I wish all year was as mellow as the week between Christmas and New Years!!! Finally have a moment to reflect and go thru all my photos and memories of the blur of frivolity that has ensued since October. It started with the tsunami of lace that was RuffleCon and the waves of cute have kept crashing in. What a magnificent way to end 2014.
Today’s catch up is a pair of handmade rosettes I whipped up for this winter’s International Lolita Day. Everyone was asked to bring a small gift to exchange. I didn’t want the gift to be too impersonal so mixed things up with some small store bought items and these made-with-love badges.
Sweet Lolita – Golden Chocolate Rosette
Waaaa, so happy that my friend Dixmacabre got the chocolate rosette!!! Having your artwork go to a fellow artist is humbling and such an honor. The girl has mad sewing skills. Make sure your check out her latest collection. She has been in a sewing frenzy with the most beautiful art prints and black brocade called “Walking Museum.” At the tea party she immediately attached the rosette to her beret and wore it all night.
Classic Lolita – Nature’s Melody Rosette
And the pastel rosette magically made its way to our very own pastel princess Parfait Doll! How perfect is that! I loved Victoria’s expression when she opened the package. She was all smiles and gave me a big boost of confidence with how pleased she was to have one of my rosettes. Yay!! I was going to stop on this one with the rabbit button but felt it was missing something. The decision to add the violin button was validated when she professed it was adorable on Instagram. Just needed that little extra sparkle.
Rushed home to find my Innocent World Happy Pack arrived!! With the healthy dollar to yen rate right now I took a chance on the Happy Pack A Large. I had been wait-listed however won out in the end. Delighted with what I received!!
These are both keepers. I truly feel like a got a “lucky” lucky pack *✲ﾟ*｡✧٩(･ิᴗ･ิ๑)۶*✲ﾟ*｡✧
- Standing Collar Blouse スペシャルスタンドカラーブラウス in ivory
- No Clue What Its Called halter top JSK in pink
- 15th Anniversary iPhone case
- Standard Issue floral and ribbon OTK in ivory
- Ribbon hair clip in navy
This dress is totally the “we can’t sell it put it in lucky pack” item; the little flaps by the tie had to be pinned down to take the photo!! And I just don’t know if that top styling would really be flattering. And I will never know as there is no way on earth this is a Japanese large – its tiny. I do like the tie and the fabric so might hack at it and see if I can make it into something wearable.
The sleeves on the blouse are too short and it won’t button across a certain area of female anatomy… but I might still be able to salvage this as well with a few alterations.
Pleased I took the gamble on this lucky pack. It was totally a risk as Innocent World sizes run small however scored two amazing dresses that I can’t wait to try out.
(❛ัॢᵕ❛ั ॢ)✩*ೃ.⋆ ˚‧*♡ॢ˃̶̤̀◡˂̶̤́♡ॢ*‧˚ ⁺✧.(˃̶ ॣ⌣ ॣ˂̶∗̀)ɞ⁾
As I mentioned in my last post, was hard pressed what to wear to a fairy tale inspired event for the opening of Into the Woods. This encouraged me to finally try out a pattern from the Otome no Sew books. The Red Riding Hood cape from book 5 seemed the most logical place to dive in. Well and for good measure threw in a bag and matching coord for Kumya-chan while I was at it. I’ve been itching to use the patterns and honestly am not sure why it has taken me this long.
Like other Japanese pattern books you have to be sure to add seam allowance. That was easy enough. Bonus, the Otome books patterns include 3 sizes – Japanese small, medium and large. I am a Japanese 2L which meant grading the pattern up for my project. The cape was perfect choice to start with since its not form fitting. I got a feel for their instructions and pattern quality with little risk.
Putting aside the fact that the pattern is in Japanese I would give the book a 3.5 or 4 stars. I think the books are good but not great. If you are a beginner sewer I think you would be frustrated not just with the instructions but the many shortcuts the patterns take. While I am self-taught I have enough tricks up my sleeve to know when to deviate from what the book was saying in order to get a better end result. What I admire most about Lolita fashion is the quality craftsmanship and attention to detail. The pattern I choose did not include a lining for the cape only for the hood. This is an example of what I mean by shortcuts. Couldn’t have that so added a full lining for good measure.
The pattern was meant to have a ribbon closure, but for this project I left it off. Instead I got a little lazy and reused the ribbon from my Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Sweet Fawn Cape. Its a beautiful cream velvet that matches with the laces I used perfectly. And why make another ribbon that would have pretty much been identical?
The main fabric was a fun find from one of my fabric stores on the planet – Discount Fabric Warehouse on the Big Island of Hawaii. Every time we vacation there I ship back boxes (that is plural folks) of crazy inexpensive fabrics. You never ever know what you will find. The strategy there is to buy it if you think it is cute even if you don’t have a project in mind yet. This jem sat in my stash for about a year. Its a high quality, thin, cotton corduroy in punchy red, pink and blue. Has just a taste of the Eastern European feel I was hoping for in this look. Again I wanted to give a nod to the homeland of so many fairy tales I loved growing up. But I didn’t want it to scream folk art or for that matter be a super obvious Red Riding Hood either.
Into The Woods
Above is how I styled my look for the Into The Woods meet. Pulling on the blue in the cape I matched it with a pair of navy tights featuring birds and an open bird cage. Gave both Kumya-chan and myself matching silver bird cage necklaces on simple navy ribbons. And added monster flowers to my braids – in a woodland lolita take on Princess Leia.
Didn’t get many good shots from the meet so literally headed into the woods the next day
to show it styled in a more toned down way.
Feeling pretty good about this project and inspired to try my hand at some more of the patterns now. There is that sailor dress that I have the perfect fabric for…
Credits: Cute little clip art found here
There’s a little get together planned today to see Into the Woods. I do like a good fairy tale and thought at first I could maybe make a Goldilocks and the Three Bears look with Kumya-chan. It just wasn’t working out. Then I remembered there was a Red Riding Hood pattern in Issue 5 of the Lolita Sewing Series.
Baby, the Stars Shine Bright has made many many variations on Little Red over the years. Some very literal with plan red fabric and others focused more on details in a print. Cath Kidston had an entire line of fairy tale-esq sewing and knitting bags and dodads which also come to mind. I like their old story book illustration style but in 3-d form. And the other inspiration that came to mind is the idea of Eastern European folk costume. After all, that is where many of these fantastic stories take root.
The key with borrowing from traditional folk costume is to not push it too far. Otherwise it will become just that, costume, very quickly. So I think for this crazy idea of mine to work it needs to balance simplicity with pattern. To give just a taste of the old world style while staying true to the principles of the lolita style.
This does seem to be a month of firsts. Tried out ice skating last week and for today… my first attempt at a gothic lolita look. A gaggle of girls are getting together to see the Death Becomes Her at the Met. The exhibit includes 30 some odd coordinates representing mourning fashion of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Well, the NYC comm has been all a buzz about it and there have been several small meets already. The big challenge for me is how to look the part.
What to wear?
I’ll admit already that my code is not going to be pure gothic. Its too far of a stretch for me since my starting point is sweet. I opened my closet the minute the meet was announced and had that oh crap moment. Hello sea of pastel. The plan is to ease my way in with a blend of both worlds. I really don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb when we are all together but also want to be true to myself.
So back to what to wear? How about Alice and the Pirates? Oh yes!! Disclaimer – I didn’t just buy the Funeral Procession dress just for this event. I have been eyeballing this beauty since its release. I totally dig it. Originally I was pulled towards the dark lavender color but then I picked up Enchantlic Enchantilly’s Castle in the Rose Garden scarf at RuffleCon and swayed to the red colorway. The lace on the scarf is an exact match for the lace on the dress.
Originally I was thinking to pair the look with a black blouse but (a) the one I have totally doesn’t look right with the dress and (b) cream seams to pull out the subtle color of the flowers on the print and goes well with the scarf. So I am rolling with it.
But don’t let my mood board fool you. I got the dress on Monday and, in the second oh crap moment for this event, have had to totally reconstruct it. That adorable little princess bodice, yeah, real women’s boobs are not fitting in there – EVER. So I made some very brave alterations to the dress. I still need to take it in a little after the event since I simply ran out of time but am digging the fact that my version of the dress is uniquely original now. Fingers crossed I didn’t totally muck it up. Will try and get photos later to show the before and after.
So before I sign off had to say that this is really flooding me with memories of my youth and goth nights at St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit. Not that I was “goth” back then either, but we did have a group who liked to take a break from all the techno we filled ourselves with for a departure into Siouxsie, Sisters of Mercy and some yeah, Robert Smith. As crazy and dangerous as those days were – oh was it so much fun. Ah, back in the day…
What started out as a “hey anyone want to get ice cream” turned into “cute forest animals lolita ice skating” meet!! ￣(=⌒・⌒=)￣
It was both Adi and my first time ever ice skating!!! And you have no idea how completely bizarre that is coming from a girl who spent a majority of her youth in Canada!! Lucky for me years and years of roller skating in the 70s and 80s and rollerblading in the 90s did help me get into the swing of things pretty quick. Adi struggled a bit more but managed to stick with it only falling once.
The people at the rink had no idea what happened when all of a sudden a gaggle of frill folk made their way onto the ice. Surprisingly not too many crazy comments but a few folks genuinely curious and wanting to know what was going on. I did get a first, “are you Hansel & Gretel?” An interesting departure from the typical Little Bo Peep – and what I guess comes to mind when your a couple and both now into the fashion.
I was so excited to finally wear my coordinate from Meno. I picked up a mori top and skirt in Harajuku in the spring… so this is a long overdue experiment to mix mori girl style with lolita. I was surprised that not many in the group had heard of Meno. I hold their shop right up there with Grimoire. I hope to go back and get a longer skirt to go with my code. Well and maybe something for my hair. If I didn’t already invest so heavily in lolita I could really go deep down the mori girl rabbit hole.
Finally getting around to catching up on the whirlwind of activity the past 2 months. Today I want to fill you in on a cool Japan culture find in NY. We stumbled upon a brochure for a Geisha performance at J-Collabo in Brooklyn and went to check it out back in early September. So worth it!!
The dance performance was incredible. Geisha Kikuno is simply perfection. Her performance was accompanied by a violinist and a koto player in the rustic converted space of a Brooklyn brownstone basement. Her movements were so soft and fluid. What really left an impression was her mask. She has that way of looking directly at you, eye-to-eye, but it is up to you to read her expression. She looks at you but almost as if through dolls eyes. The dance alone was worth the $20 admission hands down.
We also got to enjoy a lovely tea ceremony. Hoping my buddy posts his videos of the dance and tea one of these days! I was asked to join the ceremony as a “guest” on the tatami “room” which made the tea all the more special. The tea master handmade the delicate gelatin-like sweets made to look like flowing water. It was delicious!! Seriously I could have ate everyone’s helping. A thin crunchy exterior and melt in your mouth sweetness just beneath.
There were also several vendors from Ishikawa showcasing traditional arts such as kimono yuzen dying and maki-e as well as a modern dance performance and what J-event would be complete without some sake and beer refreshments…
Summer was drawing to a close but gave us a lovely warm day. That inspired me to try a casual lolita coordinate using accessories made from traditional yukata fabric for a pseudo wa-lolita look. I made the peasant style yukata blouse and cuff bracelet ages ago. The black dress is Baby, the Stars Shine Bright and I reused the ribbons from my previous summer yukata on the dress and in my hair to complete the look.
My coordinate was pretty auspicious it turns out. I had no idea that I would bump into designer Hiromi Onuma who was showcasing her brand Hiro. You may or may not have already come across her work if you follow the international lolita scene. She is part of a long line of kimono fabric manufactures and was recently behind the kaga-loli contest with BSSB and Midori! Midori loved it so much she asked Hiromi to make her a custom kaga dress!
Hiromi is super cute and bubbly to speak with. She was so excited that I wore lolita to the event that she ran to get her laptop and show me all sorts of videos from the Baby fashion show. I really really want to visit her in Japan one day so am adding Ishikawa to my must visit list.
Summary: if you get a chance do, check out one of J-Collabo’s events. They are laid back, culture packed, and at a hip artsy space in Brooklyn. What’s not to love about it.
Still winding my way backwards through the magical events of the past couple of weeks and have at last arrived at the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ballet.
No big photo gallery to share with you today, however… I did want to give you a glimpse at one of Alice’s costumes that they had on display in the theater. This particular dress is worn in Act 1 which is set in Oxford, England 1862. The Dean of Christ Church’s wife is hosting a garden party to which Alice and her sisters all wear this dress but in different colors. I do hope someday you get to see the ballet to also see how this dress is transformed once Alice dives down the rabbit hole.
Here is a little snippet from the NYC Joyce production where you can get a sense for more of the amazing costumes and incredible dancing and sets:
But better yet, The Royal Ballet of the UK filmed a short collection of videos from rehearsals, behind the scenes, and discussions on dance styles used in the production. If you have some time they are all very lovely to watch.
I am sincerely still blown away about how incredible the show was. I don’t think there was a moment throughout when I was without a smile on my face. We had such a fantastic time. If I can catch it again on tour I just might!!
With such little time to plan the Alice Tea Party I was pressed for entertainment ideas. I’ve only been to a few of the local meets but have been to enough social engagements to know what can happen. Often small cliques tend to form among those who have known each other for a long time. On public meets where not everyone knows each other some participants can feel left out. Well, there is also how the tables are arranged which can distance participants from others. So I planned a small ice breaker.
Nothing really fancy. Picked up cute Alice in Wonderland playing cards and pulled out all the face cards and the hearts. That was roughly the right number for the party. Then after everyone had their fill of tea, scones and sandwiches I stood and requested attention. Asked if everyone would take turns to stand, give their first name (if they were willing,) and to discuss the point of their coordinate. I am so happy everyone was good sports. Had several good laughs and oohs and aahhs. Especially two cuties who twinned for the party but said they came as Tweedledee and Tweedledum sweet lolita style!! It really helped to put faces to names and to get to know a little about each person without getting too personal.
After each guest spoke about their coordinate they got to pick a card. Using another deck of cards, a winner was selected for a very small raffle. I literally pulled this White Rabbit out of the Mad Hatter’s Hat the night before. It must have been around 7 or 8 pm when I began and finished close to 12:30 am.
Alice Tea Party Raffle Prize
My concept was to stay on theme with a White Rabbit but in a non-traditional form with a classic lolita or even mori girl appearance. You might recognize that most of the laces and flowers are extras from this summer’s Rabbit Garden Party Apron and Purse. I knew I wanted the piece to have a lot of little details but also still feel simple. To achieve that simplicity the entire color palette reads as a solid using a cream base. Not knowing who would win the raffle and what their personal style would be, the design was meant to be true to my design aesthetic but also neutral to go with several lolita genres.
Not sure if it would be classified as a headdress, rosette or even a canotier to be honest. What you can’t see from the detail photos is that the back has both an alligator hair clip and a pin clasp. So it can be worn as a hair accessory or as a badge.
Received good feedback from the group that the ice breaker was very fun and that they enjoyed it. And Alexandra’s expression when she won and opened the bag was a huge treat. Relieved and elated she likes it. So I think I’ll continue this tradition if/when I organize another meet in the future.
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