Commercially Alternative: 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Corset Supplies

Hello again everyone! I've been gone a long time. However, I haven't been completely idle. This semester I was finally able to take the next level of sewing class at a community college. So I have a lot of projects to show you and a lot more planned with my new skills. 

I thought I would break the ice and get back into the blogging world with a quick post on my latest shopping haul.



What we have here, folks, is a pile of corset making material! I've caught quite the steampunk bug recently. My final project for school this semester is a rather ambitious bustle skirt! And to go with it will be this Truly Victorian corset. 

It's still in the planning stages as I have to focus on my school projects, which are for a grade. Thus, it will be a while yet till these materials are transformed into something useful. I thought I would go ahead and start getting materials now anyway. I bought the corset pattern from Truly Victorian. The spiral steel, grommets, lacing, boning tips, and coutil are from Corset Making Supplies

It turns out it's a good thing I'm buying things ahead of time because I've made a minor boo-boo. When I was getting my boning tips, in my head I was thinking I needed 3 dozen PAIRS (so I would have plenty to practice with) and what I actually bought were just 3 dozen total. Oops. It's really not a big deal though. Once I make a final mock-up of the corset, I will be able to know the lengths of the spring steel I still have to buy. I can just get a couple dozen boning tips with that so I'm not paying ridiculous shipping just for some boning tips. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Brown Oxford Heels

I have a thing for heel oxford shoes. It’s really unexplainable, but I absolutely love them. I have a pair in black and I’ve wanted a pair in brown for a long time. Payless had an adorable pair of 3.5” brown oxfords for the past year, but they only came in regular width. As I require wide width shoes, I could only stare longingly. However, last week, they finally released this style in wide! As the only logical course of action, I immediately ran to the store to try them on. They cost $35, a bit more than I would like to spend at Payless, but I love them. They fit rather well! Although, I have no idea if they really fit as well as they should because my mind was set to purchase them before I walked in the door. XD I noticed the sole isn’t very comfortable, but I believe an insole for heels should do the trick. Online, they are called the Javelin Oxford in the wide width and the Javelin Lace-Up Shootie in the regular width.

Source: Payless.com






They are more of a red brown than the Payless picture would lead you to believe, but the true color is probably in between the stock photo and my flash photos.

To my delight, I think they will go well with my new Dear Celine JSK. What do you all think? I just need a matching purse. Do any of you have suggestions for a loli-able offbrand brown purse?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Quest for Purple Eyeliner Part 3

In my first eyeliner post, my dear friend Patty suggested an eyeliner. I went right out and bought one. I was a little concerned that I wouldn't love it because it's a pencil. I'm rather fond of winging out my eyeliner and find such a thing impossible to do with a pencil. Nevertheless, if it was a good purple I was willing to give it a go.

Product
Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Pencil.

Photos of pencils from urbandecay.com

I bought my pencil at Ulta for $19. I was so surprised by the vast array of colors (about 40) to choose from! I had to try most of them out on my hand just 'cause. They had quite a few purples available which really pleased me. My top two choices for purple was Psychedelic Sister and Vice. Urban Decay describes Psychedelic Sister as "bright purple cream, no sparkle or color shift" and Vice is described as "pearly red eggplant shimmer, luminous sheen, no glitter." Now, here I would say that UD and myself have very different ideas of what "shimmer" and "glitter" are. I feel Psychedelic Sister was very shimmery and I would say that Vice had flecks of kind of neon purple and copper glitter. In the end I chose Vice. Although it it wasn't as bright a purple as the Psychedelic, I felt it would go with my eyes better.


 Application
This pencil is extremely creamy. It does exactly what it says and glides on very smooth with little to no tugging on the eye. The product is even wonderful for a winged look. I just got out my gel liner brush and loaded it straight from the pencil. Love it! Now if only I didn't have to use a stupid pencil sharpener...

Wear
This product lasts! At the end of the day, 14 hours later, it was exactly where I left it. I was a little worried that the waterproofness would make it a pain to remove at night, but it wasn't bad at all. The glitter has a tendency to linger into the next morning though.

Color
Amazing! I don't think the pictures do it justice. It was exactly what I was looking for, a wonderful deep purple that truly is a purple.


Conclusion
I absolutely love this product! I am having a hard time keeping my money in my wallet and not buying so many more colors. I would definitely tell everyone to buy this. I am genuinely shocked at just how well this liner performs. Thank you so much, Patty, for this amazing suggestion!

Is the quest over? I hope not! There are so many different eyeliner types and shades left to try! Metallic? Neon? Glitter? I will continue my search to find the best. ^_^

Update
Turns out either the glitter in the eyeliner irritates my eye or I'm allergic to this product as the next day my eyes are red and awful. Either way, I will not be using Urban Decay eyeliner pencils anymore.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Ever After High

Things have been pretty crazy at work lately and I've been really busy. I've had to stay late and work weekends for so long now. It's been pretty much a minimum of 46 hours a week and I don't get paid overtime! Woo-hoo? As a result, not much has been done on my blog. I'm very sorry about that! However, you can look forward to new posts coming soon! I have a new purple eyeliner to try out (I have high hopes for this one), an easy cosplay project to share, and a surprise coming late June/early July! I am super excited.

In the meantime I have discovered this... Well... I'm not sure what it is. Is it a tv series? A web series? A toy line? All of the above? All I know is that it's a spin off of Monster High. I thought the dolls from that series were interesting, but I never got into it. However, the Fairy Tale theme and loli-esque skirt shapes of Ever After High have caught my interest.


Monday, May 13, 2013

The Quest for Purple Eyeliner Part 2

Product
Wet N Wild Mega Liner Liquid Eyeliner



This week's purple eyeliner is Wet N Wild's Mega Liner Liquid Eyeliner. It was so cheap I figured why not. I bought it for about $2-3 at Walgreens. Their purple color is called "Plum." This liquid liner uses a brush applicator instead of felt.




Application
The best way to describe it is, "meh." The brush is easier to use than I expected as I'm used to felt tip applicators for liquid liners. Also, the brush quite easily made thin precise lines. However, it only held about enough product for 1/3 of my eye. I had to re-dip the brush multiple times to complete the line. And then when it was on, I had to go over it many times for the color to show. I'm also not a fan that there was no little ball inside the pot to aid in mixing the product when shaking.

Wear
Again, "meh." By the end of an eight hour work day, it really starts to flake off. 

Color
It's actually a very nice purple once you put on enough layers. It's still not quite the pop of color I'm looking for, but it's still rather pretty with tiny flecks of copper. It really is more purple in real life than in the pictures.

Results
Well, as always, you get what you pay for. However, I'm really don't think this was even worth the couple of dollars I spent. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Quest for Purple Eyeliner

Hello again everyone. This post isn't sewing related or even exactly lolita related. However, I thought it would be a fun experience to share. I am currently searching for excellent purple eyeliners. My eyes are green so the color purple really makes them pop. However, it seems my search is going to be a bit of a challenge. My first trial was Maybelline's Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner.

Product 
Maybelline's Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner





I decided to purchase this product after watching this review on Makeup Geek. It was about 8 dollars at Target.  This comes with a small brush and the pot of color. Their purple eyeliner is called "Eggplant" and the packaging shows a very inky dark purple as the finished product. I knew from the Makeup Geek swatches that this was not true to the product color, but I'm still disappointed that it wasn't.



Application
The product glides on very smoothly. However, I find that thin lines are nearly impossible. I have to go back over the line several times to get enough color to show. The product seems to be very forgiving of tiny mistakes and I'm able to wing it easily. The liner does seem to take a bit of time to dry and can smudge easily if you accidentally touch it too soon.

Wear
The product claims to have 24 hour wear. It does last for my whole work day looking great, even with my oily lids. (However, I do use a primer base to help control this) The eyeliner doesn't flake or transfer to my crease which is wonderful. I haven't worn it out for a late night yet, but I doubt it would make it. Though my look is intact when I get home from work, I've noticed that the corners are starting to fade and some has transferred to my lower lid.

The product also claims to be waterproof. It's more water-resistant in my opinion, which I actually prefer. Most "waterproof" items I've tried are a little too permanent for my taste. It takes a little more makeup remover and elbow grease to remove at the end of the day than others, but it's not so steadfast that if you make a mistake you're stuck with it for the rest of the day.

Color
I'm a little disappointed in the color. I'm really searching for a bold statement purple. This is more a muted grey-brown purple and a little less pigmented than I would prefer. I can't say that I don't like it though. It has turned out to be quite lovely for a subtle work look. It's now become a part of my everyday makeup routine.

Results
I believe I would recommend this product. It's not perfect, but, for the price, it is a great introduction to gel liners for those who are curious. It even comes with the brush so there's that added expense out the door. The purple isn't the bold pop of color I was hoping for, but it seems to be a great staple for a quick everyday look.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Inspiring Brand Details

This week’s Inspiring Brand Details are Victorian Maiden’s pintucks. I’m really fond of what this brand does with this little detail. You find them on sleeves, the backs of blouses, skirt hems, etc. It’s a wonderfully simple way to create texture and detail while remaining inexpensive (e.g. lace, ruffles, etc). So, if you can master a straight even pintuck, put it on everything and put a little brand feel in your homemade garment. The brilliant thing about pintucks is that you don’t have to alter your pattern to include them. Simply pintuck your uncut fabric and lay your pattern right on top (making double sure everything is straight!). 



And check out the pintucks on the sleeves of these next two! What a lovely way to take in the fullness of the sleeves to create texture and shape.





I wanted to pay a special attention to this new blouse from VM, the Classic Marine Peplum Blouse. Usually Lolita blouses tend to be very fitted, with corset lacing or waist ties. This blouse, on the other hand, has drawstring gathering at the waist. I absolutely love how they took the fullness of so much fabric away from the shoulders with the use of pintucks! And don’t forget the pintucks on the sleeves and hem as well.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Inspiring Brand Details

While I'm still working on future sewing posts, I would like to start a new series of posts, Inspiring Brand Details. I would like to look at those little sewing details that can make brand details so special. Maybe my readers and myself can draw from these ideas and incorporate them into our own sewing.

This week I would like to look at this lovely new dress from Victorian Maiden. It is a part of their Rose Greeting Series called Rose Greeting Paulette Dress. The fabric features subtle striping, pale clusters of  flowers, and small birds carrying letters. I'm especially fond of the navy version. 



When I first saw the dress on the website, I had assumed that the skirt was gathered. However, I quickly noticed that it was actually a box pleat skirt. I then continued on my way, admiring the other dresses VM had to offer. But wait… I stopped and puzzled. The skirt had been incredibly full for a box pleat skirt. I went back and noticed this little detail.



There is a second fold in the pleat! How fun is that? And you can tell that it is still just a simple rectangle skirt because all of the stripes are perpendicular to the waistline. Now, it seems that second fold is not as… deep(?)… as the fold on top. Below is a drawing of what I think is happening at the waist.



Because of this, I'm afraid of the excess and not evenly distributed bulk. So I'm not sure how well it would work for me. However, I could be wrong in my drawing or the bulk might not make too much of a difference. Either way, it is still a really fun idea.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

My Opinion of Lolita and Crosses


Happy Easter, everyone! I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. I love this pastel cutesy holiday. It's a time of delicious food, get togethers with family, blooming flowers, and an excuse to buy a brand new dress. Nothing wrong with that! For Christians, it's also a time to remember. When I think of Easter, I think of a cross rather than a fluffy bunny. Thus, I decided to talk about why I don't use crosses in my Lolita. 

A cross is the go-to theme for a gothic lolita. You see them in prints, jewelry, lace, embroidery, or backgrounds for photo shoots. There are so many lovely pieces that invoke a dark gothic imagery by the use of crosses. Moi Meme Moitie have a plethora of garments to choose from with this theme. 




However, the cross means so much more to me. It serves as a reminder. It's a reminder of suffering, death, sacrifice, and love. 

God became flesh and lived as a man. The Jews rejected Him as the prophesied Savior (as David and Isaiah said they would) and had Him crucified on the cross. Three days later He conquered death and rose from the grave. This is what we celebrate at Easter, the resurrection. It was all part of God's greater plan. Jesus is God and God is perfect. Thus, Jesus became the perfect, ultimate sacrifice. He became the substitutionary atonement for our sins. God loved us so much that He would suffer and die for us. We only have to believe in Him to receive the free gift of salvation. With Jesus' death and resurrection we have the opportunity for eternal life and a life not separated from God. Wow. Fantastic baby. (thumbs up if you know what K-pop song I'm referring too XD )

I feel that including crosses in Lolita would make it a fashion statement. I don't want something so meaningful to me to turn into an accessory. I don't even really like to wear a cross necklace in my everyday wear. 

The cross has no power and is not something to be worshiped. It is merely a symbol to remember. (Though I'm not sure how pleased God is with us using a pagan holiday to remember him, but that's a subject for another day) I'm not angry or offended when I see crosses used in Lolita. I just hope that if one does use them, that they remember it MEANS something to others. 

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to comment below or email me in the Contact Me tab above!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Lolita Blog Carnival: Matching Lolita with Animals

This week I’m getting back to the Lolita Blog Carnival series. The theme was to pick an animal and then create a coordinate to match. Since I’m not very good at creating coordinates, I decided to take inspiration from an animal and find dresses to match instead.



The animal I chose was a white tiger. Tigers are my favorite animal. They are so strong and beautiful. However, I’m not a fan of the color orange in my own fashion, hence the white tiger. I set out to find Lolita dresses that were mostly white with black accents. It actually turned out to be a rather difficult scavenger hunt. I decided that stripes were too limiting, but polka dots were pushing it too far, and I didn’t want ita lace monsters. I also decided not to include Moi Meme Moitie’s white dresses with black prints. Although, it was what I was looking for, white with black accents, I felt things like black iron gates really didn’t fit with a tiger theme. (Or at least shouldn’t fit, as tigers don’t belong in cages) In the end, I didn't find much, but I felt the following dresses fit my theme and I would actually wear them.






The breeding of white tigers should never happen. The white color is actually a result of very rare recessive genes found in Bengal tigers. To get these recessive genes to show, tigers are bred with very close relatives (fathers and daughters, first cousins, etc). This inbreeding causes so many other mutations and genetic defects such as cleft palates, crossed eyes, kidney problems, shortened tendons, and clubbed feet to name a few. Please, do not support places that breed white tigers. 

Want to see more lolita outfits paired with animals? You can see what other lolitas have to say by clicking the links below.



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Poll on Future Posts

Hello everyone! I’m sorry for a lack of activity. I haven’t even been keeping up with the Lolita Blog Carnival. That last macaron post has actually been sitting around for almost two weeks and I just now got it up. This is because my back has been hurt. I’ve been pretty out of it, going to doctors and physical therapy, and just trying to heal and actually go to work. Things are improving, but very slowly. As a result, sewing is going to be put on hold for some time.

This is quite unfortunate since I had actual Lolita related sewing plans now that my Renaissance Festival Costume is complete. I don’t want this blog to die as I feel it is a wonderful way for me to connect to the rest of the Lolita world. However, this is a sewing blog and I want to keep it that way.

Thus, I would like to post about untested sewing possibilities. The ultimate goal of this blog has always been to use commercial patterns to get Lolita looks. However, I’m not sure how to do this and would like your opinion!

Should I…
  • Find pictures of Lolita dresses I like from stores, blogs, Tumblr, etc and try to find patterns that have similar shapes and detailing to try to recreate the look. Alternatively,
  • Find a pattern that has some Lolita possibilities and discuss how I might go about Lolify-ing it

I’ve created a poll on the right hand side of this page. Please let me know what you think either with the poll or in the comments below.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My First Time Making Macarons

I’ve never given much thought to making macarons. I thought they were adorable and really enjoyed seeing pictures of their pastel cuteness on Tumblr. However, I never had an urge to eat one given that they were made with almonds. I’m not too much a fan of almonds. Not too long ago, my parents and I visited this little cafĂ© looking for a fun snack. My mom chose a large 3” chocolate espresso macaron, which rather surprised me as my mom dislikes nuts even more than I do! She offered me a bite. Let me tell you, it was amazing. It had such a unique chewy inside and crisp outside, but still melted in my mouth. I’m not even a big fan of coffee and I couldn’t get enough of the sweet/bitter flavor. I was hooked.


A little while ago, my good friend, Lady Lavender, decided to try macarons for the first time and blogged about it. I think they look lovely for her very first try! I was so impressed that she had such courage to try something new and difficult. So, even though I don’t really cook, I decided to give it a go myself.
I decided to try the recipe by Brave Tart. She's a pastry chef and wrote many detailed posts all about how to make a macaron. She really made it seem like I could do this too. I just followed her basic vanilla recipe so coloring and flavor wouldn't hinder my learning process. 
Unfortunately, it wasn't very successful. No feet formed, the tops cracked open, and they were hollow. However, I know exactly where I went wrong. 
My pile of crushed dinosaur eggs

One, I under-mixed the batter. I knew as soon as I started piping what I had done. The little ridges just didn't melt back into the batter, but remained distinctive lines.
Two, my oven is way too hot. You can tell the difference oven temperature can make below. The ones on the left are from the first batch. The ones on the right are the last batch where I lowered the oven temperature. They actually formed feet and had a smooth top. However, they were still hollow and some still cracked.

Despite the flaws, they tasted very good! Both my parents really loved them. However, they are incredibly sweet! I feel like they need something bitter like a chocolate ganache or espresso filling as an offset. I am very excited to try again. Even though it is incredibly expensive at $10 for a very small bag of almond flour! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rococo Princess

Princess Peachie posted her version of herself from a rococo princess game. I thought it fit her remarkably well. I had fun playing this cute little game and I thought I would share what I came up with. (And of course I just had to include a cat!)


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Renaissance Festival Costume: the Bodice

Well, that took a little longer than planned. After all this time, my Renaissance bodice is finally complete. I am immensely glad I made a mock up because this would have been a disaster otherwise. There were a few mishaps along the way… a couple I am still really kicking myself for. However, it all worked out in the end. Phew! I’ve used the format typically found at sewing.patternreview.com to review this bodice pattern.


Pattern Description:
Renaissance Bodice

Pattern Sizing:
14 / View C

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, it might look a little better.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yeah… really didn’t pay much attention to the instructions except for binding and inserting boning. And the binding instructions weren’t the greatest. I had to google a tutorial online.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I really liked the three lace-up sections. I thought that would look cute and would also save me some trouble of doing a bust increase in non-period princess seams seen in most of these commercial patterns. Although there are princess seams in the back, but I’m not too concerned with historical accuracy.

I didn’t like the back. This is where the mock-up proved it’s worth. I have no idea what sort of creature the back was designed for. It fit across my back, but I had HUGE strange gaps on the back bottom of the arm holes and a gap in the back of the neck. In addition, the pattern is ridiculously short.

Fabric Used:
  • Upholstery fabric found at a discount fabric warehouse (outer)
  • Cotton duck canvas (interlining)
  • Quilting cotton (lining)
  • Poly satin (binding)
  • Heavy duty cable zip ties (boning)
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
The Material
  • I wanted this bodice to be sturdy, supportive, and more of corset construction. Thus, I used upholstery fabric and duck canvas instead of their recommended brocade and interfacing.
  • The pattern called for featherweight boning, but I used heavy duty cable zip ties from a hardware store instead. This provides a little more oomph and support for an affordable price!
The Back
  • As I mentioned above, the back fits rather strangely. In order to remedy this, I pinned up the large gaps in the mockup in the side seam of the back side panel and made a pinned dart right under the top curve of the princess seam in the back side panel. Then I transferred these changes to my pattern. I removed the excess fabric from the side seam and slashed at the dart to overlap the pattern to remove the excess. (If that makes any sense) (I can't find the document that discussed the slashing part) This fixed the arm gap pattern, but I took too much from the side seam and not enough at the curve and now my side seams angle funny instead of being perpendicular to the floor. It’s still perfectly functional and hardly noticeable, but now I know what to do next time.
  • I decided the gap at the back of the neck wasn’t enough to worry about. However, I wish I hadn’t. When I move around a lot in my bodice, it gaps quite significantly. (Still kicking myself for not fixing the pattern when I thought of it) My advice is to move around in the mockup as much as possible to discover things like this.
The Length
  • This pattern is incredibly short. I lengthened mine by 1.5 inches and it hits the waist perfectly.
  • Here’s the kicker. I had originally lengthened the mock-up by 2 inches. However, I decided that was a bit too long, so I marked all of the pattern pieces with the new 1.5 inch mark. About halfway though construction, I discovered that the front two panels were cut to the 2 inch mark instead of the new 1.5 inch mark! Of course, I discovered this after the pieces in question were sewn and bound. *sigh* I measured about five times over and realized I did, in fact, make a mistake. Oh well, simple enough. I undid some of my hand stitching and chopped off the offending edge. Finally, the bodice was complete. I laced it up and tried it on to discover… the front two panels ride up 0.5 inches when you wear it. O_O I was so angry! It would have been perfect if I had not discovered the mistake! My solution? Whipstitch those darn panels in place! Now they don’t ride up or gap funny on the bottom and no one will notice. ^_^ My advice, lengthen the front panels by 0.5 inches if nothing else.
The Construction
  • The pattern originally called for sewing all three layers at the same time. I was using much thicker materials than the pattern suggested and I didn’t want exposed seams. So I sewed the lining and interlining together, sewed the outside together and then sewed the two together with the seams on the inside.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
It’s a little too soon to say is I would sew it again. Right now, I never want to mess with it again. Fiddling with the binding was just a headache having never done such a thing before. However, I probably would recommend it to others if they have a little experience altering patterns to fit (or at least can read a few tutorials on the subject).

Conclusion: Recommended with modifications