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.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Having Tea Surrounded by Bustles

This past weekend I finally had another chance to wear my 1887 Autumn Bustle gown when I was invited by a friend to join her friends for tea at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. The dress theme was bustles. She named it the Occasional Bustle Society Tea.
I was hoping the weather would be cool or colder by then but not a chance in So. Calif. However even though it got to 78d where I live closer to the Mexican border, luckily Los Angeles and the surrounding areas were benefiting from the “Pineapple Express” rain that moved in from Hawaii. Lucky me! So it stayed around 71d, and we had light drizzle later in the day, which was lovely and perfect for colorful photos outdoors.
My dress was done but I still had to make a hat. I again lucked out when my friend Cat had a base hat already covered in a brown velvet with trims for sale that I could add my extra touches to pull in colors from my dress. I added some burnt orange ribbon I made from some leftover dress scraps, some silk flowers, and a vintage brown curly ostrich feather from my stash. Everything is just basted on by hand so I can always change it out if needed.

My friend Cat and I drove up together and on entering this bright lobby, we were shown through the door in the background into a courtyard and across it to the dining area.

 But we first stopped in the ladies to adjust our bustles and corsets from the long drive, and of course to indulge ourselves in vanity.

We returned back to the lobby and met up with the other ladies who were just arriving. So much excitement! And being touchy-feely of course. The group of bustled ladies, wearing styles from the early bustle up to late bustle, were like Christmas ornaments on a tree. So many colors and trims, it was definitely eye-candy. In the last few years I had slowed down on taking photos but couldn’t resist this time. It also helped that I had a new camera, a Canon Power Shot SX700 HS, and was excited to try it. It didn’t let me down because it took beautiful photos. But then how could you not with this location, so much greenery, and beautifully bustled ladies.

We had two tables for the group of 20, and nearby was a live piano soloist playing for us. At one point Sheila and Lois softly sang along with the music at our table. Looking farther to the side out the windows were the vast green gardens where so many weddings take place. In fact there was a wedding going on during our time here and the guests were all agog at seeing us.

The food served to us was absolutely delicious! Very interesting flavor combinations, and a good variety. I particularly liked the shrimp marinated in pesto on herbed garlic bread. And an egg slice on top of Prosciutto di Parma was something I would never have thought of. I’d love to do pretty things like this for my teas but never seem to have the time


There were so many desserts none of us could finish the variety we were served. Lots of Victorian doggy bags came home that day. This photo shows what was still leftover on ONE PLATE. The waffle cones with a crème filling flavored with passion fruit and topped with slices of apricot had flavors that just burst in your mouth. I still haven’t tried all the ones I brought home yet. I had the mini-chocolate cupcake with raspberry frosting last night. I’m going to enjoy this for a week.
Afterwards the cameras came out, and I walked around taking photos so of course you could see all the pretties.

We went outside into a garden courtyard where it had started raining but it was very light and intermittent, and I loved it.  It was perfect for photos with white flowering trees and a bridge over a small pond for our photos. Trying to get all of us into one photo was very hard. I handed my camera to our server who also wanted to take photos for her manager, and got a few in progress.

Then we tried sitting around the stone wall. From here I’ll just let you enjoy all the eye-candy I photographed.

I finally got to see my bustle in action. 

Later some of us walked out into the lower gardens and Cat stayed above us taking photos of us walking away. Of course it is all about the butts, I mean bustles, right?
Thank you Athene, for a wonderful day!

 My next event coming up in two weeks is the Riverside Dickens Festival. I’ll be wearing my Jewel Tone Plaid 1830s dress in the fashion show there. Keeping my fingers crossed it doesn’t rain because this one is real silk and it’s an outdoor event.