This is a photo diary of my costuming "travels"; where I've learned and struggled to make historical costumes for myself. They're not always pretty, but always fun. most of the time. And I want to share with others what I learn along the way. **You can find me on Facebook, or have my posts delivered to your email by signing up at the lower part of the right column.**

About Me

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HI, my name is Val. I'm a member of Costumer's Guild West in Los Angeles, member & Past President of the San Diego Costume Guild, member of Orange County Costume Guild, a representative of the San Diego History Center, & an honorary member of SITU (Someplace in Time, Unlimited) in Seattle. This year I am the Dean of Costume College 2018. I make my own historical costumes but don't sell any unless I get tired of one.The eras I've made so far are 1770 up to 1918. My favorite is the 1880s bustle.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

1895 Pink Mary Moore traveling suit

Started Aug 13, finished Aug 26, 2010.
I had admired an 1895 painting of Mary Moore, and her pink suit. It’s a very elaborately decorated bolero jacket and skirt. I had plans on trying to either recreate it or use it as an inspiration for a similar gown.

When my costume guild and vintage dance group decided to go to a Toulouse Lautrec exhibit in the Museum of Art in Balboa Park, San Diego, I knew this would be perfect for it, as the date spanned 1880s to 1901. Others would be actually copying gowns from his paintings.
The fabric in the painting is probably a silk since it looks pretty soft, and it has a clover soutache design on the jacket front and down the sleeve arms. It also looks like it has something sparkly on them.
I ended up making more of a day dress out of this idea. I bought a dusty pink lightweight upholstery fabric on sale that had a good weight for making it. I used Butterick 5232 for the bolero style jacket, and Truly Victorian’s 291 for the walking skirt. I already had a lace insertion white blouse to use with it.

I chose the Butterick bolero pattern over TV’s similar one for ease of making, since I only had two weeks to finish it. And I don’t really like the big leg of mutton sleeves. The skirt was a fairly simple one to construct.
After sewing the bodice together, I sewed the collar to the outside. I did a bag lining out of ecru cotton and sewed it to the bodice. The sleeves were sewn in next. The first set I lined but they kept making the sleeves twist with my blouse on, and I remade them without lining.
I set the sleeves in with pleats but one sleeve kept twisting around again, and after the 5th time I finally got them to sit right. They still need something inside the sleeve cap, like a stiff tulle, to poof them up.

The jacket fit very nicely, but it kept flying open so I added some fabric bars across the front with some brass buttons. At some point, I plan to hand sew a similar soutache design around the jacket and sleeves like the painting, and possibly on the front of the skirt.
For my hat, I started with a plain straw boater, and used this picture as my inspiration.

I knew I wanted to add a pop of color, and since the combination of pink and green had been influencing me recently, it seemed the perfect color to add to it.
I used some green silk taffeta and wrapped it around the crown. I sewed three long tubes of the fabric and then slid a narrow strip of buckram inside each one. I folded them in half, and sewed them & a bow to the back of the hat. The buckram kept them all up at attention. I had three pink silk flowers I’d purchased a few years ago, and pinned those to the front.

I was able to get lots of nice photos of me in this outfit this time. This was a group photo from the Toulouse Lautrec exhibit, & one of me in front of a well known poster by Lautrec.

We went to various posters & sketches, and copied the poses of Lautrec’s models.If you look at the painting in the background, you will see that we posed in front of them to recreate them. The attendees to the exhibit really enjoyed seeing that.

My favorite photo, taken by Jerry Abuan ( was next to a sketch of opera singer, Louise Balthy. I was surprised that she had the same hat design as I did. You can just barely see the ribbon loops on the top but it was quite clear standing 10 inches away from it.

And another favorite photo by Jerry Abuan.


  1. Love it and it looks like you had so much fun! I would have enjoyed that exhibit.

  2. Oh wow! The costume is beautiful!


I would love to hear if this was any help to you. Pretty please!