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.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Eep! 14 days to San Francisco Dickens Fair.

It seems to me I remember when I came up with the brilliant idea of making a new 1830s plaid dress in brilliant jewel tones to wear to the Dickens Fair on Dec 13, I had plenty of time. For most people it would be. *raises hand* I confess I am one of the world's slowest sewers. I have a couple friends who also claim that title. But I've made this dress 4 times already, so you'd think a month would be plenty of time. But not when you are living in a real world. Am I right???

There has been some progress though. The skirt sides seams were sewn and for some visual  inspiration of what it would look like when it was done, I pinned it on my dressform. GASP! I've got to make this!!
I even paid to go to a workshop so I could work on it but ended up spending the entire day replacing a busk in the corset I'd be wearing because the current busk was so stiff I couldn't bend it to hook it up. My poor hand just hurt too much to do that. So 5 hours later I had picked out the stitches, sewed some reinforcement cotton on the inside edges and made new holes in it for the knobs on the busk. This is also a longer busk as the previous was too short so the original holes are still there but I don't expect to show this off to anyone. BTW, this was my first Victorian corset I'd made so you have to expect some errors. At the end of the day I once again had a workable corset. But no progress on the dress.
Oh, and I was on a new Facebook group where we sell fabrics from our stash to our friends (its all referral only and people we know) and in about a week I'd sold over $400 worth of fabrics that I'd had for many years and knew I'd not be using them but kept thinking maybe......  It was very refreshing to clean out one shelf. But I still have 3 more shelves full so I'm far from deprived. I have a couple pieces left that I'm surprised haven't sold yet but if they don't that means I'm still supposed to make them.

Two weeks later we have.... life. The daily things that interrupt you. The repairs and repairmen you have to sit around and wait for. The beauty trips. The fun stuff with friends, and helping friends. And the husband. And the CAT. The cat who decided she wanted her inner eyelid to swell up and turn red again. But after a couple days of eye drops and yummy meds, its clearing up again. I'll be dealing with this off and on the rest of her life so it's expected.
Back to my dress. I should have read my own blog on making the previous ones because I started the bodice backwards. I forgot I didn't use a lining to slide the hook and eye tape in the seams, so I wasted that cotton fabric. And for some reason I cut out two right and left backsides, because one is narrower than the other, and I cut out two of each. Wasted that silk fabric. I have an extra yard for mistakes but so far haven't cut into it. Who knows, I might want to make a pelerine with it. Or a reticule.
I won't bore you with a bunch of repetitive construction stuff but I'm again doing the pleats on the neckline and back of the bodice.

I had all intentions of doing a line of piping down the center front seam this time but decided I want to do this down the center!

I don't know how I'm going to do it yet but I WILL do it. Any suggestions are welcome as to how to do that piping on the edges.
In the meantime, everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, and those that don't celebrate, I am grateful for your friendship.



  1. Whoo hoo! I am LOVING the plaid dress so far! I really like what you did with the center front! You are going to look absolutely fabulous in this dress!!!

  2. Your fabric is FABULOUS!! Love the strong colors - they'll look great on you. Can't wait for a photo of you at the fair. (PS - as another dreadfully slow sewer, I feel you pain. Good luck!)

  3. Must say this fabric is crazily gorgeous!


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