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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Designing Designs, and alternatives to buying brand

I think my friends are somewhat tired of me talkinga bout how sorrowful I am over not having access to my lolita stuff. Last night, I caught myself looking at bodyline dresses and considering prices and fits.
x_x  I know that most bodyline dresses can't fit me. But (some) are so pretty! And not all are sugary sweet hyper sweet lolita!

To be honest, some of those angelic pretty prints and the knockoffs from bodyline look like they'd give you diabetes if you look at them too long. I like Bbtssb more than angelic pretty because at times they tone down their prints. They also have slightly larger sizing. =.=

I am on an ongoing adventure to find clothes for the plus sized lolita. Unfortunately, one of the only ways a plus lolita can dress in lolita is altering a dress, getting a custom commission, going to a brand shop like F+F and getting custom sized, or making your own.

  • The first option, altering a dress, is very tricky. One must find cloth that is exactly the same. You might have to decimate a bow that came with the dress, or apply a neutral color. The most common sizing fix is to add panels of space underneath the arms. That is often where the seams, zippers or buttons are. 
  • The next idea is to let the skirt and bodice out. If there is shirring or gathering at the bodice or skirt, one could take a seam ripper and let some of the gathers out, and resew them.
  • If one follows these ideas, the bottom of skirt width may not be enough. Therefore, another way to add width would be to add panels.
  • If one is tall, adding ruffles of a plain color or a nice quality lace is ideal to add a few inches to the hem. I did this with my Bodyline dress, which was four inches too short.
Most of these ideas involve knowing at least basic sewing. I grew up being a crafty person. I played with my sewing kit when I was in daycare. (I was somewhat of a nuisance, I admit, because I left needles around... x_X) But I essentially taught myself. Back stitching, running stitch, basting, and overcast hand stitching are basic. However, if you need aid in this, there are plenty of tutorials on Youtube. My mummah taught me the basics of knitting and crocheting, and I learned the rest on Youtube.

Custom commissions are slightly more tricky. If you don't feel like learning to sew, or are just awful at it, good news! You can simply transfer the work to someone else! There are listings on the major EGL communities for seamstresses all over.  [I will list some here.]
Generally, you can get feedback from these seamstresses from their shop pages, whether it be etsy, artfire, eBay, or livejournal.

There are cheap lolita clothing shops all around the internet. The problem is, you have to make sure the dress or accessory isn't ita. Ita means painful in Japanese, and basically, its a dress that's tacky, horrible, ugly, or cheap looking. Lolitas strive to be as far from Ita as possible. It takes some skill to not be ita, and every lolita goes through an ita period. Cheap dresses tend to be ita, so check with an online lolita community to get feedback before you purchase an ugly dress or skirt. Some brand clothes have been ita offenders, so also check this out.
Some different  low cost japanese, chinese, or korean stores:
Taobao
Fan+Friend
Bodyline
QutieLand

These sites all offer custom sizes, all the way up to around US size 20 or 22. They also offer men sizes, which mean skirts and torsos are longer.

Making your own dress:
Slightly more hard. There are lolita sewing circles and knitting circles you could join.
I will list more about this later, though.

I'm thinking of making this blouse: http://www.burdastyle.com/patterns/andrea-blouse. I only have cotton broadcloth with me, so I will have to double it up. Most free burdastyle patterns don't have instructions. However, basically just stitching the seams and hemming, using fraystop and lining helps. Every handsewn project will be different, and is a step to learning how to become a good seamstress. Everyone makes mistakes, it just takes practice.

http://www.burdastyle.com/search?key=lolita+skirt#

When I have time, I hope to make a small guide on handsewing lolita clothing.

I have plenty of lolita clothing designs. I would love to make my own line of plus sized lolita clothing, sizes 10 to 22, or at least lolita patterns. The problem is, I'm a game artist now. I feel like I have to devote all my time to achieving this goal. I love both, but I don't know which I love more: crafting lolita items or drawing for video games. I don't like choosing... I guess this subject is for another time.


Stay frilly y'all.




-MNR

Monday, July 25, 2011

It rains

Yay, I so prefer rain and thunderstorms. I mostly prefer cloudy weather. It makes going outside so much more bearable. The bright glaring sun makes it hard to see my electronic screens, or read. In the summer, it is somewhat obvious. It scalds you! Icky sun.

I think we're having thunderstorms 3 times this week in the new york capital region.

Still no luck on getting my lolita dresses from storage...
I have been working on lolita crafts though. I really enjoy crochet lace, as I stated in a previous post. I have been creating crochet doilies and lace. Pictures of them will come soon, I did force myself to take pictures of them in my spare time. <3

My second main project is an olive colored vest. I am unravelling an old project to make it. I am going to adorn it as to make it look more steampunk. Hopefully I can wear it with a blouse to get a steampunk lolita look.
Here's the pattern at least. http://www.coatsandclark.com/Crafts/Knitting/Projects/Apparel/WR1602+Knit+Vested+and+Stylish.htm
I think it could use some waist shaping and such, but I don't want to mess this up at the moment. Maybe if I make a second vest.

I am about 40% done with my knitted lolita cutsew. I am down to the chest, and I need to connect the front. I have to figure out a decent cast on that won't make the top roll, because I most likely won't have people picking up stitches. x_X I dun like picking up stitches. If I do a long tail cast on, I will most likely just do the garter stitch.
This, if you remember, is a personal pattern that I  am considering publishing for free if it comes out correctly. No pictures so far. u_u


-MNR

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer festival lolita

I don't much care for being a lone lolita. I've never been to a meetup, and I don't have any lolita friends (I do have other friends of course).
That's why it pains me when I'm not in lolita, and I see another lolita walking about.

I've been searching for months for lolitas in the capitol region of NY: Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Rensselaer. Heck, I'll settle for lolitas located in NY, CT, or MA. I am a very shy lolita, but I would dearly love to collaborate with other local lolitas.

The other problem is that my dresses are stuck in storage and I can't reach them!  I only have one of my dresses. I don't have any skirts. I feel like I've been cut off from something I love. When I'm out of lolita, I look... androgynous, or boyish, or just plain common and mundane, so its hard to approach other lolitas on the street and say hi, because I feel so ashamed of the state I'm in, and that they look so lovely in their frills. I wish my inside were able to reflect my outside more often.By that I mean, I wish I had my dresses with me!

I've only seen two lolitas IRL. One was in NYC last year, in a baby blue bodyline dress and handmade blouse. The second one was actually in Troy, at a barbeque, in a black angelic pretty OP with strawberries on it. I wish I wasn't so embarrassed as to just say 'I like your dress!' and walk away. I was just in shorts, a t-shirt, and sandals, and was sweating (it was 85 degrees) so I was very embarrassed that I didn't look at all like a lady.

However, more power to her for wearing stockings and petticoats in 85 degree weather! Though the skirts are quite ventilating. Perhaps there should be wool or acrylic type petticoat layers for the winter, and chiffon or light cotton or linen petticoats for the summer. The victorians must have already thought about this. They couldn't have been sweating in 90 degree weather in dresses that covered their whole bodies.

When this summer is out, and I am able to reach my dresses, I don't think I'm going to let them leave me again. NEVER!!!

So embarrassed....

-MNR

Monday, July 11, 2011

Painter X

Painter X is the program I use to paint digitally. When you want to simulate traditional materials, or do some really smooth blending for art that needs not to be scaled, go to Painter. It  takes .psds. I use it for my soft shading because it does the painting effects I want in far less time than photoshop.

At times, it is harder to figure out because it has slightly different shortcuts. The eyedropper tool is D, but I changed it to I like in photoshop. It has so many built in brushes to get the proper effects you want. SO many brushes. Its overwhelming at times. But you just have to explore them. I have barely touched oil brushes because right now it's not right for my arts.

Sometimes it crashes. Kinda annoying. It crashed a few months ago. But then again, photoshop, firefox, ALL adobe products, and internet explorer all crash. So that's not new. It has autosave.

The main point of this post is to say that layers are dealt with differently in Painter X. You 'collapse' layers instead of 'dropping' or 'merging' layers like in other image programs. To drop a layer means to merge the layer with the background layer. Be careful in that regard!

To collapse a layer in Painter: Press Ctrl + Shift + X, and the program will merge the current layer with the layer just below it.


-MNR

Saturday, July 9, 2011

All types of Lace

This summer, I have discovered I love lace. I mainly like crocheted lace, because of all the twists and turns that can occur in one piece. Large pieces of fabric can be made from such tiny thread and some kind of metal needle. It's beautiful, delicate work that I just admire.

So far, my obsession is with crocheted lace, tatted lace, needle lace, and bobbin lace. I feel like embroidery is a completely different art. I will take it up sometime, when I can sew my own dresses on a sewing machine. I plan on embroidering the bodices and hems of my lolita dresses by hand eventually. But that kind of embroidery isn't lace. Still beautiful though.

I've fallen in love with irish crochet lace. Its so small and delicate, but the tiny delicate motifs and thread can be built into a more substantial complicated image.  I one day hope to make larger fabrics, like tapestries. Its almost like painting with a hook.


I have to be very careful not to get it dirty with my fingers, because the thread is often white. I do have some green thread I got from a thrift store years ago that I brought from home. I am washing my hands a lot more than I normally do to avoid this.

There are so many generations of women (and a few men) making delicate geometric designs. Unfortunately, crochet is a relatively new craft, as its roots can only be traced back as far as the 19th century. Even still, there is a wealth of creative designs and constructions using all sorts of yarn materials and hooks.

I don't know much about tatting other than it is created with a shuttle with a hook at one end, and creates a very loopy fabric. Apparently, it was called the poor man's lace, because it was so quick and simple to make. Lace was at one point a very important skill for decorating clothes and other accessories. Lace was costly, and there were experts that inspected lace, especially all the way back to the 1600s. Regions were known for their specific skills in lace, and lace was a very important commodity.

I have been working on knitting a replica cutsew, but I am still choosing the lace to put around the collar. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of that because I haven't gotten that far in its creation. Perhaps i will be able to scan in the planned picture.

Eventually, I want to learn needle lace and cutwork. I feel that these two branches of lace make a more traditional , dense lace. I don't so much like knitted lace, because you have to wash, block and press it after every use, and there are too many holes 'where they aren't supposed to be'. I can understand its pretty, with the yarnovers and such. I do like putting them in more solid knitted fabric.

I am looking forward to examining the history of lace.I have already read some wikipedia articles and looked in the local library.

Unfortunately, my time for creation of lace and research of lace is short, as I have work from 10am to 6pm.

These are some of the patterns I'm working on right now:
http://www.angelfire.com/art/bubamara/free/snow2.html
http://craftsbyap.blogspot.com/2008/05/crocheted-shell-bookmark.html
http://designpatternpage.blogspot.com/2005/11/doily-coaster.html
I"m also working on a lace cravat from the australian home journal. If you have ravelry, here it is. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cravat


-MNR

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hello again

Sorry I haven't been posting. Been so busy with work. We're creating a new game, and we're all really working hard on it. It's a game app for smartphones, but we need money for marketing. It would be great if people could examine this link. Thanks!




-MNR