials, and documentation will be the same as Historical Dress entries.

If you are not sure your costume idea fits into any of these categories, or if you are concerned it may not be appropriate for the Historical Masquerade, please ask the Director!

II. Skill Divisions

A contestant may enter at a level higher than the one for which he or she qualifies. However, an entrant who then wins at that level may not subsequently compete at a lower level. If in doubt over the level at which to compete, consult the Director.

Group entries should compete at the level of the group’s most experienced member who is an essential element of the entry. If in doubt, consult the Masquerade Director.

Skill Level Definitions: Skill levels are intended to ensure that both novice and experienced costumers have a reasonably equal chance to win awards.

  • Young Fan: This level is limited to entrants younger than 13 years of age on May 8th, 2018 (i.e., born after May 8th, 2005) who are not part of an adult entry. It will be divided between entries made by a young fan and entries made by an adult that a young fan presents.
  • Novice: The Novice level is to encourage beginners. You may not enter at this level if you :
    • have won two awards at the Novice level in a Costume-Con historical masquerade,
    • have won at a level higher than Novice in a Costume-Con historical masquerade,
    • compete at the Master level in science fiction and fantasy masquerades at Costume-Cons, Anime North, or World Science Fiction Conventions (ICG-recognized “international-level competitions”),
    • have a costume Laurel, or
    • are a professional. Professional is defined as someone who earns a majority of his or her income from fashion or costume, including university faculty members.
  • Journeyman: The Journeyman level is an intermediate level to allow further development of costuming skills. You may not enter at this level if, at a Costume-Con historical masquerade, you :
    • have won four awards at the Journeyman level,
    • have won an award at the Master level,
    • have won Best in Show, or if you
    • have a costume Laurel or
    • are a historic costume professional (as defined above).
  • Master: This is an open level. Anyone may enter. You must enter at this level if you are not eligible to enter as a Young Fan or at the Novice or Journeyman levels.

III. Rules

All the general costume, prop, and weapon rules for Costume-Con 36 will apply.

  1. The Historical Masquerade will limit entries to costumes based on clothing that was worn, or could have been worn, through 1970. You must be an attending member of Costume-Con 36 to compete in the Historic Masquerade, as must any models you may use.
  2. Each contestant may appear only once on stage. You may enter another costume, but it must be on another Costume-Con 36 member’s body.
  3. No purchased or rented costumes may compete. If you have an interesting costume you think the audience might enjoy that is purchased you may only show it in Exhibition. Exhibition costumes do not require documentation or workmanship judging but are not eligible for awards.
  4. The historical masquerade is rated PG-13. No flagrant nudity — there must be some display of skill in creating and executing a design. The Judges will not award what Mother Nature created. Remember, no costume is no costume.
  5. Costumes that have won major awards (excluding Honorable Mention) at previous Anime North, Costume-Con, or Worldcon competitions are ineligible to compete for an award, but may appear Out of Competition (Exhibition). Costumes which have won major awards at a lower skill level at smaller conventions must be entered at the next highest skill level, and/or with significant changes made to the costume. No sandbagging to collect multiple major awards.
  6. There is no prohibition against presenting costumes worn in the halls before the show however we do strongly discourage it. We encourage you to surprise the audience with your costume.
  7. There will be absolutely no flame, fires, sparks, or other flaming on stage. Other special effects must be clearly described to the Masquerade Director at the tech rehearsal in order for us to determine that they are legal and safe. Costumes with electric power requirements must be self-contained — no extension cords. We discourage the use of radio controlled or other wireless devices as part of an entry, as it may not work inside the convention center.
  8. All entries will be allowed 1 minute (60 seconds) on stage. You may use less time than this, but 60 second is the max. Groups larger than 7 people may have extra time. Going over this time limit requires approval of the masquerade director.
  9. No live animals (other than guide animals) may be used in the masquerade.
  10. Small children must be under the control of a responsible adult at all times (back stage as well as on stage).
  11. Weapons: the Masquerade Director must clear all weapon props and your routine at tech rehearsal. No sharp edges or points will be permitted. Weapons that shoot or eject projectiles will not be permitted. Do not point weapons at the audience or judges directly.
  12. Entrants may not throw anything at the audience. Dropping items on stage are allowed, however, following a presentation the entrant(s), roadies, or ninjas must remove props left on stage quickly and easily.
  13. Entrants may not use messy substances, wet, dry, sparkly, or oily, which may ruin other costumes, on stage or in the green room. This is generally known as the “No Peanut Butter” rule.
  14. There will be no microphones available to entrants; you must pre-record any dialogue and all music. You may submit text for the MC to read before, during, or after your presentation; this text will be vetted during tech rehearsal to make sure it complies with all rules.
  15. All entries are provided backstage assistance as needed. If you need particular help getting up and down the stairs, moving props on and off stage, etc., please inform the director prior to tech rehearsal.
  16. Entrants will be required to attend a tech rehearsal.
  17. Entrants who do not participate in the tech rehearsal will be disqualified. You need not wear costumes for the tech rehearsal; however, you should wear the shoes you will use for your presentation and any parts of your costume that will impede your movement or vision, or both.
  18. Your costume must be completed before you get to the Green Room. No major construction work may take place in the Green Room except the final assembly of large costumes and props or unexpected repairs.
  19. All entrants must check into the green room by the required call time or you will be disqualified. The green room and back stage area are intended for entrants, handlers, and masquerade staff only. Friends or family are not allowed except in extreme emergencies.
  20. The Masquerade Director has the full authority to eliminate anyone from the competition on the grounds of bad taste, danger to self and/or others, violation of the above rules, or any other reason deemed sufficient. There is no appeal.
  21. Do NOT surprise the Masquerade Director and crew. If you are planning something unusual or unique, please inform the Masquerade Director and work with them to surprise and astound the audience.
  22. If you feel any or all of these rules don’t apply to you, you are wrong. You must convince the Masquerade Director to make an exception long before the masquerade.

IV. Workmanship Judging

This is your opportunity to let the judges admire your work up close. Each entry will meet by itself with the panel of judges to show off the costume. Entrants will be expected to show the judges all necessary parts of the costume. If there is an item or element of the costume you want the judges to note especially, be prepared to point it out to them. We recommend that you bring the costume to the prejudging, rather than wear it, so that the judges may handle and examine your work inside and out. However, if you decide to wear the costume to prejudging, be prepared to have the judges look down your cleavage, under your skirt, or at your underwear.

This part of the competition is required of all entrants. Prejudging time will be strictly limited, usually to 5-10 minutes per entry. The schedule will depend on the number of entries received by close of registration. Contestants will have an opportunity to sign up in advance at the masquerade registration desk for appointments with the judges.

V. Documentation Judging

Every entry must have some documentation. Documentation must be turned in to the masquerade registration desk by the closing of the table Saturday afternoon. If you are arriving at the con later, please contact the director well in advance.

Basic documentation. The basic requirements include:

  • Title of costume
  • Entry category
  • Name and address of the person responsible for the entry (or spokesperson for a group)
  • Name(s) of designer(s) and maker(s)
  • Brief identifying description of the costume’s historical period, geographic origin, social class, and so forth
  • Bibliography of sources

The “brief identifying description” should include evidence of the historical basis for the costume. This could be as little as one photocopy of a single picture with an identifying caption or it could be more comprehensive. Assume that the judges are not familiar with the costume(s). You may wish to begin with a brief statement of what you are trying to accomplish and your rationale for choosing the project.

Advanced documentation. In going beyond the minimal requirements, your documentation might include the following:

  • Pattern sources:
    • Photocopies of visual sources, such as artworks, costume drawings, and sketches, that you used
    • Rationale for design and for choices of fabrics and colors
    • Swatches of fabric and trim
    • Your own photograph(s) of original historical garments or accessories
    • Brief descriptions of any special skills or tools you used, such as shoe-making, weaving, or welding
  • Explanation of Outstanding DocumentationOutstanding documentation demonstrates a comprehensive knowledge of the historical source(s) on which a costume is based, with rationales for all elements of the costume, including undergarments, accessories, and minor details, and explanations for deviations from the norm of the period. Excellent documentation also is organized logically and neatly, and presented attractively. Some contestants even go to the length of designing documentation in a style consistent with the costume.
  • Length of Documentation. Outstanding documentation is brief — long enough but no longer than you need to demonstrate the historical basis of the costume. Please be concise. Text (exclusive of bibliography and captions on illustrations) is limited to no more than five 8.5' x 11' typed double-spaced pages per costume. (In a group entry, each costume may have up to five pages of text.) There is no page limit on captioned photographs and illustrations, fabric swatches or other samples, references, or bibliography.  A caption need not be limited to only a few words. It may be a few sentences or even a brief paragraph.

The following will not be accepted as a part of documentation: original sources, including books and paintings (make copies), slides, computer files, videos (tape/CD/DVD), and files on phones.

VI. Additional Information

  • Sound: recordings may be submitted on CD or CD-R, or as an mp3 file on a USB drive, and should contain only the music and/or speech you want played and nothing else. Music must be handed in at the masquerade registration desk prior to your tech rehearsal. We strongly recommend that you bring several copies of your recording, to provide a back-up should one fail.
  • Lights: The default lighting will be stage dark, lights rise on entry, fade to black at exit; other patterns may be arranged with tech. We will update if additional lighting information or options become available.
  • Stage: Our official stage dimensions are 16 feet deep by 30 feet long. Default entrance will be stage left, default exit will be stage right. Plan on using stairs with non-removable handrails to enter/exit the stage. If a ramp is available, we will add that information when it becomes available. If you have mobility issues, please inform the director so accommodations can be made.

Awards: Our judges will make awards in three areas:

  1. Documentation
  2. Workmanship and Detail
  3. Stage Presentation

The Historical Masquerade’s philosophy is “excellence deserves award”;  there are no predetermined minimum or maximum number of awards the judges may make. The judges are not obliged to award Best in Class or Best in Show if, in their opinion, no entry meets the standards for those awards.

VII. Entry forms

Registration forms will be available at the convention. If we are able to put entry forms online, we will notify here. Pre-registration may not be done online at this time.

VIII. Tips for a Successful Masquerade

  • Before the show, get some sleep!
  • Before the show, please eat. If you want to faint after you’ve been on stage, fine; however, we don’t want you to pass out from hunger or low blood sugar in the Green Room or on stage.
  • Before the show, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
  • Remember, this is a costume show, not a talent competition. Never bore the audience.

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Have fun!

The Sci-Fi & Fantasy Masquerade is our "anything goes" contest. Cosplayers and steampunks are encouraged to participate in this masquerade.

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Masquerade Rules

I.    Competition Categories

All costumes entered must be either Original or Re-creation.

Original costumes are designed by the contestant, although they may be inspired by a fantasy, science fiction, or other source. They may be “interpretations” or “mash-ups” of media sources.

Re-creation costumes are those whose design is copied from a media or other source: TV, film, animation, art, illustration, comics/manga, theatre. They may also be re-created from a print description in a book. Documentation of the original source, showing at least one good view of the costume, or a print/prose description by the designer/author, must be provided for judging. (Bring paper copies only, no books or other media. No cell phones or USB drives will be accepted as reference!)

II.     Skill Divisions

The Skill Division System is for protecting those who have little to no experience in costume presentation and workmanship from having to compete directly against those who have costumed for many years. Entrants may always choose to compete at a higher division if they feel their skills are adequate, but they may not compete lower than a division in which they’ve won in the past.

  • Young Fan: Any contestant aged 13 or younger who made their own costume, who is not part of an adult group. All entries in a Young Fan group entry must be 13 or younger.
  • Novice: Any contestant who has never competed, or never won any awards at all. Any contestant who has only won minor awards, judges’ awards, or honorable mentions in any competition. A person may not compete at Novice if they have won more than two major awards (Best in Division, or Best in Show) in the Novice Division in international competition. Any Young Fan contestant may elect to “compete up” and enter the Novice Division.
  • Journeyman: Any contestant who has not won more than three major awards (Best in Division, or Best in Show) in the Journeyman Division in international competition. A person may no longer compete at Journeyman if they have won more than three major awards. Any Young Fan or Novice contestant may elect to “compete up” and enter in the Journeyman Division.
  • Master: Open category: any contestant may elect to “compete up” and enter in the Master Division. Any contestant who has competed and won in the Master Division in an international competition must enter at Master. Professional costumers must enter in the Master Division. Any contestant who has won Best in Show at any regional competition is strongly encouraged to enter at Master.

Group entries must enter in the skill division that their most experienced member sorts into.

Young Fans wearing adult-made costumes must enter in the adult’s skill division, and the maker must be present at time of judging to explain the costume.

The Costume-Con masquerades are International-level competitions; the only other International-level masquerades are at Worldcon and Anime North. If you have never won awards at any of these international-level masquerades, you may enter as Novice at CC, but you may choose to go higher if you feel your skills are sufficient. If you regularly compete at Master elsewhere, it is strongly recommended you compete no lower than Journeyman at Costume-Con.

If you’re not sure which division you should enter, please contact one of the Masquerade Directors.

III. Rules

These are the things you MUST pay attention to, as violating one of the rules can and will make you ineligible for awards.

Remember, when in doubt, ask the Masquerade Directors! Don′t guess.

  1. All contestants must be registered attending members of CC-36. This includes both makers and models.
  2. No purchased, commissioned, or rented costumes may be entered in this competition.
  3. A costume may not be re-entered in this competition if it has won a “Best in Show” at any competition. A previous “Best in Division” winning costume from other competitions may be entered only if it can be entered one skill division level higher than its previous win – which means costumes which have won “Best in Master Class” cannot be re-entered in this competition. Costumes which have only won minor awards or won nothing at all may be re-entered with no caveats.
  4. Costumes worn in the halls prior to the competition and then entered in the Masquerade may not be eligible for Best In Show. Note: this is a special rule for Costume-Con. We would like to help keep your costume clean and undamaged before it appears on stage or before the judges.
  5. This competition is rated PG-13, so no nudity, please. “No costume is no costume” still applies.
  6. No contestant may appear on stage more than once. Costumers may enter more than one costume, but each must appear on a different model. No “cameos” allowed, either.
  7. Each entry will have no more than 60 seconds on stage. You may certainly use less time, but going over 60 seconds requires approval of the Director. Large group entries may receive approval for additional time, but must ask the Director.
  8. No fire or open flame will be allowed on stage. No throwing things off the stage. No special effects (flash bulbs, strobes, sparklers, etc.) that might endanger anybody will be allowed on stage.
  9. The “no peanut butter” rule applies: No messy substances – wet, dry, sparkly, or oily – that might ruin another costume are allowed on stage or in the Green Room. This means no loose glitter or confetti, no unsealed body makeup, no loose powder, etc.
  10. There will be no live or pickup mikes on stage. You must pre-record your dialogue (if any) and background music. You may also submit text for the MC to read before, during, or after your entry. All of this background content may be vetted before approval to ensure we stick to our PG-13 rating. Audio must be submitted no later than your rehearsal time on CD or USB (in mp3 format). Music will NOT be provided. Editing assistance will not be provided.
  11. No weapons which might endanger people will be allowed on stage – edged steel, working projectile weapons, or real-world weaponry. Entrants must display all weapons to the Masquerade Directors at time of rehearsal to be approved. Prop weaponry is fine, but when in doubt, ask for the Director’s approval. All weapons and props must meet the general safety requirements for the entire convention.
  12. Special effects may be approved after safe display at rehearsal, provided they are legal. In no case will a special effect be approved that leaves a mess on the stage. Self-contained fog-machine type effects will be approved only if the “fog juice” is proven non-allergenic and non-messy.
  13. No flash photography will be allowed during the competition. Please pose for your friends during the photo-run on stage after the contest, or for our photographer while you are not on stage!
  14. You must check in at the green room by the required call time or you will be disqualified.
  15.  Rehearsal is required. Sign up for a rehearsal slot on-site at the convention before rehearsals are scheduled to start. Failure to show up at rehearsal time may result in disqualification.
  16. Entry numbers will be given out in the Green Room. You must be in line and ready to go on stage when your entry number is called. If you miss your call, your entry may be dropped.
  17. Entries with great difficulty getting on and off stage within a reasonable amount of time must be pre-arranged with the Masquerade Directors. All entries will be provided stage assistance as necessary.
  18. The Masquerade Directors require real names to be supplied on entry forms. These real names must match the ones you used to register for the convention. You can always ask the MC to announce nicknames.
  19. No exceptions will be made to these rules without advance approval by the Masquerade Directors.
  20. Do NOT surprise the Masquerade Directors or crew! Let us in on what you have planned, and trust us to keep the surprise from the audience and judges until you’re ready to unveil it.
IV.   Additional Information

Sound: We plan on accepting both CDs and MP3s. If you use CDs, be sure that they are recorded as an audio CD, that your dialogue/music is recorded on track #1, and that it is the ONLY track on the CD. When in doubt, bring extras, including extra blank media. USB sticks with mp3 media will be accepted, but if you must, please reduce clutter so we don’t have to search for your audio file. Please scan your USB stick before providing it to the tech crew to prevent virus/malware infection.

Lights: No details yet. Do not plan on anything more complicated than color washes, fade in/outs, and spotlights. Default lighting cue is full lights on at start of presentation, fade to black/blackout at end of presentation.

Power: There will not be power cords/plugs on stage. Lights and other effects must be self-contained.

Stage: Our official stage dimensions will be announced as soon as we have that info.. Default entrance will be stage left, default exit will be stage right. Plan on using stairs to enter/exit the stage. If a ramp is available, we will add that information when it becomes available. If you have mobility issues, please inform the Directors so accommodations can be made.

Miscellaneous: We do allow stage scenery, large props, etc, but the Directors would appreciate a heads-up if you will be bringing anything of this nature, so we can coordinate storage space, stage crew handling, and rehearsal time.

  1. Workmanship Judging

Workmanship judging is optional, but strongly encouraged. Workmanship score does factor into Best in Class/Best in Show awards. Your entire costume need not be judged; you can (and many do!) submit just one part of it for judging. For example, you may present just one prop, or a headdress, or all the beading.

If you think you may want workmanship judging, please check the YES box on your entry form. If you’re sure you won’t, please check NO. This will help us schedule our judges’ time better, to ensure everybody’s work gets a fair viewing.

If you are entering a re-creation, providing reference material is absolutely necessary. The judges don’t know every media source out there, they may not know your costume. Please print copies of any reference you wish to submit, phones/tablets/computers will not suffice. A huge documentation book is not necessary, a single image may be enough.

  1. Entry Forms

Registration forms will be available at the convention. Pre-registration may not be done online at this time. Registrations will be taken Friday until 6pm and Saturday until the end of the Masquerade Orientation panel. There will be a mandatory “check-in” at the Masquerade Orientation panel in Main Programming, to make sure the director has your completed forms, music (if any), and all entrants and their handlers have a “green room permissions mark” applied to their badge.

For more information, please email the Director, Dorothy O’Hare at: Dorothy.OHare@Gmail.com