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, 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.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Photos of my costumes and more about them will need to wait until after I’ve worn them at Costume College. They need to be seen in their full regalia to be appreciated. And right now I don’t have a lot of time to write about them. I shouldn’t even be writing this right now but I can’t help it! I’m procrastinating.
Packing and making lists of what you need to bring to Costume College for your costumes is all part of the chaos that it involves. As I get into the final week before I leave, I’ve started to make piles of what I’m bringing. Right now the dining table has my narrative, student handouts, and display for the class on watch chains I’m doing. Also another pile of last minute photos to be displayed for Caught on Camera. We’re finally finished. And then there’s another pile of miscellaneous things I’m bringing for my friends, mainly patterns.
The most important pile, The Costumes and Accessories, will begin shortly.  I'm driving up so I’m not limited by any more than my Honda CRV can hold, including my passenger and her things. Yay, I’m bringing Angela Burnley with me! Burnley and Trowbridge  
My gowns will all be in garment bags; underpinnings in my suitcase, along with a few modern street clothes and personal items; and a couple hat boxes that hold my hats, wigs, gloves, purses, and jewelry.
My biggest asset will be my costume packing list, where I list each costume that I’m wearing for what day or event, and then what is worn with it. I look at a previous photo of it, and visually dress myself, listing things as I go down my head. Here’s an example:

1886 Mourning

–bodice/skirt/apron, Vic corset, chemise, drawers, blk petticoat and bustle, blk socks, blk boots, black gloves, black hat/ 2 hatpins, wig, blk earrings/brooch. Blk purse

During the next week I’ll be pulling out things for it and my other gowns, check it off the list, build piles on the dining table, and then as usual worry that once again I don’t have enough chemises and drawers to wear each day. I’m wearing five costumes this year. There is no way I can wear each one more than one day. It would be nice to have a mini washer/dryer in our hotel rooms. Oh, wait, maybe I should make more than just 3 of each. I think I remember saying the exact same thing last year as I was packing.
I have both my 1837 Persimmon and Midnight Mourning gowns done, and just finishing up a couple accessories on them. My 1910 Black Ascot just needs some tweaking on the back waistband. So basically all I have left to sew is a rolled hem on a fichu I need for Midnight Mourning. I have a 1908 dress almost done but then that means a fourth type corset, and more underpinnings, and I just don’t think that’s going to work. So I'm wearing my Red/Wht/Blu Regency gown and pelisse, and Epic Bonnet during one day. But one never knows if the pressure MAKES you finish that final dress. 
So back to work! The clock is ticking! 
BTW, Chloe has been seen chasing some birds, and climbing the back wall in our yard looking for squirrels and lizards, so she’s baaaaack! 


  1. I had to laugh at this post and your tornado post, it so hit close to home. If were wishing for hotel amenities, how about a pressing service for historical clothing? I am bringing my own iron and spray starch! I wonder what the charge would be for steam pressing and starching 6 yds of petticoat? I am coming from Oregon, so I leave on Friday, and am taking a ton! Luckily I'm driving a Ford F150!
    I too have each outfit laid out with all the accessories and will begin filling suitcases tonight, vintage ones of course.
    I'm so jealous that you get to bring Angela Burnley, I'm lucky enough to be in her limited class and so looking forward to meeting her!
    Well my last stitches are in, good luck with your preparations

    1. Meg, have a safe drive there and look forward to meeting you.
      If I may suggest to add to your ironing kit, also bring a small spray bottle for water, and an oven mitt (new) that you can use for ironing sleeves and small areas with. You use the mitt like you would use a small ironing board or ham to get those hard to iron places. They're great for puffy sleeves, and little pleats & curved areas. -Val

  2. I know how you feel. I'm packing for Pennsic right now. I'll be there the full two weeks which means garb for the full two weeks...

    1. OMG Isabella! I can't imagine having to pack enough for two weeks.


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