Mood Board: Lolita Blank Canvas

the simplicity and the possibilities with a solid cream lolita dress

I am unsure if it is the change in the weather, but lately I have been really drawn to solid color dresses. And this is coming from someone who typically is perfectly content to be covered head-to-toe in every variation of Kumya-chan print Baby, the Stars Shine Bright has ever made thank you very much. Is my sweet tooth fading? What is this newly Thoreau-esq simplicity influence that has come over me?

Recent additions in my wardrobe included all black, all white and all lilac jumperskirts. They quickly have become my canvas on which to tell a story, but not the story itself. The accessories create the drama. I guess perhaps this is just my finally realizing what the little black dress of the alt fashion scene is. Late to the game again maybe. Regardless, the versatility and ease of use of these new pieces in my arsenal are pleasing me to no end.

Mood Board: Summer Gingham Code

gingham coordinate with pink and black angelic pretty accessories

Solving my lack of tops trouble one tea party at a time. Thanks to Taobao I have a couple of good blouses for winter, but my wardrobe is still lacking good staples for summer. I definitely favor more casual and comfortable fabrics in my everyday wardrobe and am trying to bring that over to my EGL style too.

I just bought Angelic Pretty’s Dream Color Gingham JSK from Closet Child and am eager to wear it when it arrives. And while this might be too matchy-matchy I have more pink and black accessories than I realized and hope they compliment it nicely. Now the question is do I continue the theme into a cutsew top? I have a little bit of black and white gingham and plenty of pink jersey. Perhaps I’ll give this a try…

Mood Board: Little Red Riding Hood

There’s a little get together planned today to see Into the Woods. I do like a good fairy tale and thought at first I could maybe make a Goldilocks and the Three Bears look with Kumya-chan. It just wasn’t working out. Then I remembered there was a Red Riding Hood pattern in Issue 5 of the Lolita Sewing Series.

baby the stars shine bright and cath kidston red riding hood worthy items

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright has made many many variations on Little Red over the years. Some very literal with plan red fabric and others focused more on details in a print. Cath Kidston had an entire line of fairy tale-esq sewing and knitting bags and dodads which also come to mind. I like their old story book illustration style but in 3-d form. And the other inspiration that came to mind is the idea of Eastern European folk costume. After all, that is where many of these fantastic stories take root.

yugoslavian costume and bags from cath kidston and baby the stars shine bright

The key with borrowing from traditional folk costume is to not push it too far. Otherwise it will become just that, costume, very quickly. So I think for this crazy idea of mine to work it needs to balance simplicity with pattern. To give just a taste of the old world style while staying true to the principles of the lolita style.

angelic pretty little red riding hood set

Birds of a Feather – Flocking to Swan Fashion

Its funny how you can see something all the time but without really noticing. And then something happens and boom, “hey, check that out!” This is what just happened to me with swans. The heat is on in NY and I was daydreaming about a nice ride in a swan boat on a cool lake. Then I remembered there was a swan in the RED Valentino email campaign a couple weeks ago. And that lead to remembering that Emily Temple cute did a cute swan dress once. And didn’t Milk do something? Oh yeah, Metamorphose always has swans…

milk, red valentino and kobi levi swan fashion coordinate

Now I am seeing swans everywhere. Many designs are very literal interpretations while others are more whimsical. A little Aesop fairy tale and fantasy versus harsh black, white and orange graphic treatments.

emily temple cute, katie, little twin stars, and q-pot swan clothing and jewlery

I am still dreaming of that swan paddle boat ride but will have to settle for a gin and tonic or something to break the heat. Or if I can convince the boy, would love to translate this swan cream puff recipe. Instead of the traditional cream filling, am imagining it stuffed with French vanilla ice cream!

Mood Board: Garden Party Rabbit Apron

What to do when you fall in love with a fabric but there is only 1 yard left? You apply Gunn’s best advice and “make it work.” That was the challenge a certain Rabbit print fabric has posed to me since last summer. Finally figured it out. Make a lolita apron!

country lolita rabbit apron project

Aprons can be tricky. If you really want it to resonate as a historic fashion staple you have to steer clear of the maid look. The first thing that comes to mind is Holly Hobbie and there is no mistaking her look for a maid. In the 70s she was the darling of my youth. Holly has the perfect country lolita vibe about her. Mix in the sophisticated detailing Baby, the Stars Shine Bright is famous for and I think we are on to something.

baby angelic pretty and meta aprons

I found the most perfect boots from Steve Madden that I think will be a good match and bring in a little extra country vibe. Then there was a wicker purse on Etsy that caught my eye. There might be an entire, head-to-toe, coordinate in the works with this one little yard of fabric. That is how inspiration likes to play.

Mood Board: Toasty Tootsies

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Hope everyone had a spectacular holiday!!  Today Mother Nature is giving us a blizzard here in Connecticut.  And honestly, it is so much fun.  The new house is starting to feel like home so I don’t mind being all curled up inside with a nice cup of hot tea, a fluffy blanket, and the interwebs.

hime room wear rilakkuma kigurumi

1. Hime Kotatsu  |  2.  Liz Lisa Room Wear  |  3.  Character Slippers  |  4. Korilakkuma Kigurumi

But it got me thinking about keeping warm in kawaii.  Not so much inside but when outside.  Anyone who has been into lolita fashion for a while knows that the materials used for coats and boots are not exactly made for the elements.  And if there is one thing that I can’t deal with it is cold feet in the winter.  Sure there is a fair selection of sweet boots available to choose from.  But they are all form and no function IMHO.

typical winter sweet lolita shoes

5. Angelic Pretty  |  6. Queen Bee  |  7. Winter Lolita Perfection  |  8. Angelic Pretty  |  9. Baby, the Stars Shine Bright

So I am inspired to try my hand at a DIY option in the coming days.  I still want that sweet look but also want warmth.  I hope I can pull it off without it looking too far fetched.  The obvious go-to is Ugg.  Some will argue that Ugg is all function and no form.  I’m pretty smitten with them for sure so will argue otherwise.

ugg style sweet lolita winter-boots

10. Sweet Ugg  |  11. Fluffy Ugg  |  12. Pearly Ugg

Found a few really cute options to get the creativity flowing.  But my real muse will be Baby, the Stars Shine Bright’s Little Princess Coat.  Ideally I would like something that coordinates well with that overall esthetic.

Mood Board: Yoke Style Dresses

Yoke style dresses are an all time fave of mine.  There are an infinite number of variations that can be designed using a yoke.  I lean towards the pleated flowing style especially.  It is not by today’s standards the most fashionable.  Mostly because this style doesn’t emphasize a girl’s curves.  But I think fashion is more than showing off an itty bitty waistline.  And you can make a very high style statement that also allows for comfort in my opinion.

emily temple cute cutsew one piece

Its no secret that I have an obsession with the brand Emily Temple cute.  But their sizes are not compatible with my figure sadly.  Now that I feel my sewing skills have improved enough that I am not embarrassed to wear my own work in public, ETC has become my main muse.  I was pleased when I came across this blue cutsew one piece on Tumblr.  It shares a similar profile to my recent dress.

nile perch cutsew miss angela illustration

Nile Perch is a recent addiction of mine.  Being able to see their pieces up-close when I was in Tokyo started a whole new love affair.  I adore the star pockets on the dress above.  So you might see that show up on something I make in the near future.  A trip to the garment district is on my list in order to find solid pastel color jersey in 100% cotton.  Might be a tall order but I am optimistic.

This illustration by Miss Angela, a fellow sewer and pastel lover,  has been saved on my computer for sometime.  When browsing for inspiration I came across it again and was pleased to see a couple yoke styles included.

yuko higuchi art cats in dresses

Illustrations are such a great source of inspiration.  The work of Yuko Higuchi is cute and magical but also has a certain edge to it.  The technique she uses for the black and white drawings matched with solid backgrounds are so impactful.  I admit I have a little something for anthropomorphism – animals given human qualities, but specifically I like seeing animal heads on people bodies {I know, weird right?}.

angelic pretty pink one piece red valentino fall 2013

And I can’t leave out Angelic Pretty from the yoke scene.  Fantastic Dot, Wrapping Ribbon, Sugar Doll, and Petit Patisserie to name a few come to mind.  My first love is the cute-style Japanese brands but the luxury brand Red Valentino also always comes through with the sweets.  While Japanese brands are a size issue, Red is a price issue.  But it is free to browse, so I regularly visit their site for inspiration. In just the past couple of days they too released a yoke style dress!  Such timing.

Next Time

It was raining all Labor Day weekend, so I tucked myself away again and sewed to my heart’s content.  Will post a T-shirt next time that is a sister piece to the yoke style dress.  Stay tuned.