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 Update: Lolita Yukata Blouse Complete

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.

wa lolita yukata blouse front

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.

lolita kimono back and side

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.

yukata kimono sleeve sode

Next Mission:  Complete the skirt, bloomers, hair bows and deco the obi!  No problem.

 

Wa Lolita Yukata Pattern

Good news.  My Bodyline package arrived today.  Which gives me plenty of time before the summer festival to make my wa lolita yukata.  Despite the unbearable heat, I went straight to work today making the pattern.  (Seriously Mother Nature, enough with the 100 degree temperature.)

wa lolita yukata pattern ruboff method

Using a technique called a “rub off” I deconstructed the Bodyline dress into its pattern pieces.  Basically a rub off pattern is when you follow the lines of a garment using paper and pins to reverse engineer the pattern from the finished piece.  This particular dress is comprised of 5 main pieces for the top.  I didn’t follow the traditional rub off method as the shapes on this dress were very basic and were easy to follow using muslin, some pins and a pencil while the garment was turned inside out.

The skirt is a basic lolita cupcake shape for which I don’t need a pattern.  A large rectangle, some gathered fabric for a ruffle and some elastic will do nicely.

But all of this will have to wait now until next weekend.  Popping off tomorrow on a short business trip.  I lose a weekend day of creativity, but c’est la vie.  Work pays for my happy-go-lucky lifestyle!

Update check out the result using the pattern.