Friday, October 8, 2010

A Shoe-torial!

Dear Readers, I am going to try to get a tutorial up at least once a month, so to kick things off I bring you the wonderful wisdom of my local shoe repair guy. Every lolita should have a shoe guy, for the little repairs and the big ones. Having a shoe guy one can trust to good work and to tell you when there is nothing they can do is a huge money saver. Which leads me to today's tutorial.
I had gotten a pair of Bodyline Heart Buckle shoes in white as an exchange with a close friend for some sewing work. After several failed coordinates, I decided they would serve me much better in black, so I took them to my shoe guy. He told me that since the shoes were synthetic there was nothing he could do that would for sure work, but he recommended that if I wanted to give it a shot, to try sharpie and shoe polish. Here is the result:



Allow yourself 2 days for this project because it helps to let the shoes dry over night before polishing, but in a pinch you could do it in an afternoon. You will need some nail polish remover, black and green sharpies (I used the big ones to save time, but you will need some fine point and ultra fine point black for the details later on), tape, and shoe polish. For the shoe polish you can use the stuff in the squeeze applicator bottle, but I already owned the tin, so that is what I used. Also, please do this in a well ventilated area. I take no responsibility for headaches for the fumes from markers. I did this on my porch.


First you will need to remove any parts you don't want to color, and cover any parts that can't be removed with tape. Then clean the shoes with the nail polish remover. A quick once over will remove any gunk from the shoes, especially if they have been worn. Also, it is good to keep around to get the sharpie off your fingers later on.










After everything is covered, start in with the green! The green doesn't have to be perfect, but you will need to get a pretty good coat on, or else the black will appear blueish.










Start covering with the black. The coat with the black needs to be pretty close to perfect or the green will show through.











Once the black has totally covered the green, let it dry over night. The sharpie will feel a little tacky feeling, and will stink. Letting the shoes air over night will set the sharpie and let some of the smell dissipate.







The next day, take the tape off of the shoes. You may need a knife to do this. Then apply shoe polish and buff to a shine. The shoe polish will not correct any color problems; that has to be done beforehand, but it will seal the shoes and protect the color. You may find you will have to touch up the shoes from time to time but the color will not crack or scrape off.



Good Luck and Happy Crafting!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fabric Surprise!


Last night I was looking for my glue gun, and found a wonderful surprise - two bags full of wool fabric! Upon further inspection I have about a yard of a natural black coat weight wool, and 7 2/3 yards of a navy and gray wool suiting. I have a pretty good idea of where the black wool came from, but I'm at a total loss where the suiting is from. Ah well, the good news is that this seems like the perfect opportunity to make a winter dress and matching jacket. I am leaning towards this design from a set of scans uploaded onto the live journal community about a year ago. The shape of the skirt, with the pleats, and the cuffs on the sleeves really lend its self to becoming a matched set of dress or jumperskirt and jacket.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An Apology for the Delays



Dear Readers, I do apologize for the lack of posts these past 2 months. I have had a slight onslaught of real life that has kept me away from the computer most days. I have a job again, and am taking more sewing commissions than usual (expect some tutorials in the next weeks), and then there is Marcus and Fritz. Within 2 weeks I have gotten two new men in my life.

Marcus, who has been a good friend for years, has become my boyfriend. Dear little Fritz has been too cute for words, which is good, because we are still housebreaking and if he wasn't cute...

I now return you to your regularly scheduled postings.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sick Day

Yarn and Tea

These past couple days I have been laid up sick. This happens to me maybe twice a year; excepting a chronic condition, I am a generally healthy person. Since I am so rarely sick, I find it a very frustrating experience. I want to get up and do something; it drives me absolutely nuts to lay about on the couch all day, much less 2 or 3 days. So instead of being mopey, I have put together a list of lolita(ish) ways to entertain one's self when they are horizontal and have little to no brain power.

  • Read a good book - I am always a fan of literature, but often find I don't have time to read as much as I would like. ("As much as I would like" is a relative term, I do get to finish 3 or 4 books a month). Take this opportunity to get caught up on that book one started, but has not had the time to finish.
  • Knit, crochet, tat, embroider - A simple handy craft can do wonders for tackling the feeling of being an unproductive slug when one is sick. It takes very little energy to knit, but it is very satisfying to count the rows one has finished during that day. I have been working on a winter hat. The band is almost finished, but since I am working with sock yarn on a size 1 needle it is going to take a while. I would not recommend my dear readers try to learn a new craft while sick, because the fuzzy headed sensation is rather counter productive to learning a craft that requires concentration.
  • Play with a Poupee Girl - Goodness knows who thought this up, but it is a fairly decent way to spend the day. One must have photographs of one's wardrobe to post, that are just one's wardrobe pieces, not worn (although I take my pictures on a dress form), but one can spend hours looking through others' wardrobes. It may sound silly, but there is a great sense of accomplishment from having the majority of ones wardrobe cataloged online.
  • Watch a movie - The typical lolita movie, Kamikaze Girls/Shimotsuma Monogatari, is always an option, but one can branch out. My favorites: Movies based on Jane Austin books, BBC's All Creatures Great and Small, classic films such as It Happened One Night, and anything with a happy ending.
  • Take a shower - Its a little thing, but taking a shower always makes me feel like I did something, instead of just laying around. Bonus, if one is congested, it can help clear things up, and relieve sinus pressure.
  • Lounge in bloomers, socks, and a cut sew - A little lolita, if one does not already own lolita pajamas, can do a great deal for ones mental health. Feeling pretty does make one feel better. I have a cute night shirt and matching flannel bloomers for just such occasions.
  • Tea - Tea always helps when sick. Take the opportunity to explore what teas help with one's symptoms. I am a fan of Celestial Seasonings Lemon Zinger for head colds, and chamomile or peppermint for flues. I like to use a pretty mug as opposed to cup and saucer. Something about a mug when snuggled in a quilt feels much snugglier than a dainty cup. My favorite mug is from Starbucks, it is in the above photograph. The snow flakes are cute and the unusual shape makes it feel a little whimsical.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How Much Poof?

Although any aspect of lolita can be debated, the steadfast, make or break rule is the silhouette. If the skirt isn't full, it just isn't lolita. But how much fullness, or poof, does one need? To answer that I present 4 photographs:






This first photograph is a base photo. It is a simple JSK (Jumper skirt) without any support. All dresses will hang just about straight down without something to support them. Although the outfit is reasonably well coordinated with a matching blouse and some jewelry, it is not a complete outfit because the skirt has no shape to it.







This next photograph is the same JSK with a simple cotton petticoat underneath. The cotton petticoat does not give any poof, but it does create the appearance of fullness. This is a good option for when you want to wear lolita but the usual amount of poof would be impractical. Situations such as travel, standing room only concerts, and school (high school/college/graduate programs) lend themselves to a minimal poof petticoat.









This third photograph demonstrates a fairly typical single layer net petticoat. Although this one I made myself (tutorial coming soon) it is similar in construction to this one from Baby, The Stars Shine Bright. This is an every day amount of poof. It gives a decent amount of fullness but is not unmanageable. It will fit on train seats, roller coasters, in cars, and chairs without trouble, but is more than acceptable in terms of shape and fullness. Please, do note this petticoat, and the next one, are A-line petticoats. They create a shape that gets progressively fuller from the waist to the hem, as opposed to a bell shaped skirt. Both are widely accepted lolita skirt shapes.




This last photograph shows the same JSK with a two layer net petticoat underneath. This petticoat is again homemade, but similar to this petticoat from Baby. This is a more formal amount of poof. This much poof, although aesthetically pleasing, may be impractical for especially active days. It is more suited for days when many photographs will be taken, teas, and meet ups.

It is always worth noting that to some degree the amount of poof is a personal preference. Some consider this level of poof the bare minimum to really be lolita, while others require less. What is important is that one finds the amount of poof appropriate for one's self and for the activities of the day. It is also worth noting that if one is not wearing some sort of support under their skirt, because any support is impractical, then perhaps the choice of outfit in general needs to be reconsidered. Lolita require support, and if the day's activities prohibit the wearing of support, then the day's activities prohibit the wearing of lolita.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Beginning

As all things often being, it seems that a laying out of purpose and philosophy is the most appropriate way to begin this blog. With regards to purpose, this blog will predominantly discuss the lolita fashion and aesthetic. As nearly all of my lolita wardrobe is handmade, I can predict that in addition to usual outfit snaps, there will be sewing posts, and often tutorials as well. It will sometimes be regionally specific, sometimes global, sometimes personal. In short, this blog will be a reflection of my life as a lolita.

For those of you, dear readers, who are unaware of the lolita fashion, a brief history. Lolita is an abbreviation, a shortening of EGL, or Elegant Gothic Lolita. A street fashion, originally from Japan, but quickly spreading across the globe. For further reading, I direct you to lolitafashion.org.

Regarding philosophy, this may be best handled as something of my own lolita manifesto. My opinion of what lolita is and isn't, who can be a lolita.

Lolita is a form of expression. Yes, it is a fashion, and for some the love of lolita stops there, it is just one of many fashions they will wear throughout their lifetime. For others, it is more - it is a way of standing on our own, apart from societies expectations. It is liberation, an act of peaceful, artful, delicate rebellion.

Lolita is an act of feminism. To dress entirely for one's self, to dress to feel beautiful, is a right of any person. When one simply wears lolita, they conform to societies view of them. When one is a lolita, they dress for themselves, the lolita fashion is the gateway to a larger self liberation. By adopting ruffles and bows, instead of t-shirts and jeans, a lolita says to the world that they love themselves as they are (or at least are working on loving themselves).

Lolita is not sexual. The purpose of lolita is to please one's self, therefore, lolita is not intended for others. Yes, many lolitas have sex. We are not a celibate society, we are human, but lolita is not synonymous with sex.

Lolita is not hateful. Lolitas come in all shapes and sizes, from all backgrounds, but ultimately we are all similar. We are a few out of many, but with an incredible power to do good in the world, by simply being polite. (Try it some day, you, dear reader, will find that the world becomes a much more pleasant place when you are polite to others).

Lolita is open to all ages, races, genders, religions, and sexual orientations. Anyone who wants to be a lolita can become a lolita.

I wear lolita to be myself. It allows me to do things I can not in "normal" clothes. It makes me feel beautiful. It makes me feel brave. It brings me back to the simple things in life, taking one small pleasure at a time; a sip of tea, the cool breeze, my friends.

I will expand on why I wear lolita at some other time, but for now, I encourage you, dear readers, to define lolita for yourselves. What is it to you? What is it not?