handmade lolita-esque bolero & a circle skirt

i’m pretty impressed by how much i’ve managed to sew lately. what with all the things working against my favour. here are a bolero & a skirt that i finished this weekend:

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like many things, this bolero took longer than expected. it was the ruffles. oh, ruffles. these ruffles are killing me. why do they have to look so cute?

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when i started, they didn’t look so bad. the bottom ruffles went pretty smoothly. but then the top! i had to redo them twice. first they were much too packed & it looked clownish. then the front barely had any ruffles left.

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i also added the second layer of lace at the last moment, when i had already finished up the rest of the collar. so i had to ruffle that lace separately & sew that ruffled lace over the ruffled fabric, under the more narrow lace. however, it was worth going back to do that extra work; it ended up looking fabulous. i’ve become a lot more critical with my work over the past year or two. it does lead to better results.

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i was planning to do a fuller ruffle at the end of the sleeves, but i stuck to this smallish bell shape. i thought it would be cuter. maybe i’ll add some (removable) bows to them. if they’re removable i can switch up white and black ones. the bow at the front is also removable for that same reason.

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i love this skirt so much. it’s high-waisted, super comfortable & has big pockets in the side-seams. it’s pretty basic, but basic can be very nice. i’ve needed a skirt like this in my closet for ages.

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it’s made of such nice materials. the lace especially was an amazing find.

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on a sidenote, i took out my old leopard print fabric backdrop which i used all the time back when i had my etsy shop. oh, nostalgia. i would love to have a shop again. it’s actually pretty doable at this sewing rate. difficult, but doable. maybe towards the end of the year…

the egl dress from hell, finished

i posted a preview of this on AUGUST 23RD, when i had already been working on this for a very long time, & just last week i finished it. & when i had finished it, i realised that i had forgotten my good camera at my other house & i couldn’t take any pictures & there are so many frustrations with this dress. but it’s done! i think. the hemline could be cleaned up a bit, but i can’t face those ruffles again just now. so many ruffles… & layers… & weight…

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looks good though, doesn’t it? overall. it has some small flaws, but did i mention the ruffles? & weight?

for a long time i only felt frustrated when i looked at this dress on my dressform. even when i tried it on & looked at it in the mirror. just last night i properly wore it, with a blouse & everything, & i felt like a princess. for the first time all those hours & hours & hours seemed vaguely worth it.

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i drew up a new pattern, from scratch for this dress, & i think my pattern drawing skills could still use a lot of improving. it turned out much too big; it was supposed to be fitted at the top. however, i ended up quite liking the extra room. it makes this dress super comfortable & gives it something of a yohji yamamoto vibe. like if he would design for angelic pretty.
aside from the miscalculated sizing, the back also looks a bit off, because the pattern was drawn with sleeves in mind. for dresses with sleeves you need a little more room at the back. i changed my mind about the sleeves at the last minute. i had already pinned them on, short, extremely puffy sleeves, & then decided that it looked better without. with how big the sleeves were it would also be near impossible to wear shrugs or small jackets over it. sleeveless this dress is a lot more versatile. plus, those huge puffy sleeves did not flatter my broad shoulders at all.

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those pattern flaws are a lot less noticeable on me than on my dressform though. i would have taken pictures of me wearing it, but when i remembered to take my good camera with me, i forgot my tripod, & the lighting here in my primary home is too bad to take pictures. another time.

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this dress is fully lined & the skirt is built up of two layers. both of the layers of the skirt are divided into two parts. the top gathered part of the skirt is 3 meters wide, the bottom ruffles come to 6! a lot of the bottom ruffles are also patched together, because otherwise i wouldn’t have enough fabric. initially i bought 5 meters of the main fabric of about 1.80m wide. i thought then i would have maybe a 1 1/2m left for another project, but i ended up using it all. even buying some extra! & then there was the lining. a lot of fabric is in this dress. it makes it very poofy without a petticoat, which is what i was going for. a lot of lolita dresses look kind of sad without a petticoat & i didn’t want that.

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i probably could have used a little less fabric though. i wanted to try a bias-cut for the skirt. with wide skirts it can look a lot better when fabric is cut on the bias, but that is not the most economical way of cutting. now that the experiment is done i’m also not sure how much of a difference it made, what with all the ruffles. ruffles. ruffles everywhere. i should try a design like this cut regularly & compare it… in a couple of months when i can handle a ruffle again.

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like with my favourite lolita brand, the front bow & waist ties are removable. i also put two huge pockets in the skirt. skirts are always better with pockets.

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i also made a matching headbow:

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maybe i’ll make this dress design available as a custom order, when i’ve cleaned it up a bit. see how i can make this more efficiently & thus lower the price. as it is now it would have to be around €275-€300. feel free to comment if you’re interested.

thank you for looking!

diy pants, shirt & accessories

i just came back from my mom’s house, which i’ve come to think of as my studio. i’ve spent a glorious day and a half there doing nothing but crafting. i finished up a shirt i had been working on the last time i was there, made some wristcuffs, a choker, & made a plain, boring pair of pants awesome.

first off, the shirt.

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it was just a plain, striped men’s shirt i got from the thrift store. not too bad, but i already had another plain, striped men’s shirt from the thrift store which looked very similar & i tended to wear more. so i decided to make this one different.

DSC03335 copy i took an old converge t-shirt as the base for this transformation. it was a very white, extra large one which i had been meaning to make into something else for several years. i cut out the graphics & added some mesh, so the bright colours wouldn’t be so harsh against the dark background. i also dyed the ‘converge’ & pink square parts in tea for the same reason.

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then i added some scrap materials i had lying around & replaced some of the buttons. i also rolled up the sleeves & added scraps & buttons there to hold them up. some of the pieces are sewn by machine, others by hand. i really like combining both methods for these sorts of projects.

DSC03342 copyoverall, it was a pretty simple modification. i was planning on doing more to it, but with the striped base not that much was needed. i love how this shirt turned out.

also very simple, were these wristcuffs & choker:
DSC03358 copyi made the wristcuffs by layering stretchy lace, ruffling them smaller with elastic & then adding bows of velvet ribbon on top. the choker is made out of that same velvet ribbon, which i sewed some scrap already ruffled lace on, then a tier of rhinestones, & completed the whole with five small roses. only the lace was sewn by machine, the rest by hand. it closes by tying together some smaller ribbon. very gothy. the choker reminds me of something that a 90’s teenager with a small budget who was just getting into gothic fashion would make. kind of second-hand nostalgia? anyway, i love it for that reason.

& now, the pants. i got them from a thrift store & i never wore them because the top was a little too big for me & it kept falling down. this is what they looked like before:

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& this is what it became:

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i spent about twelve straight hours on it yesterday. when i look at it now it seems impossible that it took so long. twelve. then again, i had to figure out what exactly i wanted on them, i had to paint, wait for the paint to dry, sew a lot by hand…

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i started by dabbing thinned down black fabric paint all over it. then i splattered silver fabric paint over that. then i thought about patches i wanted to put on it. of course, it is the alternative way to plaster band names & logo’s all over one’s clothes & provide all this free promotion while meaning to show the depths of one’s soul. whatever. i went with the first bands that came to mind & had interesting or easy to paint logo’s. all four patches are painted freehand. i’m pretty impressed with how they turned out.

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go ahead; guess what they’re all from.

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for an extra layer i added some more scrap mesh. most of that is sewn by machine, but it was rather hellish to get so far to the bottom in such narrow pipes. most of the lowest parts defeated me & i ended up sewing that by hand. at one part even that was too much & i just secured that with safety pins.

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i also added some patches of striped fabric, more decorative safety pins, the obligatory studs & a d-ring. to fix the sizing issue at the top i added belt loops & hoped that wearing it well-belted would be enough. & now that i’ve been walking around in it all day i can confirm that yes, a belt is enough.

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as you can see, all the patches were hand-sewn on. the patches were probably what took the most time. i don’t mind though. it was nice, easy work that i didn’t have to pay that close attention to. i could just watch videos & shows while i was working on them.

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i’m so happy with these pants! worth all twelve hours. i keep looking down at them or in the mirror at them. they’re perfect. or almost. i would still like an extra pocket in front, for things like my public transport card. i think i’ll make a zippered one, with the pocket out of sight on the inside. maybe the next time i go to my mom’s house. first i have to stock up on metal zippers again.

these pants sort of compel me to similarly punk up other plain black items. otherwise they’re so lonely. however, i also don’t want all my plain black stuff ending up the same… i’ll see.

thank you for looking! i hope you enjoyed this post at least a fragment as much as i enjoyed making these. maybe even inspired a diy project of your own.

sneak preview of a dress i’m working on

it’s a terrible picture, but i really wanted to show something of this dress that i’ve been working on. i’ve been working on it, on & off, for a couple of weeks now.

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it’s a very lolita inspired sleeveless dress. at first it was really fun to work on this, but later it became more & more frustrating. so many ruffles & layers & weight. i also made a few mistakes and changes to the design, which made it much more work than it should be. i think it will be worth it though. it’s already looking rather fabulous. i just need to fix the bottom ruffles, & the back of the top, & improve the bow clip, & buy & add more lace…

soon.