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, December 28, 2011

2011 Costumes in Review

It’s time to review what all I accomplished this last year in my costumes since it helps me see how much I actually accomplished, and still have yet to do. Yes, I do have more to do. My goal was to have at least one gown of each of my favorite eras so I would have something to wear for any costumed event coming up. I then had to have a Summer and a Winter outfit; then a day time and a late afternoon/early evening outfit. At least I don’t have to worry about ball gowns too. My feet don’t go that way.

It also helps me see what I’m still lacking, and what priority my whims need to follow. I REALLY want to make more 1830s gowns. REALLY do! But I have some other gowns that have priority over that. The 1930s dress I started needs to be finished, along with a couple others, for Costume College in August. And soon I’ll be making the Truly Victorian Edwardian corset. And it will need some frilly undies to go with it, maybe so I can show it off?

Here’s what I did accomplish this year:

In January I finished my 1850s Turquoise & Gold Plaid gown for the Riverside Dickens fashion show.
In February, I re-cut my 1770s polonaise into a curaco, and wore that to the DAR’s fashion show.                                         
In March, while at the Costume Accessories Symposium in Williamsburg, I made this lovely 1770s silk muff.
In April, I fought with the Wingeo pattern for a 1912 suit to wear to our Boarding the Titanic Party.
In July, I made one of my favorite dresses, an 1890s aqua La Belle Epoque gown, to wear to the Tea at Costume College.
Also in July, I finished my 1851 reprodution of a Bloomer costume to wear to Costume College. I copied it from an extant gown in the San Diego History Museum. This dress, and its pattern, is the focal point of a workshop I’ll be presenting during the next year.
In November, I finished an 1850s mourning gown and bonnet, to be worn at a couple different mourning events.


My first chance to wear it however, was at the Dia de los Muertos celebration in Old Town San Diego.

Also in November, our Costumed Walkabout at the Del Mar Antique Show was a Steampunk Christmas, and I made the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present & Future for that. It was the first costume I made that wasn’t meant as a historical gown, but I used an 1812 pattern for it.
In December, I finished an 1872 gown I’d started in November of 2010. I was able to wear it three times in December, and have been told it’s my best to date.
 I’ve also been making a Regency bodiced petticoat for a friend as a Xmas present and that should be done in the next couple days.
My sewing plans are being laid to rest for a week or so until I’m finished with the holidays. But that doesn’t mean my brain isn’t still working and planning. I have a few things cut out already, and just need to set my mind to them.


  1. How lovely to see all your work together. I think I like the last one in red the best, but if I were to see them in person I can't imagine how anybody could choose!

  2. Beautiful costumes!!!
    I look forward to your future dresses!!!

  3. I am totally awed by your work and how well you wear these clothes. When I see your photos I can feel the era you are living, you bring it to life.

  4. Thank you ladies!
    "What I Found"- if you could feel the richness of the aqua La Belle Epoque fabric, and see the laces, you would see why that one is my favorite.
    "Eva"- I too look forward to new ones. :D
    "Victoria"- Thank you again. I try for authenticity within my limits, and I think the trim & accessories really bring a costume into a real life dress. I still have lots to learn and have my own people who inspire me.

  5. Not sure which of your ensembles is my favorite, because they are all delicious! But I'm leaning between the red and black bustle and the Belle Epoque...probably because that's pretty much my favorite color!

    Looking forward to getting the rest of this excess baggage off my rear because I want a bustle dress, an 1840's dress and a Mary Poppins outfit! I need the Poppins because she's my favorite person, and I want to be Scary Mary for Halloween this next year lol.

  6. Bravo, Val!! Your costumes are all so beautiful!! It's been quite a colorful year. Happy and many more fun events for you in 2012. I can hardly wait to see what you create or what era you rein-act to next. Karen

  7. Good evening,
    My personal favorite, besides the excellent red and black bustle dress? The Belle Epoque gown, naturally. So few people do that period well, and its grandeur and luscious trims are just perfect for you. The hat that goes with it, wow. Jeepers, I need to make better hats. I am not a natural milliner. Sigh.

    Very best,


  8. Hi Val, I had a quick question about your Winego 1912 suit. I was thinking of buying this pattern to make and wear to the May 5th outing to the Titanic exhibit. Would you suggest this pattern and which blouse pattern did you use to go underneath? Thanks for any help ;)


    1. Kate, you can read my complete blog entry on my making this here, along with what I did for my blouse, which was a dickey.
      The pattern came with very minimal directions, and if you haven't made a lapel type jacket yet, you'll have trouble with it like I did. As an alternative, I'd try the Sense & Sensibility pattern either for the Edwardian jacket or the Beatrix jacket.
      I'm going to try those next time I need a jacket. S&S patterns are more user friendly but have to be fitted more.


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