Sweetie’s Challenge: Kodona & Ouji Style

When your better half says to you, “can you make me a men’s lolita outfit,” you know you have found true love. Well, I already knew that. But was tickled pink that the boy wants to dress up too! Then the panic set in. I have never made anything but women’s fashion. Um, now what do I do?

18th century rococo kodona ouji style

First things first was to hit Google and search everything I could think of: kodona, ouji, 18th century menswear, rococo clothing, and boy lolita (which I should have known would bring up Ouran Host Club.) Then the fear grew even stronger. Are my sewing skills up to this? Sure I can whip up some below the knee breeches; piece of cake. Vest, or waistcoat, yeah I think I can manage that. The coat, that is going to mean some serious tailoring skills. Forget about the blouse maybe just the jabot/cravat…

akira the queen of kodona style

dear celine kodona sewing patterns

This Dear Celine coordinate is going to be my jumping off point. I like that it is a vest that combines the idea of a traditional waistcoat and coat into one. Found a few sewing patterns that might be helpful. I can edit once I have a good foundation to play with. Which means my next stop is the fabric store!

Butterick: Dickens & Colonial  |  Laughing Moon Mercantile  |  Burda

P.S. How is it that after all these years I only realized now that Eddie Munster wore a Little Lord Fauntleroy coordinate?!?!

How To: Make a Ruffle Pillow Tote Bag – Part 3

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.

optional step to add pockets to your diy tote bag

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.

insert the lining and flip right side out

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.

after a simple flip just stitch and you have a brand new tote bag

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♡

handmade cherry gingham ruffle tote bag

How To: Make a Ruffle Pillow Tote Bag – Part 2

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.

adding the ruffle and trims before putting in the lining

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.

super easy how to sew and turn fabric staps right side out

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.

how to attach straps to the tote bag

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.

How To: Make a Ruffle Pillow Tote Bag – Part 1

sewing pattern to make your own ruffle tote bag

Spring is magical. In addition to loving all the new fashion trends, I remembered how much I love coming home after work each night and it still being light out. Its amazing how motivating sunlight is. Decided to put all that extra energy to good use and have been trying to sew for 1 hour at least 3 nights a week. Have a few projects to catch everyone up on. The first is my DIY version of a pillow tote bag.

After exploring so many options from Japan in my recent ruffle bag mood board, I knew I wanted to play up the pillow aspect. What this meant was designing the pattern landscape versus portrait, if that makes sense. The way a big fluffy pillow would be at the head of a bed. Himitsu by Syrup’s bag influenced me the most. But for this version I edited out the top ruffle and rounded here and there to get the pillow look.

sewing instructions to make the ruffle edge

If you were wondering why I chose to make the ruffle out of 3 pieces of fabric, it was all about making life easy. By sewing the side, bottom and then side ruffle pieces together the seams give you a nice sharp line.  You can use that line to match up with the corners of the tote bag.  This is a little trick to make sure when the fabric is gathered you wont end up with too much fabric bunched to one side or the other.

Oh, is that the time! Gotta dash for work. Look for the rest of the steps in my next post.

In Love With: Fashion Rosettes

adorable ribbon rosettes from katie, fint, and angelic prettyrosette accessories from kokokim, milk and emily temple cute

When I was little, every 4th of July there were a sort of mini Olympics held at the country club where my grand parents lived. It was the highlight of the summer. And ribbons were always given out for winning things like the three legged race. While I am not the competitive sort, I adored collecting those ribbons.  They are long gone now, but I am sure they have something to do with my current addiction to rosettes. I also love patches and badges – so adding lace and ribbons to them is a natural jumping off point.

I am finding it hard to believe that I didn’t browse the Katie site more often until now. How have I missed out on all this cuteness?!?! If one had an award for rosettes it has to go to Katie. Second place? Well, I am going to give that to Angelic Pretty. While not in my mood board, third place goes to Nile Perch. Their Its a Girl and Its a Boy rosettes are infamous in Harajuku snaps.

Tokyo Spring Trends: Ruffled Pillow Tote Bag

kokokim, katie, and himitsu by syrup all have these popular tote bags

more cute frill bags from syrup, katie and fint

Ruffle pillow tote or frill tote bag, which ever way you translate it this is the super hot, must have, bag for spring. Its simple, its soft and its a whole lot of cute. I’m not sure which brand dreamed up this boudoir meets street fashion icon. However, the clear winner is Katie followed closely by Himitsu by Syrup for the sweetest and versions. I am torn between Syrup’s “Lolita” bag in pink or KOKOkim‘s satin option. If you are quick, you might still be able to snag a dazzlin frill tote in the March issue of CUTiE magazine.

Tokyo Spring Trends: Cherries

from liz lisa to swimmer, jane marple to swan kiss its all cherries for springemily temple cute, jane marple, milk, ank rouge and himitsu by syrup all offer you cherries this spring

In curating the latest for spring, when it came to cherries there were so many choices it was hard to pick my favorites. While trying to keep only to Japanese brands, couldn’t bring myself to exclude the adorable wedge sandals from Mod Cloth. Look how sweet they are! He he, and when compiling the Gingham mood board, it was clear that these two trends go hand-in-hand. So start picnic season early this year and pull on a cherry print to celebrate the return of spring.

Tokyo Spring Trends: Gingham

min plume, emily temple cute, spinns and poco a poco gingham fashion itemsank rouge, spinns, and dazzlin gingham options for spring

Trends like vacations are points in time. You have to enjoy them while they last. And this Spring I am so enamored by the fashion and brands that surrounded us while in Tokyo. Just had to pay tribute to it here. So so so much gingham. Crisp, refreshing, sweet and playful. Feels like every shop and every brand had something to offer in these playful and punchy checks. Lots and lots of skirts and pants, but accessories too such as Dazzlin’s clutch and Poco a Poco’s tights stand out. Its such a refreshing print that it is sure to last well into summer.  Give me a little more time and I might whip up my own gingham statement piece.

Hello Spring – もしもし春

I'm Back & Inspired

Took the month of March to regroup and to chill. I took a vacation both figuratively and literally. Its been on my mind for awhile about how to better focus my ramblings here. What is this little blog all about? Well, I have some fresh new ideas about that. But before I spill the beans I am going to put my concept through the paces on paper and see if it sticks.

If budget permits, this refresh hopefully will also include a redesign. There is a new WordPress template that has caught my eye but would need a designer’s finishing touches to really make it shine and bring my vision to life. So in the meantime, while those gears continue to turn behind the scenes, makes sense to keep on keeping on.

Inspired in Shibuya

Two glorious weeks in Japan will inspire anyone. However, it only takes one afternoon in Shibuya to get up to speed on what is hot in Tokyo right now. Even just riding the escalator up and down Shibuya 109 will fill you up with more ideas than you can imagine. Saw some perennial spring trends and a few new twists, as well as fresh updates to a few styles popular in recent years.

Zipper’s May edition hit all the highlights I encountered, but to really sink in what piqued my interest sketching seemed the best way to cement things in my memory. I haven’t sketched in years! And to be frank, was never great at it back in Art School {he he he.} Putting pencil to paper takes energy, far more than flipping the pages of a magazine, and so its a great way to capture a moment as well as allow for personal interpretation to sneak in. Regardless, here is what I saw popping on the streets of Tokyo today.

puffy tote bags, petit usagi hairbands, and candy necklaces

Puffy Tote Bags | Cropped Sweatshirts | Sheer Details | Fabric Candy Necklaces

full circle skirts, cherries and floral headbands

Floral Alice Bands | Short Full Circle Skirts | Cherries, Cherries, Cherries

varsity jackets, sailor collars, and gingham everything

Varsity Jackets | Chenille Patches | Sailor Collars | Winged Backpacks |Gingham Everything

floral neko mimi, cardigans with lace, ribbons and cutouts

Cardigans with Lace, Ribbons & Cutouts | Cat Ears Stuffed with Fake Flowers & Lace | Sheer Details

wide suspenders on salopettes and ribbon badges as accessories

Pleated Skirts with Wide Suspenders | Badges Trimmed in Ribbon and Lace

This year’s big surprise was SHORTS! And it is Shibuya, so when I say shorts I mean shorts. Short shorts. The more leg you can show the better. For my own personal taste there was another option.  Shorts that were fuller, that could almost be mistaken for a skirt, and with peak-a-boo lace showing at the hem. OH, and there was lots of denim and overalls too.  Overalls are so much fun. Not the most flattering if you are not a twig, but still so comfy and cute!! Then there are the ski caps. Everywhere and everyone has them. Making them spring worthy the fabric and colors are adapted to give them a lighter feel.

OK, so I didn’t actually see anyone wearing the neko mimi. But there was no way for me to take a picture and I just wish you could have seen it. There was this one shop where the girls deco anything and everything. Hot glue heaven. The mimi were amazing with tulle covering tightly packed roses trimmed out with more flowers and lace. Hu hu. So cute.

The Mission: Lolita Spa Days

I am usually not a huge fan girl. Of course I completely appreciate and admire a lot of models, actors and the likes. The attention they get and the need to always be “on” in the public must be exhausting. In NYC you bump into a lot of famous folks. That’s just how it is. My rule is leave them alone – they are just people too. But Misako Aoki apparently was my kryptonite. I think I lost my mind the week she was here. Well and even the month leading up to her visit.

lolita nails by kayo at hopscotch

For 2 events I ended up at my favorite salon, Hopscotch, 3 times. Once for nails, second for make up for the lecture and fashion show, and then a third time for the tea party reception. The reason for this was only part because I am rubbish at doing hair and make up myself. The other objective was to get some pampering. I fully admit that I have reached the point in my life where its really nice to leverage the services of others. {We finally got a housekeeper last year for example and my word how my life has changed.}

Mai, who I have known for years, helped me with make up for the lecture. I’ve only ever had my make up done by someone else twice in my life. The first was on my 40th B-day at a Roppongi salon that did my hair, make up and dressed me in kimono for the special day. This was my second time. I was just too much of a tomboy in my youth I guess.

lolita make by mai at hopscotch salon

I had Dolly Wink lashes for the occasion, but DOH, forgot to bring them with me to the salon. Oh well. I still like the simplicity of the look. I know, I know, this is boring compared to all the amazing make up videos and images online. But, again, this wasn’t about flash for me, it was about relaxing and letting someone else take charge for a change. Pampering is fun guys!! I highly recommend it. Well and add to it the fact – how do you find a place in Connecticut that understands lolita make up? The answer is, you don’t. So I am happy that Hopscotch was good sports and entertained this “not normal” request of mine.

Hopscotch Salon Logo When it came to hair, I told my stylist I wanted to do something radically different from my norm. I love my simple twin tails and wear them daily. I am not sure if it is because this is how my grandmother styled my hair everyday as a child, but I really like having my hair pulled up and off the back of my neck. On the rare days when I wear my hair down it usually lasts a couple hours and then I end up pulling it up. But this was not a normal day so we tried something wild. And damn, that is some big hair girl!!

thats crazy big hair sheri

Felt like the early 90’s all over again. We decided on clip in hair extensions for the occasion. We could have done a wig but in the end thought this would be fun and different. The look came out more hime than sweet lolita. And wow – all those extension are heavy! However, mission accomplished. Its weird looking at the pics – it so different for me.

hime lolita hair do hopscotch salon

lolita salon transformation complete

In the end I paid more getting ready for the events than on the cost of the events themselves. So this is not something I recommend for lolitas on a budget. But if you’ve made your way in the world, have good savings in the bank, and are financially comfortable – there is nothing like spa days. I enjoyed being able to sit back in the chair, close my eyes and relax. Ahhhhh.

Page 10 of 35« First...89101112...2030...Last »