I like so many other die hard fans am jumping for joy at the release of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal this July. Sailor Moon got me through the tedious last days of college and gave me strength when first setting out on my career. While I had seen other anime from Japan this was the first to steal my heart. To celebrate the new release I wanted to make something – anything – to show my support. I opened up my box of Moonie goodies collected over the years and had a brainstorm. What about a decorated jean jacket?
Yes, I cut up one of my many Sailor Moon handkerchiefs. I have some fabric but the print just wasn’t right. So I took a very deep breath, placed my ruler carefully following a pattern I made and put the rotary blade down. Swoosh, no going back. Which I am totally cool with because the end result is awesome. The back had such a strong impact with the color of the Luna backpack that the front needed something punchy to create balance.
I think the jacket is still missing something. Have been debating making the sleeves shorter, adding a small red bow below Sailor Moon on the front, and maybe mixing in more beads here and there. I don’t want it to go over the top, but want to push it a little more.
What do you think?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Busy, busy, busy bee! Finished another semester of Japanese; flew back out to St. Louis on a business trip; and have been sewing, sewing, sewing. For as early as I started my yukata project, I am still cutting it way too close to the deadline.
The design has been altered dramatically from the original vision. I can no longer call the coordinate lolita in style. However I am really pleased with the result. The skirt was the catalyst for the design departure. While the idea sounded great using two different fabrics (for the blouse and for the skirt) in reality it looked very disjointed. Worse yet, the pattern on the white fabric had the not-so-flattering optical effect of making the wearer (yours truly) look twice her size. Not what a girl wants.
Somehow I managed to whip up a new skirt out of the blouse fabric remnants. My better half is raving about the second-take skirt. He loves it. (#^.^#) But you will have to wait till this weekend to see it!!
Hanhaba Obi (半幅帯)
Little miss ambitious, now happy with the new skirt, decided that the pre-tied obi wasn’t sophisticated enough to match all the hard work that was poured into the yukata. Yep, as if I wasn’t already crunched on time, last Sunday decided to make my own half width obi to go with my festival coordinate.
I have a couple of hanhaba obi’s in my kimono collection. One was in pretty bad shape but had the most adorable print. The intention had been to reuse the good parts of the fabric for a project, but turns out it was the obi lining first in line to be upcycled.
Learned a ton on this DIY project. Let the creative process take me to a different direction and what I think was a better result in the end. But can’t get too excited yet, still a few more stitches to go!
ヤッタ！Just finished sewing my summer festival yukata blouse. I couldn’t be happier. The blouse fits perfectly and drapes exactly how I hoped it would.
The biggest challenge I faced with this project was the width of the traditional fabric. I think I did well hiding the seams in the body of the yukata, but the addition is obvious in the sleeves. Looks OK though – phew. Seeing the finished garment, wish the fabric matched better on the upper portion of the back. It was tricky to cut the pieces with the end result in mind. Next time I will know better. And I definitely see a next time.
My next challenge was volume of lace. Ran out of the lace used on the hem and had to use an alternative for the cuffs of the sleeves. It bugs me that it doesn’t match but the trim shop is too far away. If by some chance I can make it down to the fashion district I’ll switch it out, but for now mix-and-match lace it is.
Next Mission: Complete the skirt, bloomers, hair bows and deco the obi! No problem.
When one thinks of colors that represent Japan, of course the iconic red and white of the Rising Sun come to mind. But look a little deeper and indigo and white take center stage. You see it so often reflected in fabric and ceramics across the centuries. In fact there is an entire book dedicated to it.
Probably a bit old fashioned of me, but when I think of yukata instantly blue and white comes to mind. And not just the colors but the technique. I am fascinated by the stencil dying method which results in a rich print. There is no front and back to the fabric like modern printing methods. Now if I remember correctly white with an indigo design was ideal for day as it looked cool and refreshing while indigo with a white print was worn at night. Something about the dye being a natural insect repellent. So I guess the more of it the better in the evening. Since the summer festival will spill from day to night I am going to go with both. ☆彡
For the yukata blouse I choose a print with carnations and a stream. It has a large design with lots of open space. I want the blouse to really stand out compared to the cupcake lolita skirt so the big print and high contrast should work nicely. Then for the skirt and bloomers the reverse, an indigo print on a white base. Since most yukata do not incorporate 2 fabrics, I dug deep into my collection to find something complimentary. The best match was a bolt that also features carnations but in a medium size print that repeats frequently filling the entire space.
Thank goodness I have a big floor! Because I needed all the space I could get when cutting the fabric. Kimono and Yukata fabric comes in bolts typically 14 inches wide but up to 13 yards long. So using the fabric in a non-traditional way means I will be piecing together many seams to create additional width. Hopefully it will all come together and not look like a patchwork mess. Given the volume of the lolita silhouette this project did require pretty much the entire amount of fabric from both bolts.
My goal was to finish the blouse this past weekend, but I didn’t. O_O That’s OK. I would rather take my time and do a good job than rush-rush through it. If folks at work play nice this week I can sneak out right at 5pm and finish up in a couple of days. If not, then I will pick up next weekend. All I have left to do is add the lace to the sleeves, attach them to the blouse body and then whip up a couple of detachable bows (this is a lolita coordinate after all.) So far I am absolutely thrilled with how it is coming together. I think it is going to be stunning.