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.


Saturday, July 22, 2017


Here we are, 5 days before Costume College starts (a 4-day costume convention NOT a college, but it is classes). Even though all my dresses I plan on wearing are done, there are still some bits and bobs I need to finish up, and get out all my accessories, and start piling them on the dining table so I don’t forget anything. I almost forgot to take my wigs to my wig stylist to smooth them out but she got them done in 2 days so that’s a relief. And now I need to read over all my notes and slideshow for my class of Conquering the Digital Pattern, which I’m teaching again, so I remember how to explain it all coherently.
The Storm? Many of you know I’m the Assistant Dean at CoCo this year. I’ve been learning all year how to be Dean for next year. At first it was intimidating and panicky, but by April it all started to become clear and I could see how it all ran, mostly, and what I would be doing. Then the excitement started, knowing I would be announcing MY theme for next year at the Friday Night Social at CoCo. I worked with our amazing Publications person, Rebecca, who, with my vision and some ideas, created the announcement flyer that was pretty close to what I was visualizing. I can’t wait to share that!

And then with hardly taking a breath, I’ll be jumping right in to starting everything all over again for next year in the month after this CoCo. I have moments of yikes and eeks! *breathe* And then, I’ve got this! We’ll see. I also hadn’t given this too much thought but after reading Jennifer’s Historical Sewing blog, What I Learned From Not Going to Costume College ( it made me start thinking how honored I am to be chosen for this position, and that so many people know me now. I’m still amazed by that. Unfortunately, they may also remember my early foo-pah costumes, and how badly I’d like to delete some of those photos. But it’s a reminder of where I started, like a record of my trip. (and no, I won’t post those here. Spare me the humility.)
I’ve read some people are a bit intimidated by the elaborate costumes, and the cliques that you always see going on whenever large groups of people come together. Yes, there are those. But I see it as inspiring me to try new things, seeing that it is humanly possible to make that fantastic dress, gets my juices going, and leaves me so excited that I can’t wait to go shopping for fabrics and get home to sew! I feel this often whenever I go to a costumed event. It’s like a drug, and you want more. If you step away from it, that feeling and inspiration goes away. Then you start wondering why are you doing this? My thoughts are to start looking at photos, and that feeling will come back, hopefully. So, I hope many of you come to our party and take it all in. Even if you don’t dress in costume, you will still enjoy the scenery, and all that you can learn. Take photos; ask questions; talk to those people about their costumes. Most of us love to talk about them.
I’d love to share photos of my costumes I’ve made to wear this year but they’re all bits and pieces, not put together or on me yet. Turns out I’m mainly wearing 1890s this year, 3 of them, although one is a SciFi version. That’s going to be fun. This is a peek at some of the fun things I’m doing with it. 

Then my Gala dress is 1887, so I do get to travel a bit more back in time. And here I thought I would have a variety of decades again like I usually do. I didn’t get the 1912 dress done that I started but my brain hit a roadblock on the skirt and I had to set it aside for when it’s calmer. Then I pulled out a sheer cotton voile with purple flowers to make a bustle dress. So, I’ll be working on that just to keep my hands busy.  When your fingers are itchy to sew something, you just gotta go with it.