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.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Further Inspirations & Progress on my Autumn Bustle

Last time I shared my Autumn bustle I was starting to sew it all together, and adjusting the Frankencostumed bodice and bustle. After sewing the extra pattern piece on the bustle, I decided I liked the poof it was doing in the center back when I put it on over my lobster bustle. I also decided the two sashes I’d cut out wouldn’t be enough to make a difference. So I set those aside. More on that later.

Next I unstitched the vestee and tried the copper collar lapels I wanted to put on it that I’d cut out from TV466 Alexandra bodice.  I only sewed one side on so I could see how it looked but unfortunately the vest portion (from TV463 French Vest) is wider than the one on the Alexandra and the lapels were ending up under my armpits. So I took out the stitching again and put it back together without them. But darn, it still wants a contrasting collar there.
I let my brain think on it overnight and came up with a shorter narrower version of the collar where it would just be only on the area above my bustline. Perfect! So I'm going to try that now. Then the neckline collar and the sleeves and cuffs are up next. 
And now I’m back to the bustle again. I lowered some of the pleats on the sides so it wasn’t up so high but could only go down so far before it became shapeless. So this is the final version of that. Not too much difference from the first one but it did go down four inches. 
Except it still needs something. I’m not a fan of fringe or braid but with this being a heavier fabric I can’t do my usual pleated trim. But then this photo gave me some ideas. It was from my album of how women wore watches, and her gown is kind of similar to mine. Her panels down the sides of her skirt are the same as her vest insert. I don’t have enough fabric for that. But I do have the four unfinished sashes of my floral brocade. I don’t think just one would make much of a statement but if I back them with some leftover bronze taffeta, I can have two for each side. 
And I’m going to do my first outside pocket for my watch on this just like she has!
I would love to do some pleats along the hem of my skirt but I have no more of that fabric either. So it will have to be all business down below, and party up on top. Back to work!


  1. What a lovely palette!

  2. Yes, burnt orange has been one of my favorite colors since my young days. I love that I could put some many of them together in one gown.


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