I’ve been lucky to get my hands on a couple of brand yukatas in the past few years. I admit they don’t get as much wear as I would like them too, but they are still some of my most prized possessions in my wardrobe. My love for lolita fashion is rivaled only by my love of traditional kimono. Sadly, wa lolita is usually poorly done and covered in the most awful lace; taking ita to a new level. I take this as a personal challenge to try and turn things around. While I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, I am making it a goal to put more wa into my looks this year.
One of my most popular posts of all time is a yukata blouse that I made using a rub off pattern. I never did figure out how to make a PDF pattern for it (sorry interweb friends) but it was an inspiration for this project and see what other ways I could mix both styles. Countless searches for a pre-tied or vintage obi that would match with the Baby, the Stars Shine Bright My Mate Kumya-chan yukata all ended in disappointment. Pre-tied yukata obis looked flat in their solid colors and inexpensive polyester. On the other hand, traditional obi patterns all clashed with the sweetness of the pink print. When these things happen I get stubborn, very stubborn. Time to take matters into my own hands.
DIY Sweet Lolita Obi
I bought 2 skirts second hand for a decent price. Choice one was the same Baby print but in the brown colorway. The second choice, and the winner, was Angelic Pretty’s Toy Fantasy in sax. Black + pink and pink + sax are my favorite combinations, which is what I think swayed me towards the AP skirt. But the idea of mixing these two powerhouse lolita brands into one coordinate was exciting. Both have sweet themes with bears and bunnies, and while different illustration styles, are very charming put together. (Fear not, that other skirt will have a story of its own.)
I bought a pre-tied obi to use as the base. Underneath the fabric is just thick cardboard folded into the ribbon shape. You could make one on your own if you are ambitious enough however that was more effort than I was willing to take on for this project. Given the limited amount of fabric in the skirt I split the obi into 3 pieces. 1 – the back bow. 2 – an outer layer featuring the print. 3 – an inner layer, covered in a complimentary fabric. I wanted the obi to wrap around twice and it didn’t make sense to use the valuable fabric if it was to be hidden on the inside. I closed the outer layer with velcro. When (not if) I do this again I will either make ties to close it or do some grommets with lacing. The velcro can pull on the fabric and once sewn in the obi is locked into one size. Lesson learned.
I didn’t use the pre-tied band as it was very flimsy and too short for me. Instead I used a heavy canvas to give the obi stiffness. I’ve taken apart some vintage obi’s before and wish I could find the amazing material they use inside. To really play up the sweet lolita look I carefully removed all the hem lace from the skirt, regathered it, and added it to the bottom of the obi. And for a final pop trimmed the top and bottom with pink braid. In the midst of sewing, by some divine blessing, Ichiroya posted a pastel obijime cord to their site. All the bits and pieces were falling into place.
There was enough left over fabric and lace to add details to the yukata. The striped waistband worked well to add an undercollar and the hem lace was just enough to trim the sleeve cuffs. I probably should have stopped there, but I also made some bear ears ʕ灬￫ᴥ￩灬ʔ