52 Week Lolita Topic Challenge : Something That I Made

Today’s post from the 52 Week Lolita Topic Challenge is 33. Something that I made. First and foremost, I’m not a seamstress. When I got asked at the panels I recently did at Otakon how much of my wardrobe was handmade by me, I had this flash of panic because the answer is basically none. That doesn’t mean that nothing in my wardrobe is handmade; I know some really great indie brands. I’m just not the one making any of it.

Carousel HeaddressThat said, I’m going to tell you about two headdresses I did make. First of all, I made a headdress to go with daydream Carnival featuring a music box. And, yes, it spins and works while on my head; the song is “My Heart Will Go On”. The last time I wore this dress before I made it was to Frill, where I matched with a very dear young lady who sadly is no longer with us. I had ordered two music boxes, a cream and pink one that played the song from Castle in the Sky, and this one. Originally, the other one was going to be used, but I decided the lavender one was more fitting. That said, I’ll admit every time I turned it to play the song between when I got it, and when I left for Otakon, I cried. I was really kinda worried that when I got to the convention someone would ask me about it, I’d wind it up and just fall apart. Honestly, I really was worried I’d go to put on the dress and fall apart. But, I managed not to cry my make up off, and to smile a bit, so I guess it worked out alright. And honestly, at the end of the night, I didn’t want to take it off, impractical thing that it is.

Carousel HeaddressI used my twintails to hold it in place, so the large bow and the extra trailing flowers were done as separate pieces from the main headdress. I used a lot of floral wire to connect a little plastic yarn work disc to the headband and then attached the carousel to that with more wire. The flowers then got hotglued on.

 

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My Girlfriend and I at the Otakon Tea, photo by Jayne

Next we have a crown I made for the Otakon tea. It’s made of metal clockhands (they were black on one side, but the other wise was white, so I spray painted the backs) and black mulberry paper flowers.

Clockhand Crown Clockhand Crown

 

I used a thinner wire to make a circlet and connect all the clockhands. Then I used the wire on the roses to wire them on. The hands slid side to side a little sometimes, so I’m going to add a little drop of glue to them in a few places. Also, please pardon my messy work space, I had all my bags and boxes of supplies everywhere.

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And I Was Like Baby, Baby, No…

Wicked Queen's Poison Cellar

Anyone who is my friend on facebook was subjected to a burst of intense rage directed towards BTSSB/AatP the other day when I opened up my package from them and tried on my Wicked Queen’s Poison Cellar JSK II. For starters, the description didn’t mention any boning, but when I opened it up, it had the same boning as Masquerade Theater. For those who aren’t familiar with the issues with MT, the basically sewed the boning directly to each seam with no caps and no casing. The dress is made of a thin, semi-delicate material. So the boning straws poked through the top and the bottom of the bodice. I love MT and I nearly cried when I took it off the first time I wore it to find it was basically ruined. So I had a moment of pure frustration that they would still be doing this.

Wicked Queen's Poison Cellar

Sewn in boning peeking out of the seam (you can see some of the fraying threads here too, also notice how crooked the two lines of stitching there are.)

The front seams were also crooked, and there was a clear spot where the thread had broken on the front seam, and they just restarted, but not in exactly the same place, so the whole top seam on one side was crooked and had a weird V shape in the stitching.

Then I turned it around to look at the back inside:

Wicked Queen's Poison Cellar

Note the non-cased elastic and the crooked stitching again, and threads everywhere

I associate this way of doing the elastic with cheap garments, personally because it’s not what you usually see with nicer lolita dresses.

What you can’t see above is something that I only noticed in this stock picture below after the seamstress who modified mine pointed it out on me; the elastic makes the straps dip in weirdly at the top.

Wicked Queen's Poison Cellar

What you also can’t see clearly here is that the corset lacing goes through actual lace (which is stupid on a dress with boning because they clearly expect you to cinch it up to bend the boning and that’s going to destroy the lace). You also can’t see that the hem lace is white with slightly cream roses (because they are a different type of thread), the back/neck lace is white and the waist tie lace is cream.

Wicked Queen's Poison Cellar

On my dress, this front detail was lined up at the top and bottom, but was a whole cm off to the side in the middle and the braid wasn’t centered, making the dress look lopsided on me. The boning, which started up in the straps made the waist stick a good 10cm out from my actual waist making me look pregnant, and the waist ties couldn’t pull it back in as they were higher than my actual waist. After the issues I had with MT, I wasn’t willing to try to force the corset lacing which was just through already stretching lace loops to pull in the boning with how light the bodice material was. When I put it on, the front of the dress compressed my bustline in a way that seemed dangerously tight on the seams, but the back shirring didn’t actually stretch to relieve the tension, even with the corset lacing totally removed. So basically, there was more fabric, but either the cut was wrong or the fabric was too delicate to pull the elastic in the back shirring and make use of the back fabric.

A seamstress friend* of mine took out the boning, and in doing so we discovered that there were tiny scraps of waste fabric still up in the sleeves on the inside. Under the facing the edges weren’t serged and the fabric is fraying a bit already. The skirt fabric was fraying inside the serging and there were threads everywhere. She just kept snipping new threads everywhere the whole time; it was kinda crazy. She also took out the top rows of elastic, move the waist ties and fixed the crooked stitching on the front.

She was kind enough to take the boning out of MT for me as well. Here is the pile of boning and elastic that she took out!

Alice and The Pirates Boning

In the end the alterations on Wicked Queen’s Poison Cellar were:

  • Remove boning (2 strips)
  • Resew Top Stitching (we decided to just do one row and iron out the other which was really just to support the boning)
  • Move down waist tie buttons
  • Remove elastic (Top 3 rows)
  • Detach center of the decorative trim and resew straight

And for Masquerade Theater:

  • Remove boning (6-8ish strips? I don’t remember off hand. It was a lot)
  • Resew Top Stitching
  • Re-tack bow (it had to be untacked in a few spots)
  • Re-attach a button I pulled loose when I tripped while putting it on (oops XD)

In the end, with the alterations, both dresses fit much better, and I’m really happy with her work. I will say that Masquerade Theater does probably look best over a corset or other foundational garment; because it’s so thin and unlined and has a longer torso (which is part of why the boning is an issue; when I sat in it, it got pushed against the edges because the torso was too long to sit in properly), so it gets a little lumpy at the hip. However, so do a number of other JSK I own that are cut the same weight and have back shirring, so it is what it is.

For reference:

Wicked Queen’s Poison Cellar JSK II
Bust: 85-99cm
Waist: 74-88cm

Masquerade Theater JSK
Bust: 83-98cm
Waist: 60.5-73.5cm

Me
Bust: 95cm
Waist: 72cm

That said, I now have owned two skirts and five jumper skirts from Baby / Alice and the Pirates. Of them, I sold one skirt (couldn’t fit a petticoat because of a bizarre lining) and one JSK (Treasure Hunt in the Mystic Island Alvida JSK – came to me 6cm smaller than the stated size, and couldn’t even be worn at half the size it was because of how delicate it was). I’m holding onto an AatP luckypack JSK (actually the best constructed piece I have from them.), a black JSK with a fruit print (waist ties aren’t faced and it isn’t lined, but it’s ok-ish; slightly better than good pieces from bodyline), Clockwork Teaparty Skirt (waist ties aren’t lined, not water safe, otherwise fine) and the two above. So far.. I’m just not impressed with Baby/AatP. They have so far sold me two pieces on reserve and one piece second hand that were basically constructed in a way that made wearing them while inside the measurements provided potentially damaging to the garment. This really is frustrating, because I like some of their pieces, but at the same time, I feel like I can’t trust them as a brand.

(*While she is really talented, as far as I know, she doesn’t normally do alterations, so after speaking to her about it, I didn’t use her identity so as not to recommend people to her for a service she doesn’t actually provide, but I am super grateful to her.)