Three tiered skirt/under skirt

30.8.09 - 14:42
Some time ago I saw an Alice and the Pirates waistcoat and started thinking about an outfit based around something similar. So here is the first part, an off-white, tiered underskirt.

I started off using the method described by the weekend designer which I was talking about previously. The pattern calls for two 'quarter sections' meaning it would form a half circle skirt. But, I soon realised that it wasn't going to be frilly enough. So, I've used three 'sections' for this one. It meant that the waist was way too big - but I left it that way so that I could gather it into the waistband.

It only took an afternoon but I used a full three metres of fabric for this skirt! I'm quite pleased with it except I don't have an off-white blouse to match... yet.



£100 black dresses

29.8.09 - 14:20
Lolita is expensive, we all know that. It's one of the main reasons I like to sew my own things. However, brand things are nice too. So what to do? Well here is a selection of 2nd hand dresses available at the moment for just £100. (they were all still there as I write this, but obviously they may sell at any time!)

Meta/Tokyo Rebel
I was quite tempted by this one actually - but I think it might be a bit long on me.
waist: 33in
bust: 36in
length: 36.5in

Angelic Pretty/Closet Child
I doubt this one will hang around for long.
waist: 28in
bust: 32in

BTSSB/Clothing Drop
waist: 23-39in

Atelier Pierrot/Clothing Drop
waist: 23-43in

BTSSB/Tokyo Alice
Its says width: 43cm which I presume is the flat measurement, meaning about 33in. I does have back shirring.



The net is vast and infinite

28.8.09 - 20:03
I've been foraging about on the interwebs and found a few interesting bits and pieces.

First up blogs:
I'm adding even more English language blogs to the list. A whole range have started up this year which is great news. I hope they will all keep going and giving us inspiration or news or interesting debate or whatever they like to blog about!
One of these is: Prince des Enfers - quite a new blog but already chock full of lovely photos, gorgeous clothes and some great sewing. It's also mainly kondona/boystyle which is very refreshing.

Next up, sewing things:
Kay at Sew Serendipity has written this cool post about using invisible zips. A lot of people are worried by these but you don't even need the special foot to use her method. Give it a try, you'll never look back.

I've been checking out the 'new look' burdastyle and I really like IvyFrozen's work. I'm not sure if she wears lolita but she says that some of her dresses are lolita inspired and they suit her beautifully. Very nice.

Modern Sewing Patterns has this pattern up for free at the moment - I don't know if anyone will find it useful. Maybe with a little alteration it could be the basis of a JSK? Not sure...

Finally, some Japanese sites. The translation doesn't always work too well but it's fun to look, like with the Gothic and Lolita Bible.
Gothic Lolita Union , Gothic Lolita.jp and Gothic Lolita Links all have lots of links leading to other places.

So that's what I've been looking at this week. Hopefully there will be more time for sewing this weekend!




21.8.09 - 20:48
I've had a bit of a virtual tidy up tonight, I've started following some blogs I've been, well, following for a while and I've added some new links to the ever expanding lists to the left there. I've added a couple of shops and the fantastic Weekend Designer.

Sadly I've taken down a couple of great blogs which are not being updated anymore - Petit four press and 夢見る (Yumemuri).

Some of the new ones I've added are not in English but most can be translated with google translate. Recently I've found a lot of nice lolita blogs in Hungarian!

Also I've been venturing in the world of Japanese blogs, I've got quite a few bookmarked but I had really hoped to find some sewing lolitas over there. I've had no real luck yet apart from the one called the Gothic and Lolita handmade club.

If anyone has visited any cool lolita sewing blogs recently I'd love to know about them!



Lolita petticoat tutorial

18.8.09 - 20:58
Okay, as promised here is a simple petticoat tutorial. This is how I made my organza petti the other week and also how I've made previous ones out of plain net. You can use what ever you like to make yours but it's best to avoid bridal tulle as it's usually quite soft and doesn't stand out as much.

You will need:
A small-ish piece of cotton fabric
net or organza around 3 metres / 3.5 - 4 yrds
A piece of elastic or ribbon - enough to fit over your hips easily

First of all you need to decide on a few things -
1. How many layers do you want to make?
2. How long do you want it to be?

I'll be showing you how to make a one or two layered petti. The two layered one has a layer with two tiers like in this picture.

Once you have decided it's time to start on the yolk. To make this you need two rectangles of fabric the measurement 'W' on the diagram should be your hip measurement plus 5inches(15cm) the one marked 'L' should be around 8in( 20cm).
You'll need to sew these two together at the ends to make a band and create a simple channel at the top by folding it over twice and sewing it down. Leave a small gap in this line of sewing - this is where you will insert your elastic or ribbon to make your petti fit your waist.

Next - cutting your net. When I buy net it is usually folded over (like in the picture above) from being on the card in the shop. I suggest you leave it like that for now, it's easier to measure and cut.

The petticoat that I made was 18in (46cm) long. The yolk accounts for about 5inches of that once the top has been folded to form the waist band and the bottom is hemmed. Therefore on an 18in petti, 13in is net + seam allowance. I cut the pieces for the top layer 15inches long and as wide as the whole net - 44in (112cm)
Check out my chart for a one and two layer petticoats (click to enlarge)

For one layer cut 8 'A' slices from the folded net. For two layer cut 6 'A' slices for the top layer and then three 'B' and six 'C' for the under layer. I made 'B' 10in and 'C' 5 in to match the 15inch top layer 'A'. (the complete length of piece 2 was 3 metres probably closer to 3.5-4 yards)

You should end up with lots of 44inch long strips. You need to join the ends together in a big loop. So for a single layer petti you are now looking at 9-10 yrds of net! You'll have to hem it if you use organza, but I don't hem the net as it doesn't fray.

Now you need to start ruffling. I find it easiest to
do it in sections. Make sure to pin the half way joins to the seams of the yolk - then half way between that and half way between that. These sections are then a bit more manageable and you know they will be even.
The edge of the net should be on the inside so you can't see it when its done.

For two layers there is even more ruffling as you need to attach the line of 'C' pieces to the line of 'B' pieces then also ruffle the top of the 'B' pieces to the yolk under the 'A' pieces!

Lastly you need to insert your elastic or ribbon using a large safety pin to thread it through the top. If you use elastic secure the ends together and sew up the gap. With ribbon you may want to create some button holes on the outside of the band for the end of the ribbon to come out through? I personally prefer elastic.

Then that's it. Until it becomes sooo flat you can't even tell it's a petti any more and then you add more layers or make a new one!

Here are a couple of other petticoat tutorials you might find useful too:
Chrissy's tutorial - three tiers, sewn directly to the elastic
Sugardale tutorial - very detailed, uses hook and eye for fastening


The secret ruffler foot

- 20:24
Something strange happened today. My parents popped in to visit me and brought a package (addressed to me) which they had found in their garage. It was a bit grim - all dusty and the numbers had totally faded from the postage label. However it was well wrapped in a jiffy bag and when I looked inside, it contained a brand new ruffler foot for my sewing machine.

I must have sent for it over two years ago. There's no packing slip but I think it's a cheapy generic one that I ordered from ebay. Obviously I either forgot or wasn't that bothered when it didn't arrive!

I've tried a ruffler foot since then and it's never worked, in fact I thought they were a total waste of time. But the one I got today has changed my mind. Check this out. It's in perfect condition and worked a treat.

Wow. It even worked on the 'every stitch' setting which constantly jammed my machine with my other one. And it's so fast and so neat and even.

Ruffles just got a whole lot easier.



Gothic Lolita Punk: Book review

9.8.09 - 19:04
I picked up this book the other day, Gothic Lolita Punk by 'ricorico'. It says it's 'A stunning showcase of cutting-edge work from the best Gothic Lolita artists working today.' I'm not so sure about cutting- edge but it's a nice collection of work.

It's got artwork by Kira Imai and Yoh as you would expect but what's cool about this book is the addition of 'step by step' sections by the artists. They have each taken one of their illustrations and shown the process by which they put it together.

Also as the book is a decent size (26 x 18.4 cm) you can see the details in the pieces which are sometimes lost when viewing on the Internet or in smaller publications.

The strangest thing about 'Gothic Lolita Punk' is the whole introduction is an interview with DJ SiSeN. I haven't got a problem with him and I even quite like some of the Industrial music he plays. Seriously though, one google image search shows his style is rather Cyber Goth. Some of what he says is interesting - about music and fashion not being as linked in Japan as it is in the west. So it's not that I disagree with what he is discussing - more that I'm not sure he was the best choice for this particular book.

It's a lot less exploratory than 'Japanese Goth' but it's also less serious. 'Gothic Lolita Punk' is a very accessible collection of Lolita artwork with added interest for artists or those interested in the artistic process.


Thanks guys

- 17:48

I went to a meet-up yesterday and met some really nice people. I had a fun day so I just wanted to say - thank you!
Also a quick thank you to all of you for following and reading my blog I hope you find it useful sometimes.
On an unrelated note, I just found out how to type a ♥. It's alt and 3 on the number pad. Why didn't I know this?!?



Review: StyleShake.com

4.8.09 - 21:38
Remember the other day when I was taking about playing around with StyleShake? Well I decided to give them a go and see what the dress would actually come out like. So I ordered something very similar to the image in that post. It’s a basic black cotton dress with a flared knee length skirt, puffed sleeves and a round collar.

I ordered it on the Tuesday and it arrived the following Wednesday. The website said you would have it in 10 working days so that was pretty good. The quality of the sewing is what you would expect from a shop, it’s not ‘homemade’ looking at all. The fabric is cotton – kind of like a good cotton but not that thick stuff that the brands mostly use. More like everyday clothes. It’s all lined which is nice and it actually fits really well.

I set the measurements to the closest to mine it would allow. You can only get it to your exact measurements if you are in proportion like the average sizes. I'm not quite, but there was enough ease in the dress so that it fits (yay).

The only problem I’ve had is that the dress came without the collar as you can see in the picture. It looks kinda weird without it and I paid extra for it so I wrote an email to their customer services. They didn’t answer my first email so I re-sent it a couple of days later. I asked if they could add the collar for me, but I got an email saying my money was being refunded to paypal. They refunded the £2 extra I paid for the collar and made no attempt to fix the dress.

I was not very impressed with this. What if the skirt part had been missing? Would they have refunded me half the money and left me with half a useless dress?

I can add the collar myself if I want to, but not everyone has the skills or the tools to do that. Also this dress is very plain. I don’t think I’d want to wear it ‘as is’. I’ll probably have to add at the very least a ruffle around the bottom. This all seems like a lot of work for a ‘ready to wear’ dress.

All in all I think they’re product is pretty good but their custom service is lacking somewhat.

UPDATE: I've had another email from Styleshake asking if I got their previous message about fixing my dress (which I didn't). So now it looks like they are going to fix it. My estimations of their customer service is going up!



New poofy petticoat

2.8.09 - 21:39
I made me a new petticoat today. My old ones are so dead that even wearing two doesn't do very much.

I decided to try out this crisp black organza as an alternative to the basic net I usually use. I've used three metres here and it was just enough for two layers, though the under layer does have two tiers.

I'm going to do a petticoat tutorial as soon as I get time to do the illustrations. It's all made up of rectangles so it's easy to do, just lots and lots and lots of ruffling.



Ideas for a more versatile wardrobe

1.8.09 - 22:17
Victorian Maiden recently released this under-dress. When I saw it, my first thought was that it's a lot prettier than some of the recent print releases from other brands. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer a delicate ruffle to images of cakes every time. But I digress...

What I actually wanted to talk about was the possibility of using this kind of item to create variation in your wardrobe without spending too much money.

Obviously buying your under things from VM isn't going to save you a whole lot of cash but making things more versatile could. Ever have a reversible jacket? Okay, bad example.

But think about it, an over skirt uses less fabric than a full skirt as it can be shorter and also doesn't have to extend all the way around the back.

As you can see in these examples, you can apply this principle to a JSK or a dress. Leaving openings at the front or at the back, or wherever you like and creating very different looks.

I like the idea that you could easily dress it up in different ways, without having to make a whole dress. Especially for a theme meet-up or a holiday when you might only want to wear that style once or twice. The construction of the outer part could be quite simple and probably wouldn't even need a zip in many cases.

I'm filing this one away as something I'd like to have a go at. Maybe it would be a good winter project? Having extra layers would make it warmer and the long nights might give me enough time to sew all those pin tucks.


Poorly netbook :(

- 22:10
My beloved netbook broke last week. I was quite sad as I had become quite used to having it to hand to look something up or check out the latest brand offerings. Hopefully it's all sorted now, so I can post some of the things I have been thinking about and peeking at in my lunch hour.