Lifestyle Lolita – a casual approach

lifestyle lolita challenge for 2017

As far as goals go for 2017, I am trying very hard to make this the year where I can say I am more of a lifestyle lolita. Given how much I invest in the fashion I want it to be something I am comfortable with even without the safety of a meet. From what I’ve read online there are a lot of definitions of what it means to be “lifestyle”. My interpretation leans more towards a loose definition. Meaning, I don’t plan on wearing full out, tip-to-toe, coordinates everyday. Rather that my wardrobe will have a flavor of lolita mixed throughout. And with anything, I believe you have to be true to yourself, which in my case means a very relaxed and comfortable stye. So if your definition of lifestyle lolita requires the perfect cupcake petticoat in every coordinate than that is where we will differ in opinion. For example, the term “otome kei” is a Western creation. When you inquire of the Japanese they refer to it as Casual Lolita. This is the group I think I best fall into. (more…)

Lolitable pastel fur coat for winter

faux fur coat accented with ivory lace

I have no restraint… that is when it comes to lace. I purchased this adorable faux fur coat from Loft to wear with lolita coordinates. It is a shorter length that is petticoat friendly. Got it home and before I even cut the tags off I was already digging through my lace trims to see if I could give it a little extra punch. Not only can I not resist adding lace but I have a bit of a thing for tassels. They take the coat in a dolly kei direction without going overboard. (⁎❝᷀ົ ˙̫ ❝᷀ົ⁎)

P.S. ·͙⁺˚*•̩̩͙•̩̩͙⁺‧͙⁺˚*•̩̩͙ ・・દ૨૨ʏ મ૨ıτ・・༶ •̩̩͙⁺‧͙⁺˚*•̩̩͙•̩̩͙⁺‧͙ 

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…

Tea Party: What I Made What I Wore

handmade alice in wonderland op dress

Everything about the Alice Adventure in NYC magically fell right into place. From finding out about the ballet, to planning the event, and on top of it making an Alice themed one piece dress. I had been eying this fabric on Etsy for a while. That pesky, “don’t buy more fabric until you use what you have.” was running thru my head and I choose to ignore it.

The original vision for the dress was something very simple, more like the dresses from Jane Marple. When I had the fabric in hand however and was selecting a color to use for the collar this red won me over. Things spiraled from there when I saw how the black laces popped. Those colors cemented in the new idea to mix in elements all based on playing cards. The red and the black trims along with several trump suit charms and patches worked nicely. As a sub-theme the roses used throughout also reflect the Queen’s rose garden.

What I did stay true to was making my first lolita OP. I have given up hope altogether on Baby and AP ever making an OP to fit me. Its a love hate love relationship I admit. Several times during the tea party I was extremely conscience of how freaking comfortable my dress is. It actually fits me!! It even has a little extra room in case I overdo it on the scones and macarons. This is the bliss of making your own. So I love the brands because the entire fashion wouldn’t be here without their commitment; I hate and yet understand why they make everything one-size-fits-some; and love that because of bad sizing I finally found my sewing muse after so many years. And the ++ is that I don’t have to wear a blouse. Just slip it on and zip it up – ready to go. Well not really, but close.

The Details

card suit red and black details in the lace and roses

Once I decided to use playing card colors as the embellishments I also needed to make sure and not either overdo them and it look cosplay or end up with it looking too goth. Nothing wrong with gothic, but my aim was to keep it sweet but with a vintage feel overall.

alice in wonderland trump card lolita coordinate

I was at a point during the making of the dress where I thought I was “done” and then I happened to pull out the little red roses to try around the collar. Turns out they were even better as another accent on the grosgrain ribbons. The roses also helped to carry the collar color throughout the dress. I only had a fat quarter of the red and it was barely enough to make the mock collar and the bows on the sleeves.  If there was more I would have made a full collar and probably a bunch of other things, but that was part of the fun – make it work!

Even though the charms on the dress and headdress are silver I knew right away what accessories I wanted to wear with it. Last winter my friend gave me the cutest gold Alice and the White Rabbit earnings. I removed the original finding and made them into clip-ons (long story about pierced ears and allergies). They match well with a ring I found in Grand Central of all places that is square and has each of the card suits. I finished it off with Angelic Pretty’s card suit bracelet.

The Finished Look

photo by victorianme.tumblr.com

I absolutely adore this picture that was taken at the party. You must check out Xiaoyu’s blog on tumblr. She has mad photography skills, talented at making her own handmade items, and is such a beautiful and warm person: victorianme.tumblr.com

Mood Board: Bib Collar Dresses & Blouses

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright, Innocent World, Metamorphose, and Angelic Pretty bib front dresses

I am a total sucker for a bright white bib juxtaposed against a contrasting color dress or blouse. Pretty much all of the cute brands I track have incorporated them into their collections, if not once, several times. Most include a little tuxedo inspiration through the use of pintucks. To up the cute quotient they then add lace, buttons and ribbons. They also seem to be universal in Lolita styles in that they can easily flow from sweet to classic to goth.

katie milk koko kim bib dress

These versions certainly pull from the tuxedo camp. However, pintucks historically were used in little girls clothing at the hem. The tuck served both as decoration and function. The tucks could be removed from the dress as a girl grew to lengthen the dress and get more wear out of it. Economical and cute – form and function at its best.

taobao and katie bib collar dresses

Remake: Rabbits in the Garden Wicker Purse

The past couple weeks have been fun, started back to Japanese lessons and then there were the fashion shows. On the flip side that means my sewing has slowed down. Still have a few things to post but need to get back in gear as I have set a lofty goal with my summer project line up. Before my mini break, I completed the second of several items in the Garden Party coordinate project.

garden party rabbit wicker lolita purse

Once I finished the Rabbit Apron my attention shifted to a remake of a vintage wicker hand bag. This is turning to be an annual summer event as last year you might recall I remade another wicker purse to go with a Baby, the Stars Shine Bright cherry dress.

quality lace braid and beading used for embellishments

how to upcycle a vintage wicker purse

Did I start this post saying I completed this bag? Well that is not exactly true.  I still need to do something to the interior of the purse. Right now it is gingham which is absolutely charming but is not in keeping with the color palette and styling of the rest of the outfit. Fussing over the details is important to make a good project be great. Which is why during all of this I also add a couple of bows to the apron to make the lacing feel more finished.

recover-interior-of-old-wicker-handbag

Materials for lace wrist cuffs have been cut and I just need to finish them but have been distracted by a couple other items so hope to wrap those up soon. So all-in-all off to a good start on my list of to-dos but can’t slack off anytime soon. Thank you summer for the motivating sunshine and energy! よし、がんばれます。

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.

 

Candy Shoppe Black & Pink T-Shirt

otome kei style cutsew top pink and black

Building on my Candy Shoppe Girl challenge, last weekend I finished a cutsew top.  This t-shirt pulls many of the same ideas and shares fabric from its sister dress from the previous weekend.  Where it differs mostly is that it feels slightly more grown up than the dress.  The addition of a dot tulle overlay mimics the yoke from the dress.  But the difference in fabric combination creates a new energy.

tulle overlay on cotton jersey blouse

Instead of a matching lace collar, I used the black jersey to make the peter pan collar.  However, the lace collar last time was the jumping off point for selecting a similar black lace to finish the edges of the tulle overlay.  One of my biggest complaints with standard issues t-shirts is I the sleeves are always very short.  I choose to cut these just an inch or two above the elbow.  It provides good coverage and comfort on a warm day.  My target for this collection is autumn/spring.  So its nice to have items that can be layered as well as some short and some long sleeve pieces.

cutsew blouse side lace detail

nippori tokyo ribbon iron on patch applique

The back is simple.  But I couldn’t resist.  Just had to add a little something.  I can’t remember exactly where, but in one of the Shibuya shopping complexes I stumbled on a Daiso-like discount store.  They had a small craft section that had really cute iron on patches.  I picked up a few of these pink dot ribbons in a couple different sizes.  I think it works as a subtle nod to the white ribbon fabric from the dress.

placement of the tulle fabric overlay

The tulle is super soft and super squirmy.  I serged the edge to give me a little something to run a gathering stitch through.  I then used a ruler to line up the edge on the fabric and pinned it generously all around the bodice.  The photo shows my progress before pinning the neckline and underarms.  I absolutely love the finished effect.  And I have waited a very long time to try this technique.

What pleases me most about this top is it is all me.  I know this wont sound that big of a deal, but I drafted the pattern.  Sure it is a very basic t-shirt shape, I know, not that complicated.  But as I have no formal sewing training, it is a big deal to me that I could wing this one without a commercial pattern.  Pretty proud right now.

angelic pretty strawberry ice cream dish

Since I paired the top with my Angelic Pretty Milky-chan skirt, it felt only fitting to bring some of Milky’s friends into the photo shoot.  The ceramic rabbit canister and origami fox came from Target.  The mini-Milky I found at Kinokuniya.  And then there is the holy grail of Lolita, my most prized possession.  When I was in Tokyo last spring, Angelic Pretty’s Fresh Picked Strawberries had just been released.  In the Marui One shop I was fortunate enough to get the novelty fair glass ice cream bowl with my purchase. (≧∇≦)

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

Project Update: Wicker Handbag Outside In

juicy cherry lolita wicker handbag

The summer lolita handbag is coming together nicely.  I finished the exterior decorations yesterday.  Seeing it next to Baby’s Cherry print from last year I think the quality of my execution is very in-keeping with the brand’s esthetic.  Fun, frilly, sweet but still refined and sophisticated.

hot glue the lace to the wicker purse

Hot glue was my best friend for attaching the two lace trims.  A little painters tape came in handy to line up the rows in exactly the spot I wanted them.  I was generous with the glue but also very careful.  I didn’t want big globs of it to show nor did I want it to drip thru the wicker into the inside of the bag.  I paid particular attention for the rose trim.  Each leaf and blossom was glued down one at a time.  Took a lot of patience but well worth the investment to make the finished look smooth, clean and perfectly placed.

beading a string of pearls diy

secure the beads to the wicker diy

After the lace dried I added the string of pearls.  I used a beading wire to give it strength.  Gravity is going to constantly be pulling on them so things needed to be secure.  Got creative and decided to use a beading spacer bar to make sure the wire is crimped snugly and wont slide around or slip thru to the front accidentally.

baby the stars shine bright detachable bow

And before you think I am crazy enough to hot glue on my dresses waist ribbon, I am not.  Using the same beading wire and two jump rings I made hoops for the detachable bow to attach to.  Originally I thought I would just pin the bow on to the lace, but that worried me.  The weight of the bow could tug on the lace too much and pull up the hot glue or it could just damage the lace over time.  Neither would be pleasant situations.  The location of the hot glue also challenged that idea, it is smack dab right where I want the bow placed anyway.  So with a little strength and a good sewing needle I was able to pierce the hot glue and string the hoop through instead.

The bonus prize for this method is different color bows can be mixed and matched on the front of the purse.  For example, the blue ribbon from this sax color BTSSB dress to make a perfect coordinate, and say a pink bow to match another.  I’ll whip up one using the lining fabric to start things off.

applique cherries lolita fashion diy

Last step was to hot glue on the cherries.  I found these small crochet cherry appliques at Joyce Trimming in NYC.  They have a section towards the back of the store where you can find plenty of boxes of applique and patches to suit many different tastes.

create a new lining for a vintage purse

Before dinner I had just enough time to start planning out the interior of the purse.  Light does filter through the wicker so using some fusible interfacing and pink cherry fabric to line the main body seemed like the right thing to do.  Next, I added a layer of quilt batting to cover the wooden frame.  Hopefully after work today I can do the math to start the lining.  Found this tutorial that should be a good jumping off point for keeping all the handbag contents nice and neat.

For now, ciao lovelies.  Have a super Friday.

 

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