On 16th March 2020 it became apparent that all students would have to finish their degree from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a strange concept to come to terms with, as it was such a shame to end three years of hard work in this way, unable to support each other physically in the final push to achieving our degree.
Organisation was a key part of packing up all my costuming bits and ensuring that I had ordered all the relevant materials required. This meant I was able to complete all my garments from home.
As I drove home, I reflected on the wonderful experience I had had at university, from learning invaluable practical skills and working on a number of exciting projects to making lifelong friends and living by the sea for the first time! I seemed to have accumulated even more fabrics and trimmings than I arrived in Bournemouth with at the start of the course, so the first challenge would be finding space for it all!
I quickly took over various rooms in the house with all my sewing materials, three mannequins and many rolls of fabric! Once I had set up my workroom, armed with a needle and thread, I carried on with the construction process. It was initially difficult to adapt to working at home after being used to the large open studios at university. Factors such as a lack of cutting space and not having access to an industrial iron made work more of a challenge. I alternated between a domestic and a travel iron as I found that the smaller of the two was more effective. It was also handy to reach the more concealed and fiddly parts of my costumes.
During these challenging times, Zoom sewing sessions with my course mates were great, to keep each other going, to update one another on our progress and to share our experiences of working from home. My family and friends have been wonderful in supporting me with their love and care, not only through the difficult times of the pandemic, but throughout the three years of my degree, and for that I am most grateful. The tutors and technicians at AUB have also been brilliant by offering tutorials over Zoom when they were needed and allowing us to borrow certain materials such as mannequins to assist in completing the course. Our tutorials have almost been more personal than at university because they have been from our own homes! Over the duration of this course, I have learnt many technical skills, built upon my historical knowledge, and met lots of fantastic people along the way. This experience has been invaluable, and I look forward to taking on new challenges throughout my costuming career.