Saturday Style: Wa-Lolita in the Park

mix and match of various lolita and kimon styles

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∗)՞

jane marple paper doll necklace

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

straw boater hat remade into a kitchy kimono accessory

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.

Japan Day

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.

relaxing on the hill in central park

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!!

Project Kickoff: Summer Festival Yukata

japanese summer yukata essentials

Getting ready for my next big DIY adventure.  This project is going to require more of my sewing skills than my hot glue prowess.  I am ready to take a big gamble and create a summer yukata, but Wa Loli style.

The Wa, or traditional Japanese, style of Lolita fashion is hard to pull off.  It can go very wrong very fast.  So not only will I have to test my sewing aptitude but also ensure my taste level is in check.  A careful eye and attention to editing will be key to success.

The plan is to finish the yukata in time for the Mitsuwa Summer Festival.  I don’t have a pattern so I have invested more than some might into this project.  I bought a Bodyline coordinate that I will use to create a pattern from.  I wanted to get a pair of rocking horse shoes and another blouse anyway, so was worth the shipping fee, even if 60 bones for the dress might be a loss.  What could prove to be a challenge is timing.  Bodyline can take a long time to arrive.  I put my order in on the 1st of July and I believe the festival is on the 17th of August.  Keep your fingers crossed.  I need at least 2 weekends to complete the actual yukata.

pre-tied obi diy decoration project

Normally I like to have all the materials on hand before starting, but deadlines being deadlines will need to roll while waiting for the postman.  In addition to the yukata “pattern”, a pair of geta from Japan should arrive soon.  Most of the other fabrics and trims are ready to go.  A bolt of  traditional indigo yukata fabric has been waiting in a drawer for years so will be happy to finally be put to good use.  A few laces are also lying about that will coordinate well.  And picked up a pre-tied yukata obi last year that is screaming for some deco!  What was I saying about hot glue earlier?  Well I guess this project isn’t immune. (^_-)

 Wa Loli Inspiration

There are so many different sources of inspiration that come to mind. I’d like to pay tribute to each individually instead of collaging a mood board.  These range from an artist who sadly disappeared from the web, a little hime and gyaru, and good old fashioned festival fair like uchiwa fans and kitsune masks.

little apricot wa cute lolita chisami

lolita artist apricot8585

etsy keelyvh Keelys Cute Kimono

kawaii japanese festival masks illustrations

metamorphose kimono print wa loli

hime gyaru yukata coordinates

dream of lolita wa coordinate

Credits:  (1)   (2)   (3)   (4)   (5)   (Tsuchiya Chisami “apricot8585” illustrations)   (Keely’s Cute Kimono dolls)   (Anime illustration)   (Festival Mask illustration)   (Metamorphose kimono print series)   (Hime Yukata Sets)   (Gyaru scan)   (Dream of Lolita coordinate)