DIY Upcycle: Men’s Kawaii Shirt

super easy way to take a plain men's shirt and make it kawaii

When I saw big pink gingham in the men’s section of Target I didn’t have to think twice about buying it. Good bones for a DIY project and under $25 to boot. Its a Merona shirt and comes in green too if pink is, well, too feminine. Now that my friend has a good base for his Aristocrat wardrobe its time to help him tackle casual pieces for less formal events. What better motivator than Sebastian Masuda coming to NYC with a Hello Kitty Time Capsule!! Needed a simple project that had punch and could be done in a jiffy.

how to transform plain shirt into kawaii style

Picked up this cute candy print fabric at Walmart in Kona, Hawaii of all places. Several years ago they stocked a pretty healthy section of Japanese fabrics. The print is so colorful and seemed appropriate for seeing Masuda-san. In addition it has a couple sections of pink gingham which provides continuity with the shirt print. All I had to do was remove the original pocket and trim down the sleeves. Then using the new fabric replace the pocket and add cuffs to the now short sleeves. I could have gone fancier on the cuffs and made it overlap and add a button if there had been more time. Oh yeah, and added a wide rickrack across the shoulder for extra pop.

Time After Time Capsule Event

Sebastian asked everyone to bring a happy colorful memorial item

You couldn’t ask for a more perfect spring day. One of those days where you can opt for short sleeves but still be comfortable in pants {or a petticoat and OTKs.} A few of the local girls were there when we arrived. A small but colorful crowd starting to blossom. Sebastian was all smiles. He personally greeted everyone who came and contributed to the time capsule.

shop girl yuka and a film crew at the event

A Japanese film crew was there and Adel got interviewed. Haven’t yet been able to find it online. They were asking questions about the growth of Lolita internationally, what do you like about dressing in kawaii clothing, where do you see the trend going…etc. VictorianMe then proceeded to do a mock interview which basically cut to the chase, “So Adel, how do you feel about wearing pink?”

Saturday Style: Wa-Lolita in the Park

mix and match of various lolita and kimon styles

Want to treat you today with a Saturday Style post – even though it is Sunday. Surprised myself last week when I realized it was my first time attending Japan Day in Central Park. There had always been one conflict or another keeping me from it in the past. Being determined this year, the minute we confirmed attendance, I knew exactly what to wear. In another moment of realization, I was bummed out to think it has been two summers since I made it. According to the metrics for my blog it is my top project post of all time. So here it is back by popular demand – the wa lolita yukata blouse.

Many dear readers have asked for the pattern and I am sorry I’ve had to disappoint. I dream of taking classes at FIT one day to help advance my self-taught skills. Until then, if you know of anyone in the Tri-State area who knows how to create a PDF pattern from a designer’s muslin – PLEASE LET ME KNOW (∗ᵕ̴᷄◡ᵕ̴᷅∗)՞

jane marple paper doll necklace

I’ve said it before, styling wa lolita is tough. It can go really wrong really quickly. In the week before Japan Day I poured over copies of Kimono Hime and Googled Lolita Kimono variations. A Jane Marple necklace of all things was my muse for the look. It has a paper dolly and her dress. The vintage feel and color became my jumping off points. To match the yukata fabric I mixed in a neutral skirt from Fan Plus Friend and a peter pan collar blouse. The orange obi was a Kyoto find during last year’s trip. All that was missing was a statement hair piece.

Wa Lolita Straw Hat

straw boater hat remade into a kitchy kimono accessory

Its been insanely hectic at work so I didn’t really think making something was an option. But thanks to speed and efficiency of hot glue, managed to make a new straw hat to complete the look. The rule of three is something I stick to often. The obi and necklace had orange in them so this hat needed to as well. I pulled some of my favorite scraps of kimono fabric to make circular medallions instead of a traditional hat band. Backed each one using a think interfacing so that the hot glue hopefully will not damage the delicate fabric. From a preservation perspective, given more time, I probably would have sewn them directly to the hat instead of using the glue.

The yukata ume blossoms have been in a drawer for ages. Luckily, a few years back I had a spell where I made hundreds of them, which made this a huge time saver for the project. All I needed to do was add a few orange seed beads to create harmony. Mix in some laces and some faux flowers and Bob’s your uncle. Project complete.

Japan Day

A lot of people had to back out from the meet. The festival falls on Mother’s Day which I am sure was the challenge. But a few of us still found each other amongst the massive crowd. We spent a lovely afternoon chatting away about everyone’s background in the arts. It was the most relaxed afternoon I have had in ages. While I might have graduated from art school 2 decades before the rest we all had a common bond that brought the conversation together. There is even talk of getting together for a sketching meet later this summer. What a charming idea.

relaxing on the hill in central park

Top Right Photo by Adel | Bottom Photo by Lucy

P.S. Apparently my coordinate was a big hit. So many people asked for photos. Found out that a snap of it ended up in a local Japanese paper called the Daily Sun!!

DIY Upcycle: Japanese Lucky Knot Strap / Charm

good luck charm japanese knot from a dassai 23 sake cord

I love being able to make things for my friend who lives in Tokyo. She often travels to NYC on business and when she comes its fun to present her with a small gift. Its inspiring for me to think up new ideas each time; something that isn’t too big or expensive – just a little trinket. Crafter challenge accepted!

For this visit I came up with the idea of recycling the purple cord used to decorate bottles of Dassai sake. The hope was, because she works for Dassai, it would be a more personal gift. I can’t bear to throw the cords out when we open a new bottle and that means I had plenty of them tucked away to play with.

My DIY Materials

asian style knot book and swarovski crystal beads used to diy this strap

Ages ago I bought this book called Asian Knot Style {アジアンノット・スタイル} from the craft section of Kinokuniya. Sadly, every time I attempted one of the knots I failed miserably. I don’t think it has anything to do with the book being in Japanese as the pictures are very clear to follow. Apparently its just some sort of mental malfunction I have when it comes to knots. The gentleman of the house however has no such issue. Bonus prize – he can now officially say that he has “crafted” thanks to this project (*^^*)

My secret weapon for many of my DIYs, especially those with small details, is beading needles. I use them all the time and not just for bead work. They are very thin and long and for me super easy to work with. The only difficulty is threading them. Dang the eye is small!! Well and they can bend easily as another downside so you can’t be as forceful with them like a standard needle. The sharpness and length though is awesome.

japanese success and flower knots with beads on a strap

Its not uncommon to use beads with this style of decorative knots. However the beads are typically ones with large holes and the cord of the knot is slipped through the bead. The book also suggests using a touch of glue to secure the knot. Instead of all that I went for much smaller beads and the thread used to attach them acted as an alternative to the glue.

To make it even more personal I added lettering beads to spell out “Dassai” and her name “Asumi” in pastel colors. This was the big gamble for the project. Most of the other beads were more fancy, like Swarsovski crystals and Japanese glass seed beads. I feared these might look too low brow compared to the others. The use of seed beads between each letter I think helped bridge the gap so that it all harmonized after all.

Color was critical to making it come together as was scale. It took a couple of tries to get the balance right on top to counteract the weight of the beading at the bottom. All-in-all I think it turned out very nice.

DIY Upcycle: Deco Hime Lolita Winter Boots

how to deco plain uggs to go with sweet lolita coords

Some projects just seem to take longer than others, even if they are very simple to make. I am happy that I can, at long last, check this one off my to-do list. This deco hime UGG boot transformation started last winter. You might even remember this Mood Board post I made to kick it off. But, something just didn’t feel right and I ended up shelfing them. What was bugging me was that the lace was looking sloppy and the ribbons were not balanced. It all felt rather lazy looking and not the level of quality I strive for in my work.

My how things have changed. I pushed all the embellishments just a little further and think it made a big difference.

for the hime look make pink ribbons covered in flowers and hot glue them to the boots

I added an additional row of lace to the original, a lace that is more substantial so that it has a stronger presence on the boots. I also alternated the placement of the pink ribbons so that the larger one is on top and the smaller ones lower and to the side. This gave the composition more balance. I also think it will be more comfortable without the large ribbon on the seam. Especially since that seam will deal with a lot of movement when worn.

its easiest to hotglue the ribbons, lace and charms to the ugg boots

A little overdue, but now I am ready for winter!! Well almost ready, still have a coat project that has been lingering for an even longer time than these cutie boots did. Need to get cracking on the coat to match them!!

sparkle roses

DIY Upcycle: Classic Lolita Vintage Blouse

very easy diy project to transform a vintage blouse for coordinating with classic lolita styles

For 2015 I have a goal of filling in the basics into my lolita wardrobe. One of the biggest gaps is blouses. Brand blouses are out of the question due to size so I am looking at alternatives. I have 3 Taobao beauties ordered that I hope will come in soon. For something more immediate and thrifty I came across this beautiful ivory vintage blouse on Etsy. I think this is the third vintage 1970’s blouse of this style I have acquired. They all have this lovely, wide, accordion fold collar which works super with JSKs. What caught my eye on this particular one is that it also has a standing collar for extra flare.

Once the blouse arrived I gave it a good wash. I put it in a delicates bag and then straight into the washer. I did line dry it instead of putting it in the dryer. The good news – it washes like a champ and no shrinking!!

5 easy diy steps to upcycle a vintage blouse

When shopping for lace I made sure to look for one that had multiple sizes of the same design. This ivory was a really good match for the blouse and came in a small, medium and large – perfect for this DIY project. The smallest lace was ideal for adding to the band of the collar and to encase each side of the button placket. The medium lace was gathered and attached to the top of the sleeve cuffs. The large lace was also gathered for the bottom of the sleeve cuff and used flat to cover the cuff. I added one row of the small lace to the top of each cuff just for some extra drama.

{Ignore the ribbon on the cuff in the photo showing the gathered lace. I originally had a different idea in mind and removed the ribbon… but forgot to get a picture without it.}

angelic pretty lucky key jsk with wonder rocket collar and vintage blouse

To push it even further I mixed in a detachable lace collar. This one is from Wonder Rocket and sits beautifully below the collar of the blouse. I could have easily bought more lace and added it directly to the blouse but like that this is more flexible and can be styled different ways.

I’ve already worn the completed blouse with my ivory Karami JSK from Baby, the Stars Shine Bright and loved it. So comfortable. Its next outing I hope will be with Angelic Pretty Lucky Key which I fought valiantly to score the day it went up on the San Francisco site.

offbrand lolita pirate treasure chest purse

I’ve been teetering with more classical elements in my wardrobe and other styles which has been super fun. For this coordinate I want to do a pirate theme. I’m fixing up a Fan Plus Friend mini tricorn to go with it and took a huge risk on buying this pirate’s treasure chest purse. My fear is the shop is a Milanoo front but braved it anyway. Now we wait and see when it arrives…

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

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!!

 

Handmade Biscuit Cabochon Rosette Ribbon

While I was waiting to find the perfect ribbon for my Apron Project, was able to squeeze in this little gem. Rosettes are popping up in many Japanese fashion magazines these days. Some feature prominently, but most of the time they are mixed in to create the perfect touch in a well layered kawaii coordinate. Since I have already professed my love for them, today I thought I would share how simple it is to make one.

afternoon tea biscuit rostte ribbon project

I went for a slightly posh look-and-feel over the traditional style. So if you have even less time or not as many embellishments to play with, you can still make a rosette with a little bit of ribbon, some hot glue, and a ready made badge/pin. The most difficult part of my version was pleating the blue ribbon and then stitching it so they all stay in place nicely. Once I had that ready I dove right in.

how to make a lace and ribbon rosette

Felt would work well for this project too but I didn’t have any at the time and am on a kick to use things up that I already have. Its good to have lots of goodies at ready for spur of the moment craft projects. But it is also good to turn things over to make room for new bits and bobs.

stitch the lace and hot glue the cabochon

Speed was also a part of this project. How to make sure it was something easy to make and quick. In total I maybe spent an hour or two on the project. However in my case the time was split out across a few days. Work has been crazy but I didn’t want that to stop me from putting some artistic time on my diary.

easy diy rosette you can make in an afternoon

The end result came out nice. I might change the way I sandwiched the base in the future if I make another. My favorite part is all the layers and how they build up to the biscuit cabochon on top. Well and how could I stop there. Added a final layer using a small pink bow and some silk flowers for good measure.

Now I am hoping that someone will invite me to afternoon tea so I can mix my new biscuit rosette into a coordinate. International Lolita Day is coming up. Perhaps then.

sugar cookie gif art

P.S. If you are wondering about the piece of pink lace, it is indeed from Angelic Pretty. It was leftovers from when I altered Decoration Dream. I used the waist ties to make the skirt longer and in the process had 2 little sections of lace for a moment just like this. It matches perfect with some recycled ribbons from Ladurée macaron purchases.

 

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.

Mad Hat’n

The week many of us having been waiting for has at last arrived. My nails are polished – first time doing gel nail art! Coordinates are finally decided upon. Alas my choco bear concept just wasn’t working so I went back to my original plan of Promenade de Paris.

misako nyc visit lolita coordinates

Vintage Blouses

The time has come to make the break from Bodyline blouses. They got me through for a while but I really can’t stand the quality of the lace. S0 after scouring eBay and Etsy for hours my favorites and watch list are filled with many frilly vintage potentials. Yesterday the first purchase, a vintage 70’s blouse, arrived. Its more peach than pink and has such an adorable pleated collar that ties with a ribbon. Admittedly, it’s a bit punchy with the pink of the Angelic Pretty dress, however that contrast seems to be working well. For the tea party, Anthropologie came through a few years ago with a rose and lace adorned cream blouse which is sweet and elegant.

Petite Chapeau

Next challenge was hair accessories to complete the coordinates. Inspired by and in keeping with the Alice theme I played the role of the Mad Hatter the past week. Over the summer my love affair with hats began; I bought an entire coordinate from Alice and the Pirates all just to match the Tricolour Toy hat.

angelic pretty promenade de paris eiffel tower hat and broach

First up was a mini top hat in pink to match the Paris print. I have been collecting the pieces for this project over several months. During early autumn I found the Eiffel Tower cabochons. But it was only recently that I purchased the hat and the large brown swiss dot ribbon. The material of the hat is rather fantastic. It holds its shape but is easy to sew through. Since this hat is to coordinate with Angelic Pretty I didn’t mind going a little more OTT.

baby the stars shine bright alice's dollhouse matcing lace hat and rose necklace

As for the Baby, the Stars Shine Bright inspired hat things didn’t go as planned. The original concept was to use dollhouse pieces to match the clock room in the print. No matter how I positioned them it still looked like a hot mess. So in the end simplicity and refinement was the path to follow. Some lace and ribbon and one embellishment. I am elated with the colors and the outcome. I think the hat really resonates well with the dress.

I still haven’t given up entirely on the dollhouse pieces. Something tells me that they could work if used with a bonnet. All the local girls are raving about bonnets right now which could be a sign. However there’s no time before the event to whip up a bonnet so for now the mini hat will do nicely.

pink sweet lolita mini hats hair facinators

I do hope to get back to more sewing soon. I certainly adore making accessories but I really have an itch to make more substantial pieces. Time will tell. 2014 has been off to a frenetic pace already that I should count myself lucky I had time to make hats (^_-)☆

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