Remake: London Calling Phone Box Necklace

londons calling vintage cute coordinate

Picked up the most adorable skirt from Poppy England which features vintage storybook style illustrations of London’s main attractions. The drawings feature a little girl, Poppy, and her friends, such as Fred the dog. The history of the company is really charming – check it out here. While in Heathrow waiting for my flight back home I found a key chain of a classic British phone box in Harrods and was immediately inspired.

diy necklace remake banana republic harrods london keychain

I could barely wait to make this when I returned. Had a picture in my mind of something sweet but simple to match the skirt to pull a whole look together. By sheer dumb luck, left over fabric from curtains I just made for the house turned out to be an exact match for the turquoise color of the skirt. Then I remembered a necklace from Banana Republic that I never wear but haven’t been able to part with. It was covered in little crochet butterflies and flowers. The chain had patinaed so I stopped wearing it but the charms were still in good shape and also a good matching shade to compliment the curtain fabric bow. The skirt has red, white and yellow details so after some digging in my bead box decided on glass beads that are large enough to balance out the size of the key chain. Originally was going to use a linked pearl chain but opted for a double loop silver chain instead to support more weight. The key chain fob is a bit heavy.

anglic pretty socks and bodyline shoes

Since I have to start plotting my packing strategy for a visit to San Fran next week, just a wee bit excited, pulled out pieces to complete a coordinate. Red and white stripe socks from Angelic Pretty match the vintage children’s storybook vibe of the skirt design. White rocking horses might not make it into my suitcase (not practical for this trip) but would be a nice finishing touch. Also threw in a Scottie dog bracelet I picked up year’s ago in Germany – isn’t he adorable!!

 

Remake: Rabbits in the Garden Wicker Purse

The past couple weeks have been fun, started back to Japanese lessons and then there were the fashion shows. On the flip side that means my sewing has slowed down. Still have a few things to post but need to get back in gear as I have set a lofty goal with my summer project line up. Before my mini break, I completed the second of several items in the Garden Party coordinate project.

garden party rabbit wicker lolita purse

Once I finished the Rabbit Apron my attention shifted to a remake of a vintage wicker hand bag. This is turning to be an annual summer event as last year you might recall I remade another wicker purse to go with a Baby, the Stars Shine Bright cherry dress.

quality lace braid and beading used for embellishments

how to upcycle a vintage wicker purse

Did I start this post saying I completed this bag? Well that is not exactly true.  I still need to do something to the interior of the purse. Right now it is gingham which is absolutely charming but is not in keeping with the color palette and styling of the rest of the outfit. Fussing over the details is important to make a good project be great. Which is why during all of this I also add a couple of bows to the apron to make the lacing feel more finished.

recover-interior-of-old-wicker-handbag

Materials for lace wrist cuffs have been cut and I just need to finish them but have been distracted by a couple other items so hope to wrap those up soon. So all-in-all off to a good start on my list of to-dos but can’t slack off anytime soon. Thank you summer for the motivating sunshine and energy! よし、がんばれます。

Remake: Pastel Sailor Moon Luna Jean Jacket

diy sailor moon jean jacket remake

I like so many other die hard fans am jumping for joy at the release of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal this July. Sailor Moon got me through the tedious last days of college and gave me strength when first setting out on my career. While I had seen other anime from Japan this was the first to steal my heart. To celebrate the new release I wanted to make something – anything – to show my support. I opened up my box of Moonie goodies collected over the years and had a brainstorm. What about a decorated jean jacket?

embellish the back with lace and seed beads

sailor moon stars handkerchief diy

Yes, I cut up one of my many Sailor Moon handkerchiefs. I have some fabric but the print just wasn’t right. So I took a very deep breath, placed my ruler carefully following a pattern I made and put the rotary blade down. Swoosh, no going back. Which I am totally cool with because the end result is awesome. The back had such a strong impact with the color of the Luna backpack that the front needed something punchy to create balance.

sailor moon luna stick pin and stars patch

luna cat pink and purple jacket

I think the jacket is still missing something. Have been debating making the sleeves shorter, adding a small red bow below Sailor Moon on the front, and maybe mixing in more beads here and there. I don’t want it to go over the top, but want to push it a little more.

What do you think?

Project Complete: Sweet Lolita Summer Cherry Handbag

country lolita wicker purse cherry pouch

sweet lolita pouch and key ring

It is so satisfying to finish a project.  And this DIY vintage wicker handbag transformation is complete!  The finishing touch was the addition of a sweet lolita makeup pouch.  Blending form and function, the pouch is more substantial than a typical makeup bag – by about 2 inches.  It also features a small clip so that keys don’t slide around or get lost when you open and close your purse.  Alternatively little charms could be attached to it to add a personal touch.

materials to make a makeup pouch

I didn’t follow a pattern for this bag but I did flip a Lancôme freebie inside out to examine their general construction.  I doubled a piece of the cherry fabric and ironed in some fusible interfacing to half of the fabric.  The side with the interfacing became the outside and with the extra stiffness I was able to embellish it with lace to match the main handbag.  I then attached a swivel clip to some pink ribbon for the key chain.  Last was the addition of a big pink ribbon.

inserting a zipper into the lolita makeup bag

I wanted to use a white zipper, but my sewing stash failed me.  Seeing the finished product, I think it worked out best to have the contrasting red zipper instead.  After inserting the zipper I serged the two sides and then a quick stitch across the bottom corners gave the pouch its final shape.

The pouch comfortably holds a brush, hand lotion, blush and a powder compact with some room to spare.  If your wondering where to keep Life’s Sweet Essential #4 – Money, well, my Vivian Westwood wallet tucks in nicely in front of the pockets on the other side of the purse.

DIY Result

I’ll conclude this DIY July project with a small photo shoot of the finished handbag and a few before and after shots to show its makeover.

sweet lolita cherry theme photo shoot

cherry sweet lolita summer coordinate

vintage wicker handbag before and afternew fabric lining for vintage handbag

summer lolita wicker handbag coordinate

Sweet Dreams!

Project Update: Sweet Lolita Handbag Organizer

nothing beats a well organized handbag

While the outside of this wicker handbag is charming and refined, the inside is an over the top explosion of cute.  I really outdid myself on making this purse organizer.  So thrilled about the final result.  My daily essentials are perfectly placed and easy to get to:

  • Mobile Phone
  • Lipstick
  • Mirror
  • Tissues
  • Business Card Case
  • Tic Tacs

No commercial lolita brand would spend this much time on the inside of a purse.  Far to expensive to manufacture.  But wow what a difference it makes.  The vintage purse is still a modest size compared to styles popular these days in mainstream fashion.  But once the bag is well organized that size difference isn’t a big deal.  And this is just one side of the bag.  There is more to come.  But first lets break down how the organizer was made.

vintage purse organizer insert

The finished piece looks like this.  A simple flat organizer that can be slipped into the purse.  I did decide to attach it to the lining in the purse for stability, but that is personal preference versus a necessity.  Below is an overview of the steps to make your own organizer.

template for handbag organizer

measuring the organizer pockets

sewing a perfect organizer pocket

stich flip press and close opeing

My biggest advice is to go slowly and be sure to think ahead to the next few steps.  With patience and diligence I would rank this an intermediate sewing project.  To make it more basic, I would drop the lace trim and the rounded corners.

It was dark when I finished the other side of the purse.  After brunch I’ll get around to taking some photos to share with you the other half of what has turned out to be an exquisitely organized handbag.

Project Update: Wicker Handbag Lining Replacement

replacing the fabric lining in wicker handbag

Almost there!  Was able to squeeze in just enough time yesterday after work to sew and glue in the lining.  This is just a foundation for more to come.    I want to make a zipper pouch for one side of the bag and an organizer for the other.  Took me a while to plot it all out inside my head and I think I now have a good plan of attack.

how to sew 3d box corners

detail sewing 3d cube corner

There are plenty of tutorials online for making 3-d cube corners, so I won’t ramble on about it today.  The key is to make sure you start and stop your stitches at a specific position which will become the pointy corner of the box shape.  This is where 3 pieces of fabric all meet. If your stitch runs the full length of your fabric, you will not be able to turn it right side out and get the shape you need.

The typical recommendation is 1/4 inch from the  edge of your fabric.  For the project I left more seam allowance, probably 5/8″, due to the fact that I would be adjusting measurements by hand to accommodate the slight curvature of this purse.  Having the extra fabric allowed me to let it in or out as I progressed.

adjusting the height of the lining

As I said, I left a ton of allowance in the fabric pieces to adjust as I went.  Once the base was sewn and looking good, the next step was to adjust the height.  I inserted the lining into the purse and folded over the edges following the frame of the handbag.  Painters tape worked best to hold the fabric in place, and taught, so that the measurement was as precise as possible.  There was plenty of stitch ripping and readjusting until the corners matched the purse properly and the height was right.  Tossed in some pins at that point then gave it a really good pressing with the iron.  Trimmed away all the excess fabric, ran a final stitch around the edge and set to work gluing it into the bag.

I reused the tape from before to dry fit the lining before gluing.  After all that hard work the last thing I wanted was a wonky finish.  All-in-all I give myself an 8 out of 10 for this piece of the project.  I set myself a deadline of this weekend to finish and the result is more than satisfactory as is.  Given more time I would have used quilt batting for all sides of the lining and not just the bottom layer.  But I am a happy camper just the same.

Stay Tuned:  The final reveal will happen later this weekend when I finish the organizers.  Now where did that lace go…

Project Update: Wicker Handbag Outside In

juicy cherry lolita wicker handbag

The summer lolita handbag is coming together nicely.  I finished the exterior decorations yesterday.  Seeing it next to Baby’s Cherry print from last year I think the quality of my execution is very in-keeping with the brand’s esthetic.  Fun, frilly, sweet but still refined and sophisticated.

hot glue the lace to the wicker purse

Hot glue was my best friend for attaching the two lace trims.  A little painters tape came in handy to line up the rows in exactly the spot I wanted them.  I was generous with the glue but also very careful.  I didn’t want big globs of it to show nor did I want it to drip thru the wicker into the inside of the bag.  I paid particular attention for the rose trim.  Each leaf and blossom was glued down one at a time.  Took a lot of patience but well worth the investment to make the finished look smooth, clean and perfectly placed.

beading a string of pearls diy

secure the beads to the wicker diy

After the lace dried I added the string of pearls.  I used a beading wire to give it strength.  Gravity is going to constantly be pulling on them so things needed to be secure.  Got creative and decided to use a beading spacer bar to make sure the wire is crimped snugly and wont slide around or slip thru to the front accidentally.

baby the stars shine bright detachable bow

And before you think I am crazy enough to hot glue on my dresses waist ribbon, I am not.  Using the same beading wire and two jump rings I made hoops for the detachable bow to attach to.  Originally I thought I would just pin the bow on to the lace, but that worried me.  The weight of the bow could tug on the lace too much and pull up the hot glue or it could just damage the lace over time.  Neither would be pleasant situations.  The location of the hot glue also challenged that idea, it is smack dab right where I want the bow placed anyway.  So with a little strength and a good sewing needle I was able to pierce the hot glue and string the hoop through instead.

The bonus prize for this method is different color bows can be mixed and matched on the front of the purse.  For example, the blue ribbon from this sax color BTSSB dress to make a perfect coordinate, and say a pink bow to match another.  I’ll whip up one using the lining fabric to start things off.

applique cherries lolita fashion diy

Last step was to hot glue on the cherries.  I found these small crochet cherry appliques at Joyce Trimming in NYC.  They have a section towards the back of the store where you can find plenty of boxes of applique and patches to suit many different tastes.

create a new lining for a vintage purse

Before dinner I had just enough time to start planning out the interior of the purse.  Light does filter through the wicker so using some fusible interfacing and pink cherry fabric to line the main body seemed like the right thing to do.  Next, I added a layer of quilt batting to cover the wooden frame.  Hopefully after work today I can do the math to start the lining.  Found this tutorial that should be a good jumping off point for keeping all the handbag contents nice and neat.

For now, ciao lovelies.  Have a super Friday.

 

Project Update: Wicker Handbag Leather Hinge Upcycle

vintage wicker handbag diy lining repair

As soon as I returned home yesterday I went right to work on my wicker handbag project.  First things first, I had to remove the paper lining.  It was musty and had some spots of mold.  Well and it was really dirty.  No sense in trying to salvage it, simply not worth it.  After removing the paper, there was access to give the handbag a thorough cleaning.  And it sure needed the cleaning.

My original plan was to reuse the original leather hinges and just give them a coat of white paint to spruce them up.  But the leather was in pretty bad shape.

wicker purse leather hinge replacement

I turned to a very recent purchase to replace the leather.  The Baby, the Stars Shine Bright stationary set that arrived last week contained a vinyl diary cover.  Vinyl means no fraying edges and fairly strong material to withstand some use.

diy vintage purse hinge repair

I removed the feet from the purse and used the original leather hinges to make a template.  The leather straps are more decorative than functional.  They cover up a set of metal hinges that are nailed to the bottom of the bag.

btssb strawberry book cover recycled

I increased the width ever so slightly.  The vinyl is not as thick as the original leather so I wanted to ensure good coverage of the metal hinge when all is said and done.  Using a circle template I rounded the corners of the new straps.  The vinyl was easy to cut with an Exacto knife.  To finish them I used a craft hole punch to make nice clean openings for the brass feet to insert into.

Did my best to polish the brass feet before putting it back together again.  I am tickled pink with the result.  I doubt anyone will notice this small detail since it is on the bottom of the purse, but if I am going to all the trouble to upcycle the vintage purse there is no point in half assing it.

I’ve got some chores to attend to this morning, but then I have the rest of the lovely 4th of July holiday to continue working on the handbag.  Should be a fun and rewarding day.

Happy 4th of July!!

Project Kickoff: Cherish My Juicy Cherry Wicker Handbag DIY

etsy vintage wicker handbag

I started putting together a coordinate for an upcoming convention.  My second Con to be exact.  Once the dress form was lookin all good and frilly, it came to purse options.  I have tried every bag I own and no joy.  So I hit the brand sites and still no love.  What’s a girl to do?  Then it came to me – Etsy!  And score! For $26 + shipping, this beautiful vintage wicker handbag was on its way.

juicy cherry handbag mood board

But you know me.  Can’t be that easy.  No this vintage jem is about to get the full treatment.  The package arrived late yesterday and I could wait to start the creative process.  The Plan: decorate to be a perfect match for Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Cherish my Juicy Cherry.  The purse is missing its original lining.  But that isn’t a problem, that’s an opportunity.  I have some nice pink cherry fabric from last summer’s DIY marathon that will be a good match.

BTSSB juicy cherry wicker handbag layout

As you can see above, the outside is starting to take shape.  I played with a bunch of embellishments, laces and various compositions.  So far this option using the waist bow from the dress along with some pearls, lace and crocheted cherries is my favorite.

And the best part?  We have a nice long holiday ahead which couldn’t be a more perfect time to start some DIY July.  Get ready glue gun.  Here I come.

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

TBD

Sewing & Alterations: Angelic Pretty Decoration Dream

Next weekend is International Lolita Day.  This weekend is, OMG what am I going to wear day.  Finally settled on wanting to wear Angelic Pretty’s Decoration Dream from 2011.  Found it at Closet Child in Harajuku when I was on vacation.  Couldn’t beat the price but knew it was going to need some work to fit over my, ahem, non-Japanese figure. I find Baby the Stars Shine Bright to be more forgiving both in width and length.  It is never so with Angelic Pretty.

angelic pretty decoration dream before and after

This week’s sewing lesson, waist ties are a fuller-figure girl’s best sewing friend!  Throwing caution to the wind, I drafted a few different option to increase the waist dimension about 3-4 inches.  And the hope was to also increase the length if possible, otherwise the straps would also need to be altered. Wanted to only take on one major change and not two.  And it worked out like a charm.

kera lolita sewing book 3

Earlier this week I received the latest Lolita Sewing Book (乙女のソーイングBOOK 3) from Kinokuniya.  Put it to good use right away to draft a new waist band for the skirt.  If I learned anything in art school it was always have what you will know will work as option 2, and what you think would be innovative and ideal as option 1.  I knew I could use the waist ties to just make a basic rectangular waist band and add some elastic in the back.  But that is boring.  So for the ideal but more complicated option I was inspired by the waist band on the skirt on page 17 of the new book.

altering a lolita skirt using the waist ties

After an outrageous amount of stitch ripping, I ironed the waist ties and cut them into 5 1/2 inch sections.  I transferred the pattern from the book onto tracing paper and added about 2 inches to the pattern in order to let the waist band cross over a bit in the back.  I should mention I only cut one of the waist ties to begin with (just in case the creative idea didn’t work).  I then did my best to realign the pieces to match the curvature of the pattern.  It was a bit tricky and I didn’t exactly get all the fabric to line up on grain.  After sewing the one tie back together into its new configuration I knew it was OK to go for it with the other one.  Decided to reuse the 2 bows from the ties to embellish the front panel of the new waist band.  As it is now much taller, without the adornment, it would have looked odd left bare.

adding snaps to angelic pretty skirt

I did my best to make the flap above the zipper nice and neat.  My math didn’t exactly work out as you can see by the imperfections.  But It isn’t a disaster and I can live with it.  Used 3 pink snaps to finish it off.  The snaps also came from vacation. Purchased them from Tomato in Nippori.  The skirt came with a basic latch clasp but I think snaps make a much cleaner finish and hold better.

clean seams inside lolita skirt

Inside I used a solid pink fabric to line the new waist band. Hand stitched the inside edge to make it tidy.  I know no one will be able to see it, but that’s how I like to roll.

how to increase the size of a lolita skirt

All-in-all it has some issues, but only if you are really checking it out.  Pretty proud of my achievement.  The waist band is triple its original height giving the straps at least an extra 2 inches for my long torso.  You can see the difference in the above photo.  I used every last bit of the ties so the only fabric that remains is the original waist band.  Can’t make much out of it, but perhaps a small hair bow maybe.  Also not sure what to do with the lace that came off the ties.  For now have added it to my stash for another day.

Only trouble is, now I need to find a good pair of matching socks for ILD… hum.  Guess it is a good thing, that by shear dumb luck thanks to work, I get to spend a day in San Francisco this week!  AP & Baby here I come!

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