Workshops & Demos

The 2019 workshop’s team at Costuming Track are working hard to provide a wide variety of costuming make-n-take workshops for you at this year’s con.  Please check back in late May – early June.

Got questions? Here are the ones we hear most frequently:

2016 was our first year offering intimate, hands on workshops with materials that the attendee can take home. Each year, we receive more emails asking for hands on training workshops than any other panel or event requests. The idea is to give each participant a packet of materials in which they can use to follow along, step-by-step, with an instructor as they demonstrate a complete building process.
This is not a short answer. To properly present a beneficial workshop, presenting educators must charge for the materials (see also "Why the fee?".) It is Dragon Con's general policy that no one on a track level, either the director, volunteers, or presenters, are permitted to profit from any event presented on behalf of a track. We have always had the freedom to raise funds for Dragon Con's official charity; but we, otherwise, have not been allowed to exchange money for goods or services in any way. Meanwhile, we were receiving multiple emails annually asking us to do hands-on workshops. -many said they would even be willing to pay for it. So we began asking folks if they would do a workshop if it meant reimbursing presenters for the cost of materials. The positive responses were overwhelming. So, in 2011 we began negotiations with Dragon Con to allow us to collect from each workshop attendee only the amount of money needed to cover the cost of materials for the workshop. Seeing that there was a demand, Dragon Con first decided to manage the money pieces directly and take costuming workshops from the track-level to their regular workshops division in which the intent is to provide attendees a chance to receive instruction from a celebrity. The advantage would be that folks can pay in advance through the official Dragon Con store. Then there came the issue of logistics. Dragon Con realized that they would have to dedicate paid resources, both in credit card fees and human operators, to handling payments for something that is only reimbursement of materials. Suddenly we had a dilemma: should Dragon Con manage the money exchanges at a loss, or allow the track to manage the reimbursement process at cost. Fortunately, a solution was reached: participants are to reimburse the presenter directly on the presenter's terms. Costuming Track monitors the reimbursements to make sure everything is handled fairly for both the participant and presenter while not physically touching the money directly. When all agreed to this compromise, we moved forward with making hands-on workshops a reality in 2016.
The cost of materials vary depending on the objective of the workshop. Please see the description of each workshop for the materials cost.
Materials cost money. 99.9% of Costuming Tracks guests and professionals are at Dragon Con on their own dime. Your expert instructors are generously donating their time to share their expertise with you without any financial benefit. $15-$30 worth of supplies for 15-20 people adds up. -especially when a presenter does more than one session of the same workshop. We will not ask our presenters or volunteers to eat that cost. We ask only that each workshop participant reimburse the presenter for the materials - at cost: often for less than you can buy them yourself because the presenter purchases in bulk and passes that savings on to you. Hands-on instruction is in huge demand and with the cost of instructor time removed we know these workshop costs are a steal. We do on occasions offer a hands-on experience in which there is no materials reimbursement fee. This is typical available when a sponsor donates the materials. If we are able to offer such a workshop this year you will find it listed in our workshop offerings.
Because you are reimbursing the instructor directly it depends upon their accepted methods of payment. Some have the ability to accept credit card payments in advance and some accept only cash (exact change is greatly appreciated.) Sorry but they cannot accept checks. Each collect materials reimbursement in a manner that feels comfortable to them. Upon registration, the presenter will contact you directly to make arrangements. From there you have up to 14 days to pay.
Pre-registrations without paying materials reimbursement within the 14 day grace period will be dropped and that seat will be made available to someone else.
Workshops are hands-on. Each presenter sets attendee limitations based on how many people they can directly assist with their projects. Its a quality over quantity thing.
Dragon Con has many things to offer ranging from fan tracks (Costuming being one of them) and table top games to concerts and celebrity workshops. Dragon Cons workshops are typically for a rate negotiated between the celebrities agent and the con office. Their workshop is essentially a provided service for which they are able to accept advance payment via the Dragon Con store along with their membership badges and other collectible merchandise. Our workshops are simple hands on DIY in which you pay only to reimburse the instructor for materials - nothing else. Our workshops are not related to Dragon Cons official workshops whatsoever and, therefore, they do not allocate resources toward the peaceful exchange of materials for reimbursement. It is also why you will not find Costuming Track workshops on the Dragon Con workshop schedule.
No. We tried this last year. It didn't work out. If participants don't reimburse the instructor for materials, the instructor gets stuck with excess supplies and will not want to help us out with a workshop next year. Besides, they can only provide their attention to X number of participants and we don't want that quality time to be disturbed by onlookers.
Last minute entries at the Con (with exact change in cash) will be accepted if there are spaces available. We do predict, however, that all spaces will be gone by then so pre-register early and pay for your kit so you won't miss out.
Upon pre-registration, your instructor will contact you directly with additional instructions which will include payment information and arrangements for handing off your supplies.
Sorry, no. We don't want the instructor to be stuck with excess tools and supplies they may not be able to use. But do not despair: each kit comes with detailed instructions and the instructors contact information so that you may complete the project at home. If your instructor is in a position where they can easily reimburse you without incurring banking penalties they may opt to accept reimbursement from a walk-in participant and refund you. It's at their discretion but as a general rule this isn't feasible.
We know how the crowds can sometimes make it difficult to get from point A to point B during the standard 30 break between events. We will hold your seat for up to an additional 30 minutes giving you a full hour to arrive. If you are more than 30 minutes late the instructor may opt to do one of three things: 1) continue to hold your seat for you 2) seek reimbursement from a potential participant and refund you (see previous question for more) 3) close the doors to avoid being disrupted and make arrangements to have your kit delivered to you Instructors generally tend to do either 1 or 2 but we are required to mention 3 since it is a possibility.
You may email our workshops team at: ws.dragonconcostuming@gmail.com.  We would love to hear from you.