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.


Monday, April 13, 2015

An Update to my Bloomer presentation at ALHFAM

I felt I should put an update in here since many of you and my friends on Facebook have been so supportive of my presenting my Bloomer dress at the ALHFAM conference next June in Williamsburg.
Well, the good news is my proposal was accepted, and even better, I was awarded the Fellowship. Prior to this, I'd never heard of a  Fellowship, except relating to colleges and doctors, and found out it's a scholarship. I also didn't understand that I would have to pay $425 to attend the conference just so I could do my presentation. That was a major stumbling block to me and was almost the tool to end the whole idea, other than if they would just let me show up the day my class was scheduled and do the presentation. This conference is not exactly in my field, although I will keep an open mind when I arrive.

Part of what I had to do to apply for the Fellowship was to write my resume of all my accomplishments. That was tough enough. Then I needed two referrals from people who knew me. *Hello! Does anyone here know enough about me?* But I lucked out when I was contacted by our current Dean of Costume College, who offered to write one for me. It was very humbling to read it. I feel like I need to keep up my standards and make her proud of me now. And then I contacted the San Diego History Center, which contains the extant bloomer gown, and asked those who I have worked with if they could write me one. Gabe, who has known me for about 8 years, was very happy to write one for me, and is also a member of ALHFAM, so he's familiar with what they offer and might need from me. I have to tell you, I was thunderstruck at what he wrote about me. He got everything down that I have done in the past years with them, fluffed it up, and literally had me glowing. *I'm glowing!*
Thanks to these two wonderful people and their recommendations, I was awarded the Fellowship and will soon be reworking my slideshow presentation to update it. I am co-presenting with Dr Pamela Poulin, PhD, who specializes in Amelia Bloomer and the women's reform movement. We're trying to figure out how to interweave our stories together so we're not jumping all over the place. With her being in NY, we've done this via emails and phone calls. It's a little harder than it sounds because there's always a delay in responding. And I'm nervous because of where I'm speaking but I have to remind myself to just be me.
This past weekend, while at Balboa Park, I ran into Gabe and after thanking him profusely for his referral, he broached the idea of allowing me to bring the extant gown from the History Center's collection. I wasn't sure because Tammie, in the Collections Department, had told me it was very fragile. Gabe said he's going to talk to her about that possibility. AWESOME!!

At least there's some sewing plans to go along with this. I'm going to be wearing my brown cotton Bloomer outfit, but need to make a new pair of bloomers to go with it since my others are too short. And I need to get those hooks aligned on the bodice to the skirt since I screwed those up. I'm seriously considering just attaching the skirt to the bodice permanently instead. Yeah, more work but seems more feasible. I'd thought I'd make a brand new colorful outfit but since there was a delay in even knowing if my class would be accepted, then an even longer delay if I would get the Fellowship, that I haven't left myself time to make a new one since I have other spoons in the kettle, so to speak. I do want to find a new straw hat since the crown on the one I use is a bit too flat. There was some talk among my friends about maybe wearing Regency out to dinner while I'm there but I haven't heard anything else confirming this, or if any of them are attending now. So I'm holding off, although I may make my rose linen spencer to go with my white voile dress. *just in case*  



  1. This is great! Having watched all this develop from the beginning, I am proud of the major steps you have taken to get this far. I am so excited for you!

  2. What a great achievement to get a fellowship that pays for your fees! They can learn a lot from you, that's for sure. And not only about bloomers... ;)

  3. Congratulations! I wouldn't take any shortcuts, re: the hooks and eyes, etc, as authenticity is a big part of Living History.

    1. The skirt can go either way, either attached or with hooks & eyes, but I have to figure out the dog-leg closure so I can get out of it first. :)

  4. Congratulations Val and you deserve all those glowing recommendations!


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