When I first started this blog, I was an unemployed costumer attempting to create period gowns and costumes with very limited means. Although now employed, I still try to be as thrifty as possible. I am still "The Broke Costumer"!

In addition to posts about the outfits I make on a budget, this blog includes short research articles on fashion, history, accessories, styles, or whatever interests me at the moment.

I hope you enjoy my journey into the land of inexpensive costuming and short articles.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Peppermint Delight

I had some requests to post about this costume. Almost two years ago, a dear friend was cleaning out her stash, and I bought the sweetest little red and white stripe cotton from her for $2 a yard. I knew I wanted to make a polonaise out of it, but it sat in my closet for a year and a half. I finally had the occasion to make it. I was attending Costume College at the end of July, and there was an ice cream social planned for Friday night. The fabric reminded me of the Carnation Ice Cream plaza at Disneyland. I ordered some artificial cherries on Ebay, and made a cherry pin for the front closing of the dress, and put some on my hat along with a few carnations. The hat was originally from my Steampunk Bride outfit.
I used my favorite patterns again -Truly Victorian.    TV410 - 1873 Polonaise and for the skirt, TV201 - 1870s Underskirt.

For the skirt, I visited Robert’s on one of my visits to the Los Angeles  fabric district. He sells 100% cotton and cotton blend fabrics. I had become friends with him after I was asked to make eight outfits in white for my friend’s theater production of Ragtime. He gave me a great price on the 30+ yards of eyelets and cottons Ipurchased from him, so every time I go in now, he always gives me a deal.

For the trim on the skirt and sleeves, I used some white beading I had in my stash, and for 33cents a roll at Michaels, I got some red ribbon to thread through it.

The trim on the polonaise is a cute little ball fringe. I bought 8 red buttons for around $2 for the front, Add in a couple of scrap red ribbon bows at the elbows, and a scrap piece of red for a bow at the waist, and that is all for decoration! 

I have been bustling my gowns the same way for the last few years. Its quite easy! From the inside of the waist, tack a ribbon approximately 18 inches long at the center waistband. On either side near the side seams, tack two more ribbons at the waist. Starting on the middle ribbon, pinch up two or three places on the inside of the fabric and safety pin to the ribbon. On the two side ribbons, do the same, but be sure to offset the pinches, so you don’t have the three ribbons pinned in the same places. Here is a picture of the polonaise inside out so you can see.

No need to sew the dress to the ribbon. Leave the safety pins in, you won’t see them from the outside because the poof covers up any pin that shows. Now you can adjust your poofs whenever you want!

I was honored to be featured on the cover of Squeals, the Costume Guild West monthly magazine.

Last weekend, I attended the Steampunk Christmas walkabout at the Del Mar Antique Show. I simply switched out the cherries for poinsettias and candy canes, and I was all set!
Santa, me and Arctic Nymph (April)
With Val LaBore as the Ghost of Past, Present and Future

Our backsides - Marcee, me and April
Fabric - $8.50 (4 1/4 yds)
Bodice lining - stash
Buttons - $2
Bustle Ribbon - $1
Beading - $3
Red Ribbon - 33 cents
Skirt eyelet - $12 (6 yds)
Ball Fringe - $8 (4 yds)
TOTAL $35.00

Special Candy Cane for Walkabout:  $1!


  1. What a darling outfit!

    Carole Parker from SiW sent me here, and I'm so glad she did. :-)

  2. Thank you for visiting, and thank you for liking my blog!

  3. You need to introduce me to Robert next time we go up there. ;)

  4. Cindy, you are so inspiring! Seriously! You made a whole Victorian gown for less than you would spend on a regular dress at Target or something. BRAVO!

  5. Thanks Lauren! You are one of my personal inspirations.