La Belle Lolita

All the beautiful things...

I’m back in school!
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lunarcrystal

SFCC Entrance


Hi everyone!


Sorry I’ve been so quiet. This year has been quite a doozy! After the craziness of my life last year – the shit hitting the fan kind of crazy – somehow life got back on track for me. I can’t say I did it alone, though. I had the help of some wonderful and empathetic friends. First, I was introduced to the world of film and TV production as a costume PA for an independent movie called Priceless (check out the trailer here). Now, I may have only worked as a PA (production assistant), but because the costume department consisted of just three people (including myself) there were things that needed doing that required a seamstress. Most times, PAs start out green, not knowing anything about clothes or costumes. In fact, I’ve even come across a lot of costumers for film that don’t sew a stitch. So I brought a lot of experience to the table. They had me sewing alterations on a couple things, sewing police patches onto sleeves, and even helping to pick out some outfits for some characters.


The costume designer was kind enough to bring me along her shopping trips to show me the ropes. I got the CliffsNotes on all the costume stuff I didn’t know, like how to label the changes, how to read the call sheets, how to set the line, the numbers corresponding to the characters and their changes corresponding to their scenes, continuity photos. I even learned some things about how and why to dress characters in certain ways, what colors to use and how they might work or not work for that particular character, or what’s going on in the scene. Even without building the costumes themselves and just shopping for outfits, there’s a lot of thought that goes into everything that character will be wearing. Knowing this now, I pay much closer attention to just about everything I watch.


So even though I was a PA for that production, I was given the chance to do a lot of stuff PAs aren’t even allowed to do (sewing, for instance). Usually this rule only applies to a show that is unionized, and this requires certain positions to be union members. Costume PAs aren’t union sanctioned positions. Set PAs and Office PAs are (strangely). My hope is to eventually become a full union member, which would give me better pay and benefits, and more opportunities to work. This show DID garner me the two required letters of recommendation, however, that start the process of entering the union by way of taking two classes (set readiness, and safety) and putting me on what’s called “Overflow”. The overflow list is for job blasts from the union that advertise openings in certain positions. It is first sent out to all union members, and in case those positions are not filled first by a union person, it then gets sent out secondary to the overflow members list.


Costumes is a very small niche, and I’ve been on the overflow list since April now and I never see an overflow job blast for that department. I think – maybe – once I saw a posting for stitchers wanted (which is as rare as a unicorn and right up my alley) . . . but, I was then deeply immersed in the world of opera!


Santa Fe Community College


… is the only college, that I know of, that offers any kind of degree or certificate in fashion design. I’m constantly asked which I would rather do, fashion design or costumes, and deciding between the two is like trying to decide between two favorite cereals! Both, I say! I want both! And frankly, the many fashion designers I have spoken to over the years have dabbled also in costume design and/or construction. On the technical side of things, the two are practically the same. It is only divided by the venue in which the garments are shown. And that one is marketed to a wide, modern audience, and the other is meant to convey a feeling of a character’s personality and time period.


But I want that degree. I know I don’t need it at this point. Fashion design and costumes are two fields where acquired knowledge and skills are good enough to get you the job. But while I was at the opera, so many of my apprentice peers were in the middle of their schooling, some of them graduate students even. All of them early to mid twenty-somethings. The first hands on many of the teams were then my age. Trying to tell myself that I didn’t need the degree wasn’t working. And I really did want to brush up on the technical side of things. Sure, I can make patterns and drape garments. But I want to do it well. And I wanted to practice my illustration and rendering again, and going to a class for that is a good motivator for me.


I’m four weeks into school now, though, and I already wish I could just work faster and get it all out of the way. At this point, flat patterning and textiles study is very remedial. Production Sewing 101 is for absolute beginners, and so I’ve been taken on as an assistant teacher for the first half. Even my Japanese class is rudimentary, because they only had “Intro” and then the second level class 112 – I fall somewhere in between 111 and 112, so just to fill time, I enrolled in the introductory class.


At least now I understand better why I end up sluffing class so much . . . I get bored. Somehow I’ll make it through these classes, though, because now that I’m an adult, I’m not afraid to come up to the teacher to ask to be challenged. The sooner I can get all this out of the way, the sooner I get that degree.


Etsy Store


In the meantime, I reopened my Etsy store and I’m available again for commissions. I just turned off vacation mode, and now all of my listings have expired. I’ll put a few of those back up, however. And if you have any inquiries about potential projects, I’d be happy to discuss them with you.


Santa Fe Opera Apprenticeship!
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lunarcrystal

I have had quite a busy year so far! First, I briefly worked at the local movie theater to get through the winter, which was actually pretty fun and I made friends I wouldn’t have made other wise. Then a friend brought to my attention the potential opportunity to work at the Santa Fe Opera – in some capacity. She seemed convinced that I had enough skill that I could definitely go for that, or some other more advanced sewing/costuming venture. She even suggested going to New York to try my luck out there. But I thought it best to play it safe and stay local for now.


The opera sounded perfect! I had no idea what it would entail. Nor was I aware of just how prestigious it was to be accepted into their ranks. Even as just an apprentice. I sent an application with my portfolio, resume, and cover letter back in February. From then on, I was on pins and needles waiting for a call, an email, . . . something! I was nervous about calling and following up on the status of my application, unsure if it was kosher to do that. I’m very, very lucky to have a good friend that has been contracted by the opera for costumes for many years now. Not only did she let me put her down as a reference, but she even sent a personal message to the people in charge of hiring, and spoke highly of me and my work. I was thrilled, and forever grateful to her! I’m pretty sure that without that, I don’t think I would have made it past the thousands of other applicants (thousands!).


There are only about 70 positions, and of those only a handful of stitchers – which is what I applied for. But I got in! I was offered an apprenticeship for stitching in the costume department of a very prestigious opera house here in the Southwestern United States.


It’s only a two month contract, starting May 30th to July 30th. I’ll be living in a dorm type situation for the duration, meanwhile the rest of my stuff will be living in a storage unit down in Albuquerque. This means that I’ll be moving out of my house here in Taos and relocating to ABQ after my contract with the Opera ends. So it’ll be quite a chaotic summer, I should think. I’m so sad to be leaving this beautiful house I’ve been living in this past year, but the owners are putting it on the market, and they want us to renew a year lease or move out. It doesn’t make sense to keep it while I’ll be living in Santa Fe. All of this is simply the universe steering me in the direction I need to go.


After the Opera? Who knows! I know I’ll still be sewing and designing. I think I’ve finally accepted it as my main thing. As well as trying my hand at costuming for film and television, which was the other busy thing I ended up doing for most of March and part of April. I worked on a period western, an indie film called Justice. My work actually made it onto the screen too! Talk about exciting.


I’ll still be doing my Lolita designing and sewing, and hopefully I’ll be able to settle down before September so that I can expand my little shop on here.


Starting today, my online shop will be closed and unavailable. My Etsy shop will still be open until the 20th of May, and then it will be in vacation mode until probably sometime in August or September. So this is the post that’s mostly FYI about that, and why. :) Maybe I’ll keep up my adventures at the opera here in my blog. I can’t wait to see what kinds of things I’ll learn while I’m there.


Sabaku Con 2016


Fashion Show


Mode a la Belle - Fashion Show models 3 Mode a la Belle - Fashion Show models 2 Mode a la Belle - Fashion Show models 1


 


 


 


 


 


Tea Party


 


Group Photo - Sabaku Con 2016


 


Anyway, thanks for reading my blog, everyone! And thanks for all your support! Stay tuned… <3


Catbug Lolita Style–Commission (WIP)
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lunarcrystal

Catbug Sketch - For Ashe Yebba



  • New Client: Ashe

  • Cosplay Lolita Style: Catbug


Catbug original


Supplies and Materials


Ordered!


The commission will include the top and the bottom. I’m thinking to make the top a cutsew, in the style of a pattern found in Otome no Sewing Book 4, with a detachable collar and a bright red bow necktie. The cutsew will be of a light blue jersey knit.


The skirt will be layered, with an over skirt of silk-like charmeuse in a “ladybug” black dot motif on red, with an underlayer of pearl grey organza (which are the actual wings of a ladybug – the red shell part is called the elytron). Pale blue eyelet fabric for a layer of ruffles around the bottom. Black organza pointed trim, and ribbons for bows. Also some flatbag ladybug cabochons for a row of buttons on the front of the skirt – I have shanks I will be gluing to the flatback part.


Pinterest Board

 


Progress


This is a work in progress post. A link to this post will be added to my Commission Archive page. If you wish to refer back to this page at any time, you can find the link there. I’ll be updating as often as possible with my progress.

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Modeling Call–Sabaku Con J-Fashion Show
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lunarcrystal

Sabaku Con 2015 018 (1024x683)


This is a little PSA for my peeps handling the J-Fashion show for Sabaku Con in Albuquerque, NM – May 6-8, 2016


The fashion show will be on Friday May 6th, at 7pm in the Yucatan ballroom.


I will be entering some of my own pieces, and would love to have models for them. If you’re a NM local, especially in Albuquerque, I would love to consider you as a model for my work. You must be in attendance for the convention itself to apply.


Information on fashion show registration can be found here on the Sabaku Con official website.


Rules (from the official website)


If you want to enter the fashion show please read the rules below:


  1. Outfits for the fashion show must be associated with or inspired by Japanese street fashion style.
  2. Your outfit can be purchased or handmade or a combination of the two. Just look as fabulous as you can.
  3. Designers are allowed to wear their own outfits or have models wear the outfits. A model should wear no more than 2 outfits during the show.
  4. If you want to model, Poison Sugar is looking for models- please email her at poison.sugar@yahoo.comfor more information.
  5. Please no cosplay. We want to focus on Japanese street fashion, if you want to show a costume please sign up for the masquerade.
  6. Contestants entering the J-Fashion Show may also enter separate outfits for the Masquerade.
  7. Local fashion designers are always welcome in the Jfashion show! If you are a local designer inspired by Japanese culture and clothing and want to showcase your creations and promote yourself in the show please enter! Even if you only do accessories, this is a great way to promote yourself! You will however have to find your own models and get them ready. Being a model does not get you a badge to the con We will not have hair and make-up people on staff.
  8. A maximum of 50 entries total will be allowed for the J-Fashion Show.


Please fill out either the individual or designer form below and email it to poison.sugar@yahoo.com

Warnings


  • Please understand that failure to give a narration by the show date may result in only your entry name being read.
  • We cannot supply specific music for only your walk. You can give us a style of music you would like- all music will be played by an experienced DJ


Registration Form for individual



  • Entrant’s real name:
  • Name you want announced by M.C. or nickname you go by:
  • Email:
  • Over 12: Yes or no?
  • Number of Outfits to be Displayed:
  • Outfit/piece description/title of style:
  • Narration: Please let us know what you want said by the MC when you/your models go on stage. The narration should be about the outfit, design, or style the model is wearing and name you want announced. Please limit the narration to 35 words or less.


Registration Form for Designer



  • Label or brand name:
  • Contact name:
  • Contact Email:
  • Number of Outfits to be Displayed:
  • Description of your style/what Jfashion inspires you: (I don’t need a description of every outfit- just your overall style influence):
  • Narration:


Other Links of Interest



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Sabaku Con 2015 006 (683x1024)JFashion Show 1J-Fashion Show - Sabaku Con 2013


Pink Bolero (OTS 1–52) Size M
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lunarcrystal

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Thrift Store Galor!


Blog 177I found this lovely, simple ribbed knit fabric at a thrift store of all places. I think it was a Goodwill store. When we go into those stores, sometimes they have a little section that’s full of craft donations – balls of yarn, knitting needles, crochet thread, cross-stitch kits, sewing patterns that may or may not have been used. And sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you can find whole yards of fabric that isn’t some childish quilting stuff or costume leftovers from Halloween.


Carol’s Pattern Codes


IMG_3145I should probably explain that the “OTS” in the title is part of my pattern filing system. It’s my abbreviation for the Otome no Sewing books/magazines (mooks, but I hate calling them that, as it’s 1930s slang for a stupid person). I suppose I could have used “ONS” but it is what it is now, and it’s stuck. Anyway, the 1 is for Book 1, and the 52 is the page for the instructions of said pattern. It works for me. Every time I copy a pattern from one of my pattern books, I label each pattern piece with my code, the size, and how many to cut. I will explain my pattern drafting method in a later post, and maybe – eventually – show how I do it in a video.


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I have many, many sources for patterns. I label them first with company name (Simplicity, McCall’s, Butterick, et al). In the case of my Japanese pattern books, I label them with an abbreviation of the book/magazine series name (GosuRori = GR, Gothic Lolita Bible = GLB, Otome no Sewing = OTS), followed by the volume number, followed by the page number of instructions for said pattern.


OTS 1-52 (Bolero, long & short sleeve variations)


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This pattern is relatively simple. It only has three main pieces – front, center back, sleeves – front and back facings for the collar – and the ruffles for the cuffs and bottom hem. The only piece that needed drafting it the cuff ruffle. If you’re unfamiliar with the way pieces are drafted from these books, it’s really all right there on this diagram page included for each garment. The measurements are all in centimeters, in small, medium, and large sizes. Anything beyond that, and you’d have to have a little experience in pattern grading to make them larger or smaller.


There happen to be some great tutorials online for pattern grading, however. You could even use Adobe Illustrator for pattern grading if you don’t want to do it all by hand! :)


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Scallop Hem JSK Commission
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lunarcrystal

I recently had the pleasure of doing a commission for a very lovely girl. She contacted me through Etsy conversations, and had a pretty specific design in mind. I was thrilled to accommodate her! Maybe it’s the sewing nerd in me, but I always get very excited when I’m presented with a challenge to make my client’s dream dress come to life.


Black Scallop JSK - Commission - Wendy Liu-1Black Scallop JSK - Commission - Wendy Liu-5


The specifications were to make the dress a bit shorter than the typical Lolita skirt length, which is anywhere from 19.5” – 24” (give or take, there’s no official “rule”). We opted for 16.5”. She wanted it to be completely black, with a scalloped hem on the skirt, with a tier of white ruffles peeking out from underneath the hem. Originally, she had wanted it to be just a “plain” jumpskirt, but after thinking about it, I needed to make it a least a tiny bit more interesting in the front. So I drafted a little pintuck panel for the center front bodice, and made some big 1” buttons for decoration.Rawberry


What I didn’t realize was that this was meant to be a cosplay dress for Rawberry from The Gray Garden! Amazingly, it still came out pretty darn close. Had I know that it was to be a cosplay outfit, I wouldn’t have suggested to put the front panel buttons on, and maybe I would have done something different for the collar, which I think is supposed to have a little bat on it.


In any case, it turned out pretty nicely, and my client was thrilled to have it.


More pictures!


Black Scallop JSK - Commission - Wendy Liu-4.Black Scallop JSK - Commission - Wendy Liu-2Black Scallop JSK - Commission - Wendy Liu-3


Here’s something I’m very proud of – the lining of a dress with an invisible zipper. I finally learned how to do this the same way that brand manufacturers do! It was quite a puzzle to work out but I did it.


Scallop JSK Commission-2Scallop JSK Commission-5Scallop JSK Commission-8Scallop JSK Commission-7


Another one of my favorite things to do! Sewing on my label. :)


Scallop JSK Commission-4


And packaging it all nice and pretty for shipment!


Scallop JSK Commission-10


My client’s review –


This was my first time purchasing a custom garment and I am delighted with the results. The completed dress was exactly what I had envisioned and it fits like a dream! Carol was incredibly sweet & helpful throughout the entire process, and always went out of her way to make sure I was happy with every aspect of my commission. She is talented, kind, and professional, and I would go straight to her again for any future commissions. :)


The process


I wanted a dress to cosplay Rawberry, a character from the game The Gray Garden. The outfit can look a bit ita, so I was looking for someone experienced with lolita style. I came to Carol, because of the beautiful high quality handmade dresses I saw in her Etsy shop.


I messaged Carol on Etsy about what I was looking for, and she sent me her suggestions for materials & patterns, and showed me a selection of lace trims I could choose from. The main feature I was hoping for was the scalloped hem, and I am so so delighted she was able to make it for me!! It came out super cute!


As she was working on the dress, she kept me updated on her progress and checked everything with me before proceeding. She also made suggestions, such as a decorative front panel with buttons (and made the buttons herself!!) and creating pintucks to slightly shorten the skirt as per my initial request. I love the way both of these turned out, and I don’t think the dress would have been as beautiful as it is without her suggestions.


The completed dress


The construction of the dress was flawless. Every seam was tiny and neat, the top stitches were the exact same distance from the edge, and there were no loose threads. I’m not a seamstress, but I can tell this takes so much skill and care! Carol also made a shirred back, waist ribbons in the back, and adjustable strap lengths.


Because Carol was able to make exactly the dress I wanted, with such great quality, I thought the price I paid was very reasonable. She was kind enough to set up a payment plan for me as well. I am a very happy customer. I would gladly commission her again and I cannot recommend her more.


Scallop Hem JSK Commission
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lunarcrystal

I recently had the pleasure of doing a commission for a very lovely girl. She contacted me through Etsy conversations, and had a pretty specific design in mind. I was thrilled to accommodate her! Maybe it’s the sewing nerd in me, but I always get very excited when I’m presented with a challenge to make my client’s dream dress come to life.


Black Scallop JSK - Commission - Wendy Liu-1Black Scallop JSK - Commission - Wendy Liu-5


The specifications were to make the dress a bit shorter than the typical Lolita skirt length, which is anywhere from 19.5” – 24” (give or take, there’s no official “rule”). We opted for 16.5”. She wanted it to be completely black, with a scalloped hem on the skirt, with a tier of white ruffles peeking out from underneath the hem. Originally, she had wanted it to be just a “plain” jumpskirt, but after thinking about it, I needed to make it a least a tiny bit more interesting in the front. So I drafted a little pintuck panel for the center front bodice, and made some big 1” buttons for decoration.


Credit to Akia-Nyan on Zerochan.comWhat I didn’t realize was that this was meant to be a cosplay dress for Rawberry from The Gray Garden! Amazingly, it still came out pretty darn close. Had I know that it was to be a cosplay outfit, I wouldn’t have suggested to put the front panel buttons on, and maybe I would have done something different for the collar, which I think is supposed to have a little bat on it.


In any case, it turned out pretty nicely, and my client was thrilled to have it.


More pictures!


Black Scallop JSK - Commission - Wendy Liu-4.Black Scallop JSK - Commission - Wendy Liu-2Black Scallop JSK - Commission - Wendy Liu-3


Here’s something I’m very proud of – the lining of a dress with an invisible zipper. I finally learned how to do this the same way that brand manufacturers do! It was quite a puzzle to work out but I did it.


Scallop JSK Commission-2Scallop JSK Commission-5Scallop JSK Commission-8Scallop JSK Commission-7


Another one of my favorite things to do! Sewing on my label. :)


Scallop JSK Commission-4


And packaging it all nice and pretty for shipment!


Scallop JSK Commission-10


My client’s review –


This was my first time purchasing a custom garment and I am delighted with the results. The completed dress was exactly what I had envisioned and it fits like a dream! Carol was incredibly sweet & helpful throughout the entire process, and always went out of her way to make sure I was happy with every aspect of my commission. She is talented, kind, and professional, and I would go straight to her again for any future commissions. :)


The process


I wanted a dress to cosplay Rawberry, a character from the game The Gray Garden. The outfit can look a bit ita, so I was looking for someone experienced with lolita style. I came to Carol, because of the beautiful high quality handmade dresses I saw in her Etsy shop.


I messaged Carol on Etsy about what I was looking for, and she sent me her suggestions for materials & patterns, and showed me a selection of lace trims I could choose from. The main feature I was hoping for was the scalloped hem, and I am so so delighted she was able to make it for me!! It came out super cute!


As she was working on the dress, she kept me updated on her progress and checked everything with me before proceeding. She also made suggestions, such as a decorative front panel with buttons (and made the buttons herself!!) and creating pintucks to slightly shorten the skirt as per my initial request. I love the way both of these turned out, and I don’t think the dress would have been as beautiful as it is without her suggestions.


The completed dress


The construction of the dress was flawless. Every seam was tiny and neat, the top stitches were the exact same distance from the edge, and there were no loose threads. I’m not a seamstress, but I can tell this takes so much skill and care! Carol also made a shirred back, waist ribbons in the back, and adjustable strap lengths.


Because Carol was able to make exactly the dress I wanted, with such great quality, I thought the price I paid was very reasonable. She was kind enough to set up a payment plan for me as well. I am a very happy customer. I would gladly commission her again and I cannot recommend her more.


I <3 Fabric
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lunarcrystal

Blog 163I cannot tell you how many countless hours I spend looking through fabric collections online and dreaming of all the pretty dresses I can make out of everything. One of my favorite places to browse fabric is ShabbyFabrics.com. They’re a bit pricey, but I’ve ordered from them before, and the textile companies they use tend to be of very high quality. It’s usually true that you get what you pay for. I still have some Yuwa fabric sitting in a box, just waiting for the perfect dress design I can make out of it.


Shabby Fabrics, in addition to their own exclusively printed fabric designs, also order their stock from major textile companies such as Michael Miller, Timeless Treasures, Clothworks, Robert Kaufman, and even Lecien. If I’m purchasing small quantities, like 3 – 6 yards, I’d buy from a retail shop such as them. Sometimes I just buy small quantities from shops and hoard like the little fabric hoarder I am. Here’s a small sampling of my current collection:


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These are two of my favorite prints that I currently have uncut in a box. I’ve kept thinking of what beautiful dresses I could make out of them, and never am satisfied enough with a final design to cut into this fabric. It’s just fabric, for goodness sake! But . . . it’s so pretty! Pretty sure it’s out of print now, too.


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I bought the unicorn fabric (Homecraft Co LDT – Made in Japan) from a guy who was briefly working as a shopping service while he was visiting Japan. I asked him to go to Tomato, a famous chain of fabric stores in Japan. I didn’t get to go when I was in Japan because the ONE day I made the effort to go to the fabric district of Tokyo was, of course, a holiday, and so they were closed. And I was sad. I *was* able to get other fabric from one of the few fabric stores that was open that day, however. More of that below.


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The rosy ribbons fabric is Cosmo Textiles, another favorite of mine. Below are the three Cosmo fabrics I managed to find during my visit to Japan in 2012. I snagged four meters each of them. All of these fabrics are available for commissioned projects, by the way. ;)


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More out of print fabric by Lecien:


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Walmart


Sometimes when I go to Walmart, of all place, I end up finding some nice fabrics as well! Sometimes in the discount bin, even. Okay, so the Strawberry Shortcake fabric was an impulse buy. But I’m sure there’s some little girl out there who just waiting to break into Lolita who might want a cute little skirt with Strawberry Shortcake on it. Right? Right?!


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Different Quilt Shop finds:


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Thrift Store!


Amazingly I found a good amount of this soft pink ribbed knit fabric! This is perfect for a cardigan or bolero that I have many patterns for in my Otome no Sewing books.


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DenverFabrics.com


I love shopping this website. They have a huge selection of really high quality apparel fabrics, so I’m not just using cotton novelty prints from the quilt sections. The embroidered crinkle cotton has been on my mind for months now. I have a lovely blouse in mind for that one. The light plum sateen with hearts and clocks is no longer available. I made an adorable jumpskirt already with what I have. Luckily I ordered 6 yards of it, so I certainly have enough for another jumpskirt or two.


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My own Lecien collection:


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And finally my basic black and whites. These are high quality linings, but I’ve actually made some really lovely blouses out of them as well. They have a very soft hand and are so versatile. I also have 15+ yards of each!


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Long sleeve, long cuff blouse - black-1Pintuck Blouse 1 - Short Sleeve-1

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About Commissions - Communication is key!
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lunarcrystal

(Looks at the title) . . . That’s a lot of “m”s and “s”s . . . :P


So I’ve been getting a lot of commissions lately, and I’m still trying to iron out the best ways to communicate with clients. In this business, it’s imperative that I have as quick of a response or back and forth as I can possibly get, that’s comfortable for the client as well.


So I have several options to get ahold of me if you wish to consult with me about a potential commission.



  • Etsy Conversation

    • – so far, many of my commissions have started here. An app on my phone makes it easy to share photos. However, scrolling through 20+ messages makes this form of communication a little daunting after a while. A good starter tool if you want to begin initial contact and query.



  • Email

    • – Okay, pretty easy, especially if a Paypal invoice has been sent, and the client has no other preferred form of communication. Pictures not so easy to attach from my phone, though.



  • Google Message (Hangouts)

    • – I like this. This is instant and easy, especially if you have a gmail account like a bajillion other people! Always an option here.



  • Skype

    • – Yes, I love Skype! Instant Messaging, photo sharing, and you could voice call, or video call me for free! If you become a client of mine, I can happily share my Skype info with you. I also have my business phone number with Skype.



  • Texting

    • – Kind of a last resort. I don’t usually like sharing my mobile number with just anyone, especially if I don’t know them in person and the relationship is exclusively online. But texting with photos is certainly an option if we want quick messaging with photos, and the above options are not available for you as a client.




How it works


Lace SamplesI have so many patterns, fabrics, and lace choices! One of my favorite things is to pull them out to show a potential client and help them choose the perfect design elements for their dress!


You can take a look at my current pattern catalog here! Forgive me that it’s still an incomplete list. I have SO many patterns, it’s been hard to keep up. But if you’re considering a commission from me, here are some of the many basic options I have. These patterns are not set in stone, and I have the ability to modify just about anything to exactly what you want, can replicate a design element you might have seen somewhere else from another brand, and can make it fit your measurements!


When you order from me, I will be consulting you every step of the way to be sure I’ve got exactly your design in mind during the production process.


I use many different resources for fabric, including (but not limited to) Fabric.com (broadcloth, knits, et al), OnlineFabricStore.net (Chiffons, georgettes, mesh, tulle – accents), DenverFabrics.com (main fabrics, special design, high quality various) and FashionFabricsClub.com. Also, ShabbyFabrics.com is another fav of mine for classic Lolita styles.


I also have an account with EESchenk.com because they can order from Japanese textile houses like Lecien, Cosmo, and Kokka. Because they’re a wholesaler, however, I have to spend a minimum of $150 per order. And when I order fabrics coming from Japan, they only place orders during a small window, and it takes up to six months before my shipment comes in. Personally, I think it’s worth it. I have to buy by the bolt, and Japan textiles usually come in 12 yard bolts. I’m not limited to Japanese fabrics, however, and other textiles are available for a much faster time frame.


Pricing


Sometimes, perhaps more often than not, new clients are a little shocked at my pricing. I have jumpskirts for sale on Etsy that are anywhere from $50 – $80, and there seems to be some confusion as to why custom garments are quoted to clients at anywhere from $100 – $200 (not including shipping). The pieces already for sale on Etsy are prototypes or samples, one-offs that I made for the fun of it, or just to develop a pattern that I’ve wanted to try for a while.


Custom garments are taking another person’s exact specifications, their style, their measurements for fit, all the design elements like fabric choices and lace trims, to bow or not to bow, scalloped skirt hems – these things are consulted with me, and take time to develop. I’m making something extra special just for you, to fit you as perfectly as I can with the information you give me, and the knowledge I have at my disposal that took many years of school and experience to acquire.


I am a seamstress, costume maker, draper, pattern drafter, and designer. You’re paying for my professionalism and my attention to detail. I could never compete with the low end market prices established by major global manufacturers. My pieces have more uniqueness and a soft finish. And no one will have anything exactly like the piece I make for you.


If you want to consider ordering a commission from me, I do accept payment plans via Paypal!


Sizing


I have my own size chart that I go by. Many of the patterns I have are multi-size, but only within the Asian range of sizes. So that means that our American “M” is actually an “L” in my books. I have the ability to increase or decrease the sizes of any of my patterns. Here’s a general list of my sizes:


XS – Bust 32", Waist 24", Hip 34"


Small – Bust 34", Waist 26", Hip 36"


Medium – Bust 36", Waist 28", Hip 38"


Large – Bust 38", Waist 30", Hip 40"


XL – Bust 40", Waist 32", Hip 42"


It is the client’s responsibility to give me accurate measurements. Please be sure to use a soft tailor’s tape and take your measurements properly.


Feedback and Contact


To contact me regarding a potential commission of a garment, you can use the contact form on this website.


You can contact me via Etsy Conversations.


Read some feedback on my work here!


And check out my Facebook Page!


New in my Etsy Shop!



Alice Apron commission!
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lunarcrystal

So I have this apron that I made, using the pattern found in the Gothic Lolita Bible #9 (for sale in my Etsy store) and I received a request for a custom commission. My client loved the design, but hoped for a longer skirt and a floral motif in the lace. Her party isn’t until the summer, so there was no hurry to finish. But she paid right away, so I thought to work on it right away and finish as soon as possible.


It’s kind of a funny design, and so I thought also to take pictures of my work to do a sort-of tutorial for it. Perhaps I will digitize the pattern to make it available, too.


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Finished product first!


So my client asked for a floral motif in lace instead of the treble symbol I usually use, and because the lace I found was a natural or off-white color, we matched it with some natural/beige cotton fabric I had. This ended up being a perfect decision because her dress will also have a natural/beige accent. I am very happy with the result. The skirt I made just a few inches longer. The original design has a 14” skirt, and so I made it 21” to cover the hem of a typical Lolita dress length. Voila!


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I have lots of lace choices, and so I showed her pictures of various lace that are about 10 – 15cm wide, and she chose this one. It happened to be the only natural/beige color of lace in the selection, which turned out to be perfect for her needs! I quite liked it myself, so I was happy to work with it.



Sorry if some of the images look like a different color. Some pictures were taken under a very cool light during the night time, and others during the natural light of day. I tried to make them as uniform as possible.


First, I bring out my trust snipper lanyard. I had to make a new one because my previous one snapped. :( But it’s okay, because I like the colors on this one much better! I wear this when I work so I don’t have to keep looking for scissors to snip threads! And I have bunches of scissors. Some how they keep getting lost!


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I had already put together some of the pieces. Primarily the waist ties, and I applied the lace to the bottom hem of the apron skirt, and front panel.


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I serged the edges of the front panel, even though the sides are about to be attached to the shoulder straps and hidden inside. Sometimes serging makes things easier to work with.


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Sometimes I make snip marks to mark the placement of pieces. But I actually learned a neat trick from the manufacturers of Baby the Stars Shine Bright clothes, Tokyo Youth:


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Ironing placement marks instead! Brilliant. I’m sure it’s nothing new or special, but it is to me!


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So this is the placement for the shoulder ruffles and straps in relation to the front panel, which we put together separately from the skirt parts. I used a 1/8” narrow hem foot to finish the ruffle edges, and place them this way so I know which one goes where.


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Gathering the ruffles on the curved side of the edge. I place them on the bottom part of the shoulder straps on each side, so that when I fold over the top part, I can make a nice top stitch. Some magazines will tell you to do the opposite, to place ruffles on the top piece, and then fold in the bottom piece, but then your top stitch is a bottom stitch and does not look straight! You can control the way the top stitch works better this way.


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See? Then we sandwich the two shoulder piece with the front panel in between:


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Look at that beautiful top stitch! But how about those ends?


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I pressed the edges first, so I know where the lines will be. Then, I sew the ends before sewing the shoulder strap closed.


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To get really nice, crisp corners, you fold the edges in squarely as shown, then turn inside out! You can work out the points with a point turner, or a chopstick. Sometimes people use the ends of their scissors.


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Sewing the top stitch “a needle’s width” away from the edge. My favorite.


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Both shoulder straps done! So here’s the funny part of this pattern. On the pattern piece for the front panel, the bottom part has a stripe going across that’s shaded, about three inches wide. That’s where the front panel is covered by the belt piece. I will show you.


First, we gather the skirt and attach it to the waistband/belt piece. Attach the bottom right side front panel to the placement marks on the waistband. At the same time, over that, attach the skirt to the BACK SIDE of the waistband piece, with the wrong side of the skirt facing the right side.


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This way, the front side of the piece that will be showing when worn will have a nice and even top stitch.


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So now what? The whole thing will look a little funny. Kind of like this:


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We fold that belt piece up to cover part of the front panel, as is indicated by the shaded stripe on the pattern piece.


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Stitch this closed with a top stitch going across the top of the belt. DON’T STITCH THE ENDS! We need to attach the waist ties!


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Then comes my favorite part!


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Finally, we do the button holes and attach buttons. The pattern, as most Lolita apron patterns, says to put BUTTONS on the shoulder straps. That takes four buttons if you want it adjustable. Instead, I put the buttons on the waistband sides, and make four buttons holes for adjustment.


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Again, I use the ironing marking method and iron out the creases when I’m done!


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Open up the button holes using a seam ribbon, X-acto knife, or scissor. And clean up those threads! I fold the button hole vertically and pull at all the loose threads to bring them up, then snip them.


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Then finally I attached the buttons. I don’t use knots! For the first string, I make an embroidery style anchor. It’s one long thread, folded in half, both ends threaded through a needle. The other end makes a loop! Bring the thread through your fabric, thread through your button, then catch the loop with your needle. Tighten, and make your stitches to fix your button.


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Again, instead of knotting when I’m done, I make a backstitch and then a vertical stitch to anchor the thread, then I push the needle though the core of the fabric all the way to the edge. I snip the thread very very close to the edge, and it should just fall back inside the piece.


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I still have a long piece of double thread, but this time no loop on the end.


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I still don’t use knots. I do the same backstitch anchoring method, but this time I start my needle through the middle of the fabric from the edge, and leave a little tail hanging out. I promise you, the thread will not go anywhere. Makes for a very nice clean start and finish!


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And there you go!


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I will make the pattern for this apron available upon request. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, and I’ll be happy to try to help you. Thanks for reading!


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