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, January 9, 2019


I think in the past I’ve done my Year in Review at the end of the year so its on my final posts of 2018. But I had no time in December to do that. But it is fun to see what you actually accomplished and then sometimes surprise yourself that you were much more productive than you thought you were.

I started out the year finishing up a dress I’d started in November 2017 for the Riverside Dickens Faire the following February. It was my first multi-tiered 1850s dress. I had a lot of trouble with the bodice using a too-large Period Impressions pattern #405, when I could have used a McCall’s pattern that had the same shape and fit me. I also tried to make the skirt just by cutting the fabric and making tiers but finally had to use a Truly Victorian pattern to guide me. After making this I swore I would never make a multi-tiered skirt again. But I have plans for a double-tiered plaid dress now.
For the Victorian Festival in Port Townsend, WA, I made an 1894 plum-colored suit to wear, along with trimming an antique hat to match it. At the last minute I cut out and finished sewing an 1897 evening dress while I was up there. I didn’t get a proper hat made for it until a few months later, and I made a cute little black velvet capote that sits on top of my head. 

I had already been planning and working on some of my wardrobe for Costume College this year, and felt like I had to come up with some good ones. But I also wanted something fairly easy to make and get around in during the daytime. I decided on two 1795 day dresses with linen open robes, and then a fancier one for the Friday Social with black embroidery on the hem, and a black velvet open robe. But first I had to make a petticoat to go under the dresses since they were all sheer. It was easy. I just made the skirt portion of the dress but with a bit less width, and then added a waistband with shoulder straps. Easy peasy. 
To make it easy on myself, I did an assembly-line cutting of the two dresses, and then the open robes. Except I accidentally used the bodice pattern piece for my bodiced petticoat, which has a deeper and wider neckline, so the shoulders kept falling off on me all the time I wore them. Those will be getting a new bodice cut out for them. Someday. 

I had the best time working on my Gala dress, which evolved from a couple different time periods over the months, and finally decided to be an 1830s dress. I focused on one painting of Queen Victoria that had a train that attached around her waist. About a month before Costume College I came across another painting of a lady in her court dress at the marriage of one of Queen V’s son. And that became my dress. 

I took a break after Costume College since I was exhausted and played with a couple new outfits but was all over the place with really working on anything. I finally went back to working on a new cotton voile bustle dress and hope to finish that this year for when our warm weather starts.

In November I signed up to attend a couple Xmas teas and decided to make something new, an 1873 polonaise and skirt, using a red plaid fabric. I just added some Xmas mistletoe to the top of the antique bonnet I wore. After seeing the photos, I want to adjust the way the polonaise opens in the front to more of a curve, and play with the bustling in the back too. But not bad for a quick outfit.

**Edited to add- I had to add this photo where I was on the cover of this month's issue of the CGW newsletter, Squeals, even though the year is wrong.**
I’ve already started planning this year’s outfits but I know things come up and they get sidetracked. But its always good to have a beginning plan. 


No comments:

Post a Comment

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