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Saturday, 31 January 2015

Evangeline's Summer Dress

If you remember the taster chapters of Margaret's School that I posted here a while back, you might recall that there was a certain main character called Evangeline Bassett, who may or may not be crucial to the plot!
I wanted to design and make a OP dress that she wore in a couple of the chapters - reluctantly, of course, if you take into account the tomboy she is - as making the clothes my characters wear sounded like a fun challenge. I would have started with Aika, naturally, but her clothes are way too complex to even think about with my mediocre skills. So, Evangeline's summer dress it was!

When I saw this Jane Marple otome-kei/casual Lolita dress I wanted it so much, as it was literally what I could imagine Evangeline's old-fashioned, slightly dowdy mother sewing and forcing her to wear, as she's constantly chastising her to be ladylike.

The style I was going for was a mix between 50s and nautical, with a splash of Lolita for good measure. So I bought the Vintage Vogue V9000 pattern from John Lewis and made it in... about the space of a month. The fabric is a very lovely blue and white striped cotton, with a thick white linen collar.
Quite a bit of hand-sewing was also involved, as I sewed on the flower-shaped buttons by hand, as well as the tiny white bows with pearl centres. I also used rickrack around the sleeves and at the back of the collar (mainly to disguise my untidy lines when I clumsily attached the collar to the bodice). It also includes a hidden zipper down the right side.

Fabric:  Blue and white striped 100% cotton and plain white linen.
Pattern: Vintage Vogue V9000
Year: The pattern is circa 1951, but I wanted a slightly more updated feel.
Notions: Cotton, thread, rickrack, flower buttons, white bows with pearls.
How historically accurate is it? A little, I suppose, but I shortened the skirt to knee-length and added novelty items such as shaped buttons.
Hours to complete: I'd say, more than 14 as it took me just over an hour every evening for two weeks.
First worn: I first wore it to a Mufti day at school to show my Textiles teacher and Wendy.
Total cost: 14 pounds for fabric, 2 pounds for buttons, and everything else was salvaged from my sewing box.

By the way, it looks strange on my mannequin because my body is larger than it, and I made it for me to wear rather than a mannequin... A word of warning about Vogue patterns though; they run very small - certainly not the standard sizes - and although I am a UK size 12, only a VV size 16 fit me correctly. Make it at least two dress sizes too big for a good fit, or generally if you enjoy breathing.

It was a very fun experience and not too hard to make, especially considering Vogue patterns aren't exactly straightforward and I had to make up some things as I went along... I also learned a lot of key dressmaking skills; sewing in a zip, making a buttonhole with the machine, doing darts, and attaching a collar to the neck of the bodice. It was really worthwhile and I can't wait to do more sewing in the near future!

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Into the Woods

My grandmother asked me to see this film with her, and I'm delighted that I did as it's AMAZING! Honestly, I absolutely adored it!

Into the Woods is the Disney version of a popular musical about characters from the fairy tales. A baker and his wife cross paths with Little Red Riding Hood, Jack, and Cinderella, who all have a desire of their own. Along the way they meet two *ridiculous* princes, Rapunzel, and a wicked witch who had placed a curse on the couple. Their main mission is to collect a blood red cloak, a milk-white cow, a golden slipper and hair as yellow as corn, all so that the witch would reverse the curse she put on their house to make the family tree a barren one, as what they want the most in the world is a baby... 

One of the things that I loved the most was the fact that they followed Grimm's Fairytales closely instead of skimping out on all the gore like a typical Disney film. The singing was fantastic, the actors picked really well (Johny Depp as the wolf was quite hilarious for some odd reason), and the costumes were drool-worthy, especially Little Red's adorable dress and red cloak!

Although it is quite scary in places, it also has a lot of humor, especially with the handsome princes; they sing songs about a one-sided love, in a water fall,  ripping their shirts half open... Fanservice, anyone? Quite hilarious if you take into account the satire!

Yet despite the ending being really depressing, it is also very promising. I think I'll have to get this on DVD when it comes out.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Yurikuma Arashi

When my best friend Wendy told me about this anime she loves, it sounded so surreal that I almost didn't believe her. The idea of bears disguised as human girls in order to eat all the lesbian couples in an all-girl school sounded absolutely bizarre! Of course, it's only something a Japanese anime could come up with...
As I watched it I was feeling sceptical about how good it really would be, but surprisingly, I'm really into it! At first I thought it would be a strange form of anti-gay cartoons by the dubious way she described it - or perhaps I'm just too defensive - but it is actually really good if you watch it with an open mind. Then again, I'm no stranger to the yuri/shoujo-ai genre, am I. It's a lot deeper than you'd think.

The whole concept and art style is very theatrical, especially the shifting city backdrops; in fact, some of it reminds me of my wannabe manga artist days where I drew the comic Soul Collector (which is now a story called Ghost Under the Umbrella). But I digress.
Despite this anime being set in Japan, European church music can be heard in the background, especially during sad times in which the main female lead's girlfriend was killed. At one point I think I even heard Ave Maria! It gives the anime a really unique feeling, and really reminds me of the other gay/lesbian films I've seen before (Special Friendships and Don't Deliver Us from Evil for example).

Kureha Tsubaki, the main protagonist who really hates bears, was in a really sweet, innocent, touching relationship with her best friend Sumiko Izumino. That was, before she got eaten by an evil bitch that ruined my possible shipping moment, I mean, bear. Alongside this, two transfer students, Ginko and Lulu turn out to also be bears! There is a lot of danger and deception in the world they live  in, so some moments can be horribly sad. I'd like to say more, but I've only seen three episodes so far; more is yet to come.

Yurikuma Arashi also has a lot of symbolism, which isn't surprising considering the director - Wendy has told me a great deal about him. Sometimes the symbolism is meaningful, but in others it can be very amusing, especially if you get the sexual innuendos! Still, it's more than just lesbian fan service (although it really helps!). The main message of the series is "don't give up on love". I have this theory that it is a message to girls and guys living in countries less accepting of gays (Japan and China for example) that would otherwise end up in a dull marriage to a member of the opposite sex - hiding their true love and sexuality - that it's okay to be gay, so they shouldn't give in to social pressures. That's my interpretation, although I may be looking too far into it.

P.S. This has really helped me understand the anime better, and her in-depth look into the symbolism is amazing! I really recommend you get comfy and read these!
 Although, some details and symbolism are really obscure and it may take a couple of re-watches to pick all of them out; it's a very thought-provoking anime in a way, if you look past a lot of the fanservice.
One of the best theories I've seen out there is that, apparently, the two bears Ginko and Lulu represent Kureha's repressed sexuality, and are in fact, "Love" and "Lust"... This has given me a lot of food for thought regarding future stories, so I can't wait to see what the anime producer has in store for us. 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Mais ne nous délivrez pas du mal

Last night I really needed something to sit down and relax with, as my poor Indy has been very injured these past few days, and I've been extremely worried that he wouldn't pull through. He's alright now, thank goodness, as we took him to the emergency vets and they injected him with anti-inflammitory and painkillers. Though, I'm just saying, this film is certainly not one to watch in a situation like that...

Mais ne nous delivrez pas du mal (Don't Deliver Us from Evil) is a very unnerving, creepy film about two French girls in a Catholic boarding school. Everything about it, from their completely disturbing behaviour, to the constant church music and irresponsible adults provides a very tense atmosphere. I knew from the beginning that it wasn't going to be sweet and fluffy, but I was very surprised at just how creepy it was! Still, I loved it!

Anne and Lore are two best friends who decide they have had enough of their religion and dedicate themselves to Satan in a ritual they planned in the summer holidays. Over the holidays, they pledge themselves to a life of evil, despite looking like innocent angels, and end up sadists and murderers.

Certain bits made me very very uncomfortable, namely where they hurt and killed animals (they fed a man's pet birds poison and giggled as they watched him cry; and later on, Anne squeazes another of his birds until its heart stops!) Even the part where Anne is sitting with her parents in the chateau, being very rough with her pet kitten until it cries out, is very horrible. Also, the bit where they taunt and make fun of the disabled man, killing his birds and then bending him to their will to lead the ritual, is just awful...

Also, where Lore is led by Anne into seducing men until the point that they attempt to rape her, is hard to watch. This leads to Anne murdering a man, so they wrap his body in a carpet and throw him in the lake.
When they get back to school after the holidays, it comes as no shock that the teachers suspect them of the murder, as they had been very antisocial - almost psychopathic - to people beforehand. They are asked questions, leading to Lore breaking down. At this point, it is obvious that they're so obsessed with each other, egging each other on, even loving each other, that they would rather die than be separated...
So in the school play, they hold hands in identical white dresses (similar to the one they wore during the Satanic ceremony) and recite very depressing yet artistic poems. The nuns worry that they have gone mad - and I don't blame them - shortly before they douse themselves with liquid and set their dresses on fire. Creepily, the audience begin to cheer and clap, thinking that it is all pretend, but soon realise that they're burning to death, leading to a mass panic... The camera pans out on the stage curtains burning.

Other parts of the film, however, are very beautiful; Anne and Lore are gorgeous - both their faces and bodies that they show off so frequently - the long white 70s dresses are beautiful and sexy, the religious music is lovely in a way, and my favourite part was the peaceful, rustic scenery of Anne's chateau and the surrounding French countryside. And I just love how abandoned certain places are, creating the space for the evil to take place... All the eye-candy makes it all the harder to bear.

Needless to say, despite this film being dated (1971) it is very hardcore psychologically. Yet I would recommend it to any fan of cult, horror or world-cinema.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

This Year's Lolita Wishlist

I've seen wardrobe posts cropping up all over egl recently, and although I want to make one, I may just leave it until later in the year when there is a better quality of light. Instead I'll make a wishlist for the next few years; hopefully by then I'll be good at sewing to make similar things, as I'm not exactly a big fan of brand sizes. Right now I'm very partial to OPs and Classic Lolita style. There are basics as well; I would like to own some BtSSB white OTKs, a white BtSSB parasol, a white heart-shaped typically BABY bag, and a dark brunette ringlet wig... I'd also like to try some Korean and Chinese indie brands at some point (the Krad Lanrete Marie Antoinette JSK and some Rose Melody especially!).

Also, I forgot to mention, but my parents say that if I do well in my exams I'll be allowed a shih tzu puppy; this is my dream to have a cute little toy dog girl! Felicity is the top name right now...


 This dress is from Jane Marple and is kind of otome-kei like in style. I'm really attracted to the simplicity and summery feeling of it, so at the moment I'm making something similar to it (although I may be held back by my GCSE Textiles skirt, which I designed earlier). In my mind's eye it is Evangeline's dress.
 I have always been in love with the Le Lac des Cygnes series by BABY, ever since I first admired Lolita style in 2010, so it would be a dream to finally get my grubby mitts on it at some point! Pink is my favourite colour way.
 Innocent World is my second favourite brand, so I really want to own an item from them at some point. Classic style is becoming my favourite style right now, and this dress reminds me of Claudia from Interview with the Vampire so much with its gorgeous porcelain dolls on it!
 Something reminiscent of Kamikaze Girls and old-school Lolita is on the top of my list! I know there's no chance I could afford to buy and fit into this Elizabeth OP, but seeing as it is being re-released, a girl can dream, right!
 In my mind, this is the exact design that my Margaret's School characters have to wear for uniform. So, obviously I'm in love! The colour is so cute, and perfect for the warmer months. This dress is from a Japanese indie brand called Margaret's School, and where I got my story idea from!
 An OTT classic style OP is something that I've been coveting for a long time. It reminds me of the Victorians so much, seeing as I'm a massive history fangirl nerd.
 A few years ago I spotted a gorgeous black and white, simple, versatile dress in the Lolita bring and buy at Hyper Japan, but seeing as they were still setting up store I was unable to buy it. I'd like something like this, for a more casual wear.
 A dress made out of shantung and chiffon would be wonderful for special occasions.
 This dress from Candy Violet has been in my mind since my very early days of Lolita. I dreamed of wearing this to my prom, and I think that finally my parents may allow me to have one made for me! It is both Rococo and 50s like in style, so it has been my dream dress for a very long time!
 I also like very simple dresses with a bit of beautiful lace, which would be great for summer.
A pink OP with long sleeves and a Rococo look to it with ribbons down the front is something I've been planning for a long time. When I'm confident in my sewing skills, I'd love to purchase lots of gorgeous fabric and make something similar to this. 


 Some fancy, Marie Antoinette styled shoes with small heels would look great with Lolita.
 Pearl necklaces and collars.
 Mon Petit Chouchou series by BABY is one of my dream prints, as I love the colours and the porcelain doll imagery! The waist band on this skirt is gorgeous.
 I would love a blouse with princess sleeves! Chiffon blouses are also very beautiful; but I do need more blouses for my wardrobe.
Of course, the matching headdress to the Elizabeth OP is necessary!

 The Metamorphose Dim Light series is very gothic and attractive in my eyes; the dark blue colour way is my favourite of all, but the red is also very lovely. Preferably I'd have the skirt, as I've only got one Lolita skirt at the moment.
 Fancy bonnets are my obsession, so I'd love to make one like this! I think this is from the Mon Petit Chouchou collection.
I know I look like an idiot when I attempt walking in heels, but the satin bow is so attractive! 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

She is Sleeping

I've been sitting on this picture for a long time, since the end of September last year, so it's such a relief just to get this finished! To be honest, I have little interest or time for drawing at the moment, so it has been a while... I'm a bit out of practice. There are some things wrong with this picture, but I don't really care for critic right now. I just wanted to get it done...

This is a beautiful koitsukihime doll that I wanted to draw, and the title came from a BABY Lolita dress. :)

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Today's Co-ordinate: Pink and Black

Happy New Year! Today I went to Manchester wearing a Sweet Lolita co-ordinate I put together. Unfortunately, it was very cold and rainy - not ideal weather for a chiffon dress - so I may have suffered the elements a bit. Still, I had a really nice time shopping; I purchased a book about spirits of Edo period Japan, and some gorgeous white Mary Janes for my prom, which are also incredibly suitable for Lolita. I was drawn to them right away!

With this co-ord I wanted a theme of pink, black and white, as they're all lovely colours that go very nicely together. The main elements of my outfit were Angelic Pretty. Here's my outfit:

JSK: Whipped Showcase - Angelic Pretty
Cardigan: NEXT
Socks: Secret Shop
Headbow: Baby, the Stars Shine Bright
Lace gloves: John Lewis
Bag: Angelic Pretty
Mary Janes: Hush Puppies

Tomorrow I shall be going to the cinema with Wendy, seeing as it is the last day of our Christmas holidays.