16 December 2013

Colourful Kanzashi Combinations!

So apart from creating kimono kanzashi hairclips, I have been experimenting with colour!


Because I always wanted to play around with colours and now I had a little bit of time to indulge in my fantasy.

So the first one I tried is grey and fuchsia.

Grey and Fuchsia Layered Kanzashi Hairclip

 This one came about because of this kanzashi


and I thought if a kimono silk has this colour combination then what would it look like if it was supersized?

Brown and Rich Yellow Layered Kanzashi Hairclip

 Then I thought I would try something a bit more retro in combination and went for brown and yellow.  I often see plaid fabric with this colourway and even my a-Line lolita high waist skirt you see below,

has a similar colouring although not as strong.

10 December 2013

Latest Creation - Kimono kanzashi

So for the last few years I have been hoarding kimono fabric like there is no tomorrow.

I have kimono fabric in almost every room in my flat so I thought it was time I did a little spring clean and make some wonderful kanzashi from them.

Muted Green Kimono Kanzashi Hairclip

Grey and Fuchsia Kimono Hairclip

White Kimono Kanzashi Hairclip
Vibrant Orange Kimono Kanzashi Hairclip

Pink and White Kimono Kanzashi Hairclip
You can either click on the link on each picture or visit my etsy store if you are interested in them.


3 November 2013

Kanzashi Making Withdrawal!

Between making dresses and starting work I have been missing my kanzashi making days and after 2 months of non-kanzashi making and develop I decided this weekend I would sort this out.

First off I needed to make some kanzashi for the forthcoming Fine and Dandy Craft Fair on 24 November.  I decided to make some lovely kanzashi using some kimono silks that I purchased a long time ago.

Don't they look adorable!

Then I needed to make some for my classic lolita outfit.

I thought some roses would suit a classic lolita outfit perfect.  I made two but I think I need a couple more or maybe I will make some cherry blossom ones.

Then finally I made a fuschia!  I had this one in my head for a couple of months as I kept seeing them in hanging flower baskets around Belfast city centre and I have always thought wouldn't this flower make a wonderful kanzashi.  There is a photo of one just so you know what I am trying to aim for.

Well while pondering on the bus journey to work to figure out the best way to recreate the look and then some mental imagination, this is the end result.

The colour in the photo is are not correct because I have used purple for the lower petals but it is not a bad first attempt.  The top petals need to be bigger and the lower ones a little bit smaller but overall the shape is there.  I actually quite like the chubby look of this one, it adds to its charm.  I still haven't thought of the best way to mount the flower but I am thinking on the lines of a hairpin or maybe earrings???  Oh the possibilities.

Then for good measure I made some dainty little flowers which just look cute!

They will most likely be made into little hairpins.

27 October 2013

Making a Dress - Burgundy Lolita outfit - Construction Time Part Two

So the bodice and skirt are now done but you can not have a lolita outfit without accessories!

Therefore the next thing to complete is a capelet.  Why am I making a capelet????  Because it would look cute and I love capes.  Not to mention it is getting cold and although this will not keep the cold out at least when I am sitting in a cafe I will not feel the chill on my shoulder.

Once again I use a pattern from my sewing lolita book and stupidly I did not test this out because as soon as I cut the pieces out and sewed the side seam it did not look right.  I have create square shoulders (or Romulan shoulders as I was shouting) !!!  No pictures of the disaster as I had to correct the mistake as soon as possible which was quite simple.  I just round the shoulder a bit more.

So after a bit of pattern alternation, I carried on and lets fast forward to the final result.

Doesn't it look cute!!!!

I have deviated from my original plans a little bit.  The ruffles are suppose to be between the kimono and burgundy fabric but I forgot so instead I put it at the bottom.

Oh and I trimmed the collar as well as it was originally far too wide and looked out of place.

In addition, I was concerned that the capelet would be too light but once I sewed the ruffles at the bottom it weighted it down nicely so that is good.

Now it is the hair accessories which I hope I can finish during the evening this week....fingers crossed!

21 October 2013

Making a Dress - Burgundy Lolita outfit - Construction Time

So design has been settled....ish

Now it is time to actually make it.  I drafted my own patterns based on the ones in the lolita sewing books I have.

For the bodice, I took inspiration from the bodices from these outfits.

I drafted the top part of the bodice based on the pale blue dress but the bottom part as the black and white one.  

As for the skirt I wanted something like this one.

But rather then pleated it will be gathered because it will be easier to do with two different fabrics.

So with patterns drafted, I had to test out the bodice as it was something that I put together.

Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures or maybe I did but I can not find them on my computer.  Anyway apart from making the back a bit wider and lengthening the inner lining it was not too bad.

Now lets fast forward a couple of weeks.  Yes it took me two weeks to finish because I work full time and now my sewing time is constricted to the weekends which is very sad but here it is!

Bodice on top of the skirt
 The bottom part is a little bit bunched up when it is worn but that could be use to the fullness of the skirt and the kimono fabric being a little bit softer then expected.  This is definitely a dress there I will need to think about wearing a waist clincher or something just to keep things still.

Bodice under the skirt
 However with the skirt on top you don't notice it and the frills on the bodice are aligned pretty nicely with the skirt.  YEY!!
Back view
 Oh here is the back view with a nice bow.  The ties are actually removable so I can create more looks.

Me wearing it!

And finally me wearing my new outfit.  I really need to take better pictures but with winter setting in, daylight is getting scare so it might be a while before I get a really good photo.

Now it is just the accessories to make.

20 October 2013

Making a Dress - Burgundy Lolita outfit - Designing Stage

With my kimono fabric chosen it was time to think of what to make.

When I received my lolita sewing books I was immediately drawn to the outfit which had a separate bodice and skirt.

This appealed to me in two ways.  One, it will be easier to look after and two, I can create more outfits with two pieces. 

In addition I wanted to make other accessories as well such as a capelet, jabot and some hair accessories like a hat, bow and kanzashi (of course).

Phew that is a lot too do.......I hope I am not being to ambitious here.

After I few days of pondering I settled on the following design.

Skirt Front
Skirt Back
There will also be a capelet, a hat and some hair accessories that have yet to be designed but they are in my head.

17 October 2013

Making a Dress - Burgundy Lolita outfit - Planning Stage

Okay it has been ages since I blogged about my Making a Dress series and I apologise for my absence.

The reason for this is that I had a moment of crisis with the project that I was going to do in August. 

I originally wanted to use this lovely white and blue yukata fabric.

To make this summer dress on the right hand side.

I had it all planned in my head until it dawned on me that this yukata bolt is exactly the yukata pattern and colour I have been wanting to get for ages in my kimono collection!  Now I can not possibly use it.

So with that decision made I had to re-think what to make.  I still want to make a lolita outfit with kimono fabric as the summer was disappearing into the horizon I thought it would be better to make an outfit that was more suited to the autumn weather.

Lucky kimono fabric is not in short supply in my flat.  I once again picked my victim!

Now I have a fabric I can begin designing.

15 August 2013

Completed kanzashi bouquet!

I have done it!

I have a rose bouquet and I love it.

This bouquet just has roses but I could have easily used other flowers which I will do next week I think but I will have to fit it in with making stock for an upcoming event called The Fine and Dandy Market at Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast.

This lovely bouquet will cost £150 and will be made-to-order as usual.  So if you are a bride and would like your own rose bouquet then let me know!

14 August 2013

Kanzashi Update

Hello my followers ^_^

If you have been worried that I have forgotten all about tsumami kanzashi then let me reassure you that I have not.

In fact I have been doing a lot of product development and here are the work in progress photos.

Lots of roses and for what you may ask.

Well to make a lovely bouquet.  I always wanted to make a rose bouquet as the real thing are so pretty and I wanted to create a tsumami version.  Each rose used 15 squares of white cotton lawn as I wanted the rose to have that lovely soft look you get from real roses.  Then I estimated I needed 19 roses to make my bouquet so after cutting, folding, and gluing 285 fabric squares which took two days to complete I finally had all the roses.  To my surprise, I actually only needed 17 roses for the bouquet so I have two extra flowers to use to make a kanzashi or maybe a boutonnière.

I still need to decorate the underside of the bouquet but that is my task for today.

31 July 2013

Making a Dress - Apron/over dress

No sooner as I was finished with the my high waisted skirt I had to decide on my next project.  Yeah I should have planned my projects but that would be far too easy and I like to keep my options open.


Anyway I had two dresses in mind.

Both adorable and I will make both of them but which one first???

So I asked my facebook friends and the decision was this one.

Hooray decision made now I need to make it.


I do love cream as a colour but I wanted this dress to be more versatile and multi seasonal so it was going to be a dark colour.

Now part of this "Making a Dress" series is to see what can be made from a kimono bolt because I like a challenge.  Therefore the fabric I chose for this dress is a lovely navy blue wool fabric with a leaf pattern.

Here is a closeup of the pattern on the fabric.

I like the subtle pattern on this fabric because from a distance it looks just navy blue but only when you get closeup to the fabric you see the detail.

Design Process

I will be using the pattern from my lolita sewing book but as always I have to make sure the sizing and pattern work.

The skirt is simple enough but the bodice was the part that I was concerned with because I am not a standard Japanese size.




There were two areas that I was concerned with.  First the back dart was just not right, it made the bodice poke out.

That will have to go and then there is the gap at the front.

Now this could be caused by me pulling on the fabric too much when I am edge stitching or maybe the pattern needs to be altered again.  Well it is better to be safe then sorry so I will alter the bodice a little.


So time to get cutting.

Of course I was muttering measure one, measure twice and cut.  Although for me I had to measure a few more times time this is not a standard width of fabric.

Anyway I had to bit the bullet and I eventually cut the fabric into the required lengths for each of my pieces

So in no time I completed the bodice.  Looking good around the front.

And so does the back.

Now to tackle the skirt and the 8 metres strip of fabric that will be turned into 2 metres of ruffles for the bottom of the skirt.  Oh my god!!!  I can not tell you how annoyed and how much I swore at the ruffles.  It took me one and half days to get ruffles hemmed and then ruffled.  Never again will I use this fabric to create ruffles.  It was insanely hard because it completely slip my mind that thicker the fabric the harder it would be to gather.  Oh well, I have started so I have to finish it.  It took me 4 hours to gather just under 8 metres of ruffles into 2 metres but I did it.

So the following day I managed to complete the dress.

Here is the front.

And the back.

Yep this dress has pockets!

And it has matching buttons.

I am very happy with the results.  It pretty much turned out how it should and apart from the difficulty of the ruffles it was pretty easy to make.

18 July 2013

Making a Dress - Decision to make

My timing has been messed up this month for "Making a Dress" because of a delay with postage of the last project so I have only a week to decide which one of the following I should make.

Should I make the dress on the left which is a sort of overdress that ones wears over another dress/outfit like an apron or the one on the right which is a empire line/emily temple style dress.

I am torn between the two as the one on the left looks very cute and I can use it to co-ordinate with other things in my lolita wardrobe.

But the one on the right would be wonderful for the summer and it is a nice for a casual lolita dress.

What do you think? 

9 July 2013

Making a Dress - High Waist Skirt

Sorry for the delay with this post but I had trouble with post because I was waiting for supplies to arrive.

Anyhow I am not quite making a dress this time but it is still sewing.


Since receiving my lolita sewing mooks I have been dying to making something from them and I have decided to make the skirt in this picture.

It is so cute and frilly!  Plus it fit nicely with my existing wardrobe of work blouses although I do need to make a proper lolita blouse.


So the fabric this time is this one.

What is special about this fabric is that it is actually a kimono bolt and I was very tempted to turn it into a kimono because I always wanted a checkered kimono but alas my desire for a classic style lolita skirt was more important so it will be turned into skirt.

Design Process

As with all Japanese sewing mooks they give instructions on how to draft the patterns when I noticed on thing.  The waist measurements are a little bit too small for me, in fact only 4cm too small so that needed to be altered.

Then after I cut out the first piece it dawned on me that the pattern may be too wide for the fabric.  So I did a bit of calculation and oh dear it was.  This meant I would need to alter the pattern more then I wanted but I do not think it will affect the overall look.

Fingers crossed!


So time to cut the fabric eeeekkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

No turning back now is there.

I tried my best to be as economical with the fabric as possible because I wanted some left to make an accessory.

I think there is just over a metre of the fabric left which is more then enough.

Now the pieces are cut, it is time to put it all together.

Fortunately most of the construction was pretty straightforward.  The only thing that was new in this dress making is that I will be inserting my first ever concealed zip into a garment.  Actually it is the first zip I have every inserted.  I have watched plenty of YouTube videos and read a lot of articles on how to insert them so they are not unknown to me however there is always a bit of hesitation when it comes to the real thing.

The biggest surprise for me in this skirt is adding on the frills.  Who would have thought adding 2 layers of frills would take a whole Sunday afternoon!  So much for the zip being the most complicated thing.  It also didn't help that my sewing  machine decided to have a hissy fit just as I was about to sew the second layer.  Ooooooo that did not make me happy.

Anyway here is the finished skirt!

I am very happy with the result!  I was a bit worried that the extra seams at the front and back (due the width constraint of the fabric) would make the skirt look odd but it didn't so hooray.  Now I need a nice blouse to go with it.