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, January 18, 2012

Fashion Show at Riverside Dickens Fair 2012

January 7 & 8, 2012
This was my 5th year as a model in the Dickens fashion show, and it seems each year to get better. This year’s theme for the show was famous women, and we were supposed to wear a costume that would match the character and year if possible.
I proposed doing Amelia Bloomer and wear the 1851 green Bloomer gown I had made. I had a lot of really nice compliments on my gown, and afterwards people kept coming up to me to ask me more about it.

 I was also asked by the coordinator if I would be able to do one of two famous female murderesses. One of them, Adelaide Bartlett, had an interesting history & was accused in 1886 of poisoning her husband with chlorine. They were never able to find evidence of how he was poisoned so she was acquitted. I chose to wear my 1885 Best Black bustle gown. I call it Best Black because it’s very fancy with trims, and is appropriate to a wealthy woman. It’s also black so I would appear to be in mourning. At the end of the description of my gown and the story of Adelaide, the speaker said after the trial, Adelaide received 17 marriage proposals.  I flirted with the audience and had a lot of fun with it.


After the fashion show, I wandered around the fair with my friends, and was often stopped for photos. I chose to change back into my Bloomer gown just because it was more comfortable, and much cooler than my black dress.

 I think I made an impression on quite a few people with my Bloomer gown and I hope to see others popping up at events soon. I still have another gown in the works, in a brown patterned cotton, but I have others with more priority at the moment.
Photos were provided by my friends, Jerry, and Marcee.


  1. I love your black dress. It looks great on you.

    1. Thank you, Stephanie. Too bad it doesn't get out much.

  2. you look beautifull!!
    greetings marijke

  3. My grandmother taught me to sew on her treadle sewing machine and she later gave it to me and I sewed tons of doll clothes and my intrepratation of my great grandmother's 1880s wedding dress for myself. I was 16 at the time. I later sold that machine and have spent many a momments regreting that move.

  4. I don't know why that last comment posted here...I was aiming for the sewing machine post...For this post I want to say lovely dress!


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