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, September 5, 2016


All my plans on starting new sewing projects almost came to a halt 3 weeks ago when my Achilles tendonitis flared up and I had to wear my walking boot day and night, which meant I couldn’t stand and cut fabric. If you’ve ever worn one, you know it has a curved bottom and rocks so you can’t stand up straight for long. If you lean over, you take the chance of losing your balance. It also kills your back and hips.

So I moped about feeling sorry for myself a few days but didn’t waste any time in planning my projects, which were all over the place.
High on my list was a costume from the Outlander series. This was something different for me, since I mainly do pretty things but I wanted to be a little more rustic this time. I now have my wool tartan, a blue linen, and a shawl made for me by a friend, which at the time was totally NOT for this but how perfect?

Since I couldn’t stand and cut this out, I started with something small: the bum pad from the Simplicity 8162 Outlander accessories pattern.  It looks a bit fluffy and stiff on my dress form but it’s not.
And then a couple days ago my friend Aylwen in Australia asked on her Jane Austen Festival site for any help from the members to make reticules to give as gifts for their presenters. Hey, I had quite a few small pieces of leftover silks and such, and a cute pattern for a reticule from LaMode Bagatelle, that I could make some from. And it could all be cut out on my sewing table whilst sitting down. So I pulled out my scraps and began cutting. I ended up with 15 cut out, then had to cut out the same of lining fabrics. Since I planned on sewing these on my assembly line method I figured they’d all be done rather quickly. But it got boring sewing seam after seam, without having a finished one to gloat over. But I soldiered on. I finally got to where I had one I could run the ribbons through and finish. Tah dah!  This took me about 4 days to get them all done. Some of these will go to Australia, and the rest to our costumer’s swap meet next month to sell.  

The mini project theme continued with planning a pocket for my Outlander costume. While searching for an embroidery design for mine, I remembered I had a pattern already for making one, Wingeo 202, and it has embroidery designs with it. I have the linen for it, and will be getting embroidery floss together for that soon.
I just got my white linen in the mail from F&S Fabrics for the chemise and got that cut out yesterday. So that’s my next sewing project starting today on Labor Day.
A couple weeks ago I had started cutting out my rose “mystery polyester” fabric for the Edwardian Rose 1912 dress when this cursed Achilles tendonitis struck me, so I will try to finish that up shortly. It’s out of my comfort zone and complicated to sew but I want to give it a shot.
I had two bolts of cotton voile fabrics sitting off to the side waiting to be cut into something. I keep looking at them, and they keep looking back. I can’t decide if I want a bustle dress or a tiered 1850s dress. This time of year when it’s so hot, these are what I want to work on. But by the time I start working on them, it will be cooler. And that hairy green and pink thing there? It used to be a tennis ball and is one of Chloe’s crazy toys.
As the weather starts cooling off I may go back to that Folkwear #508 outfit I wanted to make using either my maroon or navy blue linen blend I bought last March to make it from. I have hats for both already so I really need to make a dress for them.

As usual, my brain is all over the place of projects but that’s what keeps me from getting bored. 


  1. How frustrating to have the tendonitis flare up again. I'm glad you've been able to find an outlet for your creativity, despite the difficulty.

    1. Thank you Ista. It has forced me to focus on small things lately. Just as the Achilles tendonitis was clearing up, I unintentionally caused my plantar faciitis to flare up. So it was back into the boot, and much more pain this time trying to walk, since you're putting all your weight onto the bottom of your foot. But I'm getting a bunch of little things made at least. No dust is collecting under me, no siree.

  2. Dear Val,

    The squirrel picture was the first to show in my feed, and how I laughed! It's so, so apt...

    Gee, hope you heal up soon. Things with -itis in them can be a serious drag, and no, I don't love those boot things, either. Gah. You have my sympathy!

    I'll be honest -- only made it through one Outlander book before finding it a bit out of my league, and we don't have cable so I've never see the program, and until now have been underwhelmed by the costuming. But then, darn it, you showed that picture of whatshername in knits and plaids and I swooned. With a tweak here and there, it's modern wear! 1993 grunge with romance. Must. Get. Brown. Plaid. And knit something. It'll be garter stitch, though, because that's all I am capable of without too much cussing, and for the children's sake we can't have that :}

    Your other projects look nifty, especially the late teens Folkwear outfit. It's dandy.

    Very best, and again, may the foot heal soon!


    1. Hi Natalie, thank you. I too wasn't impressed with the book the first time I tried to read it, in fact I found out later it was a little known more x-rated version that I had. I gave up after a few chapters just thinking it was another bodice ripper. Years later after constantly hearing one of my friends rave about the whole series of books (and she being very religious) I gave it another chance. I saw the first episode on Amazon Prime, then decided to read the book first. I don't know if my mindset was different but this time I really enjoyed it and got hooked. Yes, there's a lot of lovely sex in it, but the characters and the stories really catch you up. I just finished the 3rd book recently but have yet to see the 2nd season on Prime. I'm hoping before season 3 comes out they have it season 2 for free like they did last time.
      Now if the weather here would just get cold enough to bundle up in lovely tartans and knits. :)
      Take care, Val


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