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.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I've Been Nominated for the Liebster Award!

Wow I am honored!   I was nominated by Gabriela Salvador of Pour La Victoire, a wonderful and inspiring blog writer.   I admire her for her beadwork and embroidery - two things I just don't have the patience to do.  So I look longingly at hers.  She sews dainty drawers, bustles and petticoats too!   Please check out her blog here:   http://pourlavictoire.blogspot.com.

Here are the Liebster Award rules:
Acknowledge the blog that nominated you. 
Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger created. 
List 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers that deserve some recognition. 
(I cheated on this one, as I don't know that many bloggers yet)
Write 11 questions for them to answer. 
Notify them they've been nominated. 

Gabriela has asked me to answer the following questions.   Here they are:

1. What is your favorite resource or method for researching period costuming?  I have a few favorites.   Most recently, Pinterest.  Every type of costume you could imagine is pinned in the Great Pinterest Cloud!  I also have a growing library of costuming books I graze through when I need inspiration.

2. What is your biggest frustration when you sew clothing?     Not having enough patience.  I want it done yesterday!  I am not a true historical sewer, more of a costumer, and I really need to slow down and fit myself better.

3. What is your biggest historical or sewing pet peeve ? (i.e. Marie Antoinette said "Let them eat cake"...NOT!)   Movies that don't know how to costume!   Some so called "period" movies mix eras in the same scene, or the heroine has her day bodice cut so low she is exposing her heaving bosom, or, for example, wear a huge bustle with 1890s big sleeves.  A civil war ballroom scene, and as they waltz by, you see a flash of a zipper.  You get the idea.   I yell at the movie screen.  My boyfriend now asks me "is that period?" whenever we watch a costume flick.

4. What is your ultimate costume fantasy? Which piece, if you had the skill/money/time to make, would you make?   I really love Julia Roberts evil queen costume from Mirror Mirror.  One of many on my "I wish I knew how to do this" list.


 5. What does the name of your blog mean? How did you decide on that name?  The Broke Costumer -   because I am!  LOL I started it when I was on unemployment and sewing with literally donated fabrics, thrift store sheets and $2 a yard fabrics from the LA fabric district.  Although I am employed now, I still try and keep my expenses as low as I can.

6. What has been the biggest sewing lesson you learned?   Listening to my friend tell me over and over to put boning in my bodices!  It really makes a difference.  I don't do it to every bodice, but I am working on it.

7. What is your favorite seam technique (french, flat-felled, etc.)?  I don't have a serger, so I generally finish my seams with pinking shears.  However, I do love french seams.  I made a Lily Munster sheer dress and had to use them to enclose the seams.  It raveled faster than I could sew!  I did flat-felled seams on a chemise, and loved the way it turned out.

8. What is your favorite aspect of blogging about your creations and/or research?   Just sharing my frustrations about not being the greatest sewer, and to share the fun stuff I make.

9. What is your accessory guilty pleasure? Shoes, socks, jewelry, hats...?

Oh, purses!  I love to do vintage and rockabilly.  I have a purse collection of about two dozen Enid Collins and Jewel Tone purses from the sixties.  I am even teaching my first class at Costume College this summer on these purses!  Yes, the ones your mother used to carry.


10. If you could be any historical figure, who would you be and why?  Beatrix Potter!    An author, illustrator, scientist, conservationist in a time where women were just beginning to anchor a place in the working world along side men.  She bought farms and raised sheep, cows and chickens and lived in the beautiful English countyside.  She lived to be 93 and had a happy marriage of 30 years.  She was a pillar of society.

11. What is your favorite painting, sculpture, or other artwork?
My favorite painter is James Tissot, known for his highly detailed paintings of Women's clothing.  One of my very favorites is "The Ball"   All these ruffles!  

Now I will nominate some bloggers that I enjoy:

1.  Val at  Time Traveling in Costume   http://timetravelingincostume.blogspot.com/     She was the one who invited me in to the Costume Guild and also was responsible for me starting my blog.

2.  Trudy at D'Nalof Design  http://vintageattirew-dnalof2007.blogspot.com/    She makes the sweetest Victorian gowns and well as other eras.

3.  A Frolic Through Time.  http://zipzipinkspot.blogspot.com/  A lovely blog, with history, fashion plates and sewing projects.

4.  A Fashionable Frolic.  http://fashionablefrolick.blogspot.com/    Beautiful historical reproductions.

5.  Katherine at The Fashionable Past.  http://koshka-the-cat.blogspot.com/   She is inspiring!  Attention to detail, hand sewn and well researched gowns.

6. http://beauty4ashes7.blogspot.com/   Beauty from Ashes.  I know she has tons of awards, but Gina is so awesome, she gets another one!

7.  http://atailormadeit.blogspot.com/   A Tailor Made it.  I love to see how theatrical costumes are made!

8. http://asartorialstatement.blogspot.com/  A Satorial Statement.  Chelsea makes beautiful Regency and 18th century gowns.  I am so jelly.

9. http://fairyfingers.blogspot.com/  Threads of my Life.  Laurie's Mary Poppins Costume is adorable!   I love this fun costumer!

10.   http://isabelladangelo.blogspot.com/    Isabella's Project Diary.  Costuming,  a historical recipe and sewing challenges!

11. http://costumerscloset.blogspot.com/  The Costumer's Closet.  Loren is one of the most fantastic costumers I know.   Every year at Costume College, I drool over her latest gowns.  Thanks Loren for being an inspiration for me!

Here are questions I have prepared for you to answer on your blog:

1.   What is your favorite period movie, and why?

2.   How long have you been sewing, and what made you turn to costuming?

3.   Do you like to sew alone, or have a sewing day with friends?

4.  What is your favorite outfit you have made, and your least favorite?

5.  If you could go to any costumed event in the world, where would you go and what would you wear?

6.   What is your favorite era, and is your closet full of outfits from this era (or will be)?

7.   Which historical person would you like to meet and why?

8.  What is your next sewing project?

9.  Do you have a favorite book about costuming that you go to for ideas?

10.   Do you have a "get ready to sew" ritual, or things you must do to get into the sewing mood?

11.  Why do you blog about your sewing?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The 20 Second post

A sneak peek at what I am making for comic con.   NOT the traditional Comic characters :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Flag Day on the USS Midway

The San Diego Costume Guild was asked to participate in the Flag Day celebration on the USS Midway.  We were all very excited!  They asked us to come in 1814 Regency attire, as we were celebrating the 200 year anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner.

I don't really do Regency, and only had one horrible dress that I made years ago.  I have to redo the top on it someday, but did not have time to do it before this event.  Since it is blue and white, I decided to make a red pelisse to go over it.  However, the best part of my outfit is an awesome hat made by my friend, April.  She loves to make hats, and had recently bought the new Lynn McMaster's Regency hat pattern with a double brim.  I got to be her experiment!  She made this beautiful blank hat for me and I decorated it.  Read her blog at    http://www.artsydressmaker.com/

 For the pelisse, I traced Val's pattern from Sense & Sensibility.   I recommend this pattern as its quite easy.  The pattern is for the spencer part only, but has variations on style.  To add the lower part, simply cut your yardage to the length you want - on the fold for the back which is pleated to the back of the spencer, and lengths to add to the front, which is attached flat from the front edge and around to the back where the pleating starts.  I chose the double breasted closing with four gold buttons, as it looked a bit more military and formal then the regular frogged closure version.

Here is a picture of April and me on the flight deck of the Midway.  April made her outfit and hat as well.  Following are several photos from the day.  Everyone's dresses were so lovely, I have added some group shots of them.  I hope you enjoy!

Taken by Marie-Jo

Me, Jerry and Val

Me, Cat and Val being silly

San Diego Costume Guild

The only back shot I could find!

For a full link to our Guild's photos of this event, see

Cost breakdown

5 yards of linen blend red for hat and coat @ $4/yd        $20
Buttons     $4
Trim for hat  $8

Total cost  $32 plus some for April!