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; 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.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

What a busy month!

I suddenly seem to be all over the place; online, in a blog, & in a museum.
The last couple weeks have been spent finishing my two costumes for the Riverside Dickens Festival fashion show on Feb 2 & 3. As I was finishing them, I realized my wardrobe was black and white; a wedding gown and a mourning gown. I'll have a separate blog entry on making them but will wait until I have some photos of me actually wearing them.
This is my wedding gown for Miss Haversham from Great Expectations, and my 1886 mourning bustle for the "One Hundred Years of Mourning Fashion" I put together. I'll have 10 other models with me wearing the decades of 1810-1910. I think that's going to be really awesome! The neckline on my wedding dress is actually bare but I have a layer of lace covering the "yellow body" of my dressform.

This postman style bonnet was specially made for me by a friend to go with my outfit.  
But in less than two weeks I will be doing my Bloomer presentation at the San Diego History Museum in Balboa Park. I'm getting into the stress mode now for that and know I need to do a couple alteration/corrections on my gown that I copied off the original in the museum. You don't want your "fudging" to be scruntinized by the Costume Institute, although I will be offering a disclaimer that I'm not perfect. This is the link to the museum announcement but I've printed it below. San Diego History Center

RSVP to 619-232-6203, ext. 129 or email
January 28, 2013 - 3:00pm - 5:00pm
 San Diego History Center, Casa de Balboa, Balboa Park
 $10 SDHC, Costume Council, and SD Costume Guild members, $15 non-members
Valarie LaBore, Past President of San Diego Costume Guild, shares the incredible story of Amelia Bloomer who’s adoption and promotion of pantaloons underneath a dress as a style of dress for women, that eventually became known as ‘Bloomers’,  would revolutionize the dress reform movement of the 1850s;  as well as the process she took to recreate an 1851 Bloomer ensemble, believed to be only one of two remaining in museum collections in the entire country, held in the Costume & Textile Collection at San Diego History Center.  Talk is accompanied by a light afternoon tea.

I love it that they included a light afternoon tea. They know how much I like tea. The Program Director is talking to me about possibly being on a morning talk show prior to this so of course that adds to more stress. It seems like I'm getting pushed more and more into the public eye this year. 

And just today Part 2 was finished on The Goose Mother Blog where she's been interviewing me. This time it was focused more on my afternoon tea party catering. It's fun including my friends in the story and pulling out old photos from some of the teas I catered, and tearooms we visited together. 
Goose Mother Blog Part II


  1. Wish I could go to your program! Have a ball! So nice that it's a tea as well~
    I must say, sigh...I LOVE the wedding gown above! Mary

    1. Thank you, Mary. Only one more week and I get to wear it!

  2. Dear Val,
    Afternoon! Your dresses are ducky...Miss Havisham's dress feels just right and the bustle dress too. You must be in love with that postman hat. It's superb.

    Can't wait to hear how the event goes and know you all will wow everyone and you'll have lots of questions. Hope you can share pictures afterwards.

    Very best,


    1. Thank you, Natalie. I can hardly wait to wear my new hat, and only one week left to wear both costumes!

  3. Wow - I love your blog and your creations are devine! I make historical apparel too (see as well as my blog:
    I was amazed to realize (from reading it on your blog) that there are such things as a " Gas Light Steampunk and Victorian Fashion Show" and events with the costume guilds....awsome. I provided 1830 wardrobe for a pilot for HGTV called "The Americans: Home Sweet Home" and became hooked on making clothing from this era. I originally just made Rev War apparel for Hudson Valley reenactors and local historical societies and homesteads.
    Mary Ann

    1. Thank you, Mary Ann. Our guild gets very creative for places to wear costume, and instead of creating events that can cost us a lot of money, we find places with a theme we can follow in costume. Of course that would be with permission as we don't want to step on anyone's toes. Our museums use us as live decorations at some of the exhibits too. Fashion shows are a lot of fun.


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