My DIY: Crown Jubilee Canotier

I have to say this has been a fun month.  Really enjoying taking the time to photograph all my sewing endeavors.  Gives me a sense of satisfaction to see first-and-foremost how much my skills have improved as well as to see projects completed.

Today’s DIY is a regal, black canotier.  Now if you look up “canotier” in a dictionary, you will learn that it is associated with sail fabric or a sailor’s hat, of which a straw boater is common.  But in the magical land that is Lolita Fashion, a canotier is a round lacy headdress.  Some have a long ribbon used to tie it around one’s head with the knot under the chin.  Others, have clips or combs attached to the back to secure them easily to one’s hair.

My DIY canotier, a lolita headdress, with very royal roots.

I started with a black silk and cotton blend fabric that has a wonderful woven texture.  One of those subtle details that I love so much.  The crown was picked up in the NYC fashion district at Joyce Trimming.  There are so many great trim shops, but Joyce is one of my faves for patches and embellishments.  It is also dangerously close to Kinokuniya, so well within my stomping grounds.  The rose lace and black ribbon came from my second favorite trim shop, Daytona Trimming.  I am madly in love with cats, but also deathly allergic to them.  So I have to give warning that, if you too are allergic, be ready to dash in and out of Daytona as quickly as possible.  Know what you want to buy or suffer a major allergy flare up as they let their cats have the run of the shop.

I started this project way back in April.  You might recall it from my J-Weekend post.  The reason it is only now being posted is that I just couldn’t find the exact clip for the back.  I finally settled on this round one that has both an alligator clip and a pin clasp.  Barrettes never stay in place on my super fine hair, so it had to be an alligator clip.  But I also wanted the flexibility to wear it as a pin over a dress or cardigan.

So there you have it.  My Crown Jubilee Canotier!

Sweet Dreams, Sheri




P.S.  Congrats to Queen Elizabeth II on 60 amazing years!

My DIY: Lolita Straw Hat

Found a very basic boater-style straw hat at ALDO of all places.  Was one of those moments where the light bulb went off and I could see the perfect accessory for the country lolita dress that I made last year.

All the materials you will need for your DIY straw hat.

Last weekend I pulled together all the bits-and-bobs from my sewing and crafting supplies which included:

  • the new straw hat
  • left over fabric from my dress
  • a few pieces of decorative lace
  • a handful of silk and artificial flowers (from JoAnn Fabrics)
  • a new hot glue gun and glue sticks (from Michael’s Crafts)

The finished DIY Lolita straw hat.

This is one of the easiest do it yourself projects I have done in years.  I made a simple band out of my left over fabric.  Was going to trim it in lace that matched my dress but changed my mind.  I didn’t want to go overboard, especially since the whole objective of the dress I made was for it to be unfussy.

It took a little while to glue down the floral lace to the brim of the straw hat.  I worked flower by flower and using only a small drop of the glue.  I wanted to make sure and preserve the delicacy of the lace.

Adding the flowers was a piece of cake.  Started with a pretty good glob of glue where I wanted to place the big roses.  Finished them off with some strategic placement of glue in well concealed areas to make sure they were securly attached. Added just two leaves and a handful of much smaller flowers in the vacant spaces between the roses and the hat.

It was that simple.

Country Lolita JSK and Straw Hat.

Now I have the perfect accessory to match my summer jumperskirt!  Can’t wait to try it out.

Sweet Dreams, Sheri




My DIY: Country Lolita JSK

For some time I wanted a very casual Lolita summer dress.  Something unfussy and relaxed.  Not all the usual bows and lace and layers.  Just a quick and simple piece that can be pulled on and kicked around in without worry of getting it dirty or damaged.  And my last requirement, something that didn’t need all the extra Lolita trappings that can be way too hot during sweltering summer days.

So around about this time last year I took the plunge and below was the outcome.

Handmade Lolita Fashion Jumper SkirtI opted for a JSK with a three-tier gathered skirt.  The fabric is a soft pink, but depending on the light takes on some lilac tones.  The print is comprised of small branches of grape leaves on a super subtle stripe.

The Dress Shirring and Decoritive StitchesTo keep with the “easy breezy” concept, I went for a shirred back.  This makes it effortless to slip over a cutsew/t-shirt top. I did have a little fun with the hem.  Opted to use one of the many decorative stitches on my machine.  That required patience as it took probably 10 times as long as a basic stitch.  But it is an understated detail where I know it is there and it makes me smile.

mary madgalene sewing pattern alterationsThe inspiration came from Gothic & Lolita Bible vol. 21 (way back in the summer of 2006.)  This particular dress from Mary Magdalene shows up twice in the issue: first in a MM ad (shown above) and then again in a spread shared with Innocent World.

For patterns, I used McCall’s Costumes M6187 as a jumping off point for the bodice.  The front was pretty straight forward.  I started by making a muslin based on the pattern and then splitting it up where I wanted straps.  The back took a bit more tinkering to increase the amount of fabric to accommodate elastic shirring.  Also made big changes to balance out the straps.  Lined the entire bodice which took some figuring out but was well worth it in the end.

The skirt is kinda funny.  I bought McCall’s M6100, which is a children’s pattern, for all of 99 cents.  It had exactly the style skirt I wanted and with the right volume to hold a petticoat.  So using some basic math, I scaled up the miniature version to adult size and my desired circumference for the final piece.

I welcome critique.  What do you think?

DIY July

I love summer.  The days are longer and with all that extra sunlight my artistic gene kicks in to high gear.

DIY July BannerAnd it looks like So-En, Japan’s first fashion magazine (started in 1936,) also has the bug.  The July Edition is aptly named, “DIY GIRL.” It is jam packed with tons of do it yourself inspiration and how-to examples.

The July 2012 Edition of So-En MagazineOne spread is dedicated to a bib-front, tuxedo style shirt. Looks a bit complicated, but love the sassy style.  The model is wearing the blouse with a simple pair of shorts and a chunky pair of shoes which keep the look from being too serious.

DIY How To Examples

If the blouse is too ambitious, check out the article, “Tokyo Reworkers.” I have been clipping articles like this from Japanese Magazines for years.  One day I will have to pull the Lacoste remake from my archives – still my most favorite remake ever. But anyway, if you have intermediate crafting skills than this is the article for you.  I am noodling over the jeweled collar.  They are even showing up in U.S. magazines now, so I am long overdue to try one myself.

So En make your own ribbon necklaceOr if you are looking for a quick project, check out the “everyday ribbon” article. Very simple and very sweet ribbon necklaces that can be whipped up out of pretty much anything.

Sweet Dreams, Sheri




P.S. I have been saving up some of my own DIY projects.  So look for the following to make an appearance here on L.S.E. in the coming days (*^^*)

Do It Yourself Sneak Preview

Winter Warmth

2012 has been off to a very busy start.  Between lots of business travel, starting classes, and a bout with a nasty cold, I did sneak in a bit of time for myself.  While it has been a very mild winter this year the fact remains that I live in an older home.  It comes with “character” I believe is the polite expression.  Meaning it has with its age developed many quirks, one of which is that it stays relatively cool inside all year round.

To accommodate this charming character, I now have a growing collection of fleece vests.  They add just the right extra amount of warmth. The challenge is they are not exactly cute.  I do keep hoping that Timberland or The North Face will release a collection in pink… but am not holding my breath.

So I squeezed in a sewing project to add a pink fleece vest to my room wear options.  Nothing fancy and there are many things I would change if I made a second one. But all-in-all it does its job nicely.

Lolita Pink Fleece Vest

Cabin Fever
Looks like I have been over indulging in the cutesy, frilly stuff as of late.  So with March approaching think I will dive a bit more into Life’s Essential #3 – Shelter.  Seems appropriate to spend some time talking about Home Sweet Home as I always suffer from cabin fever in the last month of Winter.  Time can drag on anxiously awaiting spring so let’s make good use of the time spent indoors.

Sweet Dreams, Sheri




Harajuku Holiday Sew-a-thon

I have a creative job working in digital marketing, but I like to dabble in more traditional crafts in my spare time.  It is such a rush making something by hand that you can use.  Taking advantage of the long holiday weekend I had some fun.

It would be an understatement to say that I like Japanese Alternative Fashion.  The challenge – my comfortable U.S. size medium is a Plus Size by Japan’s standards.  Some of the most extraordinary designs are out of reach for me.  So I mustered up my determination and whipped up a cutsew blouse and one piece dress this weekend.

Pink 100% Cotton Cutsew T-shirt

I favor a more relaxed form of Lolita fashion, so a comfortable cutsew shirt is a critical staple; works well under a jumperskirt or as is with a skirt.  As far as patterns go, I use them more as guides than as rules.  For this I took some liberties using New Look’s pattern 6078.

The collar was a bit of a challenge, as I wanted a pullover and the pattern was for a button up, but it worked out very well in the end.  My only regret with this piece is the ruffle at the hem.  I used left over fabric from another project and there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room.  Would have preferred the ruffle be about a 1/2 inch wider, but this was all I could mange.

Rose Print 100% Cotton Cutsew Onepiece Dress

The dress again is made from knit/jersey.  I was going for something more Otome Kei than Lolita with this. My muse was Milk.  I followed Vogue pattern V8411 pretty closely for the dress, but added neck straps and altered the pleating a bit.

Added a little decorative stitch as well across the front. It is a subtle touch that added some extra structure to support the weight of the pleating.

The inspirtion for this weekend’s projects: Aoki Misako, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, Angelic Pretty, Milk and Emily Temple Cute.

Well it’s back to work tomorrow.  Hope everyone had a lovely holiday.  Happy 2012!

Sweet Dreams, Sheri




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