Lolita Fashion - Dolls - Historic Homes - Art - Sewing - Creative Writing - Film - Literature - All things cute!

Friday, 30 October 2015

Historical Undergarments at IKEA

I went to IKEA today, and instead of being the boring trek it usually is, I found some interesting things in the kid's Halloween section.
There is a hoop skirt and tulle petticoat for sale for 12 pounds, which looks like it could be useful for mid-Victorian costumes - if you're the right height for it, i.e. short enough to fit into kid's dress-up things like me - and a strange padded ruff-like thing.
The ruff is extremely frilly and has a lot of volume, reminding me of an 18th Century bum roll that can give skirts and petticoats extra puff. It looks quite small but fits slightly above my hips, and with stays on it may fit fuller figures and around the waist too; obviously it needs some ribbon sewing on to the ends of it, as for now it is staying put on my mannequin with sheer willpower.

They're not period correct, but for 22 pounds I think they're pretty good.
(Oh, and by the way, look at the muslin fichu I made earlier! It was so simple and fun.)

Monday, 26 October 2015

New: My Author Website!

Recently I've been plowing through my first novel, When the Summer Ends, and to get myself out there before I finish, I've created a website for my books. It's still a work in progress, but go and check it out here!

A tale of love and friendship set in the 1950s, When the Summer Ends tackles society’s views of the times.
Aika Rowland is a young lady affected by Aspergers, and struggling to live her life; her famous family has its own problems and often she is overlooked, finding it hard to fit in with her outlandish clothes and strange mannerisms. That is, until she meets rough, tough Greaser girl, Cherry Knox, the girl who shows her what love is really about.

You can read the first five chapters of my novel in PDF for free here. Enjoy!

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Sixteen Going On Seventeen

On the 22nd it was my 17th birthday, and although we didn't do much to celebrate, I had a great day! At college things were great and everybody I spoke to wished me a happy birthday - one even wanted to get the whole class to sing, but I told him not to! - and then I went to my Grandparents for a Chinese take out with the family.
As I've been interested in vintage clothes recently, I was treated to some lovely vintage presents. There was a summer sale at Collectif, so I got two summery tops and a chiffon swing dress, plus a free bag, mirror and pouch! I also bought a 40s-50s bullet bra from the lingerie store What Katie Did, and it's made of peach coloured satin; I love it! Another bra and French knickers are on their way from that store also, as I got some cash off a few relatives.
Other presents included Wicked the novel, and Patterns of Fashion 2 by Janet Arnold - the latter of which has patterns from 1860-1940, including many lovely Edwardian and 1920s gowns! I also got some chocolates, a keep-sake box, and the new Animal Crossing Nintendo game. I've been very lucky this year! And out of my money I bought a vintage-esque burgundy blouse and some pearls that remind me of flappers from M&S.

With a couple of friends I went to Tea42 in Manchester, as they do really good gluten-free afternoon teas there. I wore my new dress and pearls with Mary Janes and a white chiffon capelet, and pinned up the side seams to the waistband for a swag/layered effect, which looked rather 30s-styled in my opinion.

I had the afternoon tea tray which included cute little sandwiches, a delicious fruit scone with Bonne Maman jam and cream, and a selection of sweets and cakes. All of us were defeated by our food, probably having consumed more than we should have done and feeling full to the point of bursting! My tea was Bramble Kiss, which I can seriously recommend; it's Chinese black tea with blackcurrant oil and blackberry leaves - delicious!
After that we went shopping in Afflecks, a place that sells vintage and alternative clothing. We all had a great time, and I purchased a flapper pin from the Bead Store.


(I'm not in this picture, but apologies to my friends for dragging you on to my blog. I'll take it down if you want :))

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Art: Midsummer Night Blues

This picture is inspired by a photograph I saw taken at the prom on somebody's Facebook, of my friends. It's a bit of a Titanic moment, but I thought it looked romantic and wanted to draw something Art Deco around it, based on the golf course scenery and Jazz-age balcony.
The dresses are 1930s and my own design, based around images on Pinterest and a scene of Jeeves and Wooster with Honoria Glossop in it; I could so imagine her in this scene with another Wodehousean girl! The Waldeck song "Midsummer Night Blues" is the title for this drawing, as the music sounds very slow and mysterious, perfect for forbidden romance on a summer's night!

This could be part of a series, as I'd like to do another Art Deco-like print drawing with a couple of boys next time. I'd also like to write a little something about these girls too!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Inspiration: 1970s-80s Laura Ashley

Usually I'm not a big fan of 1980s fashion, until I saw these gorgeous, fairy-tale like scans on Pinterest. They remind me of the origins of Lolita fashion, such as Victorian and Edwardian styles, as well as Sybil Fawlty from Fawlty Towers for some reason (she's another frilly lady from the 70s and 80s).

If only Laura Ashely still did clothes like that... I think I'd buy the whole store! Still, they have lovely, Lolita-esque wallpapers and furniture. I've got a Rococo-themed mirror that I have on my vanity from there, and Georgian toile wallpaper.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Elizabethan-Costume's Stay Diary: Part 1

As Bianca from Closet Historian suggested, the Elizabethan Costume website has a stay pattern generator and tutorial that's great for adapting to 18th Century wear. Today I made up the pattern from the customize-able measurements (exciting!), cut the fabric, did some basic basting stitches, and bought the supplies I'll need next!
I'm not making an Elizabethan costume just yet, as the Georgian era clothing has captured my heart, and I'm not adapting it to another style as that would be to hard for me without a guide, so it may seem not historically accurate... But if it does the job of giving me a flatter, conical-shaped torso, then it's done its job.

Making up the pattern was a pretty fun and easy experience, as I had that big pattern paper that you can get from craft shops. The instructions are very clear and concise from this website, so I'll recommend it.
For my fabric I used whatever I had available, as I was at a loss for something to do today and the sewing shop over the road is closed on Sundays. So I found some light grey velvet-like material (left over from my bonnet) which is quite textured, and some darker grey light suede, which I'll use for the lining, or vice versa. Typically, linen would be used for stays, but I have none available for the time being. Maybe next time.
As for the steel spiral boning and busk, I got them from the Sew Curvy online store, which has a lovely catalog of other stays, some from the Victorian and Edwardian eras! If this corset turns out at least 50% okay I think I'll have a go at an Edwardian corset.

Update: Here's where I'm up to so far... As you can see, I have a long way to go, and some of my lines are incredibly wonky - but still, progress!

For now we'll see how it goes, as I'm also making a slouchy knit cardigan for my Mum and learning how to knit - so it may take a while!

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Incognito Lolita

Recently on EGL there was a theme called Incognito Lolita, basically, how to get away with wearing Lolita fashion at school, college and work. Now, I would not have the confidence to go decked out in my frills for college, so this was an interesting thought for me.
Because I do Art and Design I usually wear my worst clothes to college, not wanting to get paint on anything I love - so Lolita brand is obviously out of the question for me. I'm not even sure I'd have the confidence to go full out with petticoat and headbow, even if I weren't doing a messy subject. So that's why wearing off-brand and handmade clothes is a great option; if you make it yourself and somebody makes fun of you, just say that you made it - that will make them shut up, and will maybe give you something to talk about!
So I'm working on a Loliable wardrobe for college, with clothes I won't mind getting dirty and can easily be washed, rather than needing a dry cleaners.

Or if you're insistent on wearing that gorgeous Angelic Pretty brand you own, keep it to a minimal. Minimal is key to keeping it incognito! Stay away from hyperactive prints, massive petticoats (keep the puff to a minimum), and JSKs to be worn with a blouse. OPs and skirts are best, as they're not so unusual and will keep you cooler in the workplace. Boleros and cute cardigans will add a nice touch to JSKs, so you don't have to wear it over a blouse (which, to non-Lolitas would appear a bit weird to wear a dress over a blouse).
Accessories are a good thing to make outfits more Loliable. Cute attachable collars, perhaps with a little embroidery, would be nice, especially a Peter Pan collar to add to a dress or T-shirt. Lolita jewellery added to 'normal' outfits, and perhaps a branded bag would add the perfect touch and make sure you still express yourself, without going all out and dressing to the nines.
As for colours, darker colours like black and grey are less likely to stand out, even if you are covered from head to toe in lace. Classical and Gothic Lolitas are lucky in this aspect, whereas Sweet Lolitas will have a harder time blending in. For an "inbetween" Lolita look, why not try Classical Lolita?

Here is an incognito outfit that I'm planning to wear for college. Perhaps with a lacy camisole or a simple Peter-Pan collar blouse underneath the bolero, this would be a very cute, Casual-Classic Lolita coordinate.

Blouse - not pictured: Dorothy Perkins
Bolero: John Lewis
Skirt: handmade
Necklace: Dorothy Perkins
Socks: Baby, the Stars Shine Bright
Shoes: Office

Oxfords are really nice casual shoes for Classical Lolita, and the great thing is that they come in all the Classical Lolita shoe shades, such as brown, cream and black. You could even take it a step further and make some white spats to go with them, for a slight Victorian boots feel.

Soon I'll be working on a Gothic Lolita chiffon blouse to go with my Vampire Requiem replica skirt, so we'll see how that turns out for college wear; there are quite a few goth/scene kids at college, and while I don't necessarily wear those styles myself, I won't stand out to much compared with them.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Queen of Hearts Un-Birthday Skirt

Happy un-birthday to me! This skirt was sewn by myself and my grandmother for my birthday party, though I'll obviously be wearing it before that day.
Originally I was planning an Innocent World-inspired OP with butterfly sleeves, but in the end I didn't have enough fabric for that, and the fabric I bought turned out to not be a good colour match. So I did a skirt instead, which is better in the long run, and you'll see why in my next post...

For the skirt I used Simplicity Project Runway pattern 2444, which included a lot of pleats for a full skirt. We made it up as we went along, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into the making of this skirt (literally!). For the waistband there was a lot of hand-sewing involved, which was really fun, all except for the fabric...
This fabric is gorgeous in design, coming from Carnet Atelier on Spoonflower. I got it for my last birthday, which is quite fitting, but have been afraid to cut into it until now. Unfortunately there have been a few problems in making this skirt, all due to the thickness and rigidity of the cotton - it's such a tight weave! - so I don't think I'll be ordering from Spoonflower again.
Also, it's too expensive for what you get, especially since I live in the UK, and in the end it turned out a completely different colour from what I expected (though this doesn't reflect badly on Carnet Atelier, it was Spoonflower's fault I presume, or possibly my computer monitor being off - by all means order fabric from her; the designs she makes are lovely!). It was thick enough that I didn't need the muslin lining I made.

Speaking of the fabric, I made a huge blunder in choosing the pattern for it. The Alice in Wonderland characters are at different heights in the panels! Never mind too much, but next time I'd like to get my pattern matching right. I'm still a novice. :)

Sunday, 4 October 2015

A New Puppy For My Birthday

My birthday isn't for another few weeks, but seeing as my Dad has been promising me a puppy for doing well in my exams and we're pretty much unable to afford my birthday this year, we're combining the two and I've got a new puppy today!

We got him from Kelly's Kennels, where they had a fair range of choice of breeds, such as cocker spaniels, cavachons, dachshunds, etc. Out of all the breeds though, I wanted a Westie, as my grandparents used to have a lovely little Westie chap called Frasier, and he died about five years ago and I loved him to pieces. Also, there's a cute Westie in Jeeves and Wooster that belongs to the evil Aunt Agatha, so how could I resist?
Out of the two dogs on show I liked him best, as it seemed he chose me by not stopping licking my face, whereas the other was still and less playful.

Right away I called him Bertie, after my favourite fictional character, and it just seemed right for him. He's so little and adorable that I didn't want to put him down! His birthday is the 31st July, which is funny seeing as Indy's birthday is the 31st March! That makes him nine to ten weeks today.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Inspiration: Glamorous 1930s and the Tower of Terror

When we went to Disney in August, I went on the Tower of Terror for the first time since I was five, mainly because it terrified me so much. It was amazing! It's horrifying when you're actually on it, as what elevator breaking down and killing all its occupants isn't everybody's worst nightmare?
But the theme, music and interior decoration is fantastic! The music in the queues are from the 1930s and reek of glitz and glamour and Hollywood drama. They make me want to ballroom dance around the queues with an imaginary partner. ;) I've got the songs saved on Spotify.
Not only that, but the dilapidated ruins of a Hollywood hotel looks amazing inside, so much that I couldn't help but take some photos. It was rather dark though.

And here is another Hollywood image of a famous starlet, Jean Harlow. I haven't watched any films she's in, but I want to! From what I've heard on Pinterest about her refusing to wear underwear on set, she sounds like quite a diva!

How fabulous is her dress and makeup!

The Great Gatsby

So far I've been really lucky to see a lot of shows at the theater, my favourite pastime; Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, Wicked, Blood Brothers, Murdered to Death (another 1920s drama-comedy), and Dracula. If anybody wants to take me out on a date, you know what would make me love you forever... ;)
Tonight I went to the Atkinson in Southport with my mother to see The Great Gatsby.

It was amazing! I wasn't expecting it to be so good, as historical love stories are not usually my cup of tea. Nor was I expecting the ending to be so tragic - poor Mr Gatsby! - but I thoroughly enjoyed it. All the actors were fabulous; all of them were so talented, even playing musical instruments throughout and in between their acting parts!
The costumes were gorgeous too, and now I really covet some black velvet trousers like what Jordan Baker wore in one of the scenes. There were a lot of beaded shrugs, long strings of pearls, and feathered headdresses, as expected of a 1920s drama, and I loved it! It makes me want to attempt the one hour 1920s dress for the first time.

As for the story, I liked that too, even if it was very sad in the end. The story is that Mr Gatsby throws many lavish parties at his mansion at Long Island, all to attract the attention of a girl he was once engaged to, Daisy. In the end I really grew to hate Daisy as it seemed she didn't care a jot for Gatsby, even after all he's done for her.

Now I need to watch the film and read the book! I'm looking forward to more 1920s decadence.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Today's Outfit: Three Archangels OP

I've worn this dress an awful lot, it being my favourite dress, but somehow I haven't posted any coords with it to my blog. This is the outfit I'm going to wear this evening to see The Great Gatsby at the theater with my mum. Here's what I paired it with:

OP: Three Archangels by Innocent World
Bolero: off brand
Socks: Baby the Stars Shine Bright
Shoes: off brand
Bag: Angelic Pretty

I think the white bolero gives the effect of angel wings when flared out, so it was perfect to wear with this archangel dress!