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, Dean Emeritus of 2018 Costume College; 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. 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, February 6, 2014


This is a quickie post. I just had to share my light bulb moment.
Did you ever look at a picture of an extant gown and wonder how the heck they put that gorgeous gathering/smocking on a dress? I would ask myself how did they keep it from stretching and hold its shape, and be able to close it?
This past weekend while at a sewing workshop, I was trying to work out how to do the Truly Victorian #454, an 1845 German Day dress. I don’t need this dress till June but I wanted to have my muslin made ahead of time. The bodice has gathers or smocking, whichever you want to do, at the bottom of the center insert and the excess fabric is gently gathered up into the neckline. 
I fumbled with it and got my gathers nice and even, and then noticed the duplicate center front panel pattern piece without gathers, so it was narrower. I am supposed to sew my gathered piece on top of it just like you would flat lining, and it becomes one piece. My photo shows the top piece has been gathered, and after gathering it in to the same size as the flat center front panel, I’ve pinned them as one piece & stitch them together. Then you sew the side panels to it, and voila!
So that’s how they do it! This may open a whole new world of trim ideas for me. 

1 comment:

  1. Dear Val,

    Oh look! A pattern with a tail!

    Yaha! So that's how. I had envisioned lots of stressed fabrics, popped threads, and resewing.

    That dress is going to be wonderful...

    Very best,



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