Alteration: Emily Temple cute Chocolate and Ribbon

strawberry and chocolate coordinate with etc and angelic pretty

vintage blouse from etsy has the perfect collar for emily temple cute op

This year I have been taking a hard look at my wardrobe. I have lots of individual pieces that I love but not necessarily full looks. My hope is to narrow down my closet and reorganize pieces into coordinates to establish quick “go-to” choices. They need to fit well, be cohesive, and to a degree be simple. Also, they need to strike a balance between casual and pulled together. I don’t like being “dressed up” all the time, its just not who I am.

Part of my organization strategy is to hone in on a few colors so that more things work together, especially as relates to accessories. In this example, brown being the theme. I’ve amassed items over the past several months that were solid color or with a subtle texture to pull this off. This way dresses will stand out and the accessories balance the look from top to bottom.

Another focus area has also been on more everyday wear. I’ve always loved otome kei and feel like I’ve made some smart purchases lately for cute prints that I can mix and match many ways. This direction has however required a lot of stitch ripping and significant altering.

#ialterbrand hime rose animated gif

removed panels from the arm scythe to make the dress larger

On our last Tokyo trip Emily Temple cute’s Chocolate and Ribbon ruffle one piece popped up in Shinjuku Closet Child. If I hadn’t had the chance to see it up close I never would have bought it out of size concerns. But on closer inspection I saw a very simple way to make this adorable dress fit. And I really mean simple.

Short straps and tight arm holes are typical problems with fit of J-fashion clothing for larger girls. As-is this dress never would have fit across my bust and would have been super tight around my arms pulling the whole dress up higher than it should be. The solution is pretty straight forward. This dress has inset panels under the arms that can be altered in several ways without ruining the line of the dress. I opted to remove them all together versus say cutting them in half to create more ease around my arms. The added bonus of this approach is now there is extra fabric to make some matching hair bows!!

Posted in Clothing, Sewing & DIY | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coordinate: Angelic Pretty Melty Berry Princess

I am feeling bad about not posting over here in forever. The good news is I have been working on something exciting and hope to make a little announcement at the end of April. Hopefully I can sneak in a few posts between now and then. But in case I don’t, for the time being here is a random coordinate post.

coordinate post with angelic pretty melty berry princess

I am so smitten with my Kuma Kumya shoes that I wish I could wear them with all my outfits. As lolita shoes go they are really comfortable. I was able to fit a cushion insert in them which is awesome. The strawberries in our garden have just started sprouting new leaves. Which means it is time to start pulling out all the strawberry prints once again. Spring is my absolute favorite season. Nothing like your Instagram feed blowing up with sakura posts!!

Outfit rundown:

  • Baby, the Stars Shine Bright My Anniversary Bear Ears in white
  • Angelic Pretty Cherry Marguerite ribbon clip in red
  • Taobao Heart Knit Cardigan in ivory
  • Angelic Pretty Melty Berry Princess in red
  • Angelic Pretty Berry Garden bag in pink
  • Angelic Pretty Sweet Jam OTKs in pink
  • Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Kuma Kumya shoes in pink



Posted in Clothing, Lucky Pack | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

DIY Upcycle: Vintage Wool Vest Ouji Style

H A P P Y   N E W  Y E A R  ! ! !  While the new year is officially underway, I still have a lot of projects to catch everyone up on. Starting with this one.

We spent the Autumn Equinox in Paris and were on a shopping mission like no other. Of the many amazing places we explored we hit the jackpot when we came upon Kilo-Shop. This is honestly one of the best thrift/vintage stores I have ever been too. Super well organized, extremely well priced, and with top notch curation. And it was a rare experience that both of us equally had choices to select from – an atypically well balanced mix of hip mens and womens ware. Ideas were literally pouring out of me onto the shop floor and our arms were over burdened with everything we were hording for checkout.

breathing new life into an vintage thrifted wool vest

Once back States-side this particular mens wool vest was the first I got my hands on. Its original buttons were mediocre but the vest itself is in excellent vintage shape. The wine/burgundy color was so regal that I knew right away I wanted to play it up with gold trim. To keep it looking vintage I specifically selected gold trim that is not too shiny and has a bit of patina to it. A variegated, silk, pleated ribbon wrapped around the edges of the vest completely changed the look. Substantial metallic buttons plussed up the refinement. And lastly, a hint of gold braid to the lower pockets added flare.

I make my tricorns using a floppy wool cloche hat as the base

Of course I couldn’t stop there. Just had to make a matching tricorn to go with the vest. I forget where we went, but back during the summer someone turned to us and said, “Hum, I don’t think I’ve seen Adel without a hat before.” It was comical to us since until this foray into ouji style he never wore hats. But here we are. For this version I went overboard and poured on as much gold as I could. This idea for using chain and buttons had been brewing in my head for ages and pleasantly pleased to see how it looks in real life.

Of all things the medallion on this hat gave me the most grief. I finished all the rest of the trim ages ago, right after we got back from vacation. But everything I tried for the finishing flourish was just, well, meh. On a fluke I dug through my kimono scraps and realized I had this nice gold and wine plaid silk just big enough for a yo-yo. That sent me back to the trim store to find a matching ribbon. The velvet is a contrast to the silk but I think in a good way. Voilà, un tricorne!

a meta jabot and angelic pretty necklace mix well with the vintage burgundy vest

Oh yeah, and the pants with the peplum/apron front were also a lucky Paris shopping find!! He really made out like a bandit on the trip!! #welldone

Posted in Clothing, Sewing & DIY | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Swap Meet Score: Lief Sacred Night

The adorable Rachel, who I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time during ILD, held a swap meet this past weekend. She rents office space in the city for her start up and it was such a fantastic spot for the event, especially in the winter time. We were tucked away safe and sound indoors away from creepers ogling over us. More impressive was how many people came and went during the event. Its super hard to coordinate something like this in NYC where we have so many lolitas. I do hope she enjoyed it and will host another in the future. For my first time selling, I think I did well. Sold 2 dresses, a skirt, a blouse and a bag.

lief sacred night styled more otome kei than gothic

And with cash in hand, from one of the dresses I sold, I instantly reinvested in this beauty. Christine, whom I admire so much, arrived with a suitcase full to the brim and with her own clothing rack!! Here I was camped on the floor across from her, eyeing each piece as she pulled it from the case, put it on a hanger, and added it to her little pop up shop. What I didn’t know was how badly I needed this dress until she pulled it from her bottomless bag. I hadn’t come across it before. Enter Lief Sacred Night into my life.

What do I love about it? First, its velveteen which I adore for its softness. Next, its long so there will be no tall girl issues with this jem. And third, I am a total sucker for high contrast so the bold black print against the white base really speaks to me. Oh yeah, and did I mention gothic architecture!!

Google says the typical styling for this dress is either a black or a red blouse. Phooey to that. How about an otome-esq, casual, stripe cutsew instead. {Sheri sifts through her wardrobe… check.} And to put my personal spin on it how about soft pink accessories that say winter. Fur handbag, ok. Neko mimi beret, sounds good. Hello cute pink and black coordinate. I think I am ready to celebrate the New Year in style now :3

Posted in Clothing | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Time to Hibernate – Living Room Makeover

Back in March we started a mission to purge our house of all Ikea furniture. Ikea has served us well for many years but this relationship is no longer healthy. Its time to adult full time. The older I get the more I want to be surrounded with nicer pieces that can last the test of time. Add to that I am a total homebody who is perfectly content not leave my little nest for days on end. It was time to slowly invest a little every month towards creating the home of our dreams. We might still be renters but that doesn’t mean we can’t have nice things.

goodbye ikea and hello restoration hardware sofa

Over the summer my bedroom received a massive dose of pink. Some finishing touches are in order before I consider it 100% complete. While it is requiring a great deal of constraint on my part, I really don’t want my whole home to be a pink palace. I adore my bedroom, but that is my space and the living room is our space. With that in mind the living room is headed in a soft-and-cozy but with a healthy-dose-of-refinement direction. And its starting with our biggest splurge. In just a few weeks time this glorious Restoration Hardware masterpiece of a sofa will be mine at last.

a soothing color palette of taupes and grays

We’ve started purging furniture from the room already and for an exhilarating Christmas treat I will be painting the living room walls — again. Actually, I painted them last weekend with Behr Shea and basically it just looks like white. You can hardly tell where the trim molding ends and the walls begin. Not what I was going for. Popping off to the hardware store again to pick up something with a little more contrast. Please Sheer Scarf be a better choice.

Interestingly enough, I copied the colors for my sampler directly from the Behr and RH websites. Online the colors look darker than in reality. Thus why I think the first color didn’t work out. So I am expecting the room to be more subtle then my mock up here looks like.

using RH distressed taupe as our inspiration to upcycle these thrifted pieces

Our good friend Patricia over at The Wood Spa is coming to our rescue for the statement piece in the room – the media center. She is a founding member of the “no more Ikea” movement so totally understands our quest. Over the weekend she found two excellent old wooden bookcases ready to receive a paint miracle. And yesterday found a lovely ornate dresser to snuggle in between the cases – kinda like this. I’ll be asking her to mimic the look of RH’s French Panel collection in a soft taupe color. The end piece will be large so the light color should help it not feel too heavy in our tiny 1940s shoebox of a living room.

meiji era hinagata woodblock prints, sewing samples and katagami stencils

Last but not least is the artwork. While my furniture choice skews French I really want to bring some of our love of Japan to the mix. I have a few hinagata-bon {雛形本} woodblock prints from old Kimono Design books that could use framing. Also, a hinagata hakama sewing sample I’ve been meaning to put in a shadow box. This is how young girls were taught to sew, in miniature, to prepare them for future life. And to complete the Kimono making theme I have 3 katagami stencils used to print fabric. Well, and for good measure, how about a couple of labels from the most exquisite sake on the planet too. Because the secret to happy sewing is to always celebrate completion with a splash of sake.

That’s the plan. Wish us luck!! And if you don’t hear from us in 2016 you will know it is because it worked out and we are never leaving the house again ;)

Posted in Shelter | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Handmade: Macaron Patisserie Jumperskirt

I wore my Victorian Doll JSK for ILD as planned despite it not, strictly speaking, being Lolita (to hell with a petticoat.) Can not even begin to describe how good it felt to have something that fit like a glove. It honestly made me so much more relaxed as I was comfortable and could just have a good time with out the whole suffering for fashion nonsense that comes with squeezing into too small brand.

jumperskirt made from japanese yuwa macaron fabric

So you can imagine how excited I am to head out on the town in my other Thanksgiving sew-a-thon dress. This one was on my radar for years. Given that my sewing skills have improved, rather pleased that I did delay taking the plunge and cutting into fabric until now. The Yuwa macaron fabric is one of my absolute favorites and I didn’t want to screw it up. Ended up deviating from the original plan but not by much.

This dress isn’t quite maxi length, however it is much longer than your typical otome kei or lolita length. Proportions were top of mind when making it. The dress hits at my natural waist and I wanted to keep a ratio of 1 to 3 over all. Meaning the bodice is 1/3 of the skirt length.

using a ロングひも通し japanese tool for inserting elastic

My new favorite thing is this tool for inserting elastic. I’ve come across some less flexible variations from Western sewing companies but none as good as this. You can use the search term “ロングひも通し” to find it online. For example, it pops up on this Yahoo Japan shop if you are interested to learn more. Basically, you insert your elastic in the loop before the red cap and then push the wire through the channel in your fabric starting with the red bead end. For extra measure you can put your elastic or a cord through the loop and then again through the wire between the red and white cap. Its the happiest I have ever been working with elastic. So you can expect a ton more of shirring in the future from me.

While I like how my vintage blouse upcycle and Innocent World biscuit socks match with the dress, I still want to play with the rest of the accessories. I have a Q-pot biscuit keychain that I have been dying to make into a necklace. Perhaps that would match nicely and pick up on the print in the socks. But that will have to wait for another weekend…


Posted in Clothing, Sewing & DIY | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Go Figure… Emikyu Maxi Dress

Emily Temple cute Logo Cupcake Maxi Dress

Waaaaaa, how did I not see this sooner?!?! Well, I know the answer to that… I have been tardy in general on keeping up with the interwebs the past few months. I wish it was because I had such an incredible social life. But in reality it’s just all work and no play makes Sheri wish she didn’t have to adult so much.

I couldn’t be happier about seeing this new development in the otome kei genre. Yes short skirts and dresses are adorable but sometimes you just want a nice long flowy skirt that you can wrap yourself up in. I love to sit on the floor in a big long skirt and being able to sit comfortably and not constantly tugging to keep myself covered up.

Not sure if everyone agrees but I hope to see more dresses in this length in 2016. I know I am going to make a point to whip up a few for my wardrobe. And ironically off to a good start since my last handmade project just happened to be a maxi.

Posted in Clothing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Handmade: Victorian Doll Maxi JSK

Taking a little gamble for this year’s Winter ILD and going with a handmade maxi dress for my coord. The moment I saw this “make your own” Victorian doll fabric it spoke to me. There is a hint of Jane Marple or Emily Temple cute about it that I couldn’t resist. However, I had no intention of making the actual dolls as the manufacturer intended, instead to use the panels as an unusual take on a border print.

maxi length otome kei dress made from victorian paper doll fabric

The fabric is a series called Victorian Paper Dolls and it has 3 different prints: the small dolls (used in the bodice,) a medium sized print that is classic paper doll style (shows the girl in her underthings and the clothing has the little paper tabs drawn in,) and the large panels to make and stuff dolls from. There are a couple of Etsy shops that have the fabric and the price was great – about $6 a yard and I got free shipping.

matched with angelic pretty socks and vivienne westwood shoes for an otome style

For the pattern I borrowed liberally from Emikyu for the bodice shape and skirt pleating.  ETC dresses typically have a tiny row of lace in the bodice which I had to have too. Those dainty but cute details are what I love so much about otome styling. In addition, I had just enough pink velvet ribbon lying around to make the waistband and a matching Alice band. Since the print for the bodice is a different scale from the skirt I felt like the ribbon gives the eyes a visual pause or break in the transition between top and bottom.

On a separate front I have been stalking Ebay and other sites for months and months for anything that vaguely resembles Jane Marple buckle strap shoes. At long last, finally scored a pair of Vivienne Westwood 3 strap ballet flats in my size!!! And by luck the color is a nice coppery gold that is a perfect match for the dolls hair in the print of this dress.

comfy shirring and long length reminds me of momoko's meta dresses

After contemplating making one of my handy dandy rosettes it just wasn’t feeling right so instead took the plunge on something new and wacky. Why not make a gigantic pin out of one of the dolls? Sure, that sounds good. I was cracking up while sewing it, figuring it was going to be a flop… but I truly love how it turned out. I don’t know if you agree but I think it is the just right finishing touch to my new ensemble :3

Posted in Clothing, Sewing & DIY | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mood Board: Lolita Blank Canvas

the simplicity and the possibilities with a solid cream lolita dress

I am unsure if it is the change in the weather, but lately I have been really drawn to solid color dresses. And this is coming from someone who typically is perfectly content to be covered head-to-toe in every variation of Kumya-chan print Baby, the Stars Shine Bright has ever made thank you very much. Is my sweet tooth fading? What is this newly Thoreau-esq simplicity influence that has come over me?

Recent additions in my wardrobe included all black, all white and all lilac jumperskirts. They quickly have become my canvas on which to tell a story, but not the story itself. The accessories create the drama. I guess perhaps this is just my finally realizing what the little black dress of the alt fashion scene is. Late to the game again maybe. Regardless, the versatility and ease of use of these new pieces in my arsenal are pleasing me to no end.

Posted in Clothing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Now Buying from the Marshmallow Girl Section

dreamv plus size dresses are a perfect US L

Before it stars snowing, I wanted to get this summer post out there. In my ongoing mission to figure out how to make cute Japanese brands work for my figure, I found another tall girl hack. DreamV has a plus sized section that fits a US size large perfectly!! Bless them. The only issue is the length. But that is easy enough to deal with. In this case I attached a wide lace to the lining and voilà, good to go.

rose themed coord with dreamv and angelic pretty lady rose

Couldn’t be happier about having a new option for items that can be mixed into everyday wear. I picked up a couple of blouses and another dress which all fit perfectly. My wallet is starting to recover from RuffleCon so maybe I can hit up a shopping service to collect a few more DreamV pieces.

Posted in Clothing | Leave a comment