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Sunday, 28 February 2016

Valentine's Day Meetup with the Lolitas

I'm not usually a big fan of Valentine's day things because I'm a bitter spinster, but this was a fun little meetup after Valentine's day, so it wasn't bad at all. I actually really enjoyed it, and it's probably the first time this year that I've been out to Manchester!
I was a little late for meeting up at Koffee Pot, but I still managed to get a seat and order my lunch, thanks to the girls. The raspberry ripple milkshakes at Koffee Pot look and taste amazing, though I didn't manage to get any photos of it or of the meetup at all! I was a bit short on time and space, even though everyone looked amazing and cute in their Valentine's day themed, red and white coordinates.
We exchanged Valentine's day message cards anonymously, where I got a very sweet message but I don't know whom it's from! It says that I'm elegant, polite, friendly and sweet, which was so lovely and really made my day. There was also a CLAM quiz that we played in order to win a prize, including questions about famous Lolita YouTubers, Misako Aoki, Mana-sama, Kamikaze Girls, and the group itself; I got eleven out of sixteen, and I fell down on the question about the "yen trick" for Bodyline, which I had no idea even existed! Now I know...

After that we had a brief walk in Manchester's Northern quarters to get to another cafe where we just hanged out, called Cafe Nexus. There we played another game, where we wrote down random words, put them into a pile, and drew three cards to make a new print name for a brand to release. I laughed so hard, as on my first draw I got "anxious lemon tea-time" - the image that popped into my head was just too funny! Maybe the lemon is afraid of being used in somebody's tea? Who knows? It's on the top of my list for some brand to release - Metamorphose temps de fille, probably would be the best bet, haha.

We also had a photographer with us, who came all the way from London to photograph us for a magazine article! It was strangely enjoyable being photographed - usually I'm not a photogenic person and hate having my photo taken - maybe because I didn't have to smile? Fingers crossed that we get into the magazine! I may post the photos to my blog if I get permission from the photographer.

For this meet I didn't have anything remotely Valentine's day themed, so I just wore a Sweet Lolita coordinate that my partner from the EGL Dress-Me-Up challenge put together for me, which was a lot of fun wearing all together.

Headbow: Baby the Stars Shine Bright
Blouse: Baby the Stars Shine Bright
JSK: Lovely Sweet Room - Baby the Stars Shine Bright
Bag: Angelic Pretty
Socks: Secret Shop
Shoes: Hush Puppies

After all, although it was a little uneventful and quiet because of the process of photography, it was a very fun meetup and it was nice to see everybody and just hang out. There were some new members to the comm too, which I thought was really nice. 
I had a great time, except for the parts where I nearly broke my ankles wearing those heels on the blasted uneven ground in Manchester - if it weren't for a nearby pole and Mo, I would probably have humiliated myself by face-planting the ground in full Lolita fashion, haha! Petticoats and bloomers would have been displayed for everyone to see! Just imagining it makes me laugh. Thankfully some divine force stopped me from making a spectacle of myself. :)

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

1790s Chemise en Robe

Sorry it's been a long time since I last posted - I've been very busy working on one of my first 18th Century costumes, a chemise en robe! I've always admired the summery, dreamy feel of those chemise dresses (so informal and delicate), paired with coloured satin or taffeta sashes and a huge, feathery hat - and thus, I have wanted to make one for a long time!

This dress is made from what feels like miles of gauzy, net-like muslin, which is very soft and delicate to the touch. It is also unbearably hard to work with, so for future chemise en robes (of which there shall be many) I may resort to using linen, silk taffeta, lawn or voile, depending on how period I want to go. It rips so easily and probably won't last long, especially with how much unpicking I have to do. :) Still, I think it looks very romantic and flowing.

At first I found this project very easy making up the bodice and lining, but then came the difficulties with the fabric, attaching the bodice to the waistband, and measuring the length for the skirt wrong (and therefore I had to add another ruffle to the hem, but that wasn't too much of a sacrifice to make). The ruffle was something my grandmother thought up, to create a channel and feed some tape through to gather it; it was very long-winded gathering four and a half meters of muslin and then sewing it three times, but in the end I think it's worth the hassle.

I was also unsure what feel I wanted to give the dress. My pattern from Laughing Moon was for 1790-1800, and what I really desired was a mid-18th Century chemise en robe, not something more Regency in feel. I do like the Regency period, but the frippery, dresses and fun of the 18th Century is where my heart is; so, I wanted to make something that looked like it came from an earlier period. I think I may have managed that with the puffed sleeves and ribbons, but perhaps the empire waist and bust-line makes it clearly early Regency.
Either way, I love how it has all come together! My first costume! When I've had a bit more practice and built up a portfolio, it is my dream to open an online store selling bespoke historical garments from Medieval times to the 1950s - that, along with writing my books. :)

My grandmother helped me making this dress, so I'm very thankful for her help. It would have been very difficult to tackle without her!

I added a black taffeta sash that I made earlier and a muslin fichu as accessories for these photos.

If you want to see my process of making the dress in more depth, see my LiveJournal sewing diary!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Vintage Shoujo Manga at the Atkinson

This Saturday our local comm had a meetup in my town, where we visited the Atkinson art gallery and put on a fashion show as a part of the exhibition. I had such fun, and I never would have thought I'd take place in a fashion show, but I did! It was an amazing experience and I enjoyed it so much.

First of all we checked out the vintage shoujo manga exhibition at the gallery, and I was inspired by the art despite not drawing in manga style anymore. It was a dream come true to finally see a Macoto Takahashi illustration in a gallery, which you can see below! I also took photos of some of my favourite pieces, which are contain vintage clothing and big, dewy eyes and roses - extremely cute!

Mo in front of Macoto's work

Then we had a wander around the actual gallery, where we saw some stunning classical pieces and some of the history of Southport, including these historical garments. They were gorgeous, and I really loved the clothing and details in this painting.

For lunch we went to a little cafe called Cranberries, and the rest of the day was spent on the fashion show and preparation. It was so exciting!

Our comm leader, Nadina, brought along some upbeat waltz music for us to walk down the stairs to in a graceful, elegant manner, where we would stop at the bottom of the staircase and pose three times for photographs. There was a gathering of people at the bottom, who also took photos and asked questions about the fashion. I felt like a debutante walking down those stairs in waltz time - incredibly serene and princess-like, which makes a change to my usual shy, awkward demeanor! Somebody also said that I looked like an oil painting, which really boosted my confidence, as I love oil paintings and wish I looked like one of its subjects!
Everyone was fabulous and looked amazing, even changing their wigs for the second outfit change - that was a lot of effort, I just changed my JSK from Baby's Shirring Princess to Innocent World's Antique Cherub Candlestick. We got a loud round of applause at the end, which was also lovely, and some sweet little girls went about hugging the comm members and calling us princesses - so sweet!

A photo that the gallery took of me - please excuse my derp face!

 Here's my first outfit that I wore, with a few changes. I scrapped the headbow based on my hairstyle, and exchanged it for a simple diamante headband, and I changed the shoes to black Mary Janes for more of a frumpy, old school look.

Edit: Look at this adorable video that Georgia made of our meetup!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

1940s-Inspired Summer Fruits Beach Top

Once again, here is a project that I've altered to fit my moleskine designs. Originally I wanted a crop top to go with my Summer Fruits skirt that I made last summer from the same fabric, which means altering another pattern. Mercifully, this change was very simple, and I only needed to measure and cut some of the length off - so this project was quick, fun and easy. Out of everything, the hardest thing to do was the machine buttonholes - my arch nemesis!

 The ric-rack trim in red really sets off the Reds and pinks in the berry print fabric, which I purchased on a lovely trip to London with my Mum for only three pounds a metre! I'm a big fan of how it looks paired with the skirt, though the good thing is that it can be matched with simple jeans or plain shorts too - perfect for a Floridian beach!