Last year’s workshops were so successful that we are doing it again! Below are this year’s exciting hands-on events to take you beyond our panels and give you actual training with an expert instructor. We hope that you will take advantage of one or more of them.
Don’t forget that workshops are on a first paid, first served bases. We are happily taking pre-registrations so our instructors know how many sets of materials to get. However, pre-registration does not guarantee a space in the workshop until you have reimbursed the instructor for said materials. Honestly, your best option for making sure you have a seat in the workshop of your choice is to register and arrange to pay in advance.
Without further ado, here they are:
Chainmaille for Beginners – $20 (2.5 hrs; limited to 20 people)
Ever wanted to learn chainmaille? This is your chance! In this two and a half hour class we cover the basics of chainmaille assembly. Participants can choose to make either a six inch by six inch square of armor weave, or up to three feet of byzantine chain. This kit includes:
2 pair pliers
Approx. 750ct of 16 gauge, 1/4 inch bright aluminum rings
Your instructor: Stephen Taylor owner of Lone Wolf Armory.
Note: this class is also offered in a scalemaille version (see description below.)
Scalemaille Basics – $30 (2.5 hrs; limited to 20 people)
Scalemaille is a cool variation of chainmaille. This is your chance! In this two and a half hour class we cover the basics of Scalemaille assembly. Participants will learn to make a 6 inch by 6 inch square of Scalemaile. They will also learn how to do contractions and expansions in the weave. Your kit includes:
2 pair pliers
Approx. 300ct of 16 gauge, 5/16 inch bright aluminum rings
150 Anodized Aluminum Scales
Printed instructions to complete the project.
Session: Sunday 1:00p – 3:30p
Your instructor: Stephen Taylor owner of Lone Wolf Armory in, Atlanta GA.
Simplicity Patterns and You: A Primer – for a donation to this year’s charity($5 minimum suggested. 2.5 hrs; limited to 25 people)
Description: Always wanted to start making your own costumes, but never knew where to start? Took Home Ec two decades ago and now you just need a refresher course in how to figure out those confusing pattern envelopes? Either way, this is the workshop for you! Simplicity Patterns walks you step by step through the commercial pattern process, from finding your pattern size to reading the envelope, to figuring out yardage and layouts and some common alterations everyone can make and sends you home with your very own pattern to try out!
This workshop will cover the complete step-by-step process of pattern drafting. Participants will have hands on experience with all steps used in the drafting process from correctly taking necessary measurements to using those measurements in the creation of a personal pattern that you can take home. Kit includes T-square and craft paper. Tape measure and markers will be available.
Your instructor: Freddy Clements, professor of theatrical arts at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL..
Children’s Foam Light Saber and Jedi Training Workshop – free! (1 hr; space is limited)
A free workshop and play-struction session for the little guys and gals, build a foam light saber and participate in Jedi training with the Rogue Alliance. Parental accompaniment required. Best suited for ages 4-11. Materials have been generously donated. Stop in to let the little Jedi in your family burn off some of that energy leftover from the Dragon Con parade.
Session: Saturday 11:30a – 12:30p
Your instructors: The Costuming Track
Hand Embroidery Workshop – $5 (1 hr; see session info for limitations)
Hand embroidery is a timeless art that’s also useful for costuming (the HBO series Game of Thrones employs a professional embroider to hand stitch all the designs for their costumes!) Get a jump start into the basics of hand embroidery. You’ll get tips for transferring designs and how to hoop your work. Your kit includes:
Small wood embroidery hoop
Stitch sampler design
Printed instructions that cover basic stitches
Youth ages 8-14, Friday 1:00p – 2:00p (limited to 15 participants, must have accompanying adult)
Adults, Saturday 1:00p – 2:00p (limited to 20 participants)
Your instructor: Mary Abreu, sewing author and freelance film seamstress
We have one more workshop on the way from Simplicity Creative (the pattern company.) We will make announcements when we have more details.
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.
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 weknow 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.
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 in the past. 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.
You will receive a payment confirmation through PayPal. A Costuming Track Workshops volunteer will be reaching out to you via email confirming the workshop(s) you have registered for. Then it is just a matter of showing up for the workshop during Dragon Con.
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 you are unable to attend the workshop, please make arrangements with the Workshops Coordinator to pick up your workshop kit by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.