Project Update: Yukata Fabric + Off to a Good Start

When one thinks of colors that represent Japan, of course the iconic red and white of the Rising Sun come to mind.  But look a little deeper and indigo and white take center stage.  You see it so often reflected in fabric and ceramics across the centuries.  In fact there is an entire book dedicated to it.

indigo yukata fabrics

Probably a bit old fashioned of me, but when I think of yukata instantly blue and white comes to mind.  And not just the colors but the technique.  I am fascinated by the stencil dying method which results in a rich print.  There is no front and back to the fabric like modern printing methods.  Now if I remember correctly white with an indigo design was ideal for day as it looked cool and refreshing while indigo with a white print was worn at night.  Something about the dye being a natural insect repellent.  So I guess the more of it the better in the evening.  Since the summer festival will spill from day to night I am going to go with both. ☆彡

For the yukata blouse I choose a print with carnations and a stream.  It has a large design with lots of open space.  I want the blouse to really stand out compared to the cupcake lolita skirt so the big print and high contrast should work nicely.  Then for the skirt and bloomers the reverse, an indigo print on a white base.  Since most yukata do not incorporate 2 fabrics, I dug deep into my collection to find something complimentary.  The best match was a bolt that also features carnations but in a medium size print that repeats frequently filling the entire space.

indigo fabric ready for sewing

Thank goodness I have a big floor!  Because I needed all the space I could get when cutting the fabric.  Kimono and Yukata fabric comes in bolts typically 14 inches wide but up to 13 yards long.  So using the fabric in a non-traditional way means I will be piecing together many seams to create additional width.  Hopefully it will all come together and not look like a patchwork mess.  Given the volume of the lolita silhouette this project did require pretty much the entire amount of fabric from both bolts.

yukata half way sewn

My goal was to finish the blouse this past weekend, but I didn’t. O_O  That’s OK.  I would rather take my time and do a good job than rush-rush through it.  If folks at work play nice this week I can sneak out right at 5pm and finish up in a couple of days.  If not, then I will pick up next weekend.  All I have left to do is add the lace to the sleeves, attach them to the blouse body and then whip up a couple of detachable bows (this is a lolita coordinate after all.)  So far I am absolutely thrilled with how it is coming together.  I think it is going to be stunning.


Wa Lolita Yukata Pattern

Good news.  My Bodyline package arrived today.  Which gives me plenty of time before the summer festival to make my wa lolita yukata.  Despite the unbearable heat, I went straight to work today making the pattern.  (Seriously Mother Nature, enough with the 100 degree temperature.)

wa lolita yukata pattern ruboff method

Using a technique called a “rub off” I deconstructed the Bodyline dress into its pattern pieces.  Basically a rub off pattern is when you follow the lines of a garment using paper and pins to reverse engineer the pattern from the finished piece.  This particular dress is comprised of 5 main pieces for the top.  I didn’t follow the traditional rub off method as the shapes on this dress were very basic and were easy to follow using muslin, some pins and a pencil while the garment was turned inside out.

The skirt is a basic lolita cupcake shape for which I don’t need a pattern.  A large rectangle, some gathered fabric for a ruffle and some elastic will do nicely.

But all of this will have to wait now until next weekend.  Popping off tomorrow on a short business trip.  I lose a weekend day of creativity, but c’est la vie.  Work pays for my happy-go-lucky lifestyle!

Update check out the result using the pattern.

Summer Festival: Kitsune Mask Barrette (Part 2)

japanese fox mask hair barette

hot glue the barette clip to the back

Finished the kitsune mask barrette after work today.  Only had a couple of steps to wrap up.  Painted the top with some clear nail polish to protect the design.  Added some embroidery floss to imitate the mask straps.  Then some hot glue and a barrette clip finished the job.  Ready to go!

shrinky dink size difference before after


Summer Festival: Kitsune Mask Barrette (Part 1)

kitsune mask diy mood board

Yesterday I squeezed in enough time to get started on one piece of my summer festival coordinate.  The DIY Plan: create a kitsune o’men (fox mask – 狐のお面) barrette.  I want to incorporate as many traditional elements as possible but give each one a twist.  The key is to keep it from going too costume/cosplay.  I am aiming for that fine line where wa + kawaii meet.  The first step was to find the right image to use as my inspiration.

shrink plastic sand-paper surface preperation

This painting really caught my attention.  I like the angle of the mask as it reflects how many people pull up their festival mask and wear it on the side of their head.  I only want to make one barrette.  So that angle I think is a nice way to mimic real life, but in this case a minature version.

I am a child of the 70’s, so the first material to come to mind when figuring out how to diy this was Shrinky Dinks!  Still a favorite after all these years.  I used the type that goes opaque once shrunk.  You start by slightly roughing up the surface, just a little bit, to help the colored pencil stick more easily.  I used an old nail file (because I couldn’t find where I put our fine sandpaper in the cellar.)

shrinky dink kitsune mask colored pencils

Step 2 is to apply your design.  I like to work with Prismacolor colored pencils as they produce a nice thick color and you can play with blending.  Extend your coloring a little bit beyond where you will cut the shape so that the color fills the full piece.

cut the shrink plastic with exacto knife

Next, carefully cut out your piece from the plastic sheet.  Your basic Exacto knife works best in my experience.  Go slowly and if there is an area you are worried about cut it larger at first and then slowly trim it down to the size or shape you want.  Very sharp scissors work well too but are difficult for sharp corners and indentations.

shrinky dink ready to bake

Next prepare your baking equipment.  I use my toaster oven.  I like that it is higher up so I can be comfortable watching as the plastic does its magic. Be sure to follow the instructions that come with your shrinking plastic.  My toaster over works best at 350 for just under 1 minute on this size piece.  I cover a small backing sheet in tin foil.  Try to not get too many wrinkles.  Big ones can be indented on the back of the shrinky dink. I also wrap a flat spatula in tin foil to press down on the plastic as soon as it is done.  This gives it a good flat finish.

Next step is add the hardware to convert it into a barrette… but I ran out of time.  So we will pick up with that next time in part 2.

Credits:   (1)   (2)   (3)   (4)   (5)   (6)

Valentine’s Fabric Hanging Mobile

When I think of Valentine’s Day, I instantly gravitate to things that are hand made.  The love that goes into creating something unique. And those little imperfections, that you can’t get with something manufactured, really capture the sentiment of the holiday.

valentines hanging mobile

My studio at home, where I do all my sewing and crafting, has begun a transformation.  I love the space and focused for a long time on the furniture and layout.  Now it is time to put an artistic stamp on the place.  So in the spirit of Valentine’s Day I added this simple fabric hanging mobile to the studio window. I’ve hung it from the curtain valence so that it can spin freely over the window panes.

fabric scraps diy decorationsHow To Make It

  • 4″ fabric squares – I had a batch in pink, white, and red. You can usually buy pre-cut quilt squares on eBay for a great price.  This will give you a variety of prints without having to buy a lot of fabric from say JoAnn Fabrics. The number of squares you need depends on how many items you want to dangle from your mobile.  I used 18 squares.
  • Pinking shears
  • A branch of small fake flowers
  • A few random buttons
  • A few bows or other embelishments
  • A small amount of stuffing
  • A skein of embroidery floss
  1. Using the pinking shears cut out two squares at a time into circles and or hearts.
  2. Embellish as you wish using the bows, buttons and fake flowers.
  3. Making sure the wrong sides of the 2 pieces of fabric together, sew close to the edges around the shape to bind them. Be sure to leave a small gap/opening about a 1/2″ wide.
  4. Put a small amount of stuffing inside the opening.  Don’t overstuff.  You want just enough to give them a slight poof. You don’t want them to be too heavy either or they won’t float nicely on the mobile.
  5. Stitch the opening shut.
  6. Cut a piece of embroidery floss to random lengths for each strand in the mobile.  Mine range from 14″ to a little over 20″.
  7. Tie the end of each strand into a small loop.
  8. Thread the other end of the stand into a large eye needle.
  9. Hand sew the strand carefully through the center of the sandwiched layers of one of your circles/ hearts.  The first one should rest on top of the knot of the loop.
  10. Add more circles by tying knots a few inches above each circle and sewing the strand through the center.
  11. Finish the top of each strand with another loop.  Leave it large enough if you want to hook it over say a chandelier.  In my case I used very small safety pins and attached them to the hem on my window curtain.

I’ll have to explain how to make the little ume blossom strands another day.  Photos of the steps are needed to properly explain. So for now, happy crafting everyone!


Moco-Moco Bear Bloomers

deka wanko inspired room wear

I was feeling especially silly this weekend.  But when I tried my hand at a Deka Wanko inspired room wear ensemble, even my well-used-to-Sheri’s-bizarre-creativity boyfriend had a good laugh.  It ended with the conclusion that I probably should be working at Disney and not at a financial corporation.

fuwa fuwa bloomers

Bloomers out of a fuzzy fabric sounded really cool when I had the idea.  But they are very bulky.  Which translates into not exactly flattering.  I am totally in love with the little bear embellishment I added though.  He is so cute.

bear your bottom bloomersI don’t think these bloomers are going to get a ton of use, but I had fun making them.  They are lined with a super soft, 100% cotton jersey, in pink to match the bear’s face.  That makes them comfy to wear.  I didn’t want the polyester faux fur, well there is no other way to say it, directly on my bum.  I used the same basic pattern as on other bloomer and short projects I have made, with some minor tweaks.

You can see a close up of the Bear Ears Alice-band over here.

Project Complete: Kimono Fabric Chevron Pillow

An alternative title for this post could be, “The 20 Week DIY Pillow Madness.”  Yes, start to finish, this pillow actually took me 20 weeks to finish.  Phew.  But I knew what I was in for when I started.  I haven’t done applique before and am certain an expert wouldn’t take even a fraction of that time; even with a day job.  Regardless, here it is finally finished.  There are so many things I would do differently.  I would say I am 88% satisfied with the end result.  The sheer joy of it being done might add a few more percentage points.

kimono diy decorative pillow

Project Recap

You can check out the steps I followed up to this point with these links:
Update 6: Applique Takes Patience
Update 5: Applique Taking Shape
Update 4: Applique Pieces Basted
Update 3: Ready to Begin Applique
Update 2: Finalizing the Pattern
Update 1: Pattern for Perfect Corners
Kickoff: Anthro & West Elm Inspiration

Taking it to the finish line is illustrated below:
 chevron applique how to add pillow piping pillow cording trim diy pillow sewing tips  how to make a pillow

If you are interested in more detailed instructions for making your own decorative pillows, I think this blog’s tips are pretty helpful.

Underware, Oh My!

black lolita bloomers

Yesterday I finished a pair of very basic bloomers to match my Wonder Party dress and Milky-chan skirt.  I am really into Black and Pink as a combination right now. I replaced the black ribbon beading in this lace with a soft, pink, velvet ribbon.  As the only color in the bloomers it makes quite the impact.

kuro lolita bloomer details

shorts pattern alteration

I used pattern 15 from the Japanese pattern book 毎日はきたいパンツ (手づくりevery day).  It is a pattern I adjusted several years ago and has served me well.  The base of the bloomers follows the pattern exatly, but then I added the band with beading ribbon and a ruffle layer to give the bloomers the pretty twist that they needed. I am not a fan of elastic, it totally cuts off your circulation, so I always try to make my bloomers have a tapper using a smaller band of fabric instead. These are really comfortable and I am very pleased with the result.

aloha shorts sig zane fabric

To give you a contrast of the length difference in the pattern I altered, here is a pair of Hawaiian shorts I made a few years ago out of Sig Zane fabric. They fall comfortably below the knees.  For the new bloomers I brought things up a lot to make sure they are completely hidden when worn with my Angelic Pretty pieces.

black and pink lolita bloomers

Project Update: Applique Takes Patience

I knew this project was going to be a labor of love.  Am kinda glad I went for making a 14″ pillow instead of 20″.  With a hectic work schedule and other projects on my agenda I only get to add a few chevrons at a time.  And I am perfectly happy with that – there’s no rush.

anthropologie kimono pillow diy projectNow that I can start to see the finish line, I’ve decided to pipe the edges of the pillow.  The inspiration pillows from Anthropologie and West Elm don’t appear to have piping, but I feel it adds a nice finishing touch.  A basic black piping has been selected which will contrast with the base fabric.  When I think of Kimono my first impression is of the most formal robes, with a base in black, worn for special occasions.  So black seems like the most appropriate option.  For now, I just need to keep going!

Update 5: Applique Taking Shape
Update 4: Applique Pieces Basted
Update 3: Ready to Begin Applique
Update 2: Finalizing the Pattern
Update 1: Pattern for Perfect Corners
Kickoff: Anthro & West Elm Inspiration

Lolita Style Hair Accessories

Life is returning back to normal after Hurricane Sandy.  Took 6 loads of laundry and many more rounds of doing dishes to catch up after nearly 2 weeks without power.  Between all the clean up this weekend I had a spurt of creativity.  Started making a bunch of hair accessories in various styles of the Japanese Lolita fashion.  There is a purpose to this recent craft spree, but that is a secret for now {shhhhh.}

lolita winter hair collectionmaking lolita accessories

So far I have completed pink hair bows in a sweet style, an alice-band in red for a classic style, and a straw mini hat for a country style.  Using gold studs, I have started a punk style barrette too.  Hoping to add a gothic style piece as well to this collection.  Alternatively could do a hime {princess} style or a fairy kei option.  But that will have to wait till next weekend.

Happy Monday everone!

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