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; Past President of the San Diego Costume Guild, member of Orange County Costume Guild, and a representative of the San Diego History Center. 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, August 27, 2012

Tiki Dress & Black Cherry Dress

Started Aug 18, Finished Aug 27, 2012
These were a departure from my usual historical sewing. I haven’t sewn “modern” clothing patterns in about 25 years. I reminded myself that they would be loose fitting but it was much looser than I expected. Or maybe it’s because I’m used to my historical gowns being so tight fitting. My friends challenged me to make a Tiki dress to go with their’s at Costume College, and then later a Cherry Dress to go with another theme they were doing. All I can say is I need more practice.
The Tiki dress requirements were just a fabric with a vintage/batik/tribal pattern, and I had a choice of patterns to try. I chose Vogue Easy Options 8555. This was also a remedial on putting in zippers for me. It didn’t come out too bad but it didn’t fit too well and my back midriff piece didn’t line up right. But I had a busy fabric pattern so it wasn’t visible. The bust area was way too big on me and found out that was a problem with the pattern, so more gathering is needed in the front. I already have ideas of how to make it fit better when making a second one.

They also decided to make dresses with cherry fabric and I’m a little behind on that but finished mine the other day.
The pattern I used this time was Vogue 8807, another “easy” pattern. Who the heck decides these are easy? My fabric, a black background with cherries, was purchased in the Garment District for $4 a yard.

It’s a loose-fitting (loose being rather loosely thrown around here) and fits over the neck with a belt to pull in the waist. I would describe it as Omar’s tent dress. I cut it out according to my measurements but after putting it on I ended up taking 6 inches out of the front seam, and 4 inches from each side. And it’s still pretty full but apparently you use that fullness to create pleats when you belt it. I didn’t want to line it which is the “easy” part since you sew it all right sides together then flip it right-side out so all the seams are finished. But I finished my neckline seam and armholes with a red bias tape.
  It has yet to have a wearing but at least I’m ready for it. I had a red belt to go on it & found some 1950s style red shoes at an antique shop on sale for $10, and a straw bag also for $10 to go with it. More red will be added with a red wooden ball bracelet and necklace.
 I should be working on my Edwardian 1910 corset, and planning my mourning gown and a Fall bustle but at the moment “Easy” patterns are staring at me. And then there’s those half-done Edwardian chemises. I work on bits and pieces, and then finally everything gets done at the same time and I look like I’m a sewing animal. 


  1. Cute dresses! I would never know you struggled with the patterns from looking at your finished results.

    I really hate Vogue patterns... The designs are lovely, but I feel like they are unnecessarily complicated, and the instructions are often vague or just flat-out incorrect. But who really reads instructions, anyway? If you decide to make more modern clothing, I would highly recommend Simplicity's patterns; they usually go together very smoothly for me, even when compared to McCall or Butterick.

  2. I love the Cherry dress and accessories!

  3. You are so talented for being able to create these modern dresses, and I envy you for that. I’ve been sewing Kostüme für Kinder for five years and I was pretty contented with it. But then a time came when I failed to sew a different pattern which changed my outlook in sewing.


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