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.**



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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.

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Monday, June 17, 2019

1870s BLACK & WHITE DALMATIAN BUSTLE


I’m not totally back to sewing normality yet, as our halls and rooms are still full of boxes needing to be unpacked, but I needed a little normalcy in my life. With Costume College looming at the end of July, I just had to get going on the one dress I wanted to make, especially since I’d bought all the accessories for it, and fabric. Since the accessorized outfit will be a one-time wear, it needed to get made. My dress, however, is going to be able to be worn in in the future. That’s my thing. I won’t make a one-time only dress, especially with all the work and money that goes into it. This is turning out to be fun.
There are many theme-inspired groups on our Facebook page, and the one I liked was “Once Upon a Bustle”, a Disney-themed idea. Any bustle dress but made to follow a Disney character. My friend Cindy was originally going to be Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmatians. Since I had been saving a dress for inspiration, although from the 1890s, it gave me an idea of doing a “Dalmatian bustle”. I’d still like to make that 1890s dress someday though.


Prior to our moving, I got really industrious and came up with a plan to make my own dotted fabric since I couldn’t find any in the stores or online that were a light weight, like voile or linen. So I started planning on stamping quarter-sized dots on my fabric. I looked through my swatch book from Costume College for the linen that I thought would work, and decided on an Irish linen, which I bought from Em-Bee Fabrics in the LA Fabric District.
I did a lot of questioning from friends what the best paint was to use for this, and bought one bottle each of DecoArt Americana & So Soft black, and a bottle of Ceramcoat Delta Textile Medium. Both worked the same with the textile medium, although the Americana is cheaper. I bought a set of foam cylinders to do the stamping with and picked the quarter-size one to use.

I had 10 yards to stamp dots on so it was going to take a LOT of paint, and a LOT of time. Then I had to decide do I cut the pattern first, then stamp, or stamp the fabric, then cut? I decided on cut first. Before stamping, I did a lot of testing on strips of the fabric. I started out using too much paint, then not enough. I was getting worried, and I didn’t want to ruin my expensive fabric.
For one week I was having the inside of my house painted, and I *thought* this would be a good time to find a corner and just stamp away. But in reality, it was so chaotic here, that I couldn’t even concentrate, and I would have to keep being moved all over. So I gave up and binge-watched Game of Thrones from the beginning. Yeah, I’m bad. I’d only seen the first 3 seasons, and now all 7 seasons were over. It had been so long since I’d watched it, I decided to start at the beginning. And this time it made more sense and I was able to get a handle on all the wonderful characters.
People started posting about how many days were left until Costume College began. But I couldn’t get up the enthusiasm I’d had before to do all that stamping. And then I’d still need to sew it. *sigh* I still wanted this to happen though. I went back to look at some links Cindy had sent me from Amazon for fabrics and most were either too small of dots or a stiff type of fabric. I finally found one that was a cotton-polyester for $4 yard. I ordered it on a Monday and it arrived on Thursday!! It was so soft and perfect! 
Now some pressure was off. But I still couldn’t get to it because now I had to put my house in order after all that painting. It seemed like every time I emptied boxes in the hallway, hubby would bring more in from the garage. It was like a reverse Black Hole.
Meanwhile I decided to run away from home one day and went to a sewing workshop for the Dress a Girl program that Shelley Peters hosted. After hearing that the older girls just wanted long skirts, I had bought about 6 fabrics at the Walmart $3 sale and worked on my first one. Then over a week’s time I got 7 of them done. But now the serious sewing needs to begin.

This last week I finally began to feel a little less stressed, and laid the fabric out to be cut. I still don’t have my new cutting table assembled. Its in the garage somewhere. So I used my dining table. It still took about 4 days for me to get around to start cutting it.
I’d say I have about 35 days to work on this, especially since it looks like I might have to make a pair of 1920s white wide-leg pants to go with a Miss Fisher outfit I want to wear for the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries theme day. I made it even easier on myself with that and found a gorgeous long yellow knit jacket to use for it.  I just wished I could find the pants to buy. I’ve never made pants before, and my hip-hugger ones I made in class in high school doesn’t count. I have a black pair, and if I’m able to finish the black and white jacket I started, I would have a second outfit. Or just wear a teal knit jacket I have. Hmmmm… less work….


Back to my Dalmatian bustle: I wanted an 1870s polonaise that closed all the way down in the front and it seemed the easiest thing to do was use a previously-made pattern and shorten the polonaise, Truly Victorian #410. And I liked the style of the dresses from the series, The Buccaneers. I even have enough fabric to make a ruffle around the bottom.


Cutting began this weekend, and once that is all done, the sewing should go together pretty fast since I’ve made this about 5 times already. The accessories are what’s going to make this a Dalmatian bustle. Using the pictures from the book, I’m going to have a blue belt around the waist, and make a “dog collar” like Perdita's of blue ribbon with a small gold medallion I hope I can find at Michael’s.
Dog ears! I found this on etsy. Its cheap, and nicely made, and perfect for a one-time costume. A few months ago, I found this Disney Dalmatian stuffed animal for sale on ebay. So if its not REALLY obvious just what I am, LOL, this will help.

And if I have time, I bought some of this Disney Dalmatian fabric to make a simple tote to carry my class things in. We’ll see if that happens.
*Yesterday I got the skirt sewn together. But today I need to unpack some more boxes, so stay tuned.
                          Chloe, “Queen of the World”, surveying her domain.
                                                                 ~~~Val~~~

2 comments:

  1. I love your Miss Fisher jacket! If you don't mind a shorter length in your wide leg pants, I've been living in the oceanside cropped wide leg pants from anthropologie. They've got a lovely vintage vibe and since they launched in plus sizes I've bought three pairs. They come in white. :) Well the store calls it cream, but unless I hold my pair up to something stark they read white enough to me!

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    1. Thank you, I'll take a look at their website, but I do prefer the long ones for this. I have quite a few cropped pants, not wide leg tho. And what's up with all this cream? Does no one wear white anymore?
      Val

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