Tea Party: NYC Alice Meet

nyc lolitas alice tea party 2014

I had sooooo much fun this past week. Yesterday was like the cherry on top! So many photos from Fashion Week, Alice in Wonderland Ballet and the Alice Tea Party. Since Wonderland is an appropriate metaphor for the adventures, and things are not as they seem, lets check things off in reverse order shale we.

19 lovely ladies and 1 dapper gentleman participated in our NYC Alice Meet Tea Party on Saturday. We reserved the Looking Glass Room at Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter 2. All any of us could think about when we arrived was the food. Many of us came from the ballet and were famished.

Xiaoyu made the cutest toy soldier hat ever!!! It was the perfect finishing touch for her Angelic Pretty Loyal Rosette salopette. She had marvelously cute soldier gloves too.

alice tea party lolita raffle winner

I was cutting things incredibly close and only the night before made a gift to give away as a small raffle prize. Using unbleached muslin, some lace, pearls and beads I magically whipped up a White Rabbit fascinator/pin. Alexandra pulled the winning card from the deck (4 of hearts for the record) and it made my day to see how excited she got when she opened the bag and found out what was inside.

My friend Asumi and her friend are visiting from Japan and both dressed up in lolita for their first time. They looked so cute!! Next time I am in Tokyo I think we will pay a visit to Maison de Julietta and hit the Butler Bar to continue our Kawaii adventures.

Angela decorated a straw hat with beautiful roses. I love how creative and artistic everyone is!! She coordinated it with an old school Baby, the Stars Shine Bright one piece. I wish I got a close up of her broach too which was handmade and featured an adorable rabbit.

lolita tea party gift bags and raffle prize

In addition to the raffle prize I ordered Alice themed gift bags and Eat Me cookies from two Etsy artists. They turned out really great and both were super about making sure they arrived on time and safe-and-sound. I hope the girls enjoyed them. It just wouldn’t have felt like a proper tea party if everyone didn’t receive a little something to take home as a momento.

alices tea cup lolita tea party

I really hope everyone had a good time. Confess that I am pleased with myself that I pulled this off without a hitch – and for the first time being a hostess/organizer. Feeling pretty inspired to do it again. I learned a lot so have all sorts of ideas and things I can improve upon next time *✲゚*。✧٩(・ิᴗ・ิ๑)۶*✲゚*。✧

Ouji Coordinate Fitting

Did a final fitting to make sure everything is OK which meant getting the boy all dressed up and doing a little pre-party photo shoot.  Its looking good. Only issue is the elastic in the pants could be a bit tighter. Might need to throw some suspenders on until I can pull the seams to fix that. They don’t fall off, thank heavens, but noticed he had to hoist them up every now and then.

Adi in his custom designed ouji coordinate

sweetie in his first ouji prince coordinate

I think we are good to go. He is going to have to wear this a few times over the next couple of weeks to all the events lined up. Then after things calm down I want to start another look for him with the same vest pattern. There’s a kimono we picked up on our last Japan trip that I think would be perfect fabric for a gilet. Well, best get back to work now. See ya!!

Ouji Project Recap:  Inspiration  |  Work in Progress  |  Project Complete

Project Complete: Handmade Ouji Cream Coordinate

I am having all sorts of feels this week. Got to meet designer Hiromi Onuma on Sunday. She makes the coolest “kaga-loli” designs. I’ll tell you more about that another day – so inspired by her. Also found out earlier this week that I am going to a NY Mercedes Benz Fashion Week show on Thursday. All that will be topped off with the Alice Ballet & Tea.

But what has me positively over the moon is that Sweetie’s first EGL look is COMPLETE!!

white rabbit velvet gilet ouji coordinate vest and tricorn

Outfit Rundown:

  • Tricorn – plain hat bought on eBay; decorated with matching laces from the coordinate and the medallion includes a button I yanked off a Fan Plus Friend piece
  • Gilet – the vest is 100% handmade; the main fabric is a woven cotton with a raised velvet brocade; the pockets are fully functional; and while not shown, it is lined in the cutest mini macaron fabric
  • Collar – it began as a ladies summer tank blouse that was on clearance at Marshals; I cut out sections of the hem to reuse the pleated fabric to make a two layer jabot; the lace used to trim the gilet pockets is reused for the band of the collar
  • Breeches – the pants are 100% handmade; you can’t see the waistband but it is shaped to match the pockets on the vest and has 4 matching gold buttons; they hit below the knee; and for comfort they are lined in a very thin and soft cotton jersey
  • Medal – it is a Belgian medal for civic service found on Etsy; I removed the original ribbon and made a new one using two types of cream ribbon and some lace that matches the coordinate; it was tarnished so I polished it only to realize it isn’t brass but is silver!
  • Pocket Watch – is made from three pieces found at Michaels craft store: gold watch fob, gold chain and a bar from a toggle clasp jewelry finding to keep it in place through the vest buttonhole
  • Necklace – took apart my Angelic Pretty Chess Chocolate necklace and used matching chain from the pocket watch to make it longer
  • Socks – were an Amazon.com find that I just wish had more cotton content but are OTK mens socks which are difficult to find in cream or ivory colors (or were hard for me to find)
  • Shoes – got them at Neiman Marcus Last call; love that they are modern, comfortable and reminiscent of historical styles; they are monk-strap loafers similar to these by Cole Haan
  • Cufflinks – I found some cute gold and cream buttons in the shape of a pocket watch and used another toggle clasp bar with a couple chain links between
  • Shirt – we ordered a historical shirt online but it may or may not be delivered in time, so for now we are using a standard issue men’s shirt which is looking pretty OK in my opinion

The Details

handmade gentelmens pocket watch velvet brocade ouji gilet vest and gold buttons

angelic pretty chess chocolate lolita lace tricorn

He is starting from scratch so it was important to get all the pieces to really have the coordinate shine and feel complete. I like to think I am modest – but am feeling pretty freakin proud of this outfit right now. So yes, hello world, LOOK I MADE THIS!!

Instead of my buddy accompanying me to events he can now participate in the fun.

My Friend’s First Time in Lolita

Things are progressing nicely in my sewing universe. Had a bit of a marathon over the long Labor Day weekend. Sweetie’s coordinate is almost complete and in addition I made awesome progress on my Alice dress. Its been rainy so will take some photos later.

Some how the stars magically aligned and my dear friend from Tokyo and her friend will be in NYC and just so happen to be free on the day of the Alice Tea Party I’ve been coordinating. When I asked if they would like to come, she not only said yes but wondered if there was some way they too could dress up. I got all sorts of excited in the exchange of Facebook messages that not only would she like to come to tea but also try lolita fashion for the first time.

Without wasting any time I threw open the wardrobe and started pulling together 2 coordinates for them. She was ever so cute when inquiring, very politely I add, if they were to borrow would the clothes be too big. Never fear for Sheri has several brand pieces that have been patiently waiting in line for some major tailoring but got put off for other sewing priorities. And then there is the Baby blouse from a lucky pack that I can’t seem to part with but would never stand a chance of ever being able to wear. Personally I think these things happen for a reason and here is the moment for why that blouse needed to be at hand.

While I won’t be able to give them Alice-themed looks I do want them to have good and proper coordinates for their first time. If they are going to do this I want to help them do it as best as possible so they have a really good experience. Its fortunate then that I have a few Angelic Pretty skirts unaltered and in colorways that I have plenty of pieces to mix-and-match and give the girls a full head to toe look. And so without further ado, here are they are:

angelic pretty milky chan fawn skirt coordinate

Coordinate #1 is a bittersweet look with Milky Chan Fawn in black colorway as the main statement. I have a matching black Angelic Pretty blouse, which will be a bit big for them but hoping with some safety pins won’t be awful. Wonder Party OTK socks, albeit a different print, will match the black and pink from the skirt. Its a stretch but thinking that Decoration Dream hair bow will pull in more pink and the distance from the skirt will make the difference in prints balance out. To finish it off, Sweet Cream Biscuit necklace in pink and a black ribbon purse all also by Angelic Pretty.

angelic pretty powder rose skirt coordinate

Coordinate #2 is a confection of sweet with Angelic Pretty’s Powder Rose skirt as the focal point. This look will include the Baby, the stars shine bright white School Blouse and, as I don’t have the matching AP hair bow, will top it off with Baby’s Strawberry Letters in pink. The Lady Rose print of the hand bag has a richer pink palette but I think it strengthens the rose theme from the skirt still nicely. More AP with pink rose socks and Glass Bottle of Tears necklace finish off the ensemble.

So my friends of the wondrous interwebs, what do you think, are these good starter looks for the girls?

Project Kickoff: Alice in Wonderland Book Print One Piece

jane marple british library alice inspired dress

Well it happened. I am coordinating my first Lolita meet. There is a production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ballet at Lincoln Center. And how could we just leave it at suggesting we all get tickets? Why not go for the whole shebang!? Dinner and tea after at Alice’s Tea Cup AND with an Alice inspired coordinate theme. Now your talking. Its a bit pricey for some of the community, as its 2 events in one, but we already managed to pull a good size group together.

I have seen the nightmares others have had coordinating meets so hope I can manage. Its really just making the reservation and colleting funds. Given my years of project management experience feel I am up to the challenge. Fingers crossed for me and counting on a little beginners luck.

But that brings us back to the Alice inspired look… and what the heck am I going to wear???

alice inspired code jane marple emily temple cute

There have been so many amazing Alice prints over the years but the only one I have is Alice’s Dollhouse from Baby, the Stars Shine Bright. My favorite all time Alice print is by Jane Marple. And sadly, just like with Emily Temple cute, Milk, Katie… there is no way possible it would fit me. Ironically, I just purchase and received a book print fabric that includes many characters and references to Alice. So perhaps if I mix Jane Marple’s Alice print with their British Library print maybe I can make my own one piece?

I might be mad to think I can pull this off. Still need to finish honey-bunny’s look since this will be his first adventure into EGL and I don’t want this to be an Emperor’s New Clothes theme party for him. Counting on that long Labor Day weekend to work to my advantage.

Sweetie’s Challenge: Handmade Ouji Vest Part 1

While waiting for parcels to finish my other blouse, this weekend I dove into the world of making menswear. And we have named this adventure, “Royal Order of the White Rabbit.” The concept is to have layers of cream but with very royal details such as the military braid and the lush raised velvet arabesque in the main fabric. OK Sheri so if it is about the “white” rabbit why is it cream? Well most white bunnies I have encountered aren’t exactly pure white so I am sticking with it.

Work in Progress

handmade kodona ouji velvet brocade vest tail coat

I made significant changes to this Butterick pattern. Always start with a muslin draft folks!!! The armholes on the pattern were just dreadful so trimmed them back and made modifications to the fit of the shoulder.  Then took it in a bit on the sides. Also removed a few inches from the front and drafted the inset vest panels. The biggest challenge was figuring out how to ensure a professional finish as the pattern was unlined. There are 3 seams inside that I didn’t properly think through in my mind first so can correct for that on the next vest by splitting the back lining at the waist. The tail flaps and the front seams all turned out crisp and nice which was the key objective.

belgian medal of civic service and french macaron fabric details of this kadona vest

Still a ways to go and finish up. Need to make the button holes, finish the arm holes, add the collar, and add pockets for some extra distinction. Then it will be onto making the ouji/kodona breeches. Not as worried about those as I have made shorts for the Boy in the past. But still, need to ensure all the details come out just right.

Oh and how can I forget, it took a few searches, but finally found a plain, cream, wool tricorn on eBay. Originally I assumed we would buy a brand hat for him, but since I’m at it might as well make a matching one to complete the look. Spent more than I would have liked, but it appears to be well made and is a blank slate so that I can decorate it to my liking.

no ouji look would be complete without a proper hat so a wool tricorn is added to the project list

Handmade: London Travel Adventures Rosette Badge

ferris wheel rosette made to coordinate with magical etoile

All that travel in July must have made a mark on me. I was tidying up my studio the other night and bumped into this Cath Kidston patch I bought a couple years ago. The cute little illustration of the London Eye clicked inside my brain as being a good match for Angelic Pretty’s Magical Etoile which I just got from San Fran. And so I started scavenging thru all my trims, beads and buttons leading to this England travel themed rosette. Its a nice personal momento to remember the trips by.

cath kidston london eye ribbon rosette details

The best bit is that this was finished in just one night. It sorta all fell together nice and easy. On the back I added both an alligator clip and a pin back so that it can be work several different ways. There is a small strip of cream tassels also sewn to the back that peek out of the bottom but don’t distract from the main players – the patch, the England crown button, and the silver tea pot charm. A few clear seed beads give the patch some depth and act as the carriages on the ferris wheel.

angelic pretty magical etoile cath kidston london eye code

Since the dress has a Paris theme and the rosette a London theme I am tempted to make another rosette so that the coordinate can really take on a travel adventurer spirit. I have a Tokyo patch and a Hawaii patch but not sure yet if either has the right colors to work. We shale see. A small trunk style purse would be super cute too with stickers from around the world as a nice matching accessory. Will have to look into that…

I am waiting for some star buttons to arrive by mail and need to pick up a little more ribbon to finish my Twinkle Constellation blouse, so hopefully will get that all wrapped up here in due time as well. I still have a couple very ambitious projects on my plate that I want to dive into and finish up this summer.

Handmade: Twinkle Constellation Star Hair Facinator

hand sewn star facinator using baby the stars shine bright twinkle constellation fabric

There was just, and I mean just, enough fabric left from the Baby, the Stars Shine Bright handkerchief where the neckline was cut out to make a small little matching accessory. Last year Baby sold out of the Halloween Kumya chan Trick or Treat star hairclips in practically a fraction of a second. Or so that is how it felt. And I have been dreaming of that little star ever since. Thus that became the jumping off point to inspire my Twinkle Constellation shooting star hair facinator.

I tried to make mine original, but still give a solid nod to its inspiration. Star clips, pockets and accessories are pretty standard fair but hopefully I managed to make this piece be unique but in keeping with its big Brand equivalents.

star clips and accessories by angelic pretty and baby the stars shine bright

Looking back at the Trick or Treat star there really isn’t much too it. Its one of those designs that its simplicity is brilliant and the materials all just come together with ease. That said, I do like a little more fantasy in my own accessories and had the idea to add a tulle train and make my version a shooting star. shooting star pixel gif

navy silk ribbon, silver star charm, detailed lace, and a tulle train make up the hair piece

It took a lot longer than I expected to complete this little guy. The entire piece is hand sewn. That was, in part, so that I could sit with my lovely by the TV and chat+sew and also because I didn’t think my machine could handle the delicate turns and twists that I was aiming for with the tulle and silk ribbon. There is a simple pin clip on the back. I might still add a hair comb but for now I ended up removing the hair bow from the Baby matching accessory in order to steal the headband. If that just gave you the shivers {eek she altered brand} wait till you see what I am going to do with the hair bow fabric!!

stars of confeito head bow made using baby the stars shine bright fabric

Refashion: From Land’s End to Baby, the Stars Shine Bright

Do you have that one item in your wardrobe that you love but just don’t know what to wear with it? Mine has been Baby, the Stars Shine Bright’s Twinkle Constellation and the Stars of Confeito Skirt in Dreaming Vega (fancy name for white.) Back in 2012 I wasn’t that excited about the print, but when I saw it in person in Tokyo, the contrast of the navy to purple to pink on the white background won me over. Two years later and sadly I’ve only worn it once. In order to remedy that I have been cooking up a cutsew remake to pair with it. If you’ve been following along on Instagram you’ve already had a sneak peek ヾ(^∇^)

refashioning a land's end polo using baby the stars shine bright fabric and a vintage peignoir

I was super fortunate to attend a Baby tea party at Anime Next where designers Masumi and Saki gave out print handkerchiefs as a small gift. Stephanie, who also attended, swapped me for a dark print I received in exchange for the Dreaming Vega!! I knew right then and there this was going to be jumping off point to build a new coordinate. My original idea was to make a kuma mimi out of it. I even sketched out a cute design. But that concept didn’t make the best use of this rare opportunity so I shelfed it.

Work In Progress

design the collar, crop the t-shirt, pin bib in place, trim with white lace

The bib on my recent Cherry One Piece project turned out well and re-inspired me to do something similar with the handkerchief. I dove right in and added just a couple of tucks, then traced around the Land’s End polo’s collar to figure out where to cut into the Baby fabric. Then went to task trimming the entire piece out with a very delicate little lace to finish the edges.

mixed in a vintage peignoir to add some sheer details to the tshirt kawaii upcycle

The thing with refashioning pieces is that you really have to go with the flow. Its not like working with a pattern and a pre-set direction. You have to be flexible and adapt to what the materials are telling you. And luckily, I stopped and stepped back before I went to far. My original idea was to mix in a lace knit fabric but it just wasn’t looking right. Wisely, I took a pause (watched Sailor Moon and painted my nails) and then came back to it.

A vintage peignoir that I picked up on Etsy just so happened to be the perfect matching shade of pink. Sheer has been so popular lately as well as styling with retro bed coats so figured I would throw it into the mix. This of course started me down a whole new path and hours and hours of hand stitching…

Next Time: Sheri gets totally distracted and makes a matching fascinator to go with the new blouse.

Travel Log: San Fran Golden Gate Park Conservatory of Flowers

July at last came to a close and so did the frenetic business travel itinerary that I’ve had. The last stop on my journey was San Francisco. After three previous short stays, this trip I feel was the first time I could really come to know the soul of the city and appreciate its many facets. My better half joined me and we made it a work-cation, meaning after all the meetings for work concluded we hit the town at night as well as squeezed in leisurely Saturday of fun. One of the absolute high points of our visit was the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park.

san francisco travel log 2014

tropical plants galore inside this victorian conservatory

Its simply incredible how many plants permeate the space. You walk into this explosion of green and it transports you to another time and place. I was blown away by how well maintained all the plants are. You can’t help but brush up against many of them, which made me nervous about causing them harm. Yet despite it being a tourist attraction and the human proximity the plants are robust, healthy and in harmony with their environment.

exotic orchids in san francisco golden gate park

If you get the chance to visit I highly recommend it. I also suggest you wear layers. The conservatory is located in the Golden Gate Park so while you pick up a crisp breeze outside, once inside it is a tropical paradise – a very moist, humid and hot paradise. So much for straightening my hair that morning.

tropical plants orchids turtles amazing conservatory

Even the exterior is incredible with beds of marigolds and other punchy flowers making bold statements on the front lawn. We learned it is an excellent place to lounge or picnic on a warm sunny day.

adi taking it all in outside on the beautiful lawn

The cherry one piece dress I made was perfect for the occasion. I was so comfy all day running around the city and even in the heat of the garden. For some reason this summer I am absolutely addicted to Grasshoper loafers which are beyond comfortable for walking around or being on your feet all day. Luckily found a pair in a bright cherry color to match my coordinate.

otome kei cherry cutsew one piece san fran

 

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