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.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

1850s Mourning gown for Dia de los Muertos

Before I’d left on vacation about a month ago, I had finished my mourning gown and bonnet, but sadly not my corded petticoat. So I had to resort to my backup of a tulle petticoat. But it shall get done! One of these days.
I draped an antique black floral veil over my bonnet & tacked it to stay on. I had also found a pair of black lace mitts at an Icings store that were similar to some in an 1860s photograph so I felt confident to wear them.

My first chance to wear it was for the annual Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead/All Soul’s Day) in Old Town San Diego, CA, on Nov 2. I and our costume guild led the Candlelight Procession from the historic Whaley House to the Campo de Santo Cemetery down the street. I showed up early and had my face painted as a Catrina (an elegant skeleton lady). I wanted to try it myself but decided to let someone else do it the first time. Next year! After it was done, I sat out on the wall in front of the Whaley House waiting for the other arrivals, and I became the focal point of many people having their photos taken with me. Fun!

This year more than 4000 people attended the Candlelight Procession and it was amazing to see them walking down the street, carrying candles, and arriving at the cemetery.

This was a photo taken later by Jerry Abuan.
Next year I plan on painting my own face but will need to practice in the meantime.


  1. How fun, Val! It would so fun to see you sitting there on that wall in that beautiful costume. I would want my picture taken with you too. I went walking in my neighborhood today and found two altars to the day of the dead. I haven't seen that before here.

  2. Thank you, Marilyn. I really did enjoy sitting there and being a "prop". When our group finally got together we had to just stand in place while many many cameras were going off.

    I left some marigolds on the altar at the Whaley House in memory of my dad.

  3. How exciting. I know you had a great time.

  4. Val, this is so great! You looked amazing.


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