I’ve been lucky to get my hands on a couple of brand yukatas in the past few years. I admit they don’t get as much wear as I would like them too, but they are still some of my most prized possessions in my wardrobe. My love for lolita fashion is rivaled only by my love of traditional kimono. Sadly, wa lolita is usually poorly done and covered in the most awful lace; taking ita to a new level. I take this as a personal challenge to try and turn things around. While I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, I am making it a goal to put more wa into my looks this year.
One of my most popular posts of all time is a yukata blouse that I made using a rub off pattern. I never did figure out how to make a PDF pattern for it (sorry interweb friends) but it was an inspiration for this project and see what other ways I could mix both styles. Countless searches for a pre-tied or vintage obi that would match with the Baby, the Stars Shine Bright My Mate Kumya-chan yukata all ended in disappointment. Pre-tied yukata obis looked flat in their solid colors and inexpensive polyester. On the other hand, traditional obi patterns all clashed with the sweetness of the pink print. When these things happen I get stubborn, very stubborn. Time to take matters into my own hands.
DIY Sweet Lolita Obi
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∗)՞
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
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.
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.
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!!
I have put off making a lolita inspired yukata for many years. Which now means I am overloaded with ideas. Even so, I still haven’t completely finalized how to decorate the obi. This lead to a bit more research on styles, materials and terminology for the various cords, laces and other decorations that can be applied to obis. Here are the search terms I have been using to research and which have resulted in some very good Google image finds.
- 飾り帯板 = obi ita/obi ban, an oval board, stiffener, that is used underneath the obi to keep a nice flat sharp surface. For a cute touch, it can be topped with lace which will peek out of the top of the obi
- 帯飾 = obi-kazari, a strap or decorative element that can dangle from the top of the obi (alternative 根付け netsuke)
- 飾り紐 = kazari himo, ornamental braid that can be tied around the obi (alternative 帯締め obi jime)
- 帯揚げ = obi-age, a tie or sash that tucks into the top of obi. It is worn more prominent for younger women and hidden for older women as it is considered part of the “undergarments”
- プチ兵児帯 = puchi heko obi, fluffy obi tie worn with an obi to give it extra flare, or the whipped cream on top of the dessert so to speak
Like I said, once the right kanji search terms were in hand a whole new world opened up and I think I am getting a better idea of what I want to make.
Originally I was going to attach some rose lace directly to my pre-tied obi, but I am not sure now. The lace is very similar to the one used above in the blue coordinate with the cherries. If the lace can be attached to a ribbon in a way that it will keep its shape when draped over the obi, it will mean more options for changing the look on different occasions.
Might have to get out the shrinky dinks again and make my own custom obi-kazari with an Obon theme perhaps. The kazari feels to me like the wa lolita equivalent of wearing one of Angelic Pretty’s sweet lolita necklaces.
These very fluffy puchi heko obis kept showing up all over my Google search. I am not sure if I want to make one or not yet. The obi knot/bow already mimics waist ties on a lolita dress. I don’t want to go too over the top. Goal is to keep it refined and well edited.
Here are a couple of sites that had the most inspiring obi decorations during my search:
- rakuten.co.jp/kyotorurihinagiku – An amazing selection of kawaii kimono’s and accessories for young girls. Was the closest I could find to wa lolita that still stayed true to classic kimono traditions
- store.shopping.yahoo.co.jp/hongkongmadam – Selection of puchi heko obi and good instructions on how to tie it
- rakuten.co.jp/dreamv – DreamV always comes through with very cute fashion. I don’t like the lace on their yukata but they do have some super adorable hime and gyaru optionss
- yukatayasan.com – Great selection of obi kazari for women as well as other kimono and kimono accessories
- machida135.exblog.jp – Japanese shop blog with pretty photos of kimono coordinates for a daily dose of inspiration
Wow, so many choices. How would you style your summer yukata?