I am not really sure if Etsuna Otsuka fits into one street fashion style alone. If I were to try and force fit it perhaps then a blend of cult party and larme kei with a touch of mori all rolled up into one. There are similarities to Meno in how vintage sweaters and lingerie are remade but with a tad more sophistication and a whole lot more pastel. Inspired by her workshop in Tokyo I have been itching to try my hand at this style and after some time gathered the right complimentary vintage pieces for the project.
My local thrift stores are a bit disappointing so shopping online was really the only option to find what I needed. I found the sax and pink vintage peignoir set, sax cape, and the various flower embellishments all on Etsy. Nabbed the knit fabric while browsing fabric stores on vacation. Always check out the fabric stores when you travel — the buyers in different markets have very different tastes and you never know what you will find. With those in hand I felt one more element would be needed so pulled some blue velvet ribbon from my trims that pops nicely against the knit fabric. Sadly, I wasn’t feeling brave enough to try my hand at embroidery (just yet) so stuck with cute embellishments to give the look the dainty details needed following Etsuna’s esthetic. (more…)
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.
Next weekend is International Lolita Day. This weekend is, OMG what am I going to wear day. Finally settled on wanting to wear Angelic Pretty’s Decoration Dream from 2011. Found it at Closet Child in Harajuku when I was on vacation. Couldn’t beat the price but knew it was going to need some work to fit over my, ahem, non-Japanese figure. I find Baby the Stars Shine Bright to be more forgiving both in width and length. It is never so with Angelic Pretty.
This week’s sewing lesson, waist ties are a fuller-figure girl’s best sewing friend! Throwing caution to the wind, I drafted a few different option to increase the waist dimension about 3-4 inches. And the hope was to also increase the length if possible, otherwise the straps would also need to be altered. Wanted to only take on one major change and not two. And it worked out like a charm.
Earlier this week I received the latest Lolita Sewing Book (乙女のソーイングBOOK 3) from Kinokuniya. Put it to good use right away to draft a new waist band for the skirt. If I learned anything in art school it was always have what you will know will work as option 2, and what you think would be innovative and ideal as option 1. I knew I could use the waist ties to just make a basic rectangular waist band and add some elastic in the back. But that is boring. So for the ideal but more complicated option I was inspired by the waist band on the skirt on page 17 of the new book.
After an outrageous amount of stitch ripping, I ironed the waist ties and cut them into 5 1/2 inch sections. I transferred the pattern from the book onto tracing paper and added about 2 inches to the pattern in order to let the waist band cross over a bit in the back. I should mention I only cut one of the waist ties to begin with (just in case the creative idea didn’t work). I then did my best to realign the pieces to match the curvature of the pattern. It was a bit tricky and I didn’t exactly get all the fabric to line up on grain. After sewing the one tie back together into its new configuration I knew it was OK to go for it with the other one. Decided to reuse the 2 bows from the ties to embellish the front panel of the new waist band. As it is now much taller, without the adornment, it would have looked odd left bare.
I did my best to make the flap above the zipper nice and neat. My math didn’t exactly work out as you can see by the imperfections. But It isn’t a disaster and I can live with it. Used 3 pink snaps to finish it off. The snaps also came from vacation. Purchased them from Tomato in Nippori. The skirt came with a basic latch clasp but I think snaps make a much cleaner finish and hold better.
Inside I used a solid pink fabric to line the new waist band. Hand stitched the inside edge to make it tidy. I know no one will be able to see it, but that’s how I like to roll.
All-in-all it has some issues, but only if you are really checking it out. Pretty proud of my achievement. The waist band is triple its original height giving the straps at least an extra 2 inches for my long torso. You can see the difference in the above photo. I used every last bit of the ties so the only fabric that remains is the original waist band. Can’t make much out of it, but perhaps a small hair bow maybe. Also not sure what to do with the lace that came off the ties. For now have added it to my stash for another day.
Only trouble is, now I need to find a good pair of matching socks for ILD… hum. Guess it is a good thing, that by shear dumb luck thanks to work, I get to spend a day in San Francisco this week! AP & Baby here I come!
T-minus 34 days and counting. Today’s birthday trip wish is to visit …
Fabric Town (布の街)
I really don’t need any more fabric. I have a cupboard and several dressers full of fabric. What I need is more time to invest in my hobby. But I can assure you that isn’t going to stop me from splurging on fabric in Tokyo. It will be heavenly to not have to pay international shipping costs for something I regularly invest in.
When you discuss fabric and any big city you first need to locate their garment district. In the case of Tokyo that is Fabric Town and Fabric Street. The star of Fabric Town is Tomato. Apparently it is a multi-floor, multi-building wonderland of fabric and related accoutrement. There are a lot of great blog posts on Fabric Town so I don’t need to drone on about it. They key thing I have learned and must repeat is a reminder. Must take cash with me. CASH ONLY. Yep, most of the shops here will not take credit cards.
Links: Fabric Street Map | Fabric Town Shopping Guide | Tomato Official Site | Tomato Shopping Guide
Okadaya, Yazawaya & Lucky Star
In addition to Fabric Town, a few other shops kept popping up in my research. The first is Okadaya (オカダヤ) in Shinjuku and the second is Yazawaya located in the Marui OIOI department store and Lucky Star.
Links: Okadaya Site | Okadaya Shopping Guide | Lucky Star Shopping Guide | Yuzawaya Official Site | Japanese Craft Resource | Tokyu Hands | (Bit Dated) Fabric Guide | Tokyo Craft Guide
And last but not least for my Tokyo fabric fixation, is the Japanese version of America’s “bedazzle” movement known as dekofuku (デコ服). Deko is a shorthand for decoration and fuku translates as clothes. I have also heard the DIY trend referred to as dekoru, but I think that is more limited to just gluing rhinestones and studs on versus the fuller mix-and-match of adding lace, ribbon, and all sorts of other goodies to plain, store bought clothing. I am a huge fan of this craft movement as it allows for people who have a very busy work schedule to still squeeze in an artistic project here-and-there. The endevour to sew a complete garment can take weeks as a hobby, where a dekofuku item can be completed super fast.
While not Japanese, I am a huge fan of P.S. I made this. Long live DIY!
My Dekofuku Links: Korilakkuma Sweatshirt | Cardsuit Cardigan | Scottie Cardigan | Kawaii Baret
The snow is falling and we are tucked up inside today. Neither of us are big sports fans but we figured any excuse to celebrate is a good one. So for Super Bowl Sunday we are making a massively fancy Indian dinner which will be followed by a Naruto anime marathon.
The weather is making me nostalgic for chilly days as a kid spent making hand made valentines. The classic lace doily and glitter combinations come to mind. I liked simplicity but with a little sparkle. Then I remembered this charming girl I met in San Francisco last year. She hand sewed felt hearts all higglety pigglety to a pair of tights for her valentine coordinate. The tights had such charm and a vintage feel.
Since the days of handing out heart felt sentiments with classmates has long passed, I am thinking of making something understated that I can wear to work this year for Valentine’s Day. There are a lot of sweet and DIY-able inspirations tucked away in my Pinterest boards. Right now a heart patched cardigan is top of the list.
This weekend the temperature dropped dramatically; Autumn sure can be moody. Having no desire to leave the warmth and comfort of home I grabbed a needle and got back to work on my Anthropologie inspired DIY pillow project.
I don’t often do applique, so am taking every precaution to ensure crisp and accurate lines for the rows of chevrons. Last time I added fusible interfacing to stabilize the kimono silk. This time I basted, or tacked, all the pieces. A tack is a very simple long straight stitch to help the fabric stay in place. As I will want to remove this stitch after completing the applique, I made sure the knot was on the right side of the fabric. With a careful snip and a gentle tug the basting should easily be removed, leaving a nice precise shape.
But for now I must get back to work. Happy Monday everyone!