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.

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

Mood Board: Angelic Pretty Badges

angelic pretty badges and accessories

Appliques, patches, badges, call them what you wish, when done right they add the finishing touch to cute fashion and accessories.  And the superstar of sweet, Angelic Pretty, uses them liberally in their designs.  It amazes me how much cute can be packed into these miniature masterpiece.

Maybe it was Girls Scouts that got me hooked, no idea, but I’ve had a love affair with patches for a very very long time.  What I most appreciate is that Angelic Pretty doesn’t just sew them on, but uses them to make a statement.  The same beret, ribbon or bow just wouldn’t be the same without the badge.

Would be fun to someday design my own.  I have seen companies online that can do small runs.  For the time being I’ll stick to the art of deco on commercial badges.

M&J Trimming in NYC Garment District

m&j trimming floor to ceiling ribbon

I can spend hours in trim shops. Hours!  What about this lace with this one.  Oh look at this ribbon, does it go with that one over there.  What about these buttons. Ahhhhhhhh – the sewing version of a candy shop.  And M&J Trimming in NYC Garment District never disappoints.

m&j trimming eyelet lace

I want to buy 10 yards of just about every single version of their eyelet lace.  Ironically I’ve only added a few to my stash.  I need to rethink that strategy in the future.  There are other trim shops whose prices are a bit less expensive, but when you need to get in and out quickly and be assured you will have a quality lace, M&J is tops.

where to find cluny lace in nyc

I don’t know why but I am addicted to cluny lace.  I love how soft it is and also pretty.  White and cream is the mainstay.  But there is a good variety of black.  And also a smattering of colored laces.  Sadly, not enough pastels for my liking.

colorful pleated ribbon lace for sewing

Every time I am in the shop I stand in front of the pleated section and just stare.  Look at all those colors! For some reason I haven’t yet splurged on these beauties.  Not sure yet what to make with them.

sew on flowers and roses

There are is also a huge section of the classics.  Ribbon roses and bows galore.  All of my camis as a kid had these roses sewn on them.  I always feel awkward using them now because I can’t not think of them as undie pretties.

Links:  Eyelet Lace  |  Cluny Lace  |  Pleated

Bear Ears Alice-band

diy bear ears hair accessories

Last winter I was playing around with altering knit sweaters. I had some scraps and for fun whipped up a
くまみみ {bear ears} Alice-band. Using a few small pieces of fake fur, some pink rose lace and 4 pink ribbons it was a pretty easy DIY project. This headband was fun to wear around the lodge after a day of snowboarding and garnered several smiles. But this season I want to dress it up and am planning on coordinating it with a Baby the Stars Shine Bright My Sweet Mate Kumya’s Honey Hunt skirt.

My DIY: Lolita Straw Hat

Found a very basic boater-style straw hat at ALDO of all places.  Was one of those moments where the light bulb went off and I could see the perfect accessory for the country lolita dress that I made last year.

All the materials you will need for your DIY straw hat.

Last weekend I pulled together all the bits-and-bobs from my sewing and crafting supplies which included:

  • the new straw hat
  • left over fabric from my dress
  • a few pieces of decorative lace
  • a handful of silk and artificial flowers (from JoAnn Fabrics)
  • a new hot glue gun and glue sticks (from Michael’s Crafts)

The finished DIY Lolita straw hat.

This is one of the easiest do it yourself projects I have done in years.  I made a simple band out of my left over fabric.  Was going to trim it in lace that matched my dress but changed my mind.  I didn’t want to go overboard, especially since the whole objective of the dress I made was for it to be unfussy.

It took a little while to glue down the floral lace to the brim of the straw hat.  I worked flower by flower and using only a small drop of the glue.  I wanted to make sure and preserve the delicacy of the lace.

Adding the flowers was a piece of cake.  Started with a pretty good glob of glue where I wanted to place the big roses.  Finished them off with some strategic placement of glue in well concealed areas to make sure they were securly attached. Added just two leaves and a handful of much smaller flowers in the vacant spaces between the roses and the hat.

It was that simple.

Country Lolita JSK and Straw Hat.

Now I have the perfect accessory to match my summer jumperskirt!  Can’t wait to try it out.

Sweet Dreams, Sheri




My DIY: Country Lolita JSK

For some time I wanted a very casual Lolita summer dress.  Something unfussy and relaxed.  Not all the usual bows and lace and layers.  Just a quick and simple piece that can be pulled on and kicked around in without worry of getting it dirty or damaged.  And my last requirement, something that didn’t need all the extra Lolita trappings that can be way too hot during sweltering summer days.

So around about this time last year I took the plunge and below was the outcome.

Handmade Lolita Fashion Jumper SkirtI opted for a JSK with a three-tier gathered skirt.  The fabric is a soft pink, but depending on the light takes on some lilac tones.  The print is comprised of small branches of grape leaves on a super subtle stripe.

The Dress Shirring and Decoritive StitchesTo keep with the “easy breezy” concept, I went for a shirred back.  This makes it effortless to slip over a cutsew/t-shirt top. I did have a little fun with the hem.  Opted to use one of the many decorative stitches on my machine.  That required patience as it took probably 10 times as long as a basic stitch.  But it is an understated detail where I know it is there and it makes me smile.

mary madgalene sewing pattern alterationsThe inspiration came from Gothic & Lolita Bible vol. 21 (way back in the summer of 2006.)  This particular dress from Mary Magdalene shows up twice in the issue: first in a MM ad (shown above) and then again in a spread shared with Innocent World.

For patterns, I used McCall’s Costumes M6187 as a jumping off point for the bodice.  The front was pretty straight forward.  I started by making a muslin based on the pattern and then splitting it up where I wanted straps.  The back took a bit more tinkering to increase the amount of fabric to accommodate elastic shirring.  Also made big changes to balance out the straps.  Lined the entire bodice which took some figuring out but was well worth it in the end.

The skirt is kinda funny.  I bought McCall’s M6100, which is a children’s pattern, for all of 99 cents.  It had exactly the style skirt I wanted and with the right volume to hold a petticoat.  So using some basic math, I scaled up the miniature version to adult size and my desired circumference for the final piece.

I welcome critique.  What do you think?

DIY July

I love summer.  The days are longer and with all that extra sunlight my artistic gene kicks in to high gear.

DIY July BannerAnd it looks like So-En, Japan’s first fashion magazine (started in 1936,) also has the bug.  The July Edition is aptly named, “DIY GIRL.” It is jam packed with tons of do it yourself inspiration and how-to examples.

The July 2012 Edition of So-En MagazineOne spread is dedicated to a bib-front, tuxedo style shirt. Looks a bit complicated, but love the sassy style.  The model is wearing the blouse with a simple pair of shorts and a chunky pair of shoes which keep the look from being too serious.

DIY How To Examples

If the blouse is too ambitious, check out the article, “Tokyo Reworkers.” I have been clipping articles like this from Japanese Magazines for years.  One day I will have to pull the Lacoste remake from my archives – still my most favorite remake ever. But anyway, if you have intermediate crafting skills than this is the article for you.  I am noodling over the jeweled collar.  They are even showing up in U.S. magazines now, so I am long overdue to try one myself.

So En make your own ribbon necklaceOr if you are looking for a quick project, check out the “everyday ribbon” article. Very simple and very sweet ribbon necklaces that can be whipped up out of pretty much anything.

Sweet Dreams, Sheri




P.S. I have been saving up some of my own DIY projects.  So look for the following to make an appearance here on L.S.E. in the coming days (*^^*)

Do It Yourself Sneak Preview

Winter Warmth

2012 has been off to a very busy start.  Between lots of business travel, starting classes, and a bout with a nasty cold, I did sneak in a bit of time for myself.  While it has been a very mild winter this year the fact remains that I live in an older home.  It comes with “character” I believe is the polite expression.  Meaning it has with its age developed many quirks, one of which is that it stays relatively cool inside all year round.

To accommodate this charming character, I now have a growing collection of fleece vests.  They add just the right extra amount of warmth. The challenge is they are not exactly cute.  I do keep hoping that Timberland or The North Face will release a collection in pink… but am not holding my breath.

So I squeezed in a sewing project to add a pink fleece vest to my room wear options.  Nothing fancy and there are many things I would change if I made a second one. But all-in-all it does its job nicely.

Lolita Pink Fleece Vest

Cabin Fever
Looks like I have been over indulging in the cutesy, frilly stuff as of late.  So with March approaching think I will dive a bit more into Life’s Essential #3 – Shelter.  Seems appropriate to spend some time talking about Home Sweet Home as I always suffer from cabin fever in the last month of Winter.  Time can drag on anxiously awaiting spring so let’s make good use of the time spent indoors.

Sweet Dreams, Sheri




Valentino Fall/Winter 2011

As girls go, I am definitely very independent – a tough New Yorker.  But I am also infatuated with girly cute things  (lace, ruffles, bows, ribbons…)  Case in point, I got my Black Belt in the Bronx and, well, my sparring gear was pink.  I am sure Bennett Sensei still rolls his eyes every now and then thinking about my pink punchies.

For all those gals out there who are also strong but sweet, this Autumn Valentino has delivered.  I am completely and totally in love with the season’s Red Valentino line.

Red Valentino Autumn 2011

Image Source: valentino.com + saks.com

There is a little something for everyone.  There are T-shirts with screen-print bows and polka dot tulle for a casual look, ruffled military jackets for a day at the office, as well as lace and tweed dresses for an evening out.  And if you want to overdose on cute: add a sweet pair of ballet flats, leather ribbon belt, and pink bow tote to top it off.

Even the  “themes” for the collection are lovely:

  • Tailored Bow
  • Fairy Military
  • Romantic Outerwear
  • All Over Bow
  • Sweetly Sweatshirts

DIY Valentino T-shirt

For those on a budget and who are endowed with some basic sewing skills, I spy a DIY opportunity.  Try your hand at replicating the hooded sweatshirt.  Purchase a standard issue gray hoodie and pick up some black dot tulle online and embellish away.  Or go for the classic white T-Shirt plus’d up with more tulle and some twill tape ribbon.

Sweet Dreams, Sheri