Thursday, 17 September 2015

Mixi's 62 Mori Girl Rules - How Many Do You Follow?

As I was clearing up my Internet bookmarks (I know they don't take up any space and are pretty much out of site but I need to tidy them up every so often!) I stumbled upon Fashion Japan's list of 62 Mori Gir Rules, a list of rules found on the Japanese Mori Girl community Mixi. I thought it'd be fun to read them and see how many you follow! I've put a little [x] next to the ones I believe I follow!

Mori Girl by Valerie Fujita

1. You like loose fitting dresses. [x]
It depends on my mood/style? I wouldn't wear skin tight dresses with Mori Girl!
2. You always wear dresses and skirts. [x]
Jeans or trousers can suck it, in my opinion.
3. You prefer slightly quirky clothes over simple ones. [x]
(but you don’t like loud and flashy clothes)
Again, depending on my style haha~!
4. You look natural, but with your own style.
5. You are particular about fabrics. [x]
If Lolita has taught me anything...
6. You like ethnic clothes, too. [x]
7. You wear A-line clothes. [x]
8. You like wearing dresses that little girls would wear, too. [x]
9. You like smock-like dresses and blouses.
10. You don’t like super sweet fashion. [x]
11. You like deep colors like burgundy, dark green, navy blue and dark brown. [x]
12. Warm colors look good on you.
Nope nope nope...
13. Short nails feel more comfortable.
Nope nope nope nope...
14. You like fluffy hats made of knitwear or fur.
15. You like ear muffs. [x]
16. You like ponchos and boleros.
17. You want to have leather bags. [x]
18. You use pochettes for everything.
19. You prefer gold accessories over silver.
20. You feel attracted to old things.[x]
21. You like pocket watches. [x]
22. You like necklaces with magnifying glasses or large designs. [x]
23. You like designs featuring animals.
24. You like designs featuring sweets.
25. You like plaid and polka dots.
26. You like old-fashioned flower patterns.
27. You like lace. [x]
28. You like tights and leggings. [x]
29. Your shoes are basic and flat soled.
30. You like round toe shoes. [x]
31. If you wear sneakers you wear them like loosely fitting cute slip-ons.
32. Instead of regular buttons you like hand-made buttons.
33. You want to wrap your stole or muffler around yourself. [x]
34. In winter, a turtleneck design is your basis.
35. You like layering garments. [x]
36. Puff sleeves make you feel emotional. [x]
I love the way this one is worded haha! Much love for puffed sleeves haha~
37. You love fairy tales. [x]
38. Fair-skinned. [x]
39. Your hair is loosely permed.
40. Bob cut x straight bangs.
41. Straight bangs x long loose perm.
42. Girly.
43. You like FELISSIMO.
44. Of  FELISSIMO, you especially like the brands Syrup and &sloe.
45. You like the feel of Q-pot “sweets”. [x]
46. You enjoy chilling out at caf├ęs. [x]
47. You like walking with a camera in your hand.
48. You unconsciously end up at variety stores. [x]
49. You can’t help starting collections of things you like, you are a collector. [x]
50. Finding cute books at the book store makes you happy. [x]
51. You get excited when you visit a furniture store. [x]
52. You like making things by hand. [x]
53. Autumn and winter are your favorite seasons. [x]
54. You’d like to visit Scandinavia one day. [x]
I'd love to visit Iceland, Greenland and Sweden!
55. You like to have round cheeks. [x]
More like I'm forced to have them haha.
56. If you use perfume, you prefer faint flower scents best.
57. (You long to be) a girl that exudes a soft mood. [x]
58. (You long to be) an uncomplicated girl. [x]
59. You have been told you come across as laid-back. [x]
I'm a bit too laid back...
60. You consider Hagumi Hanamoto of Honey and Clover to be a Mori Girl
61. Shizuru Satonaka from Tada, Kimi wo Aishiteru is also a Mori Girl
62. You have been told by a friend that it looks like you are in a forest. [x]
...Does a witch count? ;D

In all honesty, I think many of these rules can be said of Dolly Kei too. I don't dress in Mori Girl as much as Dolly Kei because of the loose fitting, flowy, sometimes sack-like silhouette, it makes me look frumpy. I like layering but have to have a defined waist so I think Dolly Kei is more my style though some of the aesthetics are similar to Mori Girl.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

I Made a New Lolita Skirt!

Recently I've been blogging a lot of beauty, mainly reviews, and mainly products I've already used up. I haven't bought any non-essential beauty products for ages since saving up for Japan, which is great for my wallet but not great for blog topics! I also haven't been going to many events recently, other than ones to trade at, which again, isn't great when it comes to thinking of what to blog about.

Because I've been a little bored inbetween meets, I started sewing again, and sewed a few items to use up my fabric stash. I mainly sold these because they weren't my style but after I gained confidence with sewing again, I turned to some fabric I've had for years, kept for my personal use and decided to finally make something with it!

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Ta-da! I have been playing around with this design in my head for a while, and because it didn't need a lot of supplies, especially specific ones that need to be ordered online, I finally went and made myself a skirt! I never buy Lolita skirts because when you're paying that money, 99% of the time you might as well spring a little extra for the JSK or OP. I have remedied that by deciding to make some skirts to use up my fabric stash and extend my wardrobe without spending lots of money before I go to Japan!

The fabric was bought from Abakhan in Manchester a few years back, and I got it very cheap because of a pricing error. It was marked down to 50% of the original price (maybe something about £5?) and the store clerk wrote '50%' on the price tag as well as the discount price, so the cashier ended up charging me 25% of the original price! I didn't notice until I checked my receipt, so I got the fabric for something ridiculously good like £2.50 a metre, especially since it was cotton.

The last time I made myself a Lolita skirt was a few years back, and it was pretty crappy. This was back when the general consensus for handmade Lolita skirts was 'Use twice your waist measurement'. However I found out that a skirt made with twice your waist circumference produces mediocre results that can barely hold a petticoat under it, so I was a bit disheartened. I have always had it in my head to use three times my waist measurement now.

In previous sewing projects I have measured and marked the basic measurements and eyeballed the rest. This produced wonky results more often than not so with this project I swore to myself that I would proceed with caution, and measure and mark everything correctly, including marking seam allowance lines. It took a bit longer but was very much worth it.

I checked eBay for silver braid first but they didn't have any styles I was visualising in my head, and the prices were going up and up and up...so whilst in town, I happened to check some local fabric stores and one of them had just what I was looking for! Usually my local fabric stores don't have a great selection of trims so this was a pleasant surprise.

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The braid in question.

I ordered some black cotton from eBay, because it is cheaper than in my local fabric stores, but when it arrived, the cotton was very thick and bulky, almost like canvas or burlap! I went ahead and started making the ruffle with it anyway, but when it came to ruffling it, I discovered two things: 1) My ruffler foot had broke and refused to ruffle on the 6 or 12 setting. 2) The cotton was way too bulky to be gathered/ruffled anyway. I tried fixing my ruffler foot but something had happened to the gear and I had to order a new one...

When it arrived, the new ruffler foot was very stiff and made the needle get caught whenever I tried to lower it down into the feed dog. I powered through the stiffness and ended up snapping a needle. I tried to Google a solution and almost gave up but found that an Amazon reviewer had the same problem, and loosened the screws in the ruffler foot slightly and it fixed it. I did this and thankfully it worked! I would have been very pissed off if I had two ruffler foots that wouldn't work... I finally managed to ruffle the second black cotton strip but my sewing mojo had waned a little. I had spent so long measuring, cutting and marking the first black cotton so that it was very straight and neat, sewing it together, turning it right side out and ironing it to produce a 5 metre strip to ruffle only to be faced with the fact the cotton was too thick, and my ruffler foot had broken as well, but I forced myself to pick the project up again. I had to repeat the same procedure with the new cotton but thankfully it was suitable for the ruffle and I was able to carry on with the project!

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The fabric pattern

When I started sewing with the main fabric, I thought it was plain cotton. However, as I started to iron it, I realised the silver roses were a bit waxy/painted feeling, almost like batik fabric. It was fine when I went to overlock the edges and sew with a straight stitch, but when I went to sew the silver braid onto the ruffle (sewn onto the skirt), the thread started snapping randomly, I presume because the silver part were harder/gummier to get through and too bulky. I persevered though.

When I went to gather the waist part, my ruffler foot wouldn't ruffle it evenly because of the waxy silver parts, and I ended up trying to hand gather parts of it to match my waist measurement whilst trying to make it look as evenly gathered as possible.

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Somehow I managed to make the gathering look pleated?! I have wanted to make a pleated Lolita skirt for some time but have been put off because it's more time consuming, so I'm pleasantly surprised with this happy accident.

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Attaching the waistband was a pain too because of the large amounts of gathering and hand sewing producing lots of thread. It was a little bulky to sew the waistband onto the skirt, so the top thread kept snapping again due to the silver parts. Again, I persevered but I may have moaned in frustration at my sewing machine lots of times...however, because I knew I was almost finished, I was determined not to give up.

I managed to finish the skirt today and I'm actually very proud of it. When I usually make clothes, I always find something I did wrong with it, or something has messed up and given it that 'homemade' amateur feel, and it puts me off wearing it. However, with this skirt, all the seams are finished, the ruffle and braid all line up, nothing is misaligned or puckered unexpectedly and the waistband is not bulky. The invisible zip at the side is sewn in pretty well, and the top of the zip aligns with the top of the waistband.

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This is the outfit I had in mind when I started making the skirt! I would really love a little black hat with silver roses at a jaunty angle to wear with it but I also realised my black and silver rose crown from Taobao would look perfect with it too. As I was ironing the waistband I realised the skirt would look cute with a high waistband so I might make a detachable one!

Every time I finish a sewing project, I think back to the process and mentally make note of any 'lessons' I've learned from it. From this project, I've learned that if my sewing machine sounds grumpy, I should probably check it out rather than trying to power through it and end up snapping a needle or thread. Measuring and marking everything thoroughly really pays off, as well as pressing seams and generally ironing before, during and after sewing even though it's a pain. I worked on this skirt on and off for a couple of days, excluding the time I was waiting for new cotton and a ruffler foot. It was such a bitch to make, much more so than I expected but it was so worth it in the end.

I hope you enjoyed a change from beauty reviews! My next project is a red tartan Lolita skirt for myself, with black lace and hints of old-school-ness. Do you have any sewing projects you're undertaking at the moment? Sorry this blog post got a little long, I get excited when I talk about sewing and it's good to document your experiences.