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.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Port Townsend Victorian Festival FASHION SHOW 2016

This was my sixth year doing this fashion show for JoAnn Bussa at the Port Townsend Victorian Festival. She holds it at the First Presbyterian Church as a fund raiser for the local high school. It was HER 17th year. This post will be mainly photos, with my thanks to Sue Q. for the photos she took of me and my friends onstage. 

This year I wore two dresses in the fashion show, my 1853 Purple Amethyst, and my 1885 Pink Polka Dot bustle. We had some confusion about which one I was wearing first. I actually didn’t know and never asked. I *assumed* my earlier dated one for 1853 would be first, and changed out of my 1885 into my Purple Amethyst dress when I arrived. Since JoAnn had seen me arrive in the pink one, she didn’t think anything was amiss. A bit later my mother came running backstage with the program saying quick, change back, you’re wearing the Pink first! JoAnn came back and said not to worry, she would change her description order for me.
These are photos I took backstage while we were dressing and waiting to go on. 

Then we were on stage! *thank you to Sue for taking these photos during the show* 

For the last few years there have been models wearing Norwegian bunads, the costume worn from the various regions of Norway. There is a huge population in Washington with Norwegian roots, and it's good to see them represented, including Jean Kaldahl, our Norwegian lady in black who has appeared in the fashion show longer than many of us. Each time I really wished I could wear one from my ancestral region of Telemarken or Kristiana (Oslo) but they're a bit out of my price range. 

Then some of us were a bunch of quick change artists into our next outfits.

Since the audience didn’t know about the switch on my outfits, I heard someone in the audience say, “that’s the Purple Amethyst” when I came out in my Pink. I smiled and shook my head. Then everyone else saw me, and I heard gasps and oh wows as I walked in. It’s those reactions that always keeps me coming back. 

We’re really hoping someone steps forward to be the new coordinators of the Port Townsend Victorian Festival next year since the current ones have stepped down, and maybe someone can continue to carry on JoAnn’s tradition of the fund-raising fashion show. I know I would be willing to help long distance if I could.



  1. Oh. how I wanted to attend this event. I hear it was my last chance. They will not be doing this event anymore. I hope this is not true. The fashion show was going to be my main attraction. outside of the Afternoon Teas. You all looked so elegant.

    1. Not entirely true, Estelle, it was the last year for Nathan & Cindy to be running it but they are asking for others to step up and take it on. It's been running for 20 years and I'm sure they don't want it to end.

  2. How fantastic!

    Those costumes are just incredible.

    What a fun unique event.



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