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.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Party like it's the 1700s.

Photo by Trudy 
Yesterday was our San Diego Costume Guild's now-annual 18th Century Picnic in Balboa Park. We have a nice quiet courtyard in the middle of the International Cottages at the park near the Air & Space Museum. The Cottages are closed on Saturday so other than the few walkers and some tourists, it's pretty quiet.
We each brought our own picnic lunch plus a dish to share. Heather, our organizer, brought a couple authentic 18th C dishes, one being a spicey gingerbread. I brought Mozzerella cheese balls and sliced salami.

While we were sitting and standing around chatting, we were visited by a very friendly squirrel who first came up about 4 feet from me and sat up begging. He must have known we have something in common, being easily distracted by *things*. He then ran up a tree and kept a close eye on everyone's picnic baskets, most likely looking for a handout.  (photo of squirrel by Karen)

All of the little cottages were closed today but after awhile we heard fiddle-playing coming from one of them and from thereon we had background music all day. It was a nice touch. I had considered bringing my ipod and little speakers and hiding them inside my basket to play some period music. I'm glad I didn't now.
I was mostly taking photos from where I was seated so my views were a little limited.

As our picnic was winding down, small groups of Asian tourists began walking through and got all excited when they saw us. We're used to this with the tourists, and particularly with the Japanese. What surprised us was this group wanted to sit on our blankets with us, hold up the picnic baskets, and one lady even picked up a piece of leftover bread to hold up. Language barriers were no problem and I again wondered what they tell their friends when they show our photos back home. They were quite happy to take all our cameras and take group photos of us too.
I was really happy with how my short jacket came out. It looked pretty and was full around the hips, just I like it. I didn't even need a bum roll to give it some lift. My temporary fix to attach my stomacher to my stays worked quite well and stayed firmly in place. The only thing I'm not happy with is the sleeves. What's new? They fit fine when I sewed them up but I put a cotton lining in them and apparently that was just a bit too much bulk and they were tight. So once again I'll be doing some alterations on that, like removing the lining. I wore my sheer cap I bought in Williamsburg that I had a red ribbon tied in a bow in the front. But when I put it on I had it too far forward and with my hat on the bow was stuck in the front. So it looked a little uneven in my eyes. It looks ok without the hat on though.

One of our new members, Karen, made the same jacket and made her's reversible with the same fabric design but a white background for her lining. Brilliant!
How do you like that flower pot I'm balancing on my head? Great lining that up for the photo. (photo by Gina)

(Photo by Trudy)



  1. Looks like a painting, all you pretty ladies gathered 'round the cottages and trees!

  2. Fantastic Val! Thanks for sharing! Wish I could come!

    1. Mary, you would have fit right in and graced our picnic.

  3. How simply delightful and such fun...I can tell by the smiles on everyone's faces... Good for you creating costumes ...Tea always goes better with things you love... This was a
    ' HAPPY " post....Have a fabulous day ...Hugs

  4. Hi ! It looks great!

    On the other hand, I am writing to say i really admire the pattern you done for the bloomer dress and i am currently would like to do something like this.
    I would like to ask if you sell pattern for the bloomer dress.

    Thank you !
    please email me back

    1. Grace, you can purchase the pattern for the bloomer dress from Past Patterns #811. I don't have them anymore.


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