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 20, 2019


I don’t normally share what I’m wearing to Costume College, which starts next Thursday but am so excited that I decided to go for it.
As I’ve written earlier, I couldn’t do a lot of sewing this year due to packing and moving, and then unpacking. And no, 3 months later still not done. And still can’t find some things so I had to make this easy on myself.  
I did make one new dress for it; pulled two from my previous wardrobe; and purchased pieces for two more modern outfits.

I don’t often dress to the themes going on but this time a couple worked out to fit them.
Firstly, our guest speaker this year is Marion Boyce, the costume designer for the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries. A bunch of us had already planned on dressing in various similar outfits from the series, and it was a cherry on top when we discovered the costume designer was going to be there. I decided wearing her classic white pants with a jacket would be comfortable to wear during the day to classes. I “thought” this would be an easy sew. I bought a couple different fabrics for the jacket but they all stretched and wouldn’t work with me. In the end, I purchased white pants, pulled out an aqua jacket from my wardrobe, and found a gorgeous yellow one on the TJ Maxx website. I added a few pieces of Art Deco jewelry I found on etsy, and reshaped and trimmed a straw hat with two different color trims that I could switch out for each outfit. I also tried my hand at making a purse, in the signature shape of Miss Fisher’s. It didn’t turn out so great but it will pass at 5 ft away. 

Another mini-theme going on this year is Once Upon a Bustle, making bustle dresses but with a Disney character theme. We’re also doing the Showcase parade at the Friday Night Social. I chose doing a Dalmatian from 101 Dalmatians. My far-fetched idea of stamping dots on fabric didn’t go so well. I wasn’t very good at it and I was afraid to ruin the expensive linen I’d bought. Luckily Amazon came to the rescue with a very nice dotted cotton. I sewed a narrow black soutache trim around all the edges which finished it off very nicely. I also made a purse using my 101 Dalmatian fabric using the same design as my Miss Fisher purse. I just completed it all yesterday and took photos of it, and then got one partial photo of me wearing it. I didn’t realize I was red, white, & blue until I took these photos. 

For the Gala on Saturday night, I am reprising a 1770s caraco I made from 2010. The theme is The Opulent Streets of Venice, and I felt this was blingy enough. This photo was from when I first made it. I did buy some new jewelry with colored stones that match it to update it. I was really happy that it still fit so this made it much easier on my stress level. 
For the Sunday Mourning Breakfast, and the Tea at the Haunted Mansion, I’m wearing another older 1870s black dress, accessorized to match these themes, as the Crazy Dead Cat Lady. No photo of that yet but this was my inspiration, and the antique bonnet I’ll be wearing with it. 

So, there you go, 5 days before I leave and I’M DONE!!
The first thing I did was pull out purple fabric and a purple sprigged cotton, and pattern, to make a late 1890s skirt and blouse. But that’s for something else, not CoCo. 


  1. Dear Val,
    Oh my, the 101 Dalmatians dress is +darling+! Just love it. You'll have a blast wearing it.

    Also love the bonnet for the Crazy Dead Cat Lady. It's so pretty. If you ever have an inclination to feature it in a post, I bet lots of people will be interested. That whole costume is fantastic.

    Very best,

    Natalie in KY

    1. Thank you Natalie. I think it will be a lot of fun and wish I would be wearing it longer.
      After Costume College I will be writing more about my costumes, and how I put them together, and will feature that bonnet, with more photos of it. I found the two pieces of a wire frame in a trunk at an antique store and recognized it right away as a bonnet, having sewn buckram pieces the same shape. One of my friends offered to recovered it for me in exchange for her using it in one of her hat recovering classes. She used all vintage materials for it and its so light and airy. This will be my first time wearing it. Val

  2. Looking forward to hearing all about Costume College!


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