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

My photo
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.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Storing & Identifying Your Hat Collection

June 28, 2012
Once again my blog entry comes from a conversation I started on Facebook, as I complained that my tower of unstored hats had come crashing down. These are ones that I don’t have hat boxes for them yet. Other friends commiserated with me, and gave suggestions. I do have a method to my madness, just not enough boxes to contain them. So here we have proof of my OCD with costume hats. Each of these boxes have small photos of the hats inside them. It’s hard to see but there’s a tall glass vase between the first row that I have my extra long hat pins in. It held many more than those cute little hat pin holders you can buy.

 That’s not all of them but they’re reached the ceiling already. There’s still the short stack of hats behind me, and a square hat box that is temporary housing since it’s not very strong. It’s similar to that white one up the upper shelf on the left. That one contains a bunch of blank straws, derbies, and a top hat.  Surprise to me that in that box I found some already reshaped small straw hats I had and could have saved me some time when I had to run around looking for regular straw hats and then steam and reshape them. *sigh*
After reading an article on organizing your stash, one of the suggestions was to make a list of hats in each hat box and tape it to the box. Except it took me too long to read, and that list changed sometimes where I was scribbling all over it. For my hats I came up with the idea of attaching photos of each hat to the box with just bits of Scotch tape so if I moved the hat to another box, the photo went with it. The photos are mostly about 3x3 inches. I have a photo album in my computer of all my costume hats. Most of them were just taken by holding them in front of my camera but some were taken with me wearing them. I just printed the photo and cut off the portion I needed. I use a Word document and Insert my photos onto it, then print it out and cut them to the size I want. 

They don’t have to be fancy, just clear enough that from about 4 feet away you can see them right away on the boxes. I have about 76 hats, and that includes tiaras, day caps and little hair ornaments.
**ETA--at the request of one of my readers, I downloaded photos of most of my hats onto my Pinterest board. I left off the hat blanks, tiaras and day caps.  **
I wrote an earlier post about organizing my pattern collection into a small notebook I can carry with me when fabric shopping.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

You can learn something new every day

June 26, 2012
Just sharing some Pearls of Wisdom here.
I repeatedly have said to myself and others, that I learn something new every day, even when I thought I knew everything. Case in point: sewing. Oh, that’s right. You who know me know the problems I have in understanding patterns and directions. I can understand far more when I have an actual gown in front of me and see how its sewn, rather than reading the directions on how to do it.
Right now I have two gowns I’m working on for Costume College; one is my 1905 voile gown, and the other is my “Secret Squirrel” project, which came to a roaring stop the other day when the directions weren’t the same as what my dress was doing. How many times has that happened? More on that foopah later.
I’ve been going along merrily sewing my Truly Victorian 1905 circular skirt and blouse/waist with no problems. And I might have continued that way if I hadn’t had the chance to socialize with Heather & Laura McNaughton of Truly Victorian last Sunday. My friend Cat and I were attending an open house & ice cream social at the Heritage House in Riverside, Ca. I was joined by other friends in costume, mostly 1890s-1908, and supporting our friend, Tonya, who’s a docent at this beautiful 1890s historic home. Besides having some yummy hand-cranked ice cream, it was a beautiful place for photos and I can’t tell you how many times we were stopped and asked by people to have their photo taken with us.

Heather & Laura showed up, both dressed in their TVE 1905 blouse & skirts, with Laura wearing the circular skirt like I’m making, and Heather wearing her trumpet skirt. Seeing these skirts in person really shows you how beautiful they are made up with fabric. I was fascinated by the back of Heather’s skirt enough that I took a close-up of it. *Sorry Heather* But look how pretty the pleating is at the bottom of the closure. It’s kind of closed up in the photo but when she walked, it spread out like a fan and looked so feminine and graceful. I’m already thinking of when I’ll have time to make one of these skirts too.

 Then I started looking closer at her blouse and noticed her high necked collar. She said it was shorter than the original because she doesn’t like it that high. I can so relate to that, so I too am going to shorten mine. I was using the round Stock Collar. Then I was surprised when I saw her collar was only attached in the front, what I could see, by her brooch. She said it’s a Stock Collar, which means it can be removed easily for washing or changing out. I’d heard of Stock Collars on men but had no idea what that really meant or that women wore them. She did say you CAN sew the collar directly to the blouse, which was what I was going to do as I was merrily sewing along. So that was my first new learning thing of the day.
Later in the day we all headed back to their beautiful little 1913 house and sat around talking patterns and sewing; even the guys.

 I started asking Heather questions about the different things I’d made or worn from their patterns, and then asked why my corset kept riding up from my waist. She said the hips were too tight. I said I tightened mine to try and flatten my stomach but she explained that Victorian corsets are meant to be hour glass shapes, so it's only tightened at the waist, and looser at the hip and bust. I was wearing an 1890s skirt but I should have been wearing an Edwardian one to keep my tummy flat. That was an eye opener! I think I’m going to try this same outfit with my TV 1903 corset next. So that was my second new learning thing of the day.
My third new learning thing was going to be a separate post altogether but I’ve decided to include these all in one. A short while ago *someone* (I can't remember who) suggested when I make the bodice, to mark and finish the closure first, then do the side seams to get a better fit. I was used to following the pattern and doing the shoulder and side seams first then finish the bodice closure last. I would struggle to get the closure lined up. Often it had to be closed over farther on the top than the bust, and more at the midriff. And sometimes it wasn’t big enough to even close. So out came the seam ripper after most of the bodice had already been finished. They don't call me Mrs Ripper for nothing! So with this method I would sew the shoulder seams, and fold the edges of the closure and finish it to where it was ready to have its buttonholes, or however I would close it, done. My first try at this was with the TVE 41 1903 blouse/waist I'm working on.
 I closed the placket with safety pins, put it on inside out, and then marked the sides on me with pins. I un-safety pinned the neck enough to slide it off me. This made it so much easier, especially since this one closes in the back. Other than taking it in a tad bit more after taking it off, it fit and closed beautifully the first time.
After looking at the photo I’d taken of the back of Heather’s skirt, I had another “ah hah!” moment. I could do the same method with the skirt closure. With previous bustle gowns, I’ve been happy that they had bustles and peplums going over my closures on the skirt because my plackets aren’t pretty. And that’s because of the same problem. I thought it fit when I put the waistband on but I think all the thread you use to sew it with makes it bulkier and takes up any excess you might have had.
Don’t believe that, huh? That’s all I can come up with.
I now have a sign hanging over my computer that says, “Mark closures FIRST on patterns”. It’s right next to “10 am, START SEWING”. I should change that to 3pm because that’s the time I start feeling like sewing. 
And I would like to publicly thank whomever it was that gave me this suggestion to do the closures first. *kisses*
**Here's an additional tip from Jennifer Rosbrugh of When you're fitting your muslin, take into account that your flatlining/lining plus any bones if used, will take up some of the fabric causing it to be a bit smaller. This applies to my method of doing the front closure first. At this point you should already have the flatlining (or possibly lining) done, but if you will also have bones, take that into account.**

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Review of my Bloomer Workshop

June 20, 2012
This month’s issue of CGW’s Squeals newsletter came out with a very nice review of my recent workshop: Amelia and her Shocking Bloomers, that I presented to CGW in April. It was written by Joy Flasher (thank you, Joy!), a member of CGW, who attended the workshop. Here is her review, and I hope you get a chance to see my presentation in person at Costume College in August this year.
Presented by Valarie ****
Written by Joy Flasher
On April 6, 2010 CGW members met in Buena Park at the home of Elizabeth McCash—thank you, Elizabeth, for hosting--for the first ever presentation of Valarie ****’s workshop “Amelia and Her Shocking Bloomers”.  Valarie, Val to those who know her, is from San Diego.
This writer will try not to lessen the anticipation of those who will attend this workshop at Costume College but I will give you highlights that will be sure to whet your appetite for more knowledge on the topic of Amelia Bloomer and her fabulous outfit.
Val’s presentation was a delightful detour from the usual Dress Reform lectures.  While she included some wonderful and interesting history of the Dress Reform movement Val’s primary focus was on the woman and the clothing that influenced Amelia, and how future garments were influenced by the bloomer style.

Cat Frazier, also from San Diego, modeled a gown from the late 1850’s, which would have been worn with multiple petticoats to achieve the desired silhouette.  Val pointed out the potential and real problems women of that era faced wearing all those petticoats, most of them health related.  Val wore her latest bloomer gown creation for the presentation and had her first bloomer gown on display for everyone to view.
Val’s quest to learn more about the bloomer gown began over a year ago in January 2011 when a costuming friend and mentor gave her a large stash of Civil War costume patterns.  While going through the patterns Val came across a Past Pattern for an 1851 Bloomer costume, which had been produced by Saundra Ros Altman in 1997.  However, the pattern was not completed and never marketed.  So, Val began her search to learn all she could about the pattern but, more importantly, about the bloomer gown that was the inspiration for Saundra’s original pattern.
Val found that the Past Pattern bloomer costume had actually been based on a garment that was part of San Diego Historical Society’s collection.  She was able to get an appointment with the SDHS to view the original bloomer gown that had been worn by San Diego resident Mary Thurston Stickney in 1851.  Mary Stickney was influenced by a newspaper article she read about the bloomer outfit.  How fantastic is that, to be able to get up close and personal with an extant garment you’re researching.  She made the most of her visit with Mary Stickney’s gown by documenting the type of fabrics used as well as construction details.  And, she was able to get some great pictures of this fabulous bloomer outfit. 
During the months that followed Val’s research continued.  When it came to researching this topic Val did not limit her resources to the internet and local historical societies.  Some of her research included contact with different historical societies in New York where the women’s reform movement began.
Val’s research also brought her in contact with Saundra Ros Altman, the producer of the original bloomer pattern.  Saundra’s renewed interest in the bloomer pattern meant that it would eventually be available to the public, and she credits Val in her acknowledgments in the pattern.  Val has been in contact with Saundra regularly to keep us all updated with the pattern’s progress.  As of the date of the workshop the patterns were almost ready.
Val’s presentation is a wonderful compilation of photographs, fashion plates and history, and it is clear that she put a lot time into the research and creation of this terrific workshop.  It is not to be missed!  Those who attend at Costume College will not be disappointed.
Thank you, Val, for a wonderful presentation of the history of Amelia Bloomer’s bloomers.
**Note: A last minute surprise from Val—she got permission from The Doll Reader to reprint their Amelia paper doll pages from 1985 and she will include them with her handout at Costume College.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Using Pinterest as a costume research tool

June 16, 2012
Last night my friend Cindy convinced me to start up a Pinterest board to hold all my photos for my costume research. The most important reason would be to save them if my computer crashed and I lost everything. Since this has happened twice in the past, and my albums are bursting at the seams, it seemed a logical step. I honestly did try to save them to a disk periodically but they got too big for the disks. I also printed them on paper and kept them in notebooks. Both of those ideas are about 3 years behind and the idea of saving more of them, this time to a thumb drive, was very overwhelming.
Recently I heard a little blurb on the news about the Cloud where you could upload your photos and save them. I’m slightly familiar with the Cloud, since I know that’s where my books on my Kindle are saved. But I wasn’t able to find out how to even get started on it. So for right now, Pinterest seems an easy start.
Except being easy doesn’t mean quick, especially when I probably have over 5000 photos saved. I thought I had even more but remembered many of these are duplicated when I’m working on specific gowns and I copy them all to the folder for that gown.
Pinterest doesn’t seem to have written instructions on how to set one up. In fact it’s very mysterious where you have to have an invitation from someone to “join” it. Cindy was very patient with me for an hour it took me to set mine up and figure out how to just get started. It reminds me of Facebook where everything is so cryptic. It didn’t surprise me that it has some connections to FB. At least mine did.
After finally getting my first photo, and my first follower, Cindy, uploaded, I went to bed. Except it took me over an hour to get to sleep because my brain was still trying to figure this thing out. First thing this morning I began setting up albums on Pinterest and uploading some photos. So far I’ve only got 4 albums and about 20 photos uploaded to each. I have so many more but wanted to get at least get it going.
In my introduction, I started to explain my purpose of my collection of photos, but they limit the number of words you can upload. So basically I find and save photos from the internet and many off of ebay of gowns and accessories that appeal to me, or to educate me on the styles of each time period. Sometimes it’s just a collar or a lapel, a hat or the entire dress. I also save photos showing fabrics of the time, either from catalogs or extant gowns, in hopes that it educates my eye in picking fabrics when I shop.
I’ve been collecting these photos for almost 10 years, and most of them I never recorded where I found them. My most important criteria was the year. But some of them are just generic showing the 1800s, etc. Because I’ve learned how to recognize the years better, I’ve been able to correct those dates now. But I’m sure many are still wrong. I’ve been lazy looking through them.  So enjoy what I have so far. There’s much more to come.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

1870s Black & White Polka Dot Bustle Polonaise

Started 2009. Finished June 2012.
Yep, it’s the polonaise AGAIN.  Back in Oct 2009, I cut out the Truly Victorian 1873 polonaise in three different fabrics; a purple & black floral poly-blend; a green striped cotton; and a white with black polka dot cotton voile. Each fabric cost me $4.00 or less a yard.

 I sewed most of the parts together on all of them at the same time aka “The Assembly Line Method”, and when I decided which one I needed first, then I finished it. Later when I needed the next one, it didn’t take that much time to complete it. But by that time, I’d discovered why I had the gappy neckline and dropped shoulders at the armhole. So I’ve been doing a little alteration on them.
I was finally ready to finish the last one, the black and white polka dot for a Bustle Picnic being held by teh Historical Citizen's Association in a couple weeks up in Los Angeles.
When we last saw my gown in 2009 it was in its partially completed condition and black was being considered as the trim color. I thought that I could also wear the polonaise over my black silk taffeta skirt but I want this to be a summer outfit so it just has a matching skirt. This pattern has also been used by a lot of people and is highly recognizable so I’m thinking up ideas how to make it different.

When I put it on my dress form I tried different colors for the neckline bow and buttons, and decided I liked red the best for summer. I have some vintage red with white speckled buttons for the front closure.
On the other two gowns I've made, the long edge on the front lent themselves to using a narrow black pleated trim on one, and a beaded eyelet with a yellow ribbon running through it on the other. This voile is very lightweight and trims like that would weigh it down. I found a photo online of a similar gown where someone had used a narrow black soutache ribbon along the edges that defined the edge very nicely. It also had a ruffled cuff instead of the flared one the pattern has. I’ve just been doing a straight edge on mine since I have a tendency to catch things in a flared cuff. So the hunt is on for a red soutache braid. And I’m going to cut some of my fabric on the bias to make the ruffled cuffs.
If I can find enough 1 inch wide red ribbon, I’m going to have large bows with tails hanging down on the sides of my polonaise where it catches in the side seams.

I tried the red ribbon down the front of the dress, along with some of the red buttons I have, and I’m not liking it.
 I decided I want it to be a little more subtle with just an accent of the red bow at the top. So I removed the 6 red buttons I already had sewn on, and am changing them out for black. I also pulled a narrow black ribbon from my stash and will be sewing that down the front. This also brings up ideas of a black bow on each cuff, and some on the sides and back.
A few days later I was able to make a trip to JoAnns Fabrics and carried in my mind the type of buttons I wanted: those little round black shoe buttons you see on antique boots. And I lucked out! Lovely JoAnns did have those, although plastic ones. Unfortunately there were only 8 of them, & I need a minimum of 9 and possibly more if I decide to add them to my extra trims. But I’m sure I can find more at another JoAnns.
So now I have black shoe buttons down the front of my bodice, and started the 3 inch ruffle of self fabric and a 2 inch wide ruched self fabric to go on the cuffs. I sewed the ruffle onto the edge first, and then basted the ruched portion just behind it but with the front edge overlapping the ruffle to cover that. I’m going to sew more of the 1/8” black ribbon on top of each of the exposed stitches. 
An idea occurred to me as I was looking at photos of bustle gowns online. This polonaise has been made by everyone, and I want it to be different. So I’ve decided since I have enough fabric leftover, I’m going to make a ruffled apron to go on the front with more of the black ribbon along that hem. Oh, and maybe I can do a ruffle on the hem also. I’ve already cut out an 8” ruffle to go on the hem of the skirt since it looks like it may be a tad short and only has a 1/2'” hem.  And I only have a week left to finish this *quick and easy project* I thought I had.
The Attack of the Trimming Frenzy caught me again with this gown, and the day before the picnic I had to finally stop myself so I could start trimming a hat to wear. This voile lends itself beautifully for making ruffles and I may be doing more now that it’s been worn and I have time before I wear it again. J
I really liked how the apron came out. I just used the front portion of Truly Victorian’s #208 bustle and attached a narrow waistband to it to go around my waist and button. On top of all the ruffles I was doing, I sewed the thin black ribbon on top. For the larger areas of ruffles, I basted the ruffle down by hand, then held the black ribbon on top and sewed all of them together on my sewing machine. It made it much quicker. 

I wanted to have ribbons on the side of the polonaise and the red grosgrain ones worked out fine but now I’m thinking maybe silk or satin would look better and softer. It seemed kind of silly to put another bow on the back of the peplum above the pleats but it does need something there, so I covered two buttons in self fabric. They kind of disappear into the fabric though. I’m actually thinking maybe navy blue or black for the ribbons may be a better choice than red. And I think I’d also like to add some ruffles around the square neckline. About three days before the event I tried the polonaise on and found the bodice was too loose, so I moved some of the buttons over. The day of the event it was too loose on the top so I need to move those three buttons over too. This was because I remembered to tighten the top portion of my corset this time.
So having put a halt to further trimming, I started on my hat, which was seen in my previous post in the reshaping stage. I wanted to use trims from my stash, and had a group of vintage tiny white flowers but not enough to fill the hat in. So I included some newer white ones too. And to add red, I had some vintage cherries. I hand tacked a black grosgrain ribbon around the crown to have something to attach the flowers to. I still didn’t have enough flowers so I made a large bow of the grosgrain to go in front, and added some flirty black ribbons trailing in the back. I’m still not totally satisfied with it, and after seeing someone else’s similar hat at the picnic, I'm stealing her idea of having a narrow black velvet ribbon around the top of the entire brim. It finished it off very nicely. So the hat is still a work in progress. Following the style in a fashion print, I wore the hat towards the front of my head slightly tilted.

The day of the picnic was a lovely day and held in the beautiful green Craig Regional Park in Fullerton, CA. near a small lake. We were away from the main picnic area and tables where most of the public went and parking was close by so we didn’t have to walk far in our bustles. We even had a dessert contest and my friend Trudy and I both won first prize for best dessert.

This was taken by my friend, Trudy. 
 You always have to have some oops included in your projects, so I discovered mine the night before when I was ironing my skirt. I found one panel had been sewn in upside down so it was narrower at the hem and wider at the waistband. It’s not throwing it off too badly but now I have to decide if I want to take the waistband off that portion, remove the ruffle at the bottom & widen that, and take out two side seams to put it to rights. Am I that anal? Naw, don’t think so!  Onto the next dress!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


I had another question asked of me when I talked about my assembly line method of sewing multiple costumes of the same pattern. How did I ever manage to do it?
At first my answer was easy: cut out multiples of the same pattern, with different fabrics. Once the pattern is cut to size, and the muslin fitted, you could cut out as many fabrics from it as you wanted and start sewing.
It’s not as easy as all that. It requires some thought and planning.
First, a disclaimer: I’ve only done this *four times. And they were fairly easy patterns. My reason for doing this is I wanted more than one dress of each era. And when I make something two or three times, I understand its construction better and it’s easier to make next time. You have to plan ahead of time by having all the fabrics and lining or flat lining fabrics on hand. You don’t need your finishing details until later when you decide to finish the individual gown. *I originally thought I’d only done this twice but after looking thru all my costume photos, I found I had done it two more times but with only making two at a time instead of the three I’d done before*.
My first time I did this was back in 2005 when I was fairly new to costuming. I wanted to have a couple Regency dresses to wear to Costume College, and the quickest way I could do it was cut three out at a time. All were going to be cotton day dresses. I used the Sense & Sensibility pattern which is easy to understand and explains construction in modern sewing terms.
 My fabrics were all small printed floral cottons. Once I cut the pattern to my size and the muslin fit, I laid out each fabric, cut it out, and then laid out the next and cut it. Each also needed to have the bodice lined and I cut that portion out of white muslin. By that time your back is going to be killing you.  You might want to take a couple hours break from this. Or a couple days.
So here was the assembly line: take all the bodice pieces (no sleeves yet), and sew all the side seams. These were bag lined (fabric and lining right sides together, sew with bottom parts open & turn right side out). Take all the skirt parts and sew all the side seams on those. Then sew the sleeve seams & finish the cuffs. Set those aside for when you’re rested and can battle with attaching the “Evil Sleevils”. Now gather and attach all the skirts to all the bottoms of the bodices. Sew the plackets to the back skirt opening, and finish. I did buttonholes on all my bodices. *I now do drawstring closures; much easier.* If you’re ready, begin battle with the “Evil Sleevils” by gathering the caps and attach to the armholes. You may be one of the lucky ones who don’t have problems with sleeves like many of us do. A handy tip from Historical Sewing- Jennifer Rosbrugh: mark the sleeve directly after you cut it so you know the front from back. Use a tiny mark or pin a safety pin on the front part. It will save you from sewing them backwards or putting the right arm in the left armhole. Believe me; I’ve done it more times than I can count.
At this point you can now hem and trim. If you only need one dress now, that’s all you need to finish. I wasn’t much into trimming at this point. I just wanted the dresses done. These are two of the Regency dresses I finished in 2005 back in my pre-Regency stays days. I made two with puffy sleeves, and one with a three quarter length sleeve, so at least I was trying to make them a little different from each other. I’ve since decided short puffy sleeves are not for ladies of a certain age. I don’t have construction photos of any of them, and I’ve since sold the gowns when they became too large.

Three years later I wanted to make a 1795 open robe, again for Costume College, using Butterick’s 4890, and had two lovely fabrics I couldn’t decide which I liked better. So I cut both out at the same time and decided to let the one that was finishing the prettiest be the winner. These were really easy to sew; no sleeves & no closures to speak of. The final finish on these were the trims I sewed on by hand. I made a white peau de soie gown that could be worn under them. As you can see, the periwinkle blue robe was the winner, and is still one of my favorite gowns to this day. Surprisingly, I still haven’t worn the pink one ANYWHERE. But it’s finished, and waiting for that perfect date.


 Three years later I decided now I liked Civil War/1860s gowns after all, and other than wearing them to CW events, I could also wear them in the Riverside Dickens Festival fashion show. I fell in love with the Simplicity 4451 mainly because of the yellow fabric, which I haven’t found any yet, but also the gathered front bodice. Again, these were all made of cotton fabrics, and I flat lined both bodices first, then sewed the side seams, and so forth. CW gowns don’t have too many ways you can trim them but I think the different fabrics made them not so similar to each other.

I began my last set of three gowns on an assembly line back in 2009, and am today finishing the last one up that I’ll be wearing tomorrow to the 1870s Bustle Picnic in Los Angeles. This became a very popular pattern with costumers, Truly Victorian’s #410, the 1873 Polonaise. I sewed each one to the almost finished bodice stage, and none had their boning put in at this point. The green striped cotton would have a matching skirt but rather plain since I ran out of fabric. To make it different, I trimmed the front of the square neck and down the front of the bodice & skirt with a white beading eyelet w/ yellow ribbon running through it. I used yellow ribbons as my accent color. The purple and black floral fabric was a polyester blend that I put over a solid black skirt. This fabric lent itself to lot of trimming ideas, and all those black ribbons and buttons and bows and gee-gaws came out of the stash and had a glorious time being added to it. My favorite saying is, “You can’t just bake the cake; you have to decorate it too”.  This gown has received more compliments than any gown I’ve made to date. And it’s polyester. Go poly!  My final gown of a black and white polka dot cotton voile, that has been waiting three years to be completed, has slightly evolved a bit more into the 1880s with the addition of a ruffled apron that goes over the skirt. The skirt is a matching fabric but has a large ruffle along the hem. I tried to make it look different than the previous two.

 So today the last one will be unveiled, and I will have photos of me wearing it, and another blog on its making.