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

My photo
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.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gaslight Gathering Steampunk & Victorian Fashion Shows

Last weekend I attended the first, and hopefully annual, Gaslight Gathering Steampunk & Victoriana convention in San Diego, CA.

This is Kaja Foglio, who with her husband Phil, write the comic Girl Genius which was the inspiration for much of Steampunk fashion.

With my friends, Mary Jennings, and Shelley Peters of the Kansas Merchantile aka The Widow Peters.

Other than wearing Steampunk, my friend Cindy asked me to be in the fashion show she was running on Mother's Day, which would be Victorian fashions that we used historical paintings, photos or fashion prints as our inspiration.
I already had one gown made that I'd sort of copied from a fashion print, and started another that I was using a photo of Queen Victoria to copy but realized that it was the same pattern as the other gown. So I decided to wear another gown that also had been inspired by a painting.
My first gown, an 1850s turquoise plaid was inspired by this print of the green plaid gown. I previously documented the making of that one.

We had a photographer that grabbed us as we left the room for a quick photo, and unfortunately by that time my lips were quivering from so much smiling, and I was rushing to change into my next gown. I've decided I need to wear this WITHOUT the bonnet because it's big bow is covering all the pretty trims on the front, and my brooch.

My second gown, which was just documented in my previous post, was an 1885 blue floral gown inspired by this painting.

I carried a basket with roses in a similar color and one in my hand. I didn't get a photo I liked that time, so this one with my friends Lauren and Cindy (the show's narrator) shows it off partially.

I'm doing another fashion show this next weekend, and will be wearing my 1770s red floral caraco again since they don't have anything from that time period, and my friend Cindy will be wearing her purple pleated gown. At least neither of us have to rush to finish anything because I want to focus on my new 1850s gown right now.


  1. Val, I stand in awe of your talent and envious of the fun you must have at these events! I'm just a wannabe costumer living vicariously through folks such as yourself!

  2. Charley, I'm having a blast! My costume guild likes to find places we can go in costume, and we all love to play dress-up, just like little girls. And we have boys too.

  3. I wasn't able to attend, although I'd have loved to see all the costumes! A dear friend of mine gave a lecture on Spiritualism, and I am sorry I missed that. Seems like the event was a blast!

  4. I want to be you when I grow up, Val! I can sew a button like nobody's business...and that's the extent of my sewing skills. I'm new to the costume thing (thanks to my little sis and a road trip to a Steampunk convention last March), but my grand skills relegate me to "collector" status. You, your costumes are amazing. I can't wait to see what you come up with next!

  5. Thank you, Janine. I'm really sad that girls aren't taught how to sew in school anymore. It should not become a lost art. We have many people in our costume guild in San Diego that can't sew either. But they're able to put things together by purchasing them. Steampunk is one of the easier ones to do, and many parts of the costume can be bought in thrift shops or out of your closet, depending on how you want to present it. Good luck, and don't give up!


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