Friday, January 29, 2021

Liz Lisa inspired DIY Ribbon Stole tutorial!

This week's post is a cross-post from my personal blog, enjoy!

I've been trying to ease back into sewing more regularly-- I've been on a bit of a hiatus, we recently conceived and gave birth to our beautiful baby girl and, shocker, a newborn baby is incredibly time consuming. I had to clean out my craft room late last year to make room for the nursery and pack it up for a while, which took me several days of trying to sort and store in a way that made sense, and that I could find everything a few months down the road. I think I've been moderately successful at least. The plan is/was to move my whole situation into our shared hobby room, but it's still a huge work in progress. In the meantime, I finally caved a week ago and I've moved my sewing machine downstairs onto my computer desk, which is kind of nice in a lot of ways, as I can sew and hang out with my husband at the same time. 

Lately, I've been trying to think of small, manageable projects I can do, and put down quickly. I've been sitting on this super thick, brushed woven plaid for a couple of months now and finally had an idea for it. It's basically perfect for those super cute ribbon stoles that Liz Lisa, Ank Rouge, Amavel and all the various girly brands all make. It's a super easy project, so I actually took photos along the way and thought I'd write a quick and dirty tutorial! It's all straight lines, so I think it'd be a really easy first project for anyone still new to sewing.

Materials:

You'll need about 2-2.5 meters of a thick, warm, woven fabric. Mine is acrylic, but you could splurge and get a nice wool or cashmere. Joann also has some pretty nice plaid apparel flannels that would be nice. You're looking for something relatively thick. As far as patterns go, obviously plaids are classic, but solids would be nice too. Or a somewhat muted leopard print. You want cute and subtle, not loud and garish.

Medium weight iron on interfacing. Don't get the lightweight/featherweight stuff-- it's not going to have enough structure to do what we want here. You want something with a bit of heft!

Tulle/net lace, probably around 2 meters or so. I think a relatively wide lace looks better here, but try out various combinations with your fabric and see what looks best.

Snaps and snaps pliers. You can get plastic snaps in loads of colors, but I just have some in white left over from a previous project. These won't really be seen, so don't stress matching them too much.

And, of course, all of the standard sewing accoutrements-- sewing machine if you're using one, hand needles if not; matching thread; pins or clips; point turner, I use a chopstick or something; seam ripper, because mistakes happen. :]

We'll start by cutting the length of the scarf from our yardage. I was somewhat limited in that I got my fabric in a mystery box, so I juuuust had it long enough, but if I was buying, I'd probably have gone longer. My scarf is 170cm long, I think it'd would have been cool to have another 30cm or so. We'll cut it 60cm wide, I feel like that's a pretty nice versatile width. Set this piece to the side.

Next, we'll cut the two squares to make the detachable bow. Cut two 22x25cm rectangles. I'm using a 1cm seam allowance, but you can use whatever's comfortable for you. Your finished rectangle should be 20x23cm or so.

Then grab your interfacing and cut two 20x23cm rectangles out of it. Next identify the wrong side of your fabric (the right side being whatever side you think looks the best!), and we're going to fuse the interfacing to the wrong sides of the rectangles. Make sure to be really thorough and that it's fused really well. If it's lifting at the corners, it needs more heat. 

Pin or clip your two squares, right sides facing together. On the bottom longer edge, we're gonna mark a length in the middle of about 4cm or so. You can wing this, the length isn't super important. Start at one of this mark and stitch all the way around the rectangle, leaving the length unsewn. Make sure to backstitch at beginning and end.

If you chose a larger seam allowance than I did, you're going to want to trim down the seam allowance to 1cm or so at this time. At each corner, you're going to clip off the corner, being mindful not to cut the stitching. That's a huge pain so, be careful. Bust out your iron and press your rectangle. Once as it was sewn on the machine, once to the side, and then once folded back. Then, turn the whole thing inside out, using the gap you left open to do so. Use your point turner to make sure your corners are nice and pointy. Then, press your rectangle one more time. Sew the opening closed.


Now, take your lace and sew it around the center of the rectangle, meeting in the middle of the back side of the rectangle. Overlap the ends a bit and tuck the end of the lace under. Fold the rectangle out of the way and stitch the lace ends together, just so it doesn't flop around much. This will mostly be hidden, so it doesn't have to look totally fabulous.

Next, we're going to cut two strips. One is going to be about 5x25cm, the other is going to be about 5x10cm. Take these strips and zig zag all the way around the edge-- if you have an overcast option/foot on your sewing machine, this is a good time to use that. Keep this pretty narrow, I had my stitch width set to 1.5. If you have a serger/overlocker, you can also use that, keeping it narrow and with the blade off. This would also be a good time to do this all the way around the main body of the scarf.


Now, on the shorter strip, we're just gonna do a teenie tiny hem, about .5cm. Fold the edge over to the wrong side and stitch it down. At this time, you can also choose whether or not to finish the edge on your main scarf body-- I didn't because I liked how the frayed edge looked, but this is a whatever looks best situation.


Grab a sewing needle and matching thread. Take your bow rectangle, and with the right side facing up, do three mountain folds-- you can sort of adjust these to get the lace to lay nicely. Take your sewing needle and run it through the center of these folds to secure them in place, make a couple of passes and then tie it off. Take the shorter strip and wrap it around the center of your bow. On the backside, overlap the ends and fold the top edge under. Using your sewing needle, do a quick little whip stitch to securely fasten it. Again, not gonna be seen, so don't fret if your handsewing skills leave something to be desired.



Finally, we're gonna take the remaining long strip and attach snaps to either end of it. I like to idiot proof this by threading through the bow loop, around the body of the scarf and then piercing both sides with the awl where they'd meet. Make sure to check you've got both the a/b(male/female) snap pieces selected, and that they'll be facing each other so they can mate properly. You'll want to do a second snap further in/out for when you want the bow to around both ends of the stole or only one.


And that's basically it! You can further embellish as you please, maybe add a ribbon on a removable brooch pin, make a second bow, add yarn tassels to the ends of your scarf-- be creative!

Have fun!
-Enfamil

Friday, January 22, 2021

You've Been Posted to an Imageboard. Now What?

“They said I farted at the meetup and that I smell like a hamster...”
It's never a good surprise to realize you've been posted on an imageboard. You're browsing, and next thing you know,you see a picture of yourself with a not so pleasant comment. Maybe some people even seem to agree with it, maybe they're even spreading rumors about how they heard you did ‘this and that’. Now, you might panic at the sight of your reputation being seemingly tarnished, but not to worry, here is what to do:

Step 1: Chill out
Think about it rationally. Those people are more often than not just strangers on the internet that you don't know or care about in the first place (in case you suspect you do know some of them, now is a good time for a cleanup). Would you care if a random passerby thought you looked weird? No? So why care that some random person on the internet thinks your coord is ugly, or that your teeth are crooked? For all you know, they might not even be actual lolitas, and the comments agreeing might even be the same person posing as different people. Point is, it's not always as bad as it seems to be.

Step 2: Thou shalt not whiteknight
When you get posted somewhere, it can be tempting to defend yourself (or whoever has been posted for that matter,especially if it's someone you know and like). Don't do it. Don't even talk about it on social media. All it will do is draw more attention to you and drag this situation out. The more you ignore it, the quicker it'll go away. If you feel the need to talk about it,talk about it with trusted friends (and tell them to not defend you either).

Step 3: Close the tab and move on
I can hear you say "But what if I'm anxious, and keep refreshing and going back to check?" and to that, I raise you this: At the end of the day, no matter what you do, someone will always be talking smack. Here, you just happen to be able to see it. There will always be people that don't like you for seemingly no good reason, but you can't just obsessively check all image boards every single day to make sure nobody is talking about you. That'd be irrational. The best kind of thing to do if you can't keep your eyes away is to find something to occupy your hands and your mind. Play a video game, watch a movie, make art, do something. Image board discussions go by quickly, and in one week no one will even remember it because they’ll have moved on (and so should you).

Extra step: Think about it
Being posted is not always bullying or vendetta. Sometimes it's valid (although harsh) criticism. It all depends on how it is formulated. Sometimes, you need to look at it objectively: Maybe they are right and those shoes could use a little clean up, maybe you should style your hair next time, maybe you should pay more attention so your dress isn't overstuffed or wrinkly, and so on. Even if they come off as rude, some comments can give you something to think about to improve yourself.

That’s about it for now, see you!
- Biscuit -

Friday, January 15, 2021

A Comprehensive List Of Lolita Socks & Tights on Taobao

 If you are looking for lolita socks and tights, there are a lot of Chinese brands that make their own original designs these days. We’ll introduce you to some of them today!

Let’s begin with some of the popular options~

Roji Roji

Taobao: https://rojiroji.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/u/5859333371

Roji Roji is currently one of the most popular shops for sweet socks and tights. They have a large selection of designs that are relatively cheap and always in stock. There are cotton socks, glass socks, lace tights, gold stamped tights, and more. The over the knee socks are said to be tall friendly as they are very very long.


Yukine’s Box

Taobao: https://shop126844055.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/u/5620516038

Yukine’s Box has emerged as another popular place for sweet lolita socks. They have a small selection of cotton socks in either ankle, calf, and over the knee lengths and also currently have two ankle/wrist cuff designs. Their releases operate on preorders, but they sometimes have ready stock after each preorder period is done. Their most popular design is the striped macaron color socks that come in a variety of colors and go well with many Angelic Pretty prints.


Yidhra

Taobao: https://yidhra.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/yidhra

Yidhra is best known for their glass socks and gold/silver stamped tights but they also have a few printed designs. They have great options for those looking for more subtle or versatile socks in their wardrobe. The designs lean more gothic but they have recently been making more sweet designs. Be warned that glass sock designs in general are not very plus size friendly.


Red Maria

Taobao: https://redmaria.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/u/2992803700

Red Maria is a brand that is consistently well known for their tights but they also make cotton socks. They have plus size friendly printed tights that are very stretchy and have decent thickness. The tights are printed on white fabric so any dark or black prints will become whiter where it stretches. The newer cotton socks are a bit more narrow and don’t stretch as much as their tights. For printed tights, Red Maria is a very good quality and trusted brand to buy from.


Hymn Originals

Taobao: https://shop209914248.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/Hymnoriginals

Hymn Originals is one of the newer brands on this list that focuses on socks. They don’t have many available designs at the moment but do have future releases planned. Their current sock designs are calf length cotton socks available through preorder, although ready stock is sometimes available after the preorder period ends. Their newest release at this time is a pair of waffle printed socks. How cute is that?


Ruby Rabbit

Taobao: https://shop126104842.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/u/5137262583

Ruby Rabbit is another brand that has been around for a long time and has been well loved. They offer a decent collection of printed and gold stamped tights. The sheer tights with a white stamped print on them are delicate and should be handled with care as they are easy to ruin.


Stellar Winds of the Universe (星风宇宙)

Taobao: https://shop33343052.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/u/7084432213

Stellar Winds of the Universe isn’t as well known as some of the other brands on this list but they have a variety of printed cotton socks in ankle or calf length, glass socks and tights, and a few printed tights or over the knee socks. The cotton socks are mostly available in sweet prints but the tights may be suitable for other styles.


Reina

Taobao: https://shop108333718.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/u/5888353847

Reina specializes in gold or silver stamped tights and over the knee socks in several designs mostly on black or white. The store also sells other general socks and some underwear for some reason.


Sweet Migo

Taobao: https://shop220123994.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/u/2671812965

Sweet Migo has a few original sock designs but also resells other socks from time to time. Although they don’t have as many designs as other stores, the socks are nice quality. The gold stamped socks are glittery and thicker than many other shops that have gold stamped socks.


Sheep Puff

Taobao: https://mianyangpaofu.tmall.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/u/7409419002

Sheep Puff is originally popular for their bags and shoes, but they have started to branch out into offering socks as well. Their socks are generally ankle or calf length cotton socks. Some designs are meant for JK (nanchatte) but can work with lolita as well.


Mu Fish

Taobao: https://mu-fish.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://weibo.com/mufish2012

Mu Fish has been around for a long time. When the English speaking world first found out we could order lolita from Taobao, Mu Fish was always one of the shops recommended for lolita socks and tights. The selection has dwindled over the years but they still offer great options for printed tights. Since Mu Fish is the same company as Lovely Lota (a popular shop for cute bags), you may see some of the same socks and tights on both Lovely Lota and Mu Fish storefronts on Taobao.


Waguir (袜贵人)

Taobao: https://shop112468007.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/u/5287205816

Waguir is a good source for generic lace socks and solid tights. The socks and tights you will find here will be a bit on the plainer side but they are more versatile. This is also the place to get lace topped ankle or knee socks. Some of the designs may not be great for lolita but they are always releasing new designs. Since the newer stock photos tend to be taken with a filter, checking their Weibo account is a good way to see customer or model photos in different lighting.


Arancia Lolita

Taobao: https://shop108541433.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/ljsdcz

Arancia Lolita has glass and gold stamped tights. Not much differentiates it from other shops that sell similar tights. However, it is worth a look for some different designs if you are searching for these types of tights.


Tomato Shop

Taobao: https://shop236734026.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/u/7457132186

Tomato Shop is a relatively new brand that has popped up. They currently have two designs of printed cotton socks in calf and ankle lengths but have more releases for socks planned in the future.


Loli Loqi

Taobao: https://shop71130893.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/u/6253091673

Loli Loqi is yet another new brand that has popped up selling original socks and tights. They have a few simple designs currently in stock on Taobao.


Mao Mao (呜啦啦喵)

Taobao: https://mao233.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/u/3199113852

Mao Mao (呜啦啦喵) sells a lot of other things including underwear and non-lolita socks, but they have a small selection of printed tights and socks.


XHL Lolita (溪浣霖)

Taobao: https://shop108641797.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/u/3942386002

XHL Lolita appears to have made a few different designs in the past, with some being collabs with other brands to match specific dress releases. There isn’t much in stock right now, but what they do have is quite cute and may work for sweet or classic.


小小的开心

Taobao: https://shop143947009.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/u/7124748389

小小的开心 roughly translates to little happy. They seem to have one original design at this time and resell a lot of other cute cotton socks suitable for sweet lolita. Please be aware that the socks they resell are mainly in children’s sizes.


Lily酥 (Lily’s Lolita)

Taobao: https://lilysu.taobao.com/

Weibo: https://www.weibo.com/u/6319334235

Lily酥, or Lily’s Lolita has a very small selection of tights and resells some generic socks, but their most popular item are these patterned lace ankle socks available in white or black.


This is the end of the list now and yes, it is quite long! Are you surprised by how many options are available now? I hope you’re able to find something you like among all these brands.


May you always have the perfect socks for every coord~! ♡

Chrysanthemum Tea

Friday, January 8, 2021

Kamikaze Girls and Versailles: Part 1

In the story Shimotsuma Monogatari, or Kamikaze Girls in the English translation, the main character Momoko expresses her adoration for 18th century life in Versailles. I often revisit this novella and the movie when I want to get in the lolita spirit, but as a self-proclaimed history buff, I tend to have a hard time getting through the parts where Momoko imagines what life was like. In this series, I’ll do my best to dispel and explain the bits that Momoko, and to that extent, Novala Takemoto got right – and wrong about life in 18th century France.

Novala prefaces the novel with a brief explanation of the Rococo and Baroque periods. He states that Rococo refers to an era of elegant and sumptuous art that dominated France in the 18th century. While it did follow the Baroque period, the development of Rococo aesthetics wasn’t limited to France. According to Britannica, the Rococo art movement began in Paris and like a lot of ideas, it took foothold in other countries such as Germany, Austria, and Italy. A prime example is the Church of Vierzehnheiligen in Bad Staffelstein, Germany which still stands today.

Church of Vierzehnheiligen

Novala quickly states that the Baroque period lasted between “1715 to 1770 or so and possessed a stateliness and majesty based on Catholic beliefs”. The description is fairly accurate, but timelines are off. In fact, when it comes to social, political, and artistic movements, it can be quite difficult to put an exact date, so I think it’s better to recognize these things in a general time frame and its characteristics.

What is Baroque?

The Baroque art movement has its roots in the previous century, from Mannerism, an art style originated from 16th century Italy that was a response to the Renaissance movement. While Renaissance art focused on realism, Mannerism is characterized by exaggerated or elongated proportions, and unrealistic poses and perspectives. Baroque style essentially took these ideas from approximately the 1600s and ran with it for roughly 150 years (remember – ideas didn’t move as quickly as they do now). It’s a style defined by grandeur and expressiveness, excessive ornamentation, deep colors, contrast, and movement. Defining artists from the period include Caravaggio, Rubens, Diego Velazquez, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Gian Loreanzo Bernini, Giovanni Batissta Gauli, and Francisco de Zurbaran.
Example of a Baroque painting:
Entombment of Christ (1601-3) - Caravaggio
Baroque’s theatrical ability to highly stimulate the senses and inspire awe was appealing to those who held power in government and in the Catholic Church which was competing for membership with the austere Protestant Reformation. Many Catholic churches in this period commissioned Baroque practitioners to design and build religious buildings and art as a form of propaganda, and their endeavors were quite successful. Step into any Baroque styled cathedral and one can feel emotionally and physically dwarfed by the sheer size and dramatic use of light and gilding with the belief that they are in the grand presence of an all-knowing God and His Heavenly court.
The São Francisco Church and Convent of Salvador, Brazil
Asamkirche - Munich, Germany
Novala/Momoko describes Baroque as masculine, somber, solemn, serious, and boring, but this wasn’t always the case. As its popularity spread across the world (as Baroque architecture can be found in colonized countries), different countries developed their own visions of the Baroque aesthetic. One can certainly use those descriptors for early Baroque art and basilicas in Italy, but in places where the Protestant faith was more dominant, such as in England and the Netherlands, the Baroque style was comparatively minimalist and refined. 

Although France was primarily Roman Catholic, French Baroque was respectfully its own aesthetic and is referred to by the French as Classicism. This look emphasizes geometry and precision, as seen in the Palace of Versailles.
Palace of Versailles and gallery

The Palace of Versailles (which originally began as a “humble” hunting lodge) was intentionally built in the Baroque style between 1631 to 1634. King Louis XIV may not have expanded the chateau in the oppressively dramatic Italian or Spanish manner, but it still managed to convey his style of absolute rule so well that it draws and awes 10 million visitors a year!

What is Rococo?

Novala says that the term Rococo derived from the French word rocaille. This is true, but it doesn’t mean “misshapen pebble” - just pebbles. It refers to the stones and shells used to decorate the interiors of grottos and caves. Rococo refers to the type of decorative art popularized in the 18th century featuring curves, and shell-like, rock-like, and scroll motifs. 
Example of Rococo scrollwork
While Rococo arrived after the Baroque period, it has a much longer history than Novala/Momoko assumes, and there are many overlaps. Signs of Rococo art and design appeared as early as 1715 and its popularity lasted up into the late-1780s. Rococo is often referred to as Late-Baroque.

Once again, Novala gives the reader a slapdash explanation as to why Rococo came after the Baroque style, though understandingly since Kamikaze Girls isn’t a Western art history book. To quote: “...without giving it any deep thought, whatsoever, started using curves for no other reason than, hey, round is cuter than square! “The reality was that Rococo came about during the Age of Enlightenment where its primary focus was on secular, humanistic, and natural matters, instead of religious ones.

During this period, improvements in technology, education systems, and rise of global trade gave the aristocracy and a growing middle class the ability to question theological dogmas and embrace science and the natural world. The artistic sensibilities embraced by this newly wealthy class and the aristocracy are reflected in their homes as they commissioned artists and designers who utilized pastels, curves, asymmetry, scattered light, feelings of playfulness, mythology, and non-religious imagery, including symbols of beauty and courtship.
Queen of the Lake - Birnau, Germany
Rohan Palace - Strasbourg, France
There’s a brief mention of the artists Antoine Watteau and François Boucher, who were prolific during this era. Novala/Momoko expresses their disappointment that these artists were treated with more disdain as artists than they deserved among artistic and academic circles, which bears some truth. These artists in particular had commercial success, especially in the decorative arts. Their works, however, typically evoke mood rather than tell a story, and although the French Revolution was brewing in their time, they were not always making art that challenged or reflected the greater socio-political climate. For context, when King Louis XIV died, the French court largely left Versailles and returned to their homes in Paris (and understandingly so. The paranoid king forced many aristocrats to move to the hinterlands of Versailles while the palace was still being built). This return to the comforts of city life allowed aristocrats to pursue intimate activities as reflected in the art they purchased.

Novala/Momoko quotes the French philosopher and writer Denis Diderot who describes Boucher’s paintings as containing only “elegance, cloying sweetness, fantastic gallantry, facility, change, brilliance, made-up skin tones, and lewdness”. His critique on Boucher’s works is infamously contradictory, but it’s not without reason. For one, their works are inspired by the theatricality of commedia dell’arte, a form of Italian theatre based on colorful characters and improvisation which was quite popular during this period. Secondly, Boucher and Watteau’s financial successes are owed to their wealthy patrons. There’s nothing new about artists making their patron’s portraits look better than they do in person. Watteau was especially famous for embracing this form of theatre into his paintings, featuring playful subjects in fashionable attire of his time in a park-like setting. This anachronistic blend of nature and fantasy came to be known as fêtes galantes.


Perhaps the most famous piece of Rococo art: The Swing by Jean-Honoré Fragonard
Perhaps these artists didn’t create world changing works, but from a modern day perspective, we can thank artists like them for providing us invaluable examples of fashion from the period and a glimpse of what life might have been like for the patrons of the time.

If you’re interested in learning more about these artists, I highly suggest following these links to The Met’s archives:
What do you think about Baroque and Rococo art? Do you love it? Do you hate it? What would you rate it?

Thanks for reading!
Mocha

PS: Part 2 is up!