Candy Shoppe Cutsew Onepiece Dress

The past 3 weeks I was swallowed up in an unexpected blur of busy busy work, I put my foot down last weekend and devoted 2 solid days to fun.  “Candy Shoppe Girl” is the result.  I have wanted to take on a big fashion challenge for a while to really push myself.  So I have set a goal to produce 2 weeks worth of full coordinates.  Some items might be alterations and others, like this dress, originals. I want the pieces to be easily transitional for both autumn and spring.  Warm but not too heavy.  Cute and delicate but also relaxed and comfortable.

Candy Shop Girl Jersey Dress in Pink, White and Black

Coordinate 1:  Onepiece Cutsew

Materials: 100% pink jersey from Joann’s, black jersey from NYC garment district, black lace collar from Nippori in Tokyo, buttons and re-purposed jersey from a children’s dress.

Pattern:  Vogue V8411 {which I have used before for my rose print dress}

About a year ago I bought a little girls jersey dress at my local Marshalls.  It was an adorable black and white dress with little pops of pink.  The reason I bought it was the skirt was printed with the cutest ribbons and it was gathered which meant there was a substantial amount of fabric.  I have not yet found the magical land where I can buy yards of cute jersey so I have resorted to re-purposing children’s clothing to make grownup cuties.

vogue pattern v8411 neckline alteration

Patterns are great as guidelines, but I just can’t resist fiddling with them.  As the fabrics for the dress are very sugary sweet, thought it best to soften the lines and make the neckline a bit more modest. By tracing the original pattern piece all that was needed was to rough in a rounded curve for the new neckline.  I also had to add a little extra to the back as well to match the new position.  Really simple change but has a big impact on the final result.  I drew it freehand but you could match a favorite t-shirt as reference or use a french curve.

The Result

candy cutsew one piece dress front

candy cutsew one piece front lace detail

candy cutsew one piece dress back

candy cutsew one piece back ribbon detail

candy cutsew one piece dress side

candy cutsew one piece hem lace-detail

I am particularly fond of the ribbon on the back.  It was a gamble letting the ribbon tails run nearly the full length of the dress.  Tickled pink with how it turned out.  They flow nicely when the dress is worn.  I stitched around the edges of the ribbon but stopped short of where they fold under.  This way the shape is fixed but it still has some volume.

How To Style It

angelic pretty ribbon ribbon necklace parasol otk socks

For this dress I think Angelic Pretty accessories in black will coordinate best.  Specifically the Dot Cute Ribbon Ribbon necklace and bracelet, ladder ribbon parasol, and ribbon ribbon over the knee socks.  The socks have just enough pink in them to pick up on the punchy pink fabric of the dress (hard to see in the photo but the front of the socks has a ladder of ribbons.)  The parasol brings in the stripes.  Well and the necklace mimics nicely the bows on the white fabric.  And to finish it all off, why not a pair of Rocking Horse Shoes?

zappos shellys london tauchman rocking horse shoes

I found these in the last place I expected.  Today I stumbled upon these RHS on Zappos of all places!  They are called Tauchman by Shellys London.

Review: Kinokuniya Bookweb Service

Recently Kinokuniya promoted a  free shipping day.  Anything ordered on their Bookweb  site ( could be shipped for free with in the US.  While we are lucky and have a physical location here in NYC, it isn’t always convenient to run down from the burbs.  I used the site once before to purchase the latest Lolita Sewing Book (乙女のソーイングBOOK 3) which I doubted they would have on the shelves in the city.  That went well, so I couldn’t miss out on the free shipping opportunity.

kinokuniya free shipping offer june 2013

Their website has undergone many improvements over the last few years.  But I think they still have a ways to go to compete with the larger online book retailers.  They are the top dog when it comes to the niche on Japanese literature here in the States.  But what I found myself doing was opening two tabs in my browser; one to look up the ISBNs for the books I want on and the second to use the advanced search form of Kinokuniya to add the books to my order.  On Bookweb most of my keyword searches were unsuccessful or my attempt at keying in the appropriate name in kana/kanji were not right.  Amazon was both more forgiving and easier to search.

On the free shipping day the site was also not performing well in terms of speed.  So I received several timeout errors from their server.  I was determined to complete my purchase and stuck with it to the end.  But my guess is many other people would have given up.

Their shipping service is great.  The package arrived very promptly.  They packaged the books well using good thick paper to keep them from shifting around inside the box.  I also signed up for their membership program some time ago, which meant on top of the free shipping I received 10% off my purchase.

All in all I will definitely use the service again.  It is the easiest way to get my hands on some of the most esoteric kawaii mooks and other books from Japan.  In fact there is a mook from one of my favorite brands Milk that I am coveting currently.  If I had to give Kino a rating, right now I give them a 3 out of 5 stars for easy of use on the site and 5 out of 5 stars for access to hard to come by Japanese publications.

loving kinokuniya bookweb service

And with that said, now onto the goodies I got: the latest Gothic & Lolita Bible, Angelic Pretty Museum mook with totebag, and Baby, the Stars Shine Bright stationary set.

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Stationary Set

The best part about this item?  It is listed as Out of Stock on Kino’s site.  But they allow you to add it to your shopping cart anyway and will research if they can get it for you regardless.  In this case, they got back to me within 24 hours saying they are able to get it (despite the Out of Stock listing) and automatically added it to my order.  You can’t beat that!

baby the stars shine bright staionary set

btssb stationary and cosmetics bag

I debated ordering the stationary set and my initial gut reaction was right.  It isn’t the highest quality promotion around especially for the price once you add the markup for getting it out of Japan.  If it wasn’t for the fact that it is from Baby {I am a brand whore} and has their fabulous prints I would pass; the quality of the materials used is mediocre.  Alas, I’m a sucker for the Strawberry Letters print and so I will absolutely put the set to good use.  Small post-it notes come in very handy when doing Japanese homework so those will most likely be the first item to go.  Not sure what to do with the book cover yet.  Might cut it up and do a DIY project of some sort. We shale see.

Angelic Pretty Museum Mook & Totebag

This was a no-brainer – MUST HAVE IT.  And yep, it is pretty much fantastic.  The tote bag is a vinyl material, which I thought I might not like, but I do.  Means it can easily be wiped clean and put to some thorough use.  I also thought I would like it in one of the pastel color ways, but black is awesome.  I matched it with a sax blue coordinate already and it added a nice additional layer to the overall look.

angelic pretty sugary carnival tote bag

angelic pretty logo on mook packaging

angelic pretty sugary carnival tote detail

inside the angelic pretty museum e-mook

Sweet Dreams, Sheri




Saturday Style: There’s Bears in Them Woods

saturday style frapbois zoo

Just back from getting my quarterly haircut.  Feels so good having a nice clean trim in prep for the dog days of summer.  I bid farewell to my “wings” and now have “wisps” which are basically very long sections of bangs that frame both sides of my face.  They will be much more noticeable once I slip into my summer pigtails as the days grow hotter.

Frapbois Zoo

Its been about a month and a half since the Tokyo trip and I miss the city more and more each day.  Wanting to feel a little of the fashion pulse of Tokyo here in the burbs of NY, I decided to pull out a Frapbois Zoo coordinate today.  Frapbois is another fantastic Japanese brand to fall in love with. There was (is?) a popup shop located by the Lumine EST department store, above the East Exit of Shinjuku station.  I dig their quirky style, big shapes, and punchy colors.

The zoo line has several adorable characters.  I fell for the lead, クマのベアチャン (kuma no bearchan) during vacation.  Opted for the cutsew onepiece in black and white and matching socks but in contrasting colors.  Mixed in some Angelic Pretty jewelry and brand new Acid Pink lampers from Dr Martens to complete the look.  Was a fun and very comfortable coordinate for what turned out to be a perfect summer afternoon.

frapbois zoo bear dress and acid pink dr martens

Links: Frapbois Zoo on Facebook  |  Acid Pink Dr Martens lampers on Asos  | Soen article on the Frapbois Popup Shop

Oh Yeah

And about my homework assignment.  I was close but the red pen still came out.  Here is my revised show-and-tell descriptor:

これは 4月に かぶきざの したのぎんざ駅で ガチャポンで かった かぶきふろしきの です。

Bonus Trip: San Francisco Frill Stop

Sometimes having a “corporate” job and being a “creative” type is challenging.  But every now and then it rewards you with an incredible treat.  Last week I was urgently sent to San Francisco for meetings at a new branch of our company.  Poor me.  He-he-he.

The trip was short but had enough wiggle room to squeeze in a very expeditious tour of my favorite SF spots:

Angelic Pretty

san francisco angelic pretty milky planet

Walking into AP was a lolita’s dream come true – a major shipment had just arrived and dresses were literally everywhere! Milky Planet adorned the window along with a gaggle of Shyness Bear socks.  They were too tempting; I walked out with a pair in sax plus a Milky Planet Ice Cream pin.

Baby The Stars Shine Bright

san francisco baby the stars shine bright

I was slightly disappointed at Baby.  For some reason the shop seemed to be pretty thin on variety.  At first I thought, maybe it was my perspective after the experience at AP.  But I don’t think that was the case.  Last time I was there I was ready to blow the bank and walk out with about 4 different dresses.  This time a floral chiffon piece was the only temptation.  So I managed to keep my credit card nicely tucked away.

That didn’t stop me from splurging on a couple goodies at…

New People the Store

kawaii goods at new people store

Came home from New People with a Ribbonholic Tripple Ribbon bag charm and kawaii deer earrings.  I have an idea of reusing the earrings somehow with Milky-chan. There were lots of Liz Lisa and Rilakkuma items on the main floor as well.  Too much cuteness!

Needed to chill for a few minutes to check in on emails and make a call so made myself at home in the Crown & Crumpet tea cafe.  Not a bad place to work remotely if you have to ;) The decor was a mix of Victorian and French Country somehow perfectly blended into the ultra modern building.  The tea pot flower arrangements were simply adorable.

SF crown and crumpet japantown


daiso moco moco and nail art

Up next was a race through Daiso.  Everything is $1.50 so impulse shopping is fairly safe.  I walked away with lots of moco-moco gloves and legwarmers for next winter, pink sparkly nail art packs, a couple plastic ribbon hair ties, rhinestones to deco my new camera, and set of pink strawberry bento boxes to keep sewing embellishments in.

West Mall

sailor moon binder and file folders

Best find of the day was a Sailor Moon 3-ring binder and plastic file folders.  While Usagi-chan is not very good at homework, she will be a good inspiration for me to do mine. (Semester 5 Japanese just got underway!)

After speed shopping I realized the Japanese Garden would be open for another 40 minutes just before sunset.  Figured it was worth a try… but that will have to wait until another post (still need to sort through the ton of photos.)

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!

New Project: Military / Marching Band Jacket

So I went to Target this weekend to get the essentials, you know toilet paper and cleaning supplies.  But like so many other trips I came back with a ceramic origami fox, 3 bottles of nail polish and – now is where it gets interesting – a black, cotton, Converse One Star jacket.

milky chan toy march inspiration

The jacket is made from a soft jersey, is warm and appropriate for the winter months, comfortable and flattering with nice princess seams.  I immediately thought of the Toy March series by Angelic Pretty which includes a marching band inspired cutsew jacket. It is the perfect base and now just needs some finishing touches to make it lolita worthy.

I’ve put the jacket on my dress form and started playing with pink grosgrain ribbon.  Following the structure of the jacket it makes sense to trim the collar, the cuffs, the pockets, the hem, and along the seams on the front.  Next, I spent way too long on Etsy to find the perfect buttons.  There are tons of “gold shank buttons” with crowns and crests, but I couldn’t find a set in the right size that really spoke to me.  But I did land on a set that has hearts!  They are on their way and I hope they will match nicely with the design in Angelic Pretty’s Milky-chan skirt. The removable waist bow from the skirt makes a great addition to the jacket as well and will give the two pieces a cohesion when worn together.

angelic pretty inspired mock up

I already have 3 projects in queue, so needed another like I need a hole in my head.  But when inspiration strikes roll with it. It will be fun to have a one-of-a-kind piece, so in the end its all good.

Winter ILD 2012

ap jsk international lolita day

Had the most spectacular time at the 2012 Winter International Lolita Day – NYC Tea Party! Was so excited for the first time ever to kick it in Angelic Pretty.  As I expected the JSK is short.  And while the girls were very polite, by the end of the night I noticed that my petticoat keep peeping out despite many attempts to hoist it up and my dress down.  Yes I am a derp!

ny lolita tea party

Met so many new people.  The NY group is so much fun.  I was really impressed at how each girl has their own unique spin on the fashion.  Unlike the brand-centric tea parties I have attended, this party was one where everyone really got so show off how they have made Lolita their own.

ny winter ild 2012

From champagne to scones, tea sandwiches to butternut squash tarts – the food at Lady Mendl’s was really yummy.  I wish I had the chance to talk to more of the guests, but the 4 hours went by so fast and were jam packed.  Can’t wait for the next meet up to get to know everyone better.

Time to Have a Wonder Party

angelic pretty wonder party jsk and otk

Whoops!  I totally blew my budget this month.  And my budget all went to Angelic Pretty.  It started with buying little Milky-chan and now I splurged on the re-release of Wonder Party.  I seriously need to focus on buying work clothes, but then along comes the latest update of AP’s site, and bam – my credit card is whipped out and a order confirmation is in my inbox.

I picked up the JSK version of Wonder Party in black, added the matching over the knee socks, and for giggles, added the Sweet Cream Biscuit necklace in pink.  This is a bit of a gamble.  Goodness knows I have complained {obsessively} about how out of reach AP is for me {how dare I be a tall, size 8 American}.  But this JSK is fully shirred in the back so my fingers are crossed that it will fit me {and not be too short}!!!

wonder party sweet cream biscuit necklace

Milky-chan Come To Sheri

angelic pretty milky chan skirt in black

I splurged and bought Angelic Pretty’s 2009 Milky-chan skirt in black last night.  Probably paid more than I should for it on, but it is one of my favorite prints.  I live in the woods which is kinda strange considering that it is only a 45 minute drive to NYC!  My yard is home to tons of deer, rabbits, foxes, turkeys, etc.  We even had a bear come through a month ago!  Little Milky-chan and the cute white rabbit in this design bridge my love of cute and sense of home sweet home.

I anticipate that I am going to need to make some major modifications to the waist to make the skirt larger.  Just hope I don’t have to gobble up the waist ties to make those alterations.  We shall see.

Oh, also picked up some matching Angelic Pretty hair bows.  Normally I would make something this simple, but I have too many projects already lined up so caved and added them to my cart.

From Lolita World to Real World

My friend recorded a bunch of Deka Wanko episodes on TV in Japan for me.  While it is of course make believe that a police detective would be allowed to wear Lolita fashion to work, I give great credit to the show for how they style the main character.  Wanko’s punk style of Lolita is really approachable and down to earth, or at least as down to earth as Lolita can get.  No fussy wigs, no overdose of bows and plastic jewelry, no fake contact lenses and big fake eyelashes.  Got me thinking of how I can take elements from the Lolita World and bring them into the Real World.

angelic pretty and asos polkadot sweaterFirst up was the iconic polka dot Colorful Dot cardigan by Angelic Pretty.  This was released in 2010 and Wanko-san wears it with the Fantastic Dolly print.  This one was  pretty easy to recreate as polka dots are very on trend right now.  Asos delivers a great match with the Minkpink ‘Pierrot’ polka dot sweater. It has giant dots but not the fussy bows making it more real world appropriate.

angelic pretty tahari short coatNext is the adorable Angelic Pretty Dolly short coat.  Wanko opted for the white version and it pops up in the show often with a really cute brooch – in metal not plastic, which I thought was a nice upscale touch.  Lord and Taylor came through for a real world match in the form of Tahari’s cropped faux fur cape coat.  It comes in black, plum and red which are all great fall and winter colors.  Black can be matched with any style.  I opted for the red version which is just a favorite of mine for a more classic and colorful style.

baby kitty kitty rhapsody and asos pearl cat ear alicebandOK, so this last one isn’t inspired by Deka Wanko, but I had to add it.  The past couple of years has seen the transformation of something that used to be strictly verboten in Lolita. Say hello to neko mimi, or cat ears!  Neko mimi has been a staple of many a cosplay costume but was not cool by old high and mighty lolita standards.  Never say never, because the neko mimi finally wiggled its cute little way in.  I might be pushing my luck on this but I do think the crazy popular pearl cat ear aliceband would be a more Real World take on the Baby the Stars Shine Bright recent Kitty Kitty Rhapsody cat ears.

Credits:  Photo of Misako Aoki from cabusi-photography.  All other photos from Angelic Pretty, Asos, and Lord & Taylor.
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