Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Of dressing for a winter fairyland

First of all, thanks to all my fifteen followers! You make me encouraged that this blog is coming to be loved. <3 I want to thank everyone for the hits, as well!

In the last post, I promised you some sewing pics, but I'm afraid they'll have to wait till next post. I've almost completed my coordinate for the upcoming meetup (yikes! this Saturday! and it's my first meetup too). And so in the future, I will certainly bring to you pics of my full coordinate and a meetup report, as well as pictures of what I've sewn so far. But for now, I wanted this to be more of a "musings" post, as I was inspired by a recent post on another lolita blog...

Not long ago, Victoria Suzanne of Lolita Charm wrote about choosing personal themes to incorporate into Lolita, for the upcoming fall and winter season. I quite enjoyed her fanciful and very sweet loli take on the "Season of the Lolita". But now, if you will, hear a goth loli's version of a winter fairytale.

Because I am only just starting to build my wardrobe, some of these will be themes that I'd like to add to my wardrobe regardless of the season. Still, I've selected a few that I think would be especially appropriate for winter. As a loli in Southern California, unfortunately I don't get to see much snow, but I have visited Kentucky numerous times at Christmas, and these past two years I lived there for college. The experience of living through two rather surprisingly snow-filled (for Kentucky) winters has not dampened my love for the mystery and stark beauty of that season. And so, several of my themes will strive to bring the cold loveliness of winter into one's personal aesthetic.


~Roses. Deep bloodred for romance, and for the strange lingering poignancy that memories of summer leave behind. White roses for sorrow and snow, and ghostly innocence. Black roses for, as always, dusk-shadowed, lovelorn whimsy.

 ~Black thorny stems. Winter is a time of "sharp" contrasts (so to speak), and this motif reminds me of one of my favorite winter contrasts: the dark, leafless branches interlacing against the pale grey sky.

~Chandeliers.  Bejeweled with crystals and lights, they suit the festive decadence of the season. But I adore chandeliers in any season.

~Spiderwebs. Although you wouldn't find many spiders in winter, their delicate silvery webs give an abandoned, desolate air to whatever they adorn, which suits the frozen world. Although I didn't realize it when I first wrote down this theme, the skirt I'm working on incorporates it! The bottom layer is all covered with a pattern of spiderwebs.

~Windows. Tall, tapered windows with many panes, and perhaps the moon or a tangle of rose-vines peeking in through the glass (can you tell I'm thinking of Alice and the Pirates? Specifically, and very ironically, their new Midsummer Night's Dream-inspired print, which has won a solid place on my "If I ever buy brand" list, just behind the exquisite Vampire Requiem.) Windows like these make me imagine Christmas parties at a great house, filled with a vision of sugarplums and glowing candles and guests shimmering in satin and brocade.

~Music boxes. Often in stories (at least in my own), a music box or the tune it plays will hold a wistful memory of a more idyllic time, perhaps a character's relatively carefree childhood. The above-mentioned Christmas parties seem a fitting time for those fanciful, fairytale memories to be created, to hold in one's heart like a melancholy jewel even amidst more troubling times.

~Other motifs that seem to suit winter: swans (both white and black), Victorian cameos and lockets, brooding towers and castles, ravens and perhaps other symbols from the works of Edgar Allen Poe. Speaking of whom, I have discovered (well, re-discovered, as I knew about them already) Nox Arcana, a wonderful gothic instrumental group that creates stunning music. Haunting, poignant, melancholy and beautful. One of my favorite piece so far is The Raven on the album Shadow of the Raven, which consists of music inspired by the writings of Poe.  This piece's ageless, wistful sorrow reminded me of a character of mine, who as it happens is called "the Raven" among his people--it's a title of sorts--and the coincidence quite delighted me.

Now, on to the color themes!

~Red, for winter cheer. Possibly combined with white, silver, or black.

~White, by itself or with silver.  I have wanted to try gothic shiro for a long while, and I think it would perfectly suit a fairy world of snow and ice, beneath the pale cloudy sky.

~Black, of course! Being primarily goth loli, it may take me a while to add other colors into my slowly building wardrobe. However, I'm of the belief that frilly, decadent black suits any occasion. Still, although gothic kuro remains my number one love, I would like to try accenting black with silver (one of my favorite color combinations. Silver is so pretty with anything).

Wardrobe pieces/Design features I would like to try:

~At least one OP. I have a secret longing for at these, never mind how us new lolis are advised against them (based on the fewer mix-and-matching options they give than skirts and blouses).  They make me think of party dresses! Of course, who needs an excuse like a party to dress up?

~Vests. Lately I've found that I love the look of a vest over a frilly blouse. Sadly though it's been too hot to wear them here!

~Possibly more hats. I would love to make or find a tiny top hat. (In her latest post, Yajaira at Lolita Poupee directs us to a wonderful top hat tutorial by Tom Banwell at his blog.)  Then there are always cake hats, gothic style! I saw gothic cake hats on live journal a while ago, but unfortunately I don't have the link at hand.

~A skirt with the top layer caught up to reveal a ruffled underskirt. Something about this look seems very princessy to me. Which reminds me! Gothic hime is another style I would like to try, and I do believe it would suit the winter season, whether at festive gatherings or alone in the twilit winter forest.

~Detachable sleeves, possibly. It does get cool in the winter in California, and of course there's our annual Christmas trip to colder states. I'm looking forward to said trip, not least because I'm starting to miss the winter in Kentucky.

In any case, for obvious reasons this goth girl is looking forward to the return of cooler weather! I've come to believe that summer is California's winter, in a way--that is, it has some of winter's less-than-preferable traits. Many plants die or hibernate in the heat, and being outside becomes rather uncomfortable. Anyway, I hope I've inspired my dear guests in planning their own fall and winter wardrobes, whether lolita or gothic. After all, the "Season of the Lolita" is also most definitely the Season of the Goth.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Of frills and the what-not with which to make them

And she pauses to ponder whether the deluge of crafting and sewing photos she brings this evening will cause any problems in terms of computer speed for her dear guests (she hopes no problems will be had).

Recently we took a trip to the fabric store, so I'll start with the items I bought there. Most of these will be a little dark, so I apologize in advance.

It's always fun looking through the bin of remnant fabrics, and I've been wanting to make some doll clothes, so I purchased a couple of remnants. I don't know if you can see it very well, but this is a rolled up scrap of black lace.
I thought this was too cute, in a delightfully gothic way, to pass up. I might make a doll dress or skirt out of this, and then maybe put a layer of lace over it. However, I'm tempted just to make accessories for myself with these!

While browsing the red tag (clearance) fabrics I found this tulle-like material, which I plan to use as the bottom layer or two of a petticoat I'll be making in the next couple of weeks. I used the flash so you could see it better, but it's much blacker in reality. I love how soft it feels, and there are tiny sparkles in the fabric! It reminds me of the night sky. Of course no-one will see it, but (to loosely borrow an idea from Victoria Suzanne of Lolita Charm), why not wear a petticoat that reminds you of the stars at midnight, even if you're the only one who knows?
Just as she needs a petticoat, this beginning lolita will need bloomers too--so I found a soft black knit in the sale section that I plan to use. The fabric itself didn't seem interesting enough to warrant taking a picture, so I'll wait on that till I start sewing up the bloomers.

I found a lovely and very loliable pattern for a button up blouse (New Look 6599), so I bought that as well. Usually, in and outside of loli I like scoop-neck blouses that don't button up, but recently I've started to think that on occasion, I'd be quite willing to wear a button up blouse, provided it was sufficiently frilly.

Now, what else have I been stitching up? Well, I decided to make a headdress, out of an old skirt from a thriftstore and some ribbon. I love headdresses, and made this one to practice both for headdresses and for making other trifling fancies such as ruffles, ribbon roses, and bows. By the way, this video is an excellent rose-making tutorial.
I'm really quite proud of how this headdress came out. All I need to do now is make the ties out of a few more strips of that skirt's fabric.

As you may remember, I'm making a skirt (which I hope to finish in time for the meetup on the 21st, although that will be interesting since I have a petticoat and bloomers to sew before then as well!) The past few days I've been attaching The Endless Ruffle to the hem.

Here it is! It was quite an experience sewing on the ruffle, so I'm rather proud of the results. The room where I photographed it is very dark, so I had to use flash. The material is much darker and much less shiny in real life. That open side (on the right)  is where the zipper will go. I have a feeling this skirt will be very poofy once I gather it all!

Speaking of (a different kind of) stitches, I'm knitting a pair of lace knee socks, using a sock pattern from Ravelry.com. For the top few inches, I plan to lace them up, so that's why they aren't being knitted in the round quite yet. Unfortunately I am plagued with very sensitive skin, so socks that press too tightly against my legs can pose a problem. However, it can be fun to find ways to work around problems like this, and I rarely pass up a chance to add "corset lacing" to a garment!

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