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, 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.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

End of the Year 2017 Review

At the end of December, I try to get a post done on reviewing what I accomplished in my costuming each year. It’s to be my final post so I can send the entire years’ worth of posts to be printed into a book.
My goal used to be to have a dress of every decade I like, and something for day and evening. I’m close to that. But it doesn’t stop there. Now I want to try different designs for the decades. And the different seasons. So, you see where that leads? It never ends. I have a folder of umpteen number of dresses I’d like to make. At least it keeps me from getting bored. 
I didn’t make that many dresses this year, as I was able to re-use some made previously. But wasn’t that the plan? I made it a little easier on myself this year by choosing to do a variety of 1890’s shirtwaists, to wear with a couple different colored skirts. These were primarily for Costume College, which made it SOOO much easier to get a couple outfits to wear.
But let’s go back to the beginning of the year where I had finished my 1885 re-creation of an Emile Pingat dress that I got to wear to a couple events this year. First was the fashion show at Riverside Dickens in February, then reprised it for another show in Port Townsend, WA. And finally, at Costume College for the Gala dinner. 

Also worn starting in Port Townsend, WA, then a DAR presentation, was my 1894 Brown & Teal Polka Dot dress. I love the color combinations, and it was a lot of fun to wear.

Then I started my marathon of sewing for Costume College, of 1894 shirtwaists and skirts, and a special mini-theme 1890s outfit for our Ladies Pinkerton Detective Agency.  I wanted something simple but fun to wear the first day, and made a shirtwaist from a white cotton with black scissors design on it, with a black skirt. My other version was for the science fiction themed Sunday Tea, and I used a Jetson’s cartoon fabric for the blouse. Finally, my Pinkerton outfit, following a design the group leaders came up with, was a simple white blouse, red velvet vest, and a grey skirt. Fairly easy but the vest caused everyone a lot of consternation. Dealing with velvet was not a job for the weak, either. 


When I started working on my Victorian Fancy Dress for next year’s Costume College Sunday Tea theme, I had to finish it earlier than expected to wear it in a fashion show in October, where the theme was the same thing. My dress was The Chess Game, and I reused an earlier 1830's black dress for it.
And finally, a dress I started last Summer, and had to set aside, was finished this month. I’m way ahead of the game for the Riverside Dickens Festival’s fashion show next February. I can’t wait to wear it, and try it on with my pink and white bonnet.

So that’s it; seven new outfits, although I find it hard to count those simple 1890s shirtwaists and skirts as much work.
I’m already starting out, before the year ends, with my next dress for Costume College, as I’m expecting it will require a lot of work, and one thing I love, hand sewing trims on. Lots of it! This Thursday I’ll be going to one of Shelley Peters’ open house sewing workshops in Nuevo, and get started on that.
                                                    See you in the New Year!



  1. Wow, so inspiring and such beautiful creative work! I hope I can get involved in some groups this year and dress up. I have some boxes of fabric and trim that need to be come alive! I live in South Orange County, so in search of some activities. Thank you for sharing your passion and talent. Carol

    1. Thank you Carol! You are in a great location for some costume groups. First, there's a costume convention every year at the end of July in Woodland Hills, called Costume College. I'm the Dean next year. There's some Facebook groups about it too. It's put on by Costumer's Guild West in L.A.
      And there's the Orange County Costume Guild on FB if you're on there too.
      Good luck, and maybe I'll see you around!

  2. What a delicious selection! I love the fun elements too. the scissor blouse is just stunning!


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