About Me

Hello.  I am a middle aged woman who recently reconnected with a love I had when I was a teen…historical women’s clothing and trying to recreate them.  I have two grown children, a husband and a little dog sharing my domain and I work full time as a recreation co-ordinator in a nursing home.  I frequently have the opportunity to dress in costume, sing, craft and just be silly in my job.  Who could ask for anything more!  Well, I guess I could ask for more time to sew and knit and,  OK, I confess, I also need more time to waste on facebook and playing my favorite computer game Sims.

I also enjoy writting and talking about ME so blogging is a great place to start.  But, who needs another historical costuming blog when there is some serious big hitters out there who are professional, semi professional, and contest winning costumers?  Yeah, I read them and I learn from them.   But what do I have to offer?   I guess the perspective of a total newbie.  Even the semi newbies I have found have 10 or 12 costumes under their belt and are currently working on their degree in costume colleges and/or belong to a club that mentors it members.   I had 2 costumes when I started this blog and there was 30 years in between the two.   In 10 years time, what I want to see with this blog is a) my sewing has improved by leaps and bounds, b) I have a costume club of my own and since there is none here that I have found, my pal and I will have started it.  Basically, I don’t think I will be much help to the pros (unless it is purely accidental).  But, maybe some amatures will learn along with me.  And maybe, in 10 years time, this blog will be a map for other newbies.

29 thoughts on “About Me

  1. valarielynn says:

    Hey there, followed you over from my blog (Time Traveling in Costume). I hope you continue filling your pages with lovely inspiration photos that will keep you wanting to achieve your goal of a truly fabulous costume. My first gown was a very plain pink calico bustle (1880s, Truly Victorian pattern) and I totally screwed it up. 1880s is also my favorite era. I’m an “alumni” of Costume College (costume convention, not a real college) for 8 years but a good portion of my learning has been from the internet. While at CoCo, I discovered the San Diego Costume Guild and Costumers Guild West of Los Angeles. It amazed me that there were other costume nerdy folks like myself.
    I also love writing so that’s why my blog is so perfect for me. I retired almost 5 years ago so it has given me more time to research and improve. And I love sharing with others.
    Keep writing. You too may be helping a newbie. This is my friend’s blog you might enjoy also. http://brokecostumer.blogspot.com/

    • I like to write, I like to talk about myself and I love Victorian clothes and things. That’s why blogging works for me too!

      I envy your costume college and guilds. I don’t think we have one here…if we do I haven’t found them. The only thing I have found is a few re-enactor groups from pre Victorian eras (not my interest) and who are firmly focused on authentic representation. A friend of mine and I are hoping we will be able to create a fun group of costumers so we wont be alone in our nerdyness! I’m about 20 years from retirement so I have to squeeze it in on the weekends!

      I popped over to your friends blog…I think I will be following her too…Thanks!

  2. karenb says:

    found you via The Dreamstress and after reading two of your blogs have decided I feel at home on your blog. I am a newbie on historical stuff and am amazed at finding that there is a whole lot of very serious people out there doing historical costuming. Bit scary….I am at the very beginning with no knowledge except for an interest in such things and average sewing skills. Will be great to learn from everyone’s blogs though.

    • Well, I’m glad to have you. I’m fairly new at this stuff too (about 2 years), so we can learn together. Isn’t Dreamstress inspiring-and she is professionally trained-wow! The internet world makes learning about something new much easier and it also makes one feel like you are not alone in odd hobbies. My friend Shirley and I find we are quite odd in our city but we hope that we will find more like minded folks as we go along!

  3. Ana says:

    Dear Wanda,

    I’ve been reading through your blog and I really like the details that you share about your projects. A friend has invited me to a Victorian Ball and I’ve started to look for information about that era. It is not easy to decide on a dress, and I am also a bit concerned with the difficulty of making the dress myself. I can sew, but I am no expert. From what I’ve learned so far, it seems that I have to make a corset, a hoop skirt (or buy it, unless I could use an organza petticoat – if it can hold the weight of the skirt and the fabric is not too expensive), a bodice and a skirt. I was wondering if you could weigh in which of the following would be the easier project to attempt:
    1) a combination of these 3 dresses:
    the skirt from here (left dress):
    the bodice and the bottom part of the sleeves from here (left dress):
    the top part of the sleeves from here using the same lace as in the first dress, around the top of the skirt:
    2) http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections/126927?img=0
    3) http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections/82148?img=0

    Thank you very much!


    • Thanks for reading! In your first choice, the upper sleeves option is actually from the 1890s and the lower sleeves and dress are from the 1860s. That wouldn’t have happened. It is like a girl wearing what is in style today but also has a purse made in 2045. Your second choice is very pretty but seems a lot of work for a first project. I’d go with your third option. I’d also recommend using Truly Victorian patterns.http://www.trulyvictorian.net/tvxcart/home.php?cat=1 They are well written and so you are likely to get the sizing and assembly right without a desperate amount of struggle. You can also get patterns for the hoops and petticoats here as well. You don’t say how much time you have to get this outfit made so you may need to take a short cut and buy a corset ready made. I’ve bought mine at this site and like them. http://www.corsets-uk.com/ I’d love to hear how you make out!

  4. Ana says:

    Dear Wanda,

    Thanks so much for your reply! And many apologies for not replying sooner. I did use the website for the corsets, I bought tow and one was perfect to wear under the dress. I ended up making a dress following the third link, as you had suggested. My dress was a far cry from it, but it was OK-ish for the ball, which took place last weekend. It is more complicated than I had anticipated and two friends had helped me during the last two days before the ball. I’ll try to improve it in the next few weeks, as I have time off from work and wear it again at a future ball. I didn’t have time to make the sleeves, and the bodice was too long. Also, I chose not to wear a large hoop skirt, but a medium size, so my skirt did not have the fullness as in the picture. Ideally, I’d like to figure out how to make the lace. The lace that I bought from JoAnn is not so “airy.”
    I wish you wonderful holidays,

    • Every effort now will be better than the one before. To avoid problems with long bodices next time, try a mock up or muslin. Many folks swear by them…especially if they have a hard shape to fit. Some folks use old sheets and things for the mock up to save money. And sometimes if there is a lining you can use that for the mock up and then reuse it for the lining.

  5. Monica P says:

    I Wanda, I ran across the blog while looking up the Watson tartan. I’m also interested in Victorian and medieval costumes. I know you mentioned that there are no costume clubs in your area. Can you share with us where you are located? I would be interested in finding a club near me.

  6. graceathome says:

    Hi Wanda! I was so excited to find your blog. I’m from Manitoba also. I’m a member of the Manitoba Living History Society and we and thinking or expanding our time line to include 1860s. So excited to see all of your creations because I have been considering many of the patterns you have already done. Dawn

    • That would be so awesome if your group would expand! Perhaps we could do joint events. Granted, our group is a bit looser with the authenticity rules (we will use good “fake silks” for example because of costs. We are more about the outfit looking real from afar rather than real from under a microscope. If you are interested, you can contact us at our group email victorianatheart00@gmail.com.

  7. Sabrina says:

    nitoba Living HIstory Society to find some local dress-up events. I’m not exactly a newbie, but I seem to have trouble making it past the sewing undergarments stage. I’m about to embark on some 1880s sewing. You have some lovely costumes and I am excited to add your blog to my bloglist. You can check out my blog at http://mala-14.livejournal.com

    • Sabrina says:

      Oops, I had some technical difficulties posting my comment and it looks like in copying and pasting I missed out the beginning of my comment. It was supposed to read:

      Greetings Wanda! I just found your blog on historicalsewing.com. I’m also in Winnipeg. I recently joined the Manitoba Living History Society… etc.

    • Nice to meet you! I will definitely pop by your site!

  8. Peggy Peters says:

    Hello Wanda. I’d like to get in touch with you. I’m trying to identify individuals in some photos I found of ancestors and maybe you can help at least pinpoint some dates the photos were taken based on the clothing, etc. Thank you in advance for any assistance.

    • Hi Peggy! Send me your email (which I will delete so it doesn’t remain on this blog). I check this twice a day so I will get the email and contact you. You can then send me some scans of the photos and I will share my ideas for dates.

  9. Jeannie H. says:

    Morning. We met at Dalnavert the weekend we had the Garden Party on the front lawn.I volunteer there on weekends. I also have met you at CMC. I really love your outfit and admire your love for the Victorian era. I to am a fan. I have a good hat and bag. I saw your picture in The Dalnavert newsletter. I would love to sit and chat about your collection some day. See you at CMC soon I hope. Have a great day.

  10. Josh says:

    I am trying to get ahold of you by email to talk about a copyright permission request of a photo on your site.

    • comment on my blog and give me your email address and I will email you. I check here twice a day so I will get it. I will also make sure it doesn’t end up/stay on my blog for the world to see.

  11. Brandon Kahlich says:

    Hello Wanda, stumbled upon your blog/photos while researching my great-grandfather, AJ Lothian. Not sure if it is the same person whose name is upon the vintage photos, but he was a Scottish immigrant to Canada, who did own several businesses I’m told…but eventually became an architect in the Windsor area. Possibly the same man? Unfortunately most of the close relatives have already passed, so no way to confirm, just found it interesting!! Thanks for sharing the images.


  12. Leiflynn Jeffery, Melfort, Saskatchewan says:

    HI Wanda,
    I am coming to Winnipeg Oct 21-22 for a meeting and would love to meet you before or after those dates. How can I contact you?

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