Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sparkle Stitches~Half-Elastic Waistband

One of my favorite types of waistband is the half-elastic waistband. It allows for some wearing ease and is also very convenient for when the skirt design doesn't allow for a zip opening, but a full-elastic waistband would be too bulky.

In this skirt, there are 2 side pockets so a zip option is out. The skirt has 3 layers of frills so a nice, flat waistband would look more flattering than a gathered one in my opinion.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial!

The hardest part of a half-elastic waistband is the math. You need the skirt to stretch MORE than your hip measure so you can get it on and off, but when relaxed is slightly smaller than your waist measure so it stays on.

I made this skirt a standard size M, so the finished waist will fit 28.5"
Ungathered, the skirt currently measures 70"

Half the finished waist is: 28.5"/2=14.25" Since it is elastic, I will make it a little shorter than that at about 12-13"
Cut the elastic to this length.

The portion of the skirt that will be elasticized is: 70"/2=35"

Make your elastic waistband however long it needs to be (mine is 35"). Iron the raw edges in:

Stitch to the back of your skirt:

Fold over, topstitch, and begin to thread your elastic through. Remember, using a safety pin at the beginning of your elastic makes it much easier! When the end of your elastic is flush with the first end of your waistband, stitch it down to keep it in place:

Thread the elastic all the way through and stitch down the other end:

Now make the fitted portion of your waistband by cutting it to your finished size plus seam allowance (14.25"+Seam Allowance in my example)
Fuse some interfacing (NO seam allowance on the interfacing!) to your fitted waistband to make it lie flat. Iron in all the seam allowances, and pin one end over the open end of your elasticized waistband:

Gather your skirt to your waistband and stitch. Then fold over and topstitch, remembering to stitch over the join from fitted to elasticized waistband!

And you are done! The front of the skirt should look like this:

And the back should look like this:

As always, feel free to leave any questions or comments!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sparkle Stitches~In Seam Pockets

Hello everybody! I have been quite busy these past few days and apologize for the lack of updates ^^; Apart from school and work, I have also been baking up a storm with my mom's friend twice a week :D Maybe I will share photos from those episodes sometime....

But for now, here is a very simple tutorial on in-seam pockets! I have been meaning to add pockets to my skirts for a long time, but always end up forgetting ^_^;; My Little Bear's Cafe skirt replica has an in-seam pocket, and that reminded me to put this together!

First, you will need to cut out a front and a back for each pocket. I made the fronts of my pockets with the print upside down so you can tell the difference :P In my friends AP Sugary Carnival JSK, the front piece of the pocket (front refers to the piece that is closer to the front of the dress, and the back is the piece the palm of your hand touches when you put your hand in the pocket) is made with plain white fabric and the back only has a strip of printed fabric right at the opening rather than being made entirely with printed fabric. This is done to save on fabric costs, but I find it quite unnecessary!
Click on the photo to make it larger
Make sure it is large enough to get your hand in and out of! And add seam allowance around the edges.

Next, pin and sew the sides of your skirt together, leaving the opening of the pocket unsewn.

Now pin the pocket pieces to the opening RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER. Stitch the seam allowances together

Pull the pocket pieces to the inside like so:

Stitch the two pocket pieces together. It really is not necessary to overlock the edges because the shape of the pocket means that most of the edge is cut on the bias and will not unravel. You can overlock it if you wish, but that may create unnecessary bulk and/or a line when pressing

This next part is optional (and a bit difficult to explain) but I decided to stitch the front of my pocket to the seam allowance to prevent it from flipping out or to the back. If you are using your fashion fabric for both the front and back of the pocket, it really won't be too noticeable if the pocket turns out a little. I you aren't, you may want to consider stitching the pocket front to the seam allowance.
This is what the inside of the pocket looks like with the stitching

This is the inside view of the pocket. The solid line is the side seam, and the dotted line is the extra stitching that will keep the pocket from flipping out.

If there are any other questions or comments, please leave a comment below and I will do my best to explain more!

I hope this was helpful to some of you and hope to see more pockets in Lolita!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review~Dream of Lolita IW Strawberry Purse

Here is the review I promised of the Dream of Lolita IW Strawberry Purse replica! I got it as a part of a GO, so I cannot comment on the shop itself, only the product.

I do not want to start a debate on replicas here! Discussion is OK, but please keep it civil.
For those who must know, I generally don't support replicas EXCEPT in the case of shoes and bags because they get more wear and tear. Replicas DO take away from the Brand image, so I prefer not to buy clothing replicas of Brands I support (namely BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT and Innocent World). That may be seen as a double-standard because I bought a replica of an AP print, but Angelic Pretty just doesn't "speak" to me like BABY and IW do!
I don't judge others who buy replicas, and would appreciate you don't judge me :) It is a personal decision and as long as there is a market, replicas will exist. It happens in the real world, and so it has happened in the Lolita world.

First, here is a link to the product I bought on TaoBao (red colorway):
IW Strawberry Purse
And here is a link to the original:
Original Strawberry Purse

Just based on the photos, it looks like a pretty stellar replica. According to the local Lolitas, Dream of Lolita purchased the original to base their copies off of. Clever. I have included many photos under the cut!

All photos are clickable thumbnails!
The seeds are embroidered on and the pleather is good quality-feeling. The purse is sturdy and free-standing.

Strawberry top is a clasp!

Flower zip pulls. The opening is wide enough that you don't need to open the clasp to reach the inside, which is useful!

Back with zipped pocket

This is as deep as the triangular pocket goes. My hand is in as far as it can go! It can hold a lipgloss and a few keys - that's about it ^^;

The clasps for the straps (both long and short) are the rotating kind; meaning you will not have the issue of a twisted strap! This is awesome news :D

This photo is trying to show that the edge of the green portion is finished with a colored paste (I forgot the technical term - I swear I learned it in Fur and Leather class!) to seal the edges, but the red portion is not. I wonder if the edges had been left raw because the sharp angles in the leaves would have made it hard to turn the edges under like the red portion of the strawberry is finished?

Trying to show the inside ^^; No inner pockets. It is fully lined in black lining fabric. This purse actually holds quite a bit for a shaped purse! Everything does get sort of mixed up and banged around because there are no separators though, so keep fragile cameras or phones in their cases!

Length of the short strap

The heart shape is not quite as clean as the original Innocent World purse, but it is still definitely a heart!

Other notes:
After shipping I paid NT$500/~US$17 for this purse (remember, it was a part of a GO!)
The shape and angle of the bag makes it most flattering carried on the right side of the body as shown in the TaoBao product pictures, but two of the local Lolitas had this purse in pink and it looked fine carried on the left side, too. The back pocket will just be angled funny!
The colors are vibrant in real life - not sure if that really shows in the photos ^^:
The long strap has 4 holes in it for adjusting length, but is soft enough that you can punch your own holes in it.
Overall, I am very happy with this purchase and get giddy just looking at it!

I hope that this was helpful to some of you :) If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fully Alive! A Meetup Photopost and Misako in China (NanJing)

Hello! Sorry for the brief hiatus - I have not been on the Internet much lately! Taiwan has been mostly unaffected by the earthquake in Japan and resulting tsunami (we were previously on tsunami watch). I hope that Japan will be able to rebuild and recover quickly! Brightest Blessings to them in their time of need ♥

Today I went to the hospital to see my grandpa who had his heart operation today. It went fairly smoothly, but he needs to be in observation for a couple days *cross fingers*

On Sunday I went to a Lolita meetup! The weather was lovely and we went to a cafe and then walked around a huge park. I met a new Lolita (she knew everybody else already) and it was really fun! A couple photos after the cut:

The cafe we went to was a pet-friendly one called Elephant Garden:

Group Shot:

Shoe Shot:

Print Shot:

Finger Star:

There were lots of dogs there! It was really fun :)
I also received a strawberry purse (IW replica) and Little Bear Cafe skirt in mint so I will be doing a review on those :)

Last but not least, a video of Misako in NanJing! It is only in Japanese and Chinese though ;D Enjoy looking at the clothes though!

Flash Link

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The F Word

Image from Loli_Secret

"Have you lost weight?"
If one of your co-workers said this to you, it would probably make you feel good about yourself. After all, looking thinner than you used to (whether you actually lost weight or not) is a good thing, right? Thin is in!

Recently however, I was asked "Have you gotten fatter? You look like you have!"
And yes, it was said by one of my co-workers. While this may seem like an unreasonably rude thing to say, it actually is not uncommon to be much more direct about weight issues in Asia. Being called "fat" is not even an actual insult - it is merely stating the facts.

This secret has spurred a minor debate in the comments section on whether "fat" and "fatty" is offensive or accepting, rude or cute, etc. Personally, I feel that the TONE has much more to do with it than the actual words. Do you need to be fat in order to use terms like "fatty-chan"? Who determines who is fat and who isn't? What about "skinny fat" people?

Right now, I am considered "fat" or at least several kg overweight in Taiwan. In America, I was average or "skinny fat" (skinny fat meaning thin, but could use some toning up). Would fatter girls be offended if I used the term fatty-chan?

In America, weight, or being overweight, is a rather taboo subject. We beat around the bush and always say "You aren't fat!" to any of our friends who complain about feeling fat, needing to watch what they eat, etc. It doesn't actually matter whether the complainer is fat or not, the standard answer is still to deny it. And heavens forbid if you should ever bring up the subject of anybody's weight-gain!

Contrariwise, in Chinese "fat" (胖) has been used as nicknames and general terminology. The top search for 小胖 or "Little Fatty" on YouTube turns up this video from the Taiwanese version of singing contest American Idol, where the singer's nickname is Little Fatty:

(Side note: Isn't his singing awesome?)

I have also seen people go on television with the nickname of 胖胖 (Fatty),阿胖 (Fatty or Fatso) and fat girls are referred to as 胖妹 (Fat Chick) even on the news. In my opinion, being much more open and straightforward about weight issues actually helps prevent obesity. If being chubby gets you labeled as fat, you will be more likely to watch your weight. Of course, getting TOO extreme will have negative consequences (eating disorders, magic diet pills, etc.) but in my experience, being babied about my weight with the constant "Oh, but you're not fat!" "You're too skinny!" has led me to become careless with health and fitness. It's not just the numbers on the scale; the numbers on the tape measure are just as, if not more, important!

What is your opinion on the F word? Should fat, fatty, and fatty-chan be accepted terms? Should they be replaced with chubby, plus-sized, lovely-sized, queen-sized, large, curvy, etc.? Does avoiding the topic of weight gain help or hinder our society as a whole? Let me know your thoughts!

Friday, March 4, 2011

French Cafe En Anglais

Personally I am not a fan of Angelic Pretty's constant print-mania, but I found this cute clip from the San Fransisco branch about French Cafe series and thought I would share it :)

To me, the colors are a little too clashing and the print itself doesn't speak to me, but many Lolitas are interested in this series so I thought you might enjoy this :D

The Necessity of Technology


Erm, maybe not quite so dramatically...

So I have been unplugged for the past few days while moving in and setting up the Internet. I logged on and checked my social networking sites to find that I had missed a couple hundred posts on my LJ friendslist, over 100 on Plurk, and had a ton of new notifications on Facebook. Not to mention the pile of blogs I follow!

In the age of the Internet, technology keeps us all interconnected and allows friendships that would not have been possible before! LiveJournal has brought thousands of Lolitas together on the EGL community. I met the Taiwanese Lolitas through Taiwan BBS but we plan events and GOs on Plurk. We can share the details of our lives through photos or webchats (EGLchat, anyone?) and can find pretty much anything online. Since starting this blog, I have found how much fun it is to make tutorials and chat with people in the comments section. Thank you all for being here!

Anyway, I am excited to have my own space and much more freedom now! Still in the process of unloading my clothes (you don't realize how much clothing you have until you need to buy hangers for them all...) and setting up my sewing room. I think I could have gotten away with only 2 suitcases rather than 3 if my closet wasn't composed mainly of frilly dresses and skirts. Lolita takes up a LOT of room! Rest assured, after the machines are up and running more sewing tutorials will be forthcoming when I pick up some more fabric!

And after I buy a camera. The one I had previously been using was actually my grandma's, and I returned it to her when I moved out :) As with all electronics, I am ridiculously clueless about specs and functions, and only know that I want it in a milky pink color. I will show you all a snap of my electronics when I get the camera. It is pretty... pink...

If anybody has a recommendation for a camera that fits my needs, please comment below!
All I want is:
1) Milky Pink color
2) Digital camera that takes SD memory card (COUGHsonyCOUGH)
3) Automatic as much as possible so I don't have to mess with settings I don't understand!
4) Around NT$3000-$5000/US$100-150

Otherwise I might end up with something like this:

It is a "toy digital camera" the size of a name card though. I still sort of want to get one XD The listing is here if you are interested in the photo quality or more specs :)

You see, I am totally useless v_v

Last but not least, what TYPES of sewing tutorial are you interested in? I was planning on doing a half-elastic waist skirt next. Slowly moving up in the scale of difficulty ;)

Are you more interested in accessories, headwear, more skirts, furniture covers (haha), etc.? In order to teach JSKs and OPs I think I would have to do some patterning tutorials first, which I find harder to teach via Internet, but I think it could be done if there is enough interest :) ORIcan show you all the easier types of JSK or OP which involves elastic for most of the fitting (plus, it is comfy!). Roomwear type of dresses? Let me know!