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.


Monday, November 28, 2016


For the first time in two, maybe three years, I am actually able to go to our Costume Guild’s Xmas dinner, which has conflicted a few years with either the San Francisco Dickens Faire I went to, or the family get- together.

I’ve been seriously trying to wear more of my existing costumes to save some work for myself, and this time I will be re-wearing my Red and Black Checked Bustle Gown but adding a bit of lace to it, just so it feels fresh. It has a black fringe along the bottom of the apron but that’s as much trim as it got last time, and I barely had enough for that. So, again using my stash, I found some lace that would look nice but only had enough for the neckline and not the cuffs. Maybe someday I’ll buy some that has enough but for now, the stash will have to be enough. I think it also needs some jingle bells attached to the skirt to jingle as I walk. 

I started thinking about this a month ago, so that’s as far as I got. And no new inspiration popped up that I could do to it.

But yesterday while roaming the Del Mar Antique Show during our Costumed Walkabout, I saw this fur hat and it hit me. I could add a new hat to it, and trim it up. It has a slight turn-out on the edges that makes it look Edwardian so I’m going to tack those down a bit to stand straight up.
I’ve been admiring some of the fur-trimmed dresses, capes and hats that some of my east coast friends, and others who live in places that get cold weather were making or wearing. So, this is my nod to the “cold” weather of Southern California, a fur hat. After coming home I immediately began looking up photos of these hats from the 1880s. Most I found are about 1885, the same time as my dress, so win-win!

This was in a group of hats from that date also.

Anyway, I think I’m on the right track with this. I may add some black feathers to it, or maybe a sprig of holly just for the holiday.
Then IF, and that’s IF, it’s cold enough in the evening for our Xmas dinner, I may actually be able to FINALLY wear my Talma wrap made of black Persian curly lamb without sweating too much. It’s pretty heavy and would definitely keep me warm.  And either way, I’m going to carry my antique black beaver fur muff. 

*** I'm adding a couple photos from our Guild Holiday Dinner since I have nothing further to write about my dress other than show the two photos I have. I received a lot of compliments on it, and especially my hat. I used a snowflake brooch I'd recently received at a holiday tea. ***



  1. I can't wait to see it all together!

  2. Oh fun! I keep forgetting you don't get the cold like the Northern states get...this is going to be a great addition to your red and black dress! I can't wait to see it all finished!


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