vrijdag 3 november 2017

Tips for handmade lolita fashion

Since a while I wanted to write about handmade lolita fashion. There are plenty of people who are creative in the fashion community. I myself have sewn lolita dresses almost as long as I've been wearing it (3,5 years now). When I started out, it was really useful to read tutorials and tips. By then lots of it was on LiveJournal or other blogs. Now we also have patterns we can use, so maybe it's a bit easier.
If you'd like to try it, please go for it, learn to sew and go create your own garments, it's so much fun!

The start: Learn to sew
If you can't work already with the sewing machine, that would be first thing to learn. Don't start with a dress, but see first how a sewing machine works on smaller parts of fabric. I started out (years ago) with for example a pillowcase (since it's just a square). If you find that too boring, a head-bow can be nice start as well (it's actually just two rectangles on top of each other, but okay getting the lace in or having it the right size might ask for some practice).

After that, you are probably ready to make more complicated things. I always found it nice to look in (normal clothing) sewing magazines, they usually have patterns in several levels of difficulty so you know what to start out with and have a clear explanation. You can learn very useful tricks and skills from this! Of course you could also start with making lolita pieces by then.

Learn more: Read/Watch Tutorials
There are lots of things already written and shown out there, so I'm not going to repeat all that.
A nice page to start from would be at Fyeahlolita, which has a long list of links to useful pages. Otherwise there are also people who make video's on Youtube (although not all of them are great).
The next step would be to try it out yourself multiple times. Practice makes perfect!

Lolita sewing magazines
In the old (Japanese) Gothic Lolita magazines they used to add some patterns, but for some years there is even a special magazine for lolita clothing patterns called Otome no Sewing. They are very affordable and can be bought via CDJapan for example. You can't read Japanese? Well that is not really a huge problem. They have step-by-step explanation with pictures, so if you know just a little bit about sewing already, you probably understand what they're doing. Great, right?

Different sizes
There are also lolita's that probably start with sewing because they can't fit in the usual sizes. The patterns in Otome no Sewing go up to size L (however, I'm not sure if this is exactly a western size L). For those who need a larger size, it might be good to learn a bit about how plus-size clothing is made (because proportions matter, it's not that every part of the pattern gets bigger). Or you could buy a mannequin that goes up to your size. It's certainly not impossible to learn, for this also counts that it wouldn't hurt to start trying to sew normal fashion first so you see how it works for your size.

Is handmade lolita fashion accepted?
What is accepted or not depends of course who and why you ask and who it would matter to, but yes in general it is accepted. There is however a sort of standard in Lolita Fashion, whether it is handmade or not. Sometimes handmade can go wrong as much as a lacemonster can go wrong. So therefore it is necessary to look for a good choice of fabric, lace and pattern that suits the style.
For example last year an American company published a lolita pattern but it's actually not all that great if you look at the details. For example, for the JSK on the right, the wide fake corset-lacing on the front is more or less an exaggerated anime-like version of lolita (it can be done right, but because of the color this just looks cheap). The blouse-sleeves on the left are obviously a bit bigger than usual and although I could see a refined version of this JSK from a brand with a better fabric choice, all the different elements are bit too much for this model in my opinion. But if you'd tweak it a little, let some things out, it could possibly work.

What material to use
For fabrics, it can be tricky, but when you study existing pieces you can learn a lot. There are generally three sorts of fabric-prints that lolita fashion uses. Plain fabric, fabric with a border print (on the bottom of the dress) and fabric with an all-over print.
Plain fabric is the easiest one to find, but it does of course matter what material it is from and how it falls. Cheap cotton will look just like it says, but this could be compensated with if it is a more intricate model with more refined details. However, it can be a good choice for starters because it is cheaper and easier to buy.
Plain fabric, all-over print and a border print.
For fabric prints, it really depends how busy it gets and how big the elements in it are. If you have a busy print with very small elements, this is usually a bit too busy for lolita. If it is more spread out and you would make a not-too-detailed model with it with lace in between or something, it could work. Border prints can be hard to find, they are (outside of Japan) sometimes found in more hobby/deco-categories but those aren't necessarily the right choice for lolita fashion.
The same goes for lace, most brands work with fine embroidered lace, not the scratchy cheap type.
But for everything counts: there are exceptions. In fact there are plenty of brand-pieces that have very busy prints or have the simplest designs with plain fabric. It also all depends on how it is used and would look in the end.

Where to find it
For suitable fabrics I think the best resource is Etsy. You can search for "lolita fabric" there and find plenty of useful fabric. Another website is Modes4u, they sell Japanese fabric too. Another option is designing fabric yourself and ordering it via Spoonflower for example. But that deserves another whole article.
For lace there are plenty of options, but some nice and cute lace can be found for example on Etsy and AliExpress if you search for "mesh lace" or "embroidery lace" + the element you are looking for.
Just remember that not everything you find would be suitable for lolita fashion, although there is so much cute stuff available!
Some border-print and all-over print fabric from Beautifulwork and lace from Lacetrimwholesalers, both on Etsy.

So, it is not all that complicated as it might seem, you just have to start somewhere and go from there.
If you have any questions I'd like to help of course, although things like actual patterns and such would take a bit too much of my time at the moment. What also could help is to join lolita sewing groups on Facebook, there are plenty of us who are willing to help out a creative fellow in need!

vrijdag 27 oktober 2017

Coord/Wardrobe Catch-up Sept/Okt '17

Long time no post! Well, actually secretly I've been writing up some stuff about sewing tips and Japan things, but I want to make illustrations to go with them so it might take a while. In the mean time I'll just update on you on some new stuff from last months.

When september came (and work started again) I was kind of in a good, energetic mode. And I also aqcuired a new iPad to draw on (the new one with the Apple pencil has pressure sensitivity so it's almost like drawing on a normal drawing tablet). I wanted to seriously give it a swing, so I thought, why not pick out and old fabric print design I thought of and create that with it. I had this sketch still lying around from a while ago and it was the perfect time to start it with the autumn coming. So this is what it became. you can see the details of the print on my portfolio website: www.pet-pet.nl. My original idea had dark red en green colors, but I think that wouldn't really suit my style so I changed it to some golden autumn colors.
I really wanted to wear it as soon as possible, and luckily I had a meet planned in my city with some fellow lolita friends. I wore a fake fur fawn collar with it, some princess sleeves blouse (that I bought at DMC in London), a pocket watch necklace I got some years ago for christmas, boots I bought at Ebay and a small straw basket that I thrifted and decorated with lace, bow and attached leaves to match the theme. Hahah I guess I was a little over-dressed, but I had fun <3!

A week before that we had a Halloween meet with our countries lolita community. It was a high tea at Hotel New York in Rotterdam. This is actually an old building, because it was the former headquarters of the Holland-America Lijn. Yes, that is where the huge ships would start their big journey to the other side of the ocean..how cool! The interior was also designed following that theme.
Before we had the high tea, we went to take some photos at the museum-park. For a long time I didn't know what to wear for this halloween meet, but I had one outfit that was an instant fit: Welcome to the Sweets Hexenhaus (you know, with the witch in that house). For that I crafted a witch hat myself, I was kinda happy with it, wearing it felt pretty nice too. People should wear these kinds of hats more often ;) !

The coord itself though was not very new. I feel a bit like I revolved my wardrobe again and I thought, why not challenge myself to, in the future, at least make some new coords with what I already have. So I made myself a list for 4 mainpieces per season. I already did two of them, one which is with the sunny forest dress above, and the other one is with my Dutch Sweet Tea jsk, which I wore with some pink (instead of the usual cream/beige) and with a blazer. Don't you think this totally changes the feel of the dress?
Yesterday, I wanted to wear some of the other to-do-coords but discovered I didn't have any matching socks (can you believe that with all the otks I already own ^^; ). So I hope I can buy some soon. There are already some other new items on their way too, I treated myself a bit for my birthday...I'm excited and hope the mailman rings our bell soon!

How is your autumn coming along? This october I carved a pumpkin for the first time, haha! 
Do you like to wear coords according to seasons or don't you care about that at all? Let me know!

vrijdag 8 september 2017

London & DMC Part 3

The second day of Dream Masquerade Carnival was for the tea party of course. Luckily we had a bit more time to prepare, but I still managed to be the slowest one because of my hair T_T.
Week after week I thought about what to wear, my first choice was the Milky Planet OP, but I've worn it some weeks earlier. Don't you know that feeling where you want to wear something you haven't worn for a long time, but when you just wore it recently then you rather choose something else? Well, this is why.
In the end I chose the Sugar Pansy jsk. I still love that one a lot, it makes me feel very pretty, because of the wide tiered skirt and all the lovely lace around the neck. I matched it with some princess-sleeves for an even more dreamy, flowy look. The flower headband I already made 1,5 years ago, and the yellow shoes I bought in Japan last March. They are a perfect matching yellow! Just like during the Easter tea party I attached some bows to it to make it a little less plain.
Whitehall Court (photo from Wikimedia)

The Tea Party

Our venue was at the Whitehall Court. This building is next to the Thames and it's a pretty old and prestigious one. Because of its close ties to the Royal Horse Guards and The house of Parliament, the venue was used for a lot of important meetings and stays throughout history.

It was another sunny day, so it was quite surprising when they called us to wait inside for the preparation. I think we had to wait more than half an hour after the actual starting time, in quite a small room. After that we could get our tickets and come in. A very large impressive victorian room, decorated with wonderful chandeliers, old tapestries, and now hosting a lot of lolita's so the space was full of big round tables with fancy candleholders. It was the biggest tea party I've been to, and I honestly think I won't see any bigger ever in the future, there were so many people!!
View of the corner with the head (guest) table
I chose to sit close to some other Dutch sweeties, but sit next to new people because it's a great opportunity to meet some new fellow lolita's and chat with each other. On my left there was a girl who came all the way from the USA, and on my right some girls from Scotland, how awesome is that! From all the waiting I got really hungry, so I passed on joining the group photo and started with the food already. It was really tasty!

After some eating, my Scottish neighbours thought it would be a nice time to take some outfit photos, which was a lot of fun (they had the cutest strawberry-themed dresses on)! And then of course some more chatting inside. I even got asked by Asuka who wanted to take an outfit picture of me, I felt a bit honored ^_^ ! Then the coolest duo Babi and Kaie of Triple Fortune apparently did a round and chatted at every table, so nice of 'm. They asked where I was from, and I told them from The Netherlands and tried to tell them there were about 20 Dutch people there (eh, maybe it were a bit less after actually counting) and they said they wanted to go to The Netherlands too! It would be really nice if we could have another big event one day and have 'm here.
With Babi & Kaie ^-^

Everybody just chatting away

It was time for the raffle and then a talk from the organizers, who announced that this would be the last tea party from the Tea Party Club, because they would stop! After 10 years, of course everyone was absolutely grateful for all their hard work. I'm happy I still could attend two of their events, but luckily Street Fashion Europe is still a thing, and maybe, who knows, somebody else will start throwing these amazing parties.

Not to forget: we did get some lovely gifts, including a lovely british-themed button and a
hilarious but actual useful fan.

When the tea party was over, I heard that one of my roommates, Poppy, didn't feel well and that (a super sweet) someone wanted to call a taxi for her, so we all went together back by car and then took our time to get enough rest in the hostel. I'm happy that Poppy felt a bit better after that <3 she's a strong person! After some chinese food we went our way to the after party, which was at a crazy (and amazing) cocktail bar, The Escapologist. Where you get 10 pounds off of your first drink if you subscribed to their newsletter, so I actually got a cocktail almost for free. We had fun, but it was already quite late so we didn't stay too long to still get some sleep after the exhausting days.
The next day we could relax a bit (haha, no more effort putting on fancy outfits anymore, yay), got some breakfast/food near the station and then it was time for me to say goodbye and head to the airport again. During the trip to Heathrow I talked to my husband who had a lot of fun as well and we agreed on that London is still a very nice place to be at <3 so thank you London, thanks roommates and thank you Tea Party Club for the great time again!

maandag 4 september 2017

London & DMC Part 2

The day was finally there! We stood up early to prepare, two of my roommates were models so they had to be there even earlier than the gold ticket holders. It all went pretty well in the end, as two others also had a silver ticket just like me so we could travel together (in one of those cool red buses)!

The coordination

Planning my outfit for the Dream Masquerade Carnival main event took a while. You probably remember me buying Toy March, and I thought it would actually be a pretty good choice for the theme (although it has nothing to do with a masquerade, it is a bit dreamy (stars/moons) and Carnival-ish, because of the festive march on the print. That, and I think because Angelic Pretty was the main guest, I wanted to wear AP dresses on both days. However, it was a bit of a challenge to create a good coord, because it's hard to find the right hue of blue and red. This is how it looked in the end (outfit photo was taken by Poppy I believe, thank you!):

The red shoes I bought quite quickly after the dress got here, I thought they were the perfect color and are also a bit more mature looking (in comparison with my other sweet shoes). They were on sale at a 'normal' online clothing shop, happy I bought them! For the socks, I bought some diamond/checkered socks first, but the blue was not matching at all. Lots of dark-blue hues in clothing have a green-ish undertone instead of the royal/purple-like tone. I found these AP socks with golden crowns/bows on it at a Japanese auction website and took a shot, and they are a bit darker, but at least the right sort of blue, yay!
Then I needed a short-sleeve red blouse to match it. I made a long-sleeve red blouse some years ago for a christmas outfit, but it was quite wonky, so I made a new one. Every time I make a blouse I get a little bit better at it, but it is still a challenge. As you can see it's not perfect, but in the end I was pretty okay with it.
The matching wristcuffs and headbow were made by me as well. To be honest I wanted to do something more impressive for my headpiece, like tiny felt animals that look like the characters on the dress, but as said I was ill for two weeks just before we left, so I just had enough time for the other things to be finished.

The event

It was time: a lot of lolita's lined up next to the Institute of Directors, right in the heart of London. It was so exciting to all wait together, see familiar faces, do hugs and chat until we could go in. What do you do when you have one our extra shopping, and everybody wants to buy the prettiest items?
Well, some vendors interested me more than others, so I went to those first. I walked around to see what was where and arrived at Tokimeki Teikoku no Momoiro Gabriel's table first, that one artist who makes cute artistic raisin jewelry of animals and such. Last year I bought a bunny necklace at Under the Sea from them, but after staring at everything for a long while I just couldn't decide what I wanted.

Next to them was Triple Fortune, and oh their creations are gorgeous! But actually I don't wear bonnets a lot (I just bought one this year from Meta to try it out, but haven't worn it yet). Their tights are pretty too but I wouldn't know what to wear it with. Then, actually I had really hoped they would sell those new fairy-themed dresses (see the photo on the left, it was published in MELT). I showed them to my husband before and there was one he really liked too, but it wasn't there unfortunately (maybe it's not even out yet? If anyone knows please tell me!)

So I quickly walked to the other rooms, finding Angelic Pretty & Kira Imai in a crowded corner. And yay, they had something I liked! Otk's from AP (yellow easter-themed, matching with the Happy Garden jsk I hope). It was waaay to crowded at Kira Imai's table so I headed to the Bring-and-Buy room. I found some pretty nice (and cheap) blouses that I loved so I immediately took them with me. At the remote vending table I found two brooches that I wanted for a while, the wine & cheese themed ones from and Mulberry Chronicles! You might not know it but I like wine and brie quite a bit :P, however I was too late to buy them online, I think I was quite lucky finding them at DMC! Later I also bought a new AP blouse at the Bring-and-Buy, but it was wrapped in plastic. It said to be from their last lucky pack and I searched for the size which looked okay, but in the end it was from a different pack I think and it was just too small for me, so I'm selling it again.

With Maki! Sorry for the weird pose.
Photo by Emily Valentine
It took a while to pay for everything  at the Bring-and-Buy (because it was via PayPal and one by one, so I missed the Q&A with Maki and Asuka. I think it was okay though, and luckily someone filmed it too! I walked back to the Kira Imai booth to look and buy some things. I'm going to be honest, from the start I was not always a fan of her work. It's very well-made and detailed, but a lot of her art don't have that 'kawaii' feeling to me, sometimes it is even a bit creepy, so it's not 100% my taste. Over the years I started to appreciate it a little more though. I already bought some of her work in Tokyo (at Fewmany in Marui Annex, Shinjuku) and it was really nice to meet her too.

Then I saw the amazing photo props/place next to it and Maki (from AP) was taking pictures with/from people, so I asked her too and she took a photo of me as well, how nice! I think Maki looks really sweet, I wish I was better at Japanese so I could've talked to her. Then after a drink and lovely piece of cake (for lunch, haha) I went to see the fashion shows, which were awesome.

Afterwards came another round of shopping, and taking pictures with people and then I chatted a bit with the other Dutch people there, there were really quite a lot more than last year, it was fun!

A selfie with the cute Liv and me
while waiting for the raffle to start.
Photo with some friends!
Made by Jatzu from
Freefall Creation
After that it was already almost the end of the day. It was really fun seeing the 'Fashion Fix' and also the 'Ten years of lolita' fashion show with old and new Angelic Pretty pieces, very nice. We were quite tired when the raffle started. to my surprise my number was called in one of the first minutes, but then it turned out there was another person with the same number. Apparently there were two different series, one with a border on the paper and one without. I didn't win anything after all. Then after some more minutes they discovered that there were very few people getting prizes because of the 'bordered' series and then they gave some people different tickets so everyone had a better chance.

After some speeches and a big thank you, the saturday of DMC ended. We were tired but walked through the city to another vegan buffet place. I was so happy to finally get some food and after that some delicious frozen yoghurt. It was quite late when we arrived at the hostel again. It was a wonderful day, but I was happy that the Sunday would be a bit more relaxed.

Here are the hings I got (the silver tickets also got a bag filled with presents) or bought:

Amazingly filled bag with a mug,
coloring book and small DMC/AP mirror <3 !


zaterdag 2 september 2017

London & DMC Part 1

Last year I was a vendor (Risu Rose) at Wicked & Whimsy, you know, the big 2016 lolita fashion event organized by the Tea Party Club. While being a vendor, I also had an amazing time and I didn't go to the tea party on Sunday last year, then I decided I'd love to go to their next event in 2017. So I did!
The pond at Kensington Gardens, there are always plenty of birds nearby. I love London's parks! 

It took a while to find a construction with other people and/or being there some extra days, because I needed to work the monday after, but found a great solution in the end. My husband decided he wanted to come with me to London for some days before (and then go to a friend) so we went there on Tuesday and spent our days with nice food, shopping, walking and games (we went to one of the ClueQuest escape rooms and it was supercool!!). Honestly I was very happy I could, because just before this certain week, I was ill for two weeks, and couldn't get out of the house a lot. Fortunately enough it cleared up!

London is a huge city where there is always something new happening and its looks never seem to awe me. Especially in the summer there are lots of festivals and events, small and big. I wouldn't mind living there at all (if it weren't for Brexit and the general higher expenses).

A Ben & Jerry's icecream store where we enjoyed dessert after
a nice dinner with my father-in-law and his girlfriend.
There was a huge M&M World store, with all kinds of stuff.
The Lego store had amazing displays, look a this
lego ' painting' of London!
Nick had fun at a Star Wars arcade game pod.

Before we knew it, it was Friday and I met up with my roommates Poppy, Alexander, Liv, Ayumi (and mom) and unpacked at our hostel room near Elephant & Castle station. Afterwards we went to some cute shops near Covent Garden, bought cupcakes and then went for dinner at Dou Dou, a vegan buffet restaurant in Camden. I was really surprised by the quality of the food for such a good price, it was really tasty too! After finishing up we went back to prepare for the following day (and do lots of chatting :P ).
A selection of M&M's from M&M's World

My purchases from London (before DMC):

A merry-go-round moving musical cookie  jar and some unique tea
from Fortnum & Mason. I saw these cookie jars last year and
really wanted to have one myself!

Nick bought me this surprise troll pack, haha. So cute of him!
Lego character surprise packs!
I forgot my hairbrush, so I bought a new one at Pylones.
Adorable Cinnamoroll shirt bought at Artbox!

A pencil and ring from Artbox. I was happy that I found the ring
in between a tiny box of accessories. It was only £4!

I finally have a straw boater hat. Found it in Camden!

Birbs magnets/clips from
the Japanese bookstore.
An awesome Toothless mug from the 'Shrek's Adventure store' .