Saturday Style: Wa-Lolita in the Park

mix and match of various lolita and kimon styles

Want to treat you today with a Saturday Style post – even though it is Sunday. Surprised myself last week when I realized it was my first time attending Japan Day in Central Park. There had always been one conflict or another keeping me from it in the past. Being determined this year, the minute we confirmed attendance, I knew exactly what to wear. In another moment of realization, I was bummed out to think it has been two summers since I made it. According to the metrics for my blog it is my top project post of all time. So here it is back by popular demand – the wa lolita yukata blouse.

Many dear readers have asked for the pattern and I am sorry I’ve had to disappoint. I dream of taking classes at FIT one day to help advance my self-taught skills. Until then, if you know of anyone in the Tri-State area who knows how to create a PDF pattern from a designer’s muslin – PLEASE LET ME KNOW (∗ᵕ̴᷄◡ᵕ̴᷅∗)՞

jane marple paper doll necklace

I’ve said it before, styling wa lolita is tough. It can go really wrong really quickly. In the week before Japan Day I poured over copies of Kimono Hime and Googled Lolita Kimono variations. A Jane Marple necklace of all things was my muse for the look. It has a paper dolly and her dress. The vintage feel and color became my jumping off points. To match the yukata fabric I mixed in a neutral skirt from Fan Plus Friend and a peter pan collar blouse. The orange obi was a Kyoto find during last year’s trip. All that was missing was a statement hair piece.

Wa Lolita Straw Hat

straw boater hat remade into a kitchy kimono accessory

Its been insanely hectic at work so I didn’t really think making something was an option. But thanks to speed and efficiency of hot glue, managed to make a new straw hat to complete the look. The rule of three is something I stick to often. The obi and necklace had orange in them so this hat needed to as well. I pulled some of my favorite scraps of kimono fabric to make circular medallions instead of a traditional hat band. Backed each one using a think interfacing so that the hot glue hopefully will not damage the delicate fabric. From a preservation perspective, given more time, I probably would have sewn them directly to the hat instead of using the glue.

The yukata ume blossoms have been in a drawer for ages. Luckily, a few years back I had a spell where I made hundreds of them, which made this a huge time saver for the project. All I needed to do was add a few orange seed beads to create harmony. Mix in some laces and some faux flowers and Bob’s your uncle. Project complete.

Japan Day

A lot of people had to back out from the meet. The festival falls on Mother’s Day which I am sure was the challenge. But a few of us still found each other amongst the massive crowd. We spent a lovely afternoon chatting away about everyone’s background in the arts. It was the most relaxed afternoon I have had in ages. While I might have graduated from art school 2 decades before the rest we all had a common bond that brought the conversation together. There is even talk of getting together for a sketching meet later this summer. What a charming idea.

relaxing on the hill in central park

Top Right Photo by Adel | Bottom Photo by Lucy

P.S. Apparently my coordinate was a big hit. So many people asked for photos. Found out that a snap of it ended up in a local Japanese paper called the Daily Sun!!

Handmade: Chocolate Quartet Floral Rosette

Have you ever wondered what to do with the small swatches of fabric that come with your Angelic Pretty purchases? Trust me when I say I have spent way to much time pondering this question. Then by accident I was pulling out accessories while packing for Anime Matsuri and put one of my rosettes on my desk. It just so happened that a few AP swatches were scattered about out as well. Then it hit me – these are the perfect size for handmade lolita rosettes!

handmade rosette using angelic pretty fabric swatch

Suffice it to say that I have plenty of left over fabric from the alterations to Chocolate Quartet… but right then I just had to make a matching accessory for the Skyline Tea Party out of that swatch. I had made up my mind on wearing Cameo Window and thought it would be nice to blend a little of both our looks into this piece. The rosette that came with the Chocolate Quartet sash is rather wimpy, so envisioned a more substantial adornment to really make things pop.

pink and chocolate cameo window twins

I didn’t stop at just the Angelic Pretty swatch. For his look I removed the ribbon from an Innocent World tie to mix in the Chocolate Quartet bow. As I have no intentions of restoring the IW tie, the left-overs provided another element to link our two looks in a very subtle way. Happened to have just enough left over Laduree ribbon as well to pull in more of the gold tone to match the sash embroidery. All that was left was to add a pop of pink for harmony with Cameo Window. Top it off with a violin button and voila!

details of the floral rosette and sash

(\˳˘ ɜ˘)˳ ♬♪♫

His & Her Gryffindor House Lolita Coordinates

handmade harry potter accessories for lolita coordinates

And here it is at last after lots of weekends of sewing. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter meet was on Saturday and the NY crew did not disappoint. The photos are still pouring in on Facebook which means we get to relive the fun all week long. The whole event was just perfect!! Complete with dragon eggs and every flavor beans! At the restaurant, Jones Wood Foundry, we even had long house tables!

Lots of little projects went into our looks this time. I am really enjoying the challenge of how to make his and hers combinations. Not that we want to be matchy matchy all the time but sometimes its fun to team up. Its like a couples version of twinning I guess.

head boy and head girl gryffindor lolita

I stayed fairly true to the movie school uniform looks versus just following the house colors. Perhaps that puts this project somewhere between fashion and cosplay. I am still going to lean towards the former as all the styling was true to the EGL silhouette and esthetic and we were just being ourselves and not specific characters.

My concept was to make matching pieces in the same fabrics but yet have each be slightly different to spin one masculine and one feminine. Landed on short capes for robes, school ties, house rosettes, and house hat bands. The capes were made from a velveteen black fabric from JoAnn’s. The stripe and argyle fabrics I ordered through Spoonflower. Was my first time using the site and while this worked great for this project, I am not particularly impressed by the quality of the digital printing process.

His Look

gryffindor house ouji style coordinate

I kinda-not-really used a pattern from Otome no Sew (乙女のソーイング) Book 2 to make his cape. All the patterns are way too small for mens clothing but the cape (item 10 – page 6) had the basic shape for me to start from. Once resized I also altered the neckline to a v-neck. This way the cape matches well with the shape of the vest underneath and does not impede the tie – the main focal point. One simple band of lace helped keep the cape from being boring.

The original idea was to have the chain closures attach to the buttons but it dawned on me that guys tend to have less dainty hands. To make it easy on and off instead I used a few jewelry findings and sewed them to the edges keeping inline with the placement of the decorative buttons. I love the buttons – they say “Honor” on them and have a heraldry design that matches brilliantly with the Gryffindor emblem.

gryffindor house robes made from otome no sew book 2 pattern sort of

For the school tie I confess I borrowed liberally from an Innocent World tie in my collection. The 3-tiered base is the same shape from the inspiration piece. But the addition of the Gryffindor pin and medallion was all me. If you are wondering, yes, I hot glued the pin on permanently. Why? because the pin kept spinning around which drove me nuts! Hello perfectionist! Now it isn’t going anywhere.

I added a couple of satin ribbons on top of the red stripes in the fabric. The fabric just felt too flat without it. Plus, the shine of the satin is a nice mimic for silk typically used for ties. A few flowers and beads give extra drama and the black lace helps create a contrasting border so the medallion stands out.

egl style ouji gryffindor house school tie

The master plan had me making matching boater style hats, however, time was against me. There are only so many hours in the weekend after all. Probably was a good thing looking back on it now. Hats are not a familiar part of my sewing vocabulary. We picked up this lovely hat when we were in San Francisco last year and its classic shape saved me. To create cohesion with the coordinate I added a ribbon with a corresponding medallion that simply slides over the original hat band. Easy way to transform the hat without damaging it.

gryffindor egl style top hat

You didn’t think I would make it through this project without adding a rosette did you? The “official” Gryffindor patches are about 4″ in size. That felt clunky for the outcome I wanted to achieve. Instead I bought these not-so-official versions that are half the size. They are the perfect base to go wild with lace, ribbons and flowers. I was worried at first about the colors as the red and yellow on the patch are not genuinely Gryffindor hues. Luckily once all the elements were pulled together they managed to blend in.

handmade gryffindor house classic lolita rosette

Her Look

Well, I’ll get have to get back to you on that next time ;)
Stay tuned.

Credits: Thanks to Xin Lolita Photography for letting me use his amazing photos  |  Pinstripe Wallpaper is from TheLadyAvatar

 

DIY Upcycle: Japanese Lucky Knot Strap / Charm

good luck charm japanese knot from a dassai 23 sake cord

I love being able to make things for my friend who lives in Tokyo. She often travels to NYC on business and when she comes its fun to present her with a small gift. Its inspiring for me to think up new ideas each time; something that isn’t too big or expensive – just a little trinket. Crafter challenge accepted!

For this visit I came up with the idea of recycling the purple cord used to decorate bottles of Dassai sake. The hope was, because she works for Dassai, it would be a more personal gift. I can’t bear to throw the cords out when we open a new bottle and that means I had plenty of them tucked away to play with.

My DIY Materials

asian style knot book and swarovski crystal beads used to diy this strap

Ages ago I bought this book called Asian Knot Style {アジアンノット・スタイル} from the craft section of Kinokuniya. Sadly, every time I attempted one of the knots I failed miserably. I don’t think it has anything to do with the book being in Japanese as the pictures are very clear to follow. Apparently its just some sort of mental malfunction I have when it comes to knots. The gentleman of the house however has no such issue. Bonus prize – he can now officially say that he has “crafted” thanks to this project (*^^*)

My secret weapon for many of my DIYs, especially those with small details, is beading needles. I use them all the time and not just for bead work. They are very thin and long and for me super easy to work with. The only difficulty is threading them. Dang the eye is small!! Well and they can bend easily as another downside so you can’t be as forceful with them like a standard needle. The sharpness and length though is awesome.

japanese success and flower knots with beads on a strap

Its not uncommon to use beads with this style of decorative knots. However the beads are typically ones with large holes and the cord of the knot is slipped through the bead. The book also suggests using a touch of glue to secure the knot. Instead of all that I went for much smaller beads and the thread used to attach them acted as an alternative to the glue.

To make it even more personal I added lettering beads to spell out “Dassai” and her name “Asumi” in pastel colors. This was the big gamble for the project. Most of the other beads were more fancy, like Swarsovski crystals and Japanese glass seed beads. I feared these might look too low brow compared to the others. The use of seed beads between each letter I think helped bridge the gap so that it all harmonized after all.

Color was critical to making it come together as was scale. It took a couple of tries to get the balance right on top to counteract the weight of the beading at the bottom. All-in-all I think it turned out very nice.

Handmade: Pretty in Pastel – Lavender Cutsew One Piece

The Perfect Pastel for Winter - Handmade Cutsew One Piece

Everyday wear is high on my 2015 goals list. The lolita portion of my wardrobe will almost always be filled with brand versus handmade for the primary pieces. Its the prints, I can’t beat the prints, at least not yet. So I feel a good focus area for this year is making comfortable cute dresses for daily life.

This fabric is a little different for me. I found it in Hawaii and instantly it reminded me of an Emily Temple cute dress that had embossed ribbons. This fabric has flowers instead of ribbons and is more subtle with a much smaller print and not nearly as raised from the surface. I love the effect of both. The leap for me is that the fabric is a polyester. I really really really try to stick to natural materials but the fabric was too cute to pass up. So I went for it and made sure that I lined it completely in a light cotton jersey for extra comfort.

It took me a long time to find a lace that I liked to go with it. Then I came across this crochet lace at Joyce Trims in NYC. There was the band with raised flowers which I thought was a good play off the raised print in the fabric – a theme of dimension. And also there was the smaller thin lace which was great for matching edges on the collar and bib.

crochet lace details on a fairy kei purple print jersey fabric

I love the way it turned out. It can be styled many different ways from fairy kei to otome kei or even maybe dolly kei. I really want to try it out with pink. I put a few pieces with it to show how the lilac color really pops against a lighter (AP Dreamy Girl Bag and KOKOkim OTKs) and slightly brighter pink (my handmade fur collar and UGG lace up boots.)

The only thing is I broke Sewing Rule # 1 – I was so excited when I found the lace that I sat right down and cut out the fabric. What I didn’t do was pre-wash my fabric to test for shrinkage and color fastness. And I just pulled the dress out of the wash only to notice that the dress is considerably shorter compared to the lining than before it went in the wash. I haven’t been brave enough yet to try it on again as I am worried I will be disappointed. Hope to have some courage later and worse case if it no longer fits will put it up for sale. C’est la vie.

Handmade: Pink Lolita Princess Pillows

diy pillow covers in a hime princess style

We’ve been in our house for a year now and as the New Year gets underway I am determined to spend more time on decorating and sprucing up the place. We downsized when we moved and went from a loft to traditional rooms. Because of the difference a lot of our furniture has never felt right in the new place. I’ve also been thinking that the percentage of IKEA furniture relative to my years of age is out of proportion.

This is going to be a year-long commitment in order to make sure I can stay on budget. But there are small things that can be done right away like the changing of curtains and linens. About the only nice piece of furniture I have is my Pottery Barn bed. Starting there seemed the most logical place as it is staying no matter what.

pink rose fur hime bedroom pillows

For these DIY pillow covers I went more hime princess while showing restraint. Korilakkuma was dominating the bed and needed something large for balance. While the pillow covers are not perfect (didn’t exactly calculate the gathering properly) they were quick and easy to make. Plus they are a good match for the Target duvet cover in a similar dusty pink. I am also keeping my chocolate color wicker furniture such as the lamp and nightstand to ground all the pink. Hopefully I can successfully blend a little princess comfortably with clean modern lines. I don’t want it to look like a unicorn threw up when its done.

What’s Next?

french provencial vanity handpainted makeover

What I am most excited about is that my friend’s wife runs a company called The Wood Spa. I managed to get in her queue to have a desk made over so that I have a place to do make up. {I suck at make up but maybe 2015 will be the year I learn.} Sent her the bottom photo and she found this amazing French vanity which has so much storage – a must for our small house. It will be March when it is ready so I will do my best to be patient. But I am really busting with excitement and can’t wait for it to be ready.

Handmade: Rilakkuma Chocolate His & Hers Accessories

Literally riding on the coat tails of RuffleCon was the Rilakkuma Day at FAO Schwarz in New York City. We missed the chance to meet the little cutie earlier in the year so were so pleased that San-X came back. Now I am sure other artists must do the same thing. And that is come up with something you just must make, super last minute, even if it means staying up all hours of the night. That is pretty much what happened with this His & Hers Sweet Chocolate Collection.

rilakkuma inspired chocolate lolita his and hers accessories

Chocolate Korilakkuma Hat

chocolate korilakkuma hat angelic pretty purse

At RuffleCon I picked up Angelic Pretty’s Cameo Window JSK in pink. It became the jumping off point for this little accessory collection. It gave me the idea to make a Neopolitan Ice Cream inspired coordinate for each of us. His outfit was primarily vanilla and mine strawberry. All that was missing was a hearty scoop of chocolate.

The hat was the main focus of this work. I found a huge floppy felt hat at Marshals to use as the structure for the base. I was tight on time and didn’t have a good stiff interfacing that would hold its shape. I chopped off the round top of the hat cap and dramatically trimmed the brim to get the shape I wanted. From there I drafted pattern pieces to cut out the fabric. Those were sewn together and then attached to the base. Some ribbon and lace added flare and hid the seams for a clean finish. Those little Rilakkuma ears were a blast to make. I love the gold rickrack trim which makes them pop from the hat. And to finish it all off I hot glued a Korilakkuma key cover along with some miniature antique key charms found at Michaels Crafts. The key ties into the motif of the Angelic Pretty print to create harmony.

Another RuffleCon goodie was my first ever Moss Märchen purchase. I was able to get one of her incredible handmade Ribbon Embroidery necklaces. The gold frame, fleur de lis charms and ivory color are an exact match for the Cameo Window print!!

Golden Key Chocolate Collar

korilakkuma purse, angelic pretty cameo window jsk and chocolate collar

For Her I whipped up a simple collar. But nothing is simple about the icing. This piece pulls all the Neapolitan flavors together with strawberry lace and vanilla tassels. The golden key charm is from Michaels Crafts and is almost identical to the one in the Angelic Pretty print.

This chocolate fabric has been pretty popular in the handmade and indie lolita sphere. I’ve come across many different style JSKs which made me want to try something different to show the print’s versatility. I am thinking of making a cape out of the remaining fabric since that would showcase the print in a more splashy way. Plus I am hopelessly addicted to capes right now for extra warmth in the winter.

Men’s Melty Chocolate Ribbon Tie

mens lolita fashion - chocolate print ribbon tie

And finally to carry the theme through His coordinate I made a gigantic ribbon tie. This piece helps give continuity to the hat making it a look and not just a chocolate piece. Repeated a key charm on the tie again for more layering of the theme. My favorite part of the tie is that it showcases the border print. I mean it can’t be melty chocolate with out some drips.

rilakkuma logoangelic pretty key

Handmade: Rosettes for 2014 Winter ILD

I wish all year was as mellow as the week between Christmas and New Years!!! Finally have a moment to reflect and go thru all my photos and memories of the blur of frivolity that has ensued since October. It started with the tsunami of lace that was RuffleCon and the waves of cute have kept crashing in.  What a magnificent way to end 2014.

Today’s catch up is a pair of handmade rosettes I whipped up for this winter’s International Lolita Day. Everyone was asked to bring a small gift to exchange. I didn’t want the gift to be too impersonal so mixed things up with some small store bought items and these made-with-love badges.

sweet lolita chocolate rosette and classic lolita violin and roses badge

Sweet Lolita – Golden Chocolate Rosette

Waaaa, so happy that my friend Dixmacabre got the chocolate rosette!!! Having your artwork go to a fellow artist is humbling and such an honor. The girl has mad sewing skills. Make sure your check out her latest collection. She has been in a sewing frenzy with the most beautiful art prints and black brocade called “Walking Museum.” At the tea party she immediately attached the rosette to her beret and wore it all night.

lolita chocolate print rosette with key charm

Classic Lolita – Nature’s Melody Rosette

And the pastel rosette magically made its way to our very own pastel princess Parfait Doll! How perfect is that! I loved Victoria’s expression when she opened the package. She was all smiles and gave me a big boost of confidence with how pleased she was to have one of my rosettes. Yay!! I was going to stop on this one with the rabbit button but felt it was missing something. The decision to add the violin button was validated when she professed it was adorable on Instagram. Just needed that little extra sparkle. hime rose animated gif

victoria got the handmade rose and violin rosette

Project Complete: Red Riding Hood Cape Set

custom made lolita red riding hood cape and purse

As I mentioned in my last post, was hard pressed what to wear to a fairy tale inspired event for the opening of Into the Woods. This encouraged me to finally try out a pattern from the Otome no Sew books. The Red Riding Hood cape from book 5 seemed the most logical place to dive in. Well and for good measure threw in a bag and matching coord for Kumya-chan while I was at it. I’ve been itching to use the patterns and honestly am not sure why it has taken me this long.

Like other Japanese pattern books you have to be sure to add seam allowance. That was easy enough. Bonus, the Otome books patterns include 3 sizes – Japanese small, medium and large. I am a Japanese 2L which meant grading the pattern up for my project. The cape was perfect choice to start with since its not form fitting. I got a feel for their instructions and pattern quality with little risk.

Putting aside the fact that the pattern is in Japanese I would give the book a 3.5 or 4 stars. I think the books are good but not great. If you are a beginner sewer I think you would be frustrated not just with the instructions but the many shortcuts the patterns take. While I am self-taught I have enough tricks up my sleeve to know when to deviate from what the book was saying in order to get a better end result.  What I admire most about Lolita fashion is the quality craftsmanship and attention to detail. The pattern I choose did not include a lining for the cape only for the hood. This is an example of what I mean by shortcuts. Couldn’t have that so added a full lining for good measure.

handmade lolita fashion for kumya-chan

The pattern was meant to have a ribbon closure, but for this project I left it off. Instead I got a little lazy and reused the ribbon from my Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Sweet Fawn Cape. Its a beautiful cream velvet that matches with the laces I used perfectly. And why make another ribbon that would have pretty much been identical?

The main fabric was a fun find from one of my fabric stores on the planet – Discount Fabric Warehouse on the Big Island of Hawaii. Every time we vacation there I ship back boxes (that is plural folks) of crazy inexpensive fabrics. You never ever know what you will find. The strategy there is to buy it if you think it is cute even if you don’t have a project in mind yet. This jem sat in my stash for about a year. Its a high quality, thin, cotton corduroy in punchy red, pink and blue. Has just a taste of the Eastern European feel I was hoping for in this look. Again I wanted to give a nod to the homeland of so many fairy tales I loved growing up. But I didn’t want it to scream folk art or for that matter be a super obvious Red Riding Hood either.

Into The Woods

into the woods coordinate made using the otome no sew book 5

Above is how I styled my look for the Into The Woods meet. Pulling on the blue in the cape I matched it with a pair of navy tights featuring birds and an open bird cage. Gave both Kumya-chan and myself matching silver bird cage necklaces on simple navy ribbons. And added monster flowers to my braids – in a woodland lolita take on Princess Leia.

Didn’t get many good shots from the meet so literally headed into the woods the next day
to show it styled in a more toned down way.

kumya chan goes into the woods

Feeling pretty good about this project and inspired to try my hand at some more of the patterns now.  There is that sailor dress that I have the perfect fabric for…

Credits: Cute little clip art found here

Tea Party: Handmade White Rabbit Headdress / Rosette

With such little time to plan the Alice Tea Party I was pressed for entertainment ideas. I’ve only been to a few of the local meets but have been to enough social engagements to know what can happen. Often small cliques tend to form among those who have known each other for a long time. On public meets where not everyone knows each other some participants can feel left out. Well, there is also how the tables are arranged which can distance participants from others. So I planned a small ice breaker.

Nothing really fancy. Picked up cute Alice in Wonderland playing cards and pulled out all the face cards and the hearts. That was roughly the right number for the party. Then after everyone had their fill of tea, scones and sandwiches I stood and requested attention. Asked if everyone would take turns to stand, give their first name (if they were willing,) and to discuss the point of their coordinate. I am so happy everyone was good sports. Had several good laughs and oohs and aahhs. Especially two cuties who twinned for the party but said they came as Tweedledee and Tweedledum sweet lolita style!! It really helped to put faces to names and to get to know a little about each person without getting too personal.

After each guest spoke about their coordinate they got to pick a card. Using another deck of cards, a winner was selected for a very small raffle. I literally pulled this White Rabbit out of the Mad Hatter’s Hat the night before. It must have been around 7 or 8 pm when I began and finished close to 12:30 am.

Alice Tea Party Raffle Prize

classic lolita white rabbit headdress rosette

My concept was to stay on theme with a White Rabbit but in a non-traditional form with a classic lolita or even mori girl appearance. You might recognize that most of the laces and flowers are extras from this summer’s Rabbit Garden Party Apron and Purse. I knew I wanted the piece to have a lot of little details but also still feel simple. To achieve that simplicity the entire color palette reads as a solid using a cream base. Not knowing who would win the raffle and what their personal style would be, the design was meant to be true to my design aesthetic but also neutral to go with several lolita genres.

handmade lolita accessories lace rabbit headdress

Not sure if it would be classified as a headdress, rosette or even a canotier to be honest. What you can’t see from the detail photos is that the back has both an alligator hair clip and a pin clasp. So it can be worn as a hair accessory or as a badge.

mori girl or classic lolita cream headdress handmade

Received good feedback from the group that the ice breaker was very fun and that they enjoyed it. And Alexandra’s expression when she won and opened the bag was a huge treat. Relieved and elated she likes it. So I think I’ll continue this tradition if/when I organize another meet in the future.

Page 2 of 712345...Last »