Everything about the Alice Adventure in NYC magically fell right into place. From finding out about the ballet, to planning the event, and on top of it making an Alice themed one piece dress. I had been eying this fabric on Etsy for a while. That pesky, “don’t buy more fabric until you use what you have.” was running thru my head and I choose to ignore it.
The original vision for the dress was something very simple, more like the dresses from Jane Marple. When I had the fabric in hand however and was selecting a color to use for the collar this red won me over. Things spiraled from there when I saw how the black laces popped. Those colors cemented in the new idea to mix in elements all based on playing cards. The red and the black trims along with several trump suit charms and patches worked nicely. As a sub-theme the roses used throughout also reflect the Queen’s rose garden.
What I did stay true to was making my first lolita OP. I have given up hope altogether on Baby and AP ever making an OP to fit me. Its a love hate love relationship I admit. Several times during the tea party I was extremely conscience of how freaking comfortable my dress is. It actually fits me!! It even has a little extra room in case I overdo it on the scones and macarons. This is the bliss of making your own. So I love the brands because the entire fashion wouldn’t be here without their commitment; I hate and yet understand why they make everything one-size-fits-some; and love that because of bad sizing I finally found my sewing muse after so many years. And the ++ is that I don’t have to wear a blouse. Just slip it on and zip it up – ready to go. Well not really, but close.
Once I decided to use playing card colors as the embellishments I also needed to make sure and not either overdo them and it look cosplay or end up with it looking too goth. Nothing wrong with gothic, but my aim was to keep it sweet but with a vintage feel overall.
I was at a point during the making of the dress where I thought I was “done” and then I happened to pull out the little red roses to try around the collar. Turns out they were even better as another accent on the grosgrain ribbons. The roses also helped to carry the collar color throughout the dress. I only had a fat quarter of the red and it was barely enough to make the mock collar and the bows on the sleeves. If there was more I would have made a full collar and probably a bunch of other things, but that was part of the fun – make it work!
Even though the charms on the dress and headdress are silver I knew right away what accessories I wanted to wear with it. Last winter my friend gave me the cutest gold Alice and the White Rabbit earnings. I removed the original finding and made them into clip-ons (long story about pierced ears and allergies). They match well with a ring I found in Grand Central of all places that is square and has each of the card suits. I finished it off with Angelic Pretty’s card suit bracelet.
The Finished Look
I absolutely adore this picture that was taken at the party. You must check out Xiaoyu’s blog on tumblr. She has mad photography skills, talented at making her own handmade items, and is such a beautiful and warm person: victorianme.tumblr.com
Did a final fitting to make sure everything is OK which meant getting the boy all dressed up and doing a little pre-party photo shoot. Its looking good. Only issue is the elastic in the pants could be a bit tighter. Might need to throw some suspenders on until I can pull the seams to fix that. They don’t fall off, thank heavens, but noticed he had to hoist them up every now and then.
I think we are good to go. He is going to have to wear this a few times over the next couple of weeks to all the events lined up. Then after things calm down I want to start another look for him with the same vest pattern. There’s a kimono we picked up on our last Japan trip that I think would be perfect fabric for a gilet. Well, best get back to work now. See ya!!
I am having all sorts of feels this week. Got to meet designer Hiromi Onuma on Sunday. She makes the coolest “kaga-loli” designs. I’ll tell you more about that another day – so inspired by her. Also found out earlier this week that I am going to a NY Mercedes Benz Fashion Week show on Thursday. All that will be topped off with the Alice Ballet & Tea.
But what has me positively over the moon is that Sweetie’s first EGL look is COMPLETE!!
- Tricorn – plain hat bought on eBay; decorated with matching laces from the coordinate and the medallion includes a button I yanked off a Fan Plus Friend piece
- Gilet – the vest is 100% handmade; the main fabric is a woven cotton with a raised velvet brocade; the pockets are fully functional; and while not shown, it is lined in the cutest mini macaron fabric
- Collar – it began as a ladies summer tank blouse that was on clearance at Marshals; I cut out sections of the hem to reuse the pleated fabric to make a two layer jabot; the lace used to trim the gilet pockets is reused for the band of the collar
- Breeches – the pants are 100% handmade; you can’t see the waistband but it is shaped to match the pockets on the vest and has 4 matching gold buttons; they hit below the knee; and for comfort they are lined in a very thin and soft cotton jersey
- Medal – it is a Belgian medal for civic service found on Etsy; I removed the original ribbon and made a new one using two types of cream ribbon and some lace that matches the coordinate; it was tarnished so I polished it only to realize it isn’t brass but is silver!
- Pocket Watch – is made from three pieces found at Michaels craft store: gold watch fob, gold chain and a bar from a toggle clasp jewelry finding to keep it in place through the vest buttonhole
- Necklace – took apart my Angelic Pretty Chess Chocolate necklace and used matching chain from the pocket watch to make it longer
- Socks – were an Amazon.com find that I just wish had more cotton content but are OTK mens socks which are difficult to find in cream or ivory colors (or were hard for me to find)
- Shoes – got them at Neiman Marcus Last call; love that they are modern, comfortable and reminiscent of historical styles; they are monk-strap loafers similar to these by Cole Haan
- Cufflinks – I found some cute gold and cream buttons in the shape of a pocket watch and used another toggle clasp bar with a couple chain links between
- Shirt – we ordered a historical shirt online but it may or may not be delivered in time, so for now we are using a standard issue men’s shirt which is looking pretty OK in my opinion
He is starting from scratch so it was important to get all the pieces to really have the coordinate shine and feel complete. I like to think I am modest – but am feeling pretty freakin proud of this outfit right now. So yes, hello world, LOOK I MADE THIS!!
Instead of my buddy accompanying me to events he can now participate in the fun.
When summer rolls around you want simple pieces in your wardrobe that you can just pull on and go. Easy breezy dresses with simple accessories are great to beat the heat. While taking inventory in my closet I realized cute and comfortable dresses were lacking. Sure there are lots of dresses, but not the type that you can slip into and pop off.
The first brand that comes to mind for relaxed cute is Milk. I was aiming for a one piece dress that would fit nicely in their summer line up. A statement element like the bold cherries with a bib collar for a focal point. This is sure to become my new favorite dress.
After moving to the new house I made a pledge to not buy more fabric until I made a dent in what I already have. Now, how was I to refuse this cotton jersey covered in big juicy cherries when it showed up on my Etsy dash? The fabric is white and lightweight so I lined the entire piece in a equally light gray jersey so as to avoid needing a camisole and slip.
Would have added more pintucks, however I was recycling a free t-shirt I got from a work event. It was a great quality cotton but not something I would ever wear out. So I cut off the bottom portion of the shirt to make the bib. Maybe could have squeezed in two more tucks but not positive. The cotton rose lace I have been holding onto waiting for the perfect project. Turns out this was it – he he.
It took my better half a fair amount of time to understand that even though something has sat in my trims and fabric stash for awhile its not time to throw things out yet. I had several of these iron on school uniform like badges in my trims box for a very long time and was debating if he was right, would I ever use them? Then an explosion of school style pieces started showing up in the late winter and early spring J-fashion magazines. Inspiration struck.
This little badge was whipped up in a matter of hours before my flight to Japan back in March. My friend Asumi and I always exchange cute little gifts when we see each other. I really love our tradition because it is so much fun trying to figure out what to give her next. Sometimes I find cute store bought trinkets, but every now and then I like to throw in something handmade.
To take the school patch in a whole new direction, silk kimono fabric in a traditional print along with tiny lace, velvet ribbon, pearls and a satin rose bud all came together. I think it is a very unexpected and playful combination. And the bridge between the Western alphabet with the Eastern fabric is a nice reflection of our friendship – the two coming together and having fun.
Might make a couple more of these with different styles of fabric. Not sure yet. Do love items that can be completed quickly between more ambitious projects. Keeps me motivated to have that sense of accomplishment as a push to tackle the big stuff.
I don’t know what happened, but I have been possessed with gluing artificial flowers onto anything and everything lately. Actually I do know what happened. Misako’s visit to NY and latest trends in Gothic Lolita fashion made their mark on me. In particular a departure from over-the-top sweet to a mix of more classic styling but with the introduction of more pastels into what was previously dominated by jewel tones. That and the many many floral hair accessories that are everywhere now even in other fashion style trends.
I recently picked up Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Some Day of Ranunculus, a print from last summer. It was modeled in last year’s AnimeNEXT fashion show but at the time didn’t wow me. This March, I found the Lycia JSK version in the Harajuku Closet Child and promptly brought it home. Like I said, what I am drawn to now is changing. Ironically the plan is to wear it to this year’s AnimeNEXT – today! But I needed a little something extra to complete my coordinate.
I was amazed at how quick this came together. One morning while enjoying my coffee I pulled all the pink and cream trims lying around and drafted the layout. Pulled a gold silk from my collection of kimono fabric scraps to make the yo-yo. Then on the weekend I hand-stitched a little cream lace and added the big pink bead. Had to be careful when stitching the pink lace to the base so as to keep the nice pleated shape. From that point it was all up to the glue gun.
We are up bright and early to hit the con today. Kimura U is going to be a guest model in the fashion show this year. Very exciting. So ta for now.
P.S. I’m still trying to figure our why a dress whose name includes ranunculus is covered in roses…
While I was waiting to find the perfect ribbon for my Apron Project, was able to squeeze in this little gem. Rosettes are popping up in many Japanese fashion magazines these days. Some feature prominently, but most of the time they are mixed in to create the perfect touch in a well layered kawaii coordinate. Since I have already professed my love for them, today I thought I would share how simple it is to make one.
I went for a slightly posh look-and-feel over the traditional style. So if you have even less time or not as many embellishments to play with, you can still make a rosette with a little bit of ribbon, some hot glue, and a ready made badge/pin. The most difficult part of my version was pleating the blue ribbon and then stitching it so they all stay in place nicely. Once I had that ready I dove right in.
Felt would work well for this project too but I didn’t have any at the time and am on a kick to use things up that I already have. Its good to have lots of goodies at ready for spur of the moment craft projects. But it is also good to turn things over to make room for new bits and bobs.
Speed was also a part of this project. How to make sure it was something easy to make and quick. In total I maybe spent an hour or two on the project. However in my case the time was split out across a few days. Work has been crazy but I didn’t want that to stop me from putting some artistic time on my diary.
The end result came out nice. I might change the way I sandwiched the base in the future if I make another. My favorite part is all the layers and how they build up to the biscuit cabochon on top. Well and how could I stop there. Added a final layer using a small pink bow and some silk flowers for good measure.
Now I am hoping that someone will invite me to afternoon tea so I can mix my new biscuit rosette into a coordinate. International Lolita Day is coming up. Perhaps then.
P.S. If you are wondering about the piece of pink lace, it is indeed from Angelic Pretty. It was leftovers from when I altered Decoration Dream. I used the waist ties to make the skirt longer and in the process had 2 little sections of lace for a moment just like this. It matches perfect with some recycled ribbons from Ladurée macaron purchases.
I think my sewing chops just hit a new level. Over the weekend I completed making a lolita apron. As mentioned on the previous mood board, finding the right solution for a very limited amount of this amazing fabric became a mission. Its somewhat terrifying to realize that I didn’t use a pattern. I mentally calculated the whole thing in my head and went for it. Luckily it worked out and I am pleased as punch.
The fabric I found on Etsy and the main lace came from a visit to Tomato in Nippori, Tokyo. The little daisies on the lace and cream color were a perfect match for the print. Surprisingly, the most difficult task was finding a ribbon the right shade of blue. I had to visit many stores until I settled on one I liked. Even now I wish it was a slightly darker shade.
Angelic Pretty’s Decoration Dream was a jumping off point for the sizing of the apron top. I’ve never liked how, well there is no polite way to say this, my boobs exceed the width of AP’s top. Decoration Dream just never sits right. So for my apron I adjusted to make it sit nice and flat and cover all the right spots. Another learning from AP was the straps are always slipping off my shoulders unless I criss-cross them in the back. So for my apron I added a nice little bar in the back to hold everything in place.
The past couple of days I enjoyed the euphoria that comes with completing a project. But if I am honest this is far from done. That 1 yard of fabric has morphed into a vision for a full coordinate. Already, I’ve cut lace to make matching wrist cuffs. I have metal eyelets/grommets coming in the mail to deco a pair of boots. Then there is a wicker handbag that just arrived and is ready for a hot glue party. Fabric for a matching dress has been yanked out of the stash. The only mystery is what to make for a hair accessory? Do we get into the spirit of the “year of the bonnet” or make an old school headdress?
In Part 1, we made the ruffle, attached it to the tote main pieces and added some trims to personalize. Then in Part 2, we used a few tricks to whip up strong clean straps. So all that is left is to insert the lining. But before we dive in you have to decide if you want to go the extra mile or not? Want to add pockets in your lining? If not, skip the next two steps and jump down below.
Most tote bag patterns I have found want you to dangle a pocket from the top of the bag. They insert the pocket as a flap between the seam of the tote body and the lining. On soft bags this drives me nuts because if you put your phone in the pocket than the top of the bag droops down due to the weight. That was when I came up with the idea above to instead put the pockets across the bottom of the bag. Its personal preference and both ways work just fine.
For Step B above, use the same plate from Part 2 of this tutorial. That way the lining and the main fabric will line up properly. Oh, and after Step D you can trim the fabric 1/4″ from the stitch line to match the rounding. This will reduce the bulk in the corners so you get a nice clean finish.
I took my pillow tote out for a run to Mitsuwa and immediately proceeded to stuff it full of cute stuff from Mars and the book store – and of course tons of candy from the grocery store. By the end I had 2 issues of Cutie magazine, a Jackie Bread The Bears’ School charm, some stickers, a couple onigiri, and matcha Kit Kat and Crunch bars to tote around. That was along with my wallet, make up pouch, keys, phone, and obligatory spring allergies stack of Kleenex. Fairly proud it held up to the task (♥ó㉨ò)ﾉ♡
When we last left off on Part 1, the ruffle for the edge of our Pillow Tote Bag was ready to be secured in place. So lets pick up things from there.
In a Tokyo ¥100 store (like our dollar stores) I found a ton of really cute patches and lace trims. So for my tote bag I choose to personalize it with a cream monogram I picked up. That didn’t seem substantial enough so also added a simple pink ribbon. The color of the ribbon will be picked up in the color of the lining.
This is one of my all time favorite tricks. While yes you can use a safety pin to turn the strap right side out, this is just so much easier. And you can reuse the ribbon for your next strap or for another project. I used to be so annoyed with having to turn narrow straps but never again with this tip.
If you are like me, you get really annoyed at tote bags that have chintzy straps. When the fabric is too soft they roll and twist and look a mess. And if they are made of a delicate fabric they stand the chance of ripping at any time as they can’t take the weight of all the goodies a gal needs in her bag these days. So I am a huge fan of using strapping. Like I said above, its very similar to seat belt material. But you can find it in a ton of widths and colors. I use it on its own for bag straps, but for this project wanted the clean continuity of the cherry fabric. The pattern I drafted allows for a 1″ material to be used inside the fabric straps.
At this stage the bag has taken shape. All that is left is to make and insert the lining. I have another nice trick for linings. So next post we will start there. I hope you are enjoying this tutorial on how to make a ruffle pillow tote bag.
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