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.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Need help finding a pattern?

This is a reprint from an article I wrote for Squeals magazine put out by Costumers Guild West in Los Angeles.
   Do you have a fashion print or photo you’re trying to find a pattern to make it with? Are you new to historical costuming and have no idea what patterns are available out there, or where to find them? Or do you just want to see clothing already made from them to see what the pattern will look like?
I have a group just for you on Facebook.

   It’s called HISTORICAL SEWING PATTERN REVIEWS. I started it in 2012 and have over 4000 members. My group is different from GBACG’s Great Pattern Review in that it allows you to ask questions, see completed outfits, and has a large variety of experiences with the different patterns, both good and bad. We can refer you to websites to purchase patterns but I don’t allow sales or self-promotion.
   We mainly ask for reviews of patterns, with a photo of said pattern or what you made from it, and tell us your experience with it, and any problems. We’ve even had the owners of pattern companies who are on the group benefit from any problems experienced so they can make corrections. Anyone can add a review at any time, even if others have done one because we all have different experiences with different parts, and then we get to see your end result. The more the merrier! Many of the ladies just ask general questions, like where to find a specific pattern that they can use and how hard is it to make. But all questions need to be pattern related, although I do allow fabric questions and suggestions since that does come under the making of the outfit, but not specific sewing help. There are other groups for that.
   For example, I recently asked for help to find a bodice pattern to make this fashion print. I was given multiple pattern suggestions from which to make it, and even parts from other patterns to add to it.     

   There are many members who come in very new to historical costuming. I keep this to “historical” but not always historically accurate, and don’t abide by criticisms or suggestions of accuracy unless the member asks. The time period I have is from Medieval to about 1930 but usually point out the specific groups that are available to the time periods.  I don’t allow cosplay, SciFi/fantasy, or Steampunk photos or references but many of them use these patterns for their outfits, so it’s still helpful to them. There is a preponderance of Truly Victorian and Laughing Moon patterns being used on the group, and most members making 1700-1900 costume, but other pattern companies are suggested, and I’ve even come across new ones I didn’t know about.
   We've shared new patterns that have come out and anxiously await to hear the first person who tries it about their experience with it. 
There is not a searchable file but there is a search box that you can type in the pattern company, or its pattern number and it pulls up any posts made about it. Or just use general terms, like Regency or petticoats

   I have Files with lists of other costume or sewing groups or guilds that anyone can add their group to. 
   Every Friday-Sunday I have a Friday Fashion Show with a specific theme I pick, and we just share a photo of what we’ve made, sometimes with some information about it. This keeps the general show and tell to a minimum. There is also a File kept with links to all the previous fashion shows too. 
   This is the direct link to my Facebook group. Please ask to join, and don't add your friends. THEY must ask to join themselves.  


  1. I am so glad I found you although I am not sure how I did. I am looking for patterns of clothing from 1915 era (WW1). My husband has started making reproduction weapons from that era and we will be attending several events this year, setting up a booth at the re-enactments and all vendors are encouraged to dress time appropriate. Lucky that I sew. can you point me in a direction? Thank you

    1. Rita, if you can go to the Facebook group I have the link for, you can get a lot of help there. I'm not real proficient in that time period yet, although I've made a 1914 & 1918 outfit.
      I have a Pinterest page from that time period for visual help.
      Have fun! ~~Val


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