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.


Saturday, August 16, 2014


The last thing I said before I left for Costume College was I really needed to make more chemises. It was also the last thing I said before I went there in 2013, and probably 2012. But at that time I did make two new ones but out of a too-thin cotton that just about got shredded when I hooked up my corset. And that’s what I was still wearing this year. For shame.
Normally when I get back from CoCo I’m still riding on a “sew all the things” –mode, and I take advantage of that to try and get something else done before it dies out in about a month.  This time I stuck to my guns and bought some 100% cotton muslin to cut out four and sew them.
I have lots of patterns for chemises but none had the deeper neckline I need for some of my square neck bodices. I tried an earlier time period pattern that was suggested but it was so loosey-goosey I felt it was going to fall off me any second. I’m going to take in a big front and back seam in the center of that one so as not to waste some good material.

I realized anything that I used would have to be altered some way and when I pulled out this Simplicity 7157 for an Edwardian petticoat, I saw the neckline I wanted.
The petticoat had to be postponed because it takes 7 yards of 45” wide fabric, and my poor muslin I bought at JoAnn’s is a measly 36”. And I need chemises more than a petticoat. But its next!
I planned on just using the top half of the bodice and extending it down into an A-line for my length but as I’m writing this, I just realized I had pulled out the pattern pieces for the combinations and it has a more slightly rounded neckline. But hey, it works! Its still lower than some of the others I tried.
 The length I needed was 36” from my shoulder to the bottom so I just tore 36” lengths of the fabric and it didn’t require a lot of extra cutting. Instead of having a front seam, I cut that edge on the fold.
As much as I love those pretty frilly chemises, I'd rather spend my time on the outside dresses. And I wanted to make these as quickly and simply as I could because all white gets a little boring. So they will have no sleeves, and I’m just turning the edges of the neckline and armholes under to hem them. I cut out four and zipped up all the side shoulder seams.
Some of my friends said to add some different laces so I could tell the difference between them and not end up wearing the same one on the same day. So I pulled out my lace stash and found bits and pieces that I could use but would also not be scratchy. One of the cotton eyelets was pretty wide and it was badly gathered but it had been cheap. So I cut off the gathered edge and turned it under, then pleated it to the neckline. It also gave kind of a cuff on the armholes.

 I finished these today and I find I’m still in “white mode”. I haven’t gone back to buy more muslin as I was waiting for another sale, and I see it’s on sale again today. In the meantime my “Squirrel” has been attracted by Wearing History’s Edwardian blouse pattern, and I want to do three-quarter length sleeves. 
 I’ve wanted a white blouse to wear with two of my Truly Victorian Edwardian skirts. The purple floral one is done, just no photos of it. I've also wanted to make a solid dark color skirt too. 

 While digging through my lace stash I came across a long piece of embroidered cotton that was given to me that would be wonderful to use on that blouse. I think it would look great going down the center, and then the center portion used down my sleeves. Or maybe the whole width with some cotton added. 
As long as my Sewing Mojo keeps going I’m taking advantage of it. At least I have no major projects due for the next four months.

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