Merry Christmas!

23.12.08 - 19:00
I've been really busy these last couple of weeks doing Christmas-y things and getting things done at work.

I've been doing a bit of sewing but mainly for presents so I can't show you just in case the recipients see! I made something for my Lolita Secret Santa gift - I hope that it gets there before Christmas day. I've also made some Christmas tree decorations for a friend of mine - I hope she likes them.

No time to make a Christmas dress again this year! I should really remember to start sooner next year.

I hope you have a lovely Christmas and a great New Year.


New interesting links

- 18:42
I'm adding a some links to the lists today including Sucrerie Magazine - an online Lolita mag which is very nicely presented. In the shopping section Tokyo Alice - a second hand lolita shop and the Sassy Fun sock shop. And a general sewing and fabric site sew mama sew. All worth a visit if you've not seen them before.



Lolita Tie tutorial

30.11.08 - 13:32
This kind of tie doesn't seem to be very popular at the moment. The big bow kind seems to be rather more in vogue. However as I've finally got round to making a less scruffy version of my tie pattern I thought I would put it up here with a bit of a tutorial. They are still very cute.

Here's what you need to do.

First you'll need the pattern. Click on image of the pattern on the left and it should open up nice and big. Right click and 'save image as' to your computer. It should print out on A4 or letter size paper just fine. Make sure it doesn't 'crop' or 'scale' when its printing out.

  • You'll also need some scraps of fabric - large enough to cut 2x piece A and 1x piece B. If you fabric is very lightweight you might need a bit of interfacing.
  • Some ribbon - enough that it can easily tie around your neck in a bow.
  • Some bits of lace, ribbon, buttons etc for decoration.

Pattern info:
As you can see the pattern pieces overlap - so its probably best to trace piece B onto another bit of paper before cutting out A.
The dotted lines on piece A are for if you want to make a thinner tie.

Getting started:

1. Cut two 'A' pieces and one 'B' piece from your fabric.

2. Sew any decorations you like onto the front of one A piece, sewing your lace facing inwards as shown. (sounds a bit weird, but it all gets turned inside out at the end.)

3. Take the second A piece and pin it on top of the first one - front sides together. Sew nearly all the way around the edge leaving a gap along the side of the thin bit at the top. There's not a lot of seam allowance - only about 5-10mm.

4. You should have a tie shape with the lace etc on the inside. Turn it inside out. Now you can see why we sewed the lace pointing inwards - its pointing outwards now! Use a slip stitch to close the gap and maybe give it a quick iron.

5. Now we need to attach the 'knot' and ribbon. Fold over
the thin top part of the tie backwards and put in a couple of stitches to hold it in place.

6. Thread your ribbon through the gap. (You could also use a band of fabric with a button or velcro, but I'm using ribbon here to show the basic idea.) Sew the long edges of piece B together. Turn the tube inside out and iron it flat with the seam in the middle. You shouldn't be able to see the seam from the front now.

7. Next wrap this around the where you have stitched down the top part of the tie. Sew the back edges of the 'knot' together keeping the seam on the inside.

8. Done. Use the ribbon to tie it around the collar of your blouse.


Lolita Christmas Card - attempt 1

- 13:17

I felt like doing some crafts yesterday so I made a start on a Christmas card. I say 'a' card because this one took ages so I only got one done!

In case anyone is interested...
I made the coat hanger out of fuse wire (the thicker kind) and the dress and bow are just made out of scraps of fabric and ribbon. I did sew down the sides of the dress so they looked neater but I suppose glue would work just as well.

I might make a few more bits and then photograph them for my cards - that way there would be more chance of them getting done before the last posting day.



Lolita finds

23.11.08 - 21:19
I've seen a couple of nice things this week. Firstly this jacket from Warehouse. Although its not cheap at £75, it has a lovely shape. Its quite Edwardian and elegant looking. I think it could work well with a more aristocrat style - or maybe for work.

At the other end of the scale I found a great tartan jacket in the sale at Primark. Its more in the style of a biker jacket than a blazer. It was really difficult to photograph so you can't see the details that well, but it has another zip pocket under what looks like the right lapel. Anyway it was only £5! Bargain.

Also at Primark this week they have a tiara headband for £3 which is quite pretty.

Last but not least, I got one of the much talked about H&M mini top hats. Here is a less than brilliant picture of it perched a top of my loaf. Its a bit bigger and not quite as funky as the Accessorize headband hat, but well worth its £4.99 price tag.



Thinking about Christmas Lolita things

17.11.08 - 23:35
Its getting towards that time again when decorations start appearing and Starbucks have their 'festive' red cups out. So I've just started to let myself get a little bit excited about Christmas. I'm hoping that I'll have time to make a dress from the snowflake/doily fabric I got ages ago. I think it could work with a white fake fur trim? Maybe a little bit 50s? Needs a little thought first.

Its also getting near the time when I (should) start making my Christmas cards! I'd really like to do a lolita-esque card this year, but we'll see how that goes, my drawing skills are not great.

And finally I've started looking for presents for people and making a list for santa. I think list ideas is a really good site for this where you can add things from anywhere, on or offline.



Halloween 2 and false eyelashes

4.11.08 - 21:51
Okay, as promised here is a picture of the dress I reworked for my halloween outfit. I think its much nicer this way.
(Plus here's a picture of me modeling it - bet you wondered what I looked like huh? well there you go, all big hair and teeth.)
I wore it with the black blouse/socks to the gig we went to and with the white blouse/socks for my living/dead (whats more scary?) doll look.
I did my hair really big and curly with a black bow and for my make-up I did dark eyes with red liner and wore false eyelashes.
I'd never used them before and they were fantastic! Actually thats why I ended up just being a doll not a broken one, I didn't want to hide them or squish one side with my eye patch. I really recommend trying them if you never have!



Halloween Butchery

31.10.08 - 17:30
Happy Halloween!

With very little time and even less spare cash to put together an outfit for halloween I've resorted to butchering one of my previous projects. Remember this dress? Well I've never actually worn it since I finished it. The square neckline never really suited me and the sleeves were not quite right.

So I've made it into a jumperskirt by removing the sleeves and the ribbons. I've also made it into a rounded neckline. It was quite easy to do as the dress was fully lined so I could sew the edges of the sleeve to the lining to finish it neatly.

I'm going to go as a broken doll to the party I'm going to. I know its not very creative but I think it'll be fun. I get to wear full lolita, totally over the top make-up and an eye patch and no-one will look twice. Heaven!



Lolita Fabric - custom printing from spoonflower

29.10.08 - 13:29
There are a lot of nice fabrics out there but one of the things that really makes brand dresses stand out is their custom patterns. Especially border prints. I love the Moitie 'Iron Gate' print but I rarely see nice border prints available on the roll.
Recently I've been quite excited about Spoonflower. Its a site where you can get your own fabric designs printed on demand in small quantities, like lulu but for material. Its currently priced at $18 yrd and although this is at the higher end of what I would pay for fabric, if I could have anything I wanted in the world.... it starts to sound tempting.

I'm going to have a go soon and get a swatch printed up to see what they can do. I'll let you know how it goes!



High Street Finds - black/gothic/gorgeous

19.10.08 - 17:48
Recently there have been lots of loliable things on the highstreet, especially things with cupcakes and sweets, but theres also been quite a lot on the gothic side.

Topshop has been quite good for accessories this season with nice chunky heart and flower rings, those heart bags and plenty of bows on brooches and headbands. This might be something to do with the fact that some of their current collections are called 'Wonderland', 'Punk Couture' and 'Pagan'. I think one of their best items is this rosette/corsage. Its available on a brooch or on a elasticated headband.

It seems that all the shops have headbands with bows of various sizes at the moment but my current favourite is one from Matalan as it has a very thin band. The fabric covering the band has also been sewn on which looks a bit more sturdy than the glued ones. Some of the ones that I got at Claire's a while ago have started to fall apart, mainly at the ends so the plastic starts to dig in the side of your head. eugh.

Moving on... I saw this little beauty whilst shopping in Birmingham last week. Its a mini top hat mounted on a headband from Accessorize. Its actually more cute in person and I love it, love it, love it. But I do not love that it is £25!

Also while I was in Birmingham I went to Blue Banana which is an alternative clothing place conveniently situated right next to a Starbucks.

The staff there were really nice! (Hello if you were the person I was talking to about Bodyline, nice to meet you the other day) And they had some nice socks like these Pamela Mann ones. I got the ones with black bows to make up for not getting the mini-hat. *cries for hours*

I thought some of their bags were really cool too. They had some of those 'bowler bags' with gothic-y stuff embroidered on the front for £12.

Happy shopping!



Sewing Techniques Book

15.10.08 - 17:18
I got a new book yesterday called 'The Complete Book of Sewing' its a DK one and has lots of step by step instructions. Not so much on how to make specific items but more about using different techniques.
Theres a section on doing different kinds of zips, altering patterns, different seams and hems and photos of each step.
Theres also a useful section on fabric types and what they are used for.
I think it will be pretty useful, I suppose you could find most of the information online if you really needed to, but don't you think it's nice to have a book sometimes?



Things for sale

21.9.08 - 19:01
I am currently have a bit of a wardrobe clear out and I am selling some of my lolita things including my beautiful Baby the Stars Shine Bright - Red Riding Hood dress. SOLD
The details of this and the other items I have for sale are here (on my LiveJournal account) if you are interested but do not have an LJ account please contact me by email or leave a message here so that I can get back to you. Thanks.



Heart Shape bags again

17.9.08 - 17:46
Look whats in at Topshop again! Its those heart shaped bags I was talking about here! The smaller version is online here for £18 and the larger one with the handles is £20.



School Girl Themed Lolita JSK - Finished!

7.9.08 - 22:45
Today I finished the school style JSK I was working on. I've put it with a white blouse with a large collar for this picture, but I think it will look better with a smaller peter pan collar for actual wearing. Especially since I'd like to wear it with this jacket from New Look .
So there won't be that much showing.

This outfit will be finished off with a beret, probably white knee socks and a cute bag.

Problems: The main problem I've had with this project is button holes - the straps are fastened with buttons on the back and I've sewn them by hand as I need more practice using the button hole stitches on my machine.

Also - I've found that belt buckles are quite hard to get hold of and my local haberdashery suggested charity shops.


Mary Magdalene does it again

- 21:07
In case you hadn't already noticed I really prefer the classic/victorian/gothic side of lolita rather than the super sweet. This might be because I've never been that much of a girly girl. Anyway probably because of this, Mary Magdalene is one of my favourite brands.
Their clothes are so beautifully elegant while also being a little extravagant and eccentric for everyday wear.
This co-ordinate is lovely. Especially the jacket and blouse. I'd like to wear thing more like this all the time.
I'm going to be on the look out for a blouse with a bow on the front like that, either in the shops or in the pattern books.



School girl themed lolita

30.8.08 - 10:30
Since Meta released their school themed autumn collection, I've been thinking about making something along those lines.
So I set to work on this grey jsk. The fabric is quite heavy and it is fully lined with a lighter grey.

Its not quite finished yet - it needs hemming properly. I am thinking about attaching the hem to the lining. I'm not sure of the technical term.

I intend to coordinate it with a school style stripey blazer I got from new look and a white blouse. I'm not sure what sock would be best - white, black or grey.

I've also done a cute little tie to go with it. These are really easy to do (you can hand sew them) - and can be made with the scraps left over from cutting the dress.
I've added a little brooch on this one.

I've made a couple of variations and I'm going to post up a little tutorial with the pattern I made as soon as I have time!



Loliable patterns

17.8.08 - 18:54

Today I had a look at some patterns online and I thought this one might be useful.
Yeah, I know that is an extremely cheesy photo... but the pattern includes a dress with puffy little sleeves and a basic jumperskirt. They are more towards the empire line from what I can make out and thats not a style I've really tackled yet.

As per usual it looks like they'll need a lot more flare adding to the bottom hem for a lolita shape.

The pattern is Burda 7739



Making Sock Toppers and Wrist Cuffs

10.8.08 - 15:24

This week I haven't been able to use my machine so I thought I'd see what I could make using only hand sewing. As you can see that was some sock toppers or garters (what ever you want to call them) I think these are a great alternative to expensive brand socks and you can customise them to your style.

They were pretty easy to make too. If you want to make something similar, here's what you'll need:

Lace - make sure you choose some nice quality lace, I've used the cotton kind.
A piece of 5mm wide elastic and maybe some ribbon or other decoration.
A safety pin will also be useful.

I used 4 different designs of lace 1m of each -
1. The top edge
2. The middle frills
3. Eyelet lace with ribbon
4.The bottom edge

(5. Matching ribbon 1.5-2m)

First cut two 50cm pieces of each lace. Then sew the edges of the top and bottom pieces together making two extra wide pieces of lace, these are the back of the sock topper.

Next sew the middle frill design down the centre of each piece.

Then sew the eyelet lace on top - making sure to sew down each side creating a channel between this layer and the one below. This is where you will put your elastic.

Cut two pieces of elastic that will fit around your calf when slightly stretched and that will still stretch over your foot. You can check this by pinning the ends together with the safety pin and trying it on. Is it comfortable? You don't want it to dig in to your skin - but if its too loose it won't stay up!

Next pin one end of your elastic onto the safety pin and thread it through the channel between the lace. The lace will ruffle up as the elastic is shorter than the lace. Make sure you keep hold of the other end of the lace!

Sew the ends of the elastic together securely. Then finish off by neatly sewing the raw lace edges together on the inside.

Done! You can make wrist cuffs in exactly the same way - you just use slightly shorter lengths since your wrists are probably thinner than your knees!!



Tasty Cupcakes

4.8.08 - 21:46
Last week we had afternoon tea at work and it included these gorgeous cakes. They looked cool and tasted amazing, way better than mine! These tasty treats were made by Amanda at Fancie.



Inspiration for an outfit

26.7.08 - 15:30
I was just looking the other day at la Carmina's post about Rococo inspiration here, when I came across this image. It would make such a great starting point for a lolita maybe slightly steampunk outfit. This is also a great way for me to look at making something other than a dress, which I've been doing a lot of recently...
So I was thinking I could do a similar skirt but around knee length and then maybe do the top as a jacket? or a little more towards a corset?



New Project! Paris JSK

- 14:25
My new project is again along the lines of a classic style. It is going to use the Paris-Eiffel-Tower fabric I got a while ago.

This is a basic sketch of the shape. I am going to use the pattern I made for the Clasic Lolita dress I just finished but this time make straps instead of sleeves.

The main problems I can see are that the patterns are not going to match up.
I'm going to have to cut it all in one direction or else end up with up-side-down towers...
The other problem is that the fabric is nice quality but quite thin - I'm thinking about making a full cotton lining. Maybe there could be some lace or something on the bottom of the underskirt/lining that shows.
This photo is the dress 'in progress' as you can see I've cut put out all the pieces and made a bit of an attempt to line them up whilst trying no to waste too much fabric!



Classic lolita dress - finished

17.7.08 - 13:22

Well the basic dress is finished. I made the sleeves out of long rectangles and sewed channels between the fabric and lining for the elastic. The ruffle at the bottom was a bit fiddley.

No lace or ribbons yet. Still undecided if I want to co-ordinate it with white or a more antique/off white/cream. I might make some removeable black bows - they might tie it in with some black shoes.



Classic Lolita Dress - Project Update

15.7.08 - 15:16
Well as usual I chickened out of making my own pattern blocks. I am going to do it one day... But instead I got on with my classic lolita style dress and finally started using some nice fabrics!

Here is an 'in progress' picture. In the end I decided to use my favourite parts of all the patterns I've tried so far. That means that the top part is view A from Simplcity 6457 - with minimal alterations. I removed the seam allowance since it is already joined to the skirt and used a lining to finish the top instead of sewing a band around it.
The bottom half is the skirt from Simplicity 3620 but with each of the skirt edges widened by about 15cm. I don't think thats the technical way to do it - but its okay for now.

I've still got to sort out the sleeves. They are meant to be like the ones on this pretty Victorian Maiden one piece.

Then theres the more decorative touches - I was thinking that a hem ruffle from matching fabric would be nice and maybe some peachy ribbon bows? I wonder if black velvet ribbon would be too harsh?


Pattern Drafting

- 08:59
I am looking at drafting patterns today. I've got this book and it really seems to explain the basics of making a 'block' and then adapting it in different ways. I am going to try to use a drafting technique to make my skirts more flared. Also there is a bit about making puffy sleeves from normal ones where you cut the pattern into sections and spread them out. I'll try and explain that better later.



Heart shape bags

13.7.08 - 12:04

There seems to be a big thing about heart shaped bags at the moment. These shiny PVC numbers have been on Fan plus Friend for a while at $35 more recently (the same??) a similar bag turned up at Topshop for £20.

I did see these a couple of weeks ago and decided against it as its a little too shiny for my style. However, I don't think theres much chance of getting one now if you do want one since the slightly smaller red version was featured on Gok's Fashion Fix (my distinctly un-lolita friend REALLY wants one.)

Anyway. The point is that I've acquired some fake leather type material and I'm going to attempt a non-shiny version for myself.


More fabric news

- 11:59

I don't want to sound like a walking advert for Shabby Fabrics but they have some new fabrics in which are just gorgeous!


Holidays, fabrics and plans

- 11:24

I am off work for a whole week. This is an excellent opportunity to get on with some projects old and new!
I am going to start on the clasic lolita dress made from the floral fabric.
This is going to involve making elasticated sleeves which I haven't done before and I don't really have a pattern for.
Luckily I picked up a stack of really cheap remnants for a department store sale - so I'll do a little trial and error with those.

I've already bought a ring to go with this outfit. I couldn't resist as its so pretty! They are in the sale in various colours in evans/topshop/dorothy perkins in the UK. They also have them on hair slides.



Shabby Fabrics Sale

5.7.08 - 18:18
This weekend Shabby Fabrics have got 12% off everything! Yay for classic lolita goodies! International shipping is now only $12. To get the discount you have to enter FREEDOM08 as the voucher code.
Happy shopping!



Classic Lolita Sketch

1.7.08 - 13:45
I was thinking the other day, what kind of dress I would like to make with my new fabrics. I think this kind of style might be best for the floral one. I've also started drawing a set of dresses that represent the most popular shapes for lolita, then maybe I can put together a set of basic patterns.



Shabby Fabrics: Review

29.6.08 - 11:24

Yesterday my order from Shabby Fabrics arrived. It was neatly packaged in a resealable bag and priority mail envelope. This is the same way Repo-Depot sent my fabric. Both orders were around 3 yards - so I don't know how they would sent larger quantities. It was very quick, my order arrived in 8 days. (International Shipping)

The only problem I can see is the colour difference. If you look at the colour on their website (previous post) and compare it to my photo, in real life its a lot more peachy than pink. I am thinking about ordering a set of fat quaters (small pieces mostly used by quilters) to see the other colours properly.



Mini Pineapple-up-side-down Cakes

28.6.08 - 12:14
This week I decided to try some more baking, since my man is a big fan of fairy cakes, I usually make those but these are just as easy.
This amount makes 4 individual cakes.

1 small tin of pineapple chunks (or rings) in own juice.
50g Flour (50g is just under 2oz)
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Bicarb (I find this works better than SF flour)
50g Sugar
1 egg
50g Butter (I use low fat marg, seems to work)

Pre-heat you oven to 200c (400f or gas mark 6)

Line 4 tiny tins or ramekins with butter and sprinkle a little sugar in the bottom.

Line the bottom of the tin with pineapple.

Mix the other ingredients together in a bowl or mixer, when its kinda runny mix in a tablespoon or two of the pineapple juice from the tin.

Split it between the tins.

Pop in the oven and bake for 10-15 mins.

Leave to cool a little - then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake
and turn out onto a plate.

I found that sometimes they rise a bit in the middle - to make them sit flat on the plate cut the extra bit off with a knife before you turn them out.

Theres no pictures yet as they didn't stick around long enough last time! yum.



Ordered MORE fabric

27.6.08 - 18:56

I've ordered some fabric like this from Shabby Fabrics - they do loads of shabby chic and cottage-y prints which are great for classic lolita looks. More Mary Magdalene than Angelic Pretty.
So when it arrives I'll do a little review of the site and then start worrying about whether I can make something nice enough out of it!
I've also found a place that supplies Robert Kaufman fabrics in the UK. So I'm checking that out for some super-sweet cupcake-y stuff.


Attempts at a prototype

- 18:37
So here is the first attempt at a prototype for the fancy fabric I have been hoarding. I think its okay. Its still mostly held together with pins - so thats why it looks a bit wonky. Thats my excuse anyway...

The straps look like they are at a bit of a funny angle. My mother said that it looks like a 'gymslip'. *googles gymslip*

I suppose ruffles and that would give it a bit more interest, but I think I prefer dresses with out so much waist gathering. This Btssb one looks like it would be more flattering but also a more mature style.



Finished Restyling the High Street dress

16.6.08 - 21:29
So here it is just about finished. I think its very cute considering the minimal effort required. They even very helpfully give you two extra buttons - so you can make the shoulder straps button down at the back or the front or make removeable waist ties. As you can see I've taken off the pockets, but I don't think it needs any more ruffles really, so I might use the extra fabric for hair bows.

In case you are interested this is what I did:

Unpicked the waist,
Cut a big chunk out of the shirring at the back and sewed it together again,
Made new darts in the bodice section,
Sewed the back of the skirt to the stretched out back section,
Gathered the rest of the skirt and sewed it back onto the bodice,
Sewed the straps back on in new position.


Layout changes

- 15:09
Today I've been messing around with html and trying out a new layout. It doesn't quite work yet... I'll have to put all my links back in and change the fonts as well as finishing the graphics!



Scared to use the new fabric!

15.6.08 - 10:27
I now have a couple of pieces of nice fabrics but I am too scared to cut it up! I keep thinking I'll make something really horrible and will never be able to wear it! New plan - make a really simple JSK in cheap cotton that I REALLY like the shape of. I think it will be more like the shape of A on this pattern. The last one was based on E.



Restyling a high street dress

8.6.08 - 14:50
I saw this top/dress in the plus-size section of New Look (the shop not the pattern book) and I thought the print was very cute and it has a totally shirred back. However - even if it did come in non-plus-size it still wouldn't have enough flare for lolita.
So I decided to get it in a size 22 or 24 and re-style it. My plan was to un pick the waist and ties and then take a large section out of the back of the dress and re-attach the skirt part so that it is more gathered as my waist is smaller.
I'm also thinking to take the pockets off the sides and use them as a trim across the top of the bodice.
Sorry about the shoddy in-progress picture. It gives an idea of what I mean. The straps will need moving in a bit too.


New fabric

- 14:43

This week I have aquired 3m of some lovely Paris-y Eiffel Tower fabric. Its a kind of lawn, its not that thick but it feels nice and soft.

I think its a great pattern, but I don't know if the colour will suit me. I'm thinking possibly a skirt?



Project in progress: JSK pattern

12.5.08 - 22:19
The new pattern I got seems to be going okay. I extended the skirt flare (as per usual)and it was really quick to put together. I think if you had all the materials on hand, you could do a simple dress in a day.

It would probably be finished now if I had a zip the correct length.

When I make this pattern again I'm going to take an inch or two out of the bodice to make the waist a little higher. And maybe add an inch or two to the waist to make a bit more room when you wear it over a blouse.

Also I'd like to try some of the other variations on the envelope.

This one has the waist alterations and I am quite pleased with the pintucks - BUT it looks really bad on. Very frumpy. So I think I'm going to give up on this shape.