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About me



My name is Patty Davis.  I am the owner of this small business in Southern Ontario, called The Costume People. 


My business mainly aims to educate the mainstream viewer about women's lives during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.  I am particularly interested in anything to do with fashion arts.  


The meat of my business is research and building or stabilizing women's historical clothing.      I take private dressmaking/millinery commissions and advise and assist with small museums' costuming and textile collections.  I also teach historic dressmaking and millinery and am available for speaking or teaching engagements.  Recently, I've expanded my offerings to include workshops and seminars on home crafts a woman of the Victorian period would perform. i.e., ribbon flower making and ribbon trim work.
The second part of my business is a travelling trunk show of Victorian and Edwardian women's fashion.  I have a sizeable collection of antique clothing curated around the question of What Women Wore.  I show and talk about my examples of the types of clothing women wore for different situations or occasions in their lives. That would include maternity clothing, funeral attire, and everything in between.  Within that group is a subsection of examples of dress details. (to name a few - umbrella pockets, bustle skirts, Garibaldi blouses) My collection mandate runs from around 1790 to just after the 1st world war.


When I'm not livin' the dream ...... I spend my time spoiling my two fur babies - Miss Minnie and Mr. Rufie, and driving my infinitely patient spouse - Joe Fuzzy,  a little nutty,  trying to keep track of my rather busy life.   :-) 

Why I do what I do.....

I have always had an intense interest in sewing and fashion, particularly the Victorian and Edwardian Ages.  My love of sewing comes from my mother and my grandmother - who were both excellent seamstresses.


I have a vivid memory of being very small and watching my mother and grandmother make cute little outfits for my sister and myself.  On this day, I guess I was giving mom a hard time while she wanted to sew.  She gave me a few scraps of fabric and said: "Barbie needs a new dress."  That was the beginning of my love affair with textiles. 


Social History has always held a particular fascination for me.  I find it extremely interesting to learn the hows and whys of the daily lives of those who went before me.  I think that's why I get such a blast out of interpreting a mid Victorian housewife at one of our local museums.  Not only do I get to play dress up and no one thinks I'm nuts, but I also get a taste of what life was like for a woman in the 1800's.


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