Saturday, April 30, 2011

Picture Overload: Autumn Knitting

I'd like to mention a few things first. Firstly, there aren't a lot of pictures. Secondly, it's the end of the holidays, so I won't be posting much anymore. I'm lucky if I can post once every week.

I believe I have mentioned before in a previous post but I have a strange habit of knitting in the summer and for the rest of the year, I hardly do any knitting. So this post won't have a lot of finished projects. In fact, I've only have one.

So the yarn that I had used was handspun by Shadyside Farm Studio: here.
It was the yarn called Bunny Hug, which is 40% angora rabbit and 60% lambswool. Enchanted by the of angora rabbit but knowing that angora fibres weren't very elastic, I chose a blend (I didn't make the purchase myself, because I can't). It isn't as fuzzy as pure angora but it still has that bit of fuzziness.

I had turned the skeins of yarn into balls. It's not exactly very neatly done but it made it easier to knit with.


I realised that I was fooled when I began knitting with it. Angora sheds like CRAZY and while I was knitting, I had rabbit hairs sticking to my clothes and flying into my mouth and up my nose. It wasn't exactly... pleasant. That aside, it was a beautifully made yarn and very soft but I won't be knitting with angora again. 


If you're knitting with angora, NEVER wear black. I was wearing black stockings while knitting with it and it just clings onto it and white really does stand out of black.




As for these mittens, I kept them natural white because it is much classier than if I were to dye the yarn. Let's just say colours show up bright when dying it with white yarn. The pattern is also very plain as I wanted to capture that halo and I didn't want any decorations to distract it. However, that picture really doesn't do justice in capturing that fuzzy halo. 






 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Trend: Feather Hair Extensions

Hello there!

You can debate whether feather hair extensions should or should not be in this blog. It's a hair trend but I regard it as an accessory and fashion isn't restricted to clothing and jewellery. I've actually mentioned these in one of my past posts but it seems now it's popping up everyone's hair, from youtube to celebrities like Jennifer Love Hewitt and Hilary Duff. 


I'm a little late when reporting on trends and I've stated before that I report trends in Australia but I suppose this applies to people in the Northern hemisphere, having spring melt their winter. It's probably just me but I have a feeling that these will probably pop up in some heads when spring comes for us. 


I wouldn't say there is a large demand for feather hair extensions but it is increasing. If it's really popular in the US, I'd say it definitely would pop up here as soon as winter ends. If you're daring enough, it can look really hip and trendy... a bit boho chic. 


So if you want to pull off this trend, I can give you a few tips, based on my judgment and opinion:
  • If you're a blonde, opt for coloured feathers and be a little playful. I wouldn't wear yellow, any neutral colours like browns, black and white. 
  • If you're a redhead, choose neutral colours and perhaps colours like green, blue and yellow. 
  • If you're a brunette, any colours will work and black and white feathers. Browns are okay but it pretty much defeats the purpose of these extensions: they're supposed to be fun and a little daring. 
  • If you have black hair, definitely choose coloured feathers. White and browns if you're a little demure but don't get black feathers (as I've stated before, it defeats the purpose)
Basically, you just have to look for colours that suit your skin colour and your hair colour, for example, if green makes you look grey -- don't get it! (It's just like choosing the colours you wear) You want it to stand out rather than blend in. You might have to consider what sort of colours are in your wardrobe before choosing the colours. 

As for putting these extensions on, I believe you can get it done at a hair salon but you can also do it at home. You can see how it is done in youtube tutorials, or tutorials in other blogs: just GOOGLE it. I haven't gotten these extensions myself so I cannot explain how it is placed onto hair.  


If you plan to put these extensions at home, you can purchase the feathers from Etsy. 


Would I ever get these extensions? I might. I think they're pretty cute but it really isn't my style. Then again... I actually considered getting a coontail a few years ago, which I never did in the end.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Trend: Earmuffs

It's been a little while since I've posted something. I haven't really planned out anything so this post will be a little messy. I don't like to do posts on trends, to be honest. These trend posts focus on what's in Australian fashion at the moment, so I'm pretty much reporting on the trends that people living in the Northern hemisphere just had.

Anyway, I've noticed earmuffs popping up in shops from Equip to Armani Exchange. I actually think it's pretty cute but this trend will probably be short-lived (what I mean about this is that I can't see it popping up again next year). It's more like an accessory rather than something useful, as it only keeps your ears warm. Australian winters aren't that cold and I don't think we need to keep our ears warm. 

However, if you're looking for a pair of earmuffs, 
AUD$16.99 from Equip
If you want to splurge on a pair of earmuffs, they have a pair on display at the Armani Exchange in the Pitt St Mall. I don't have a picture of them but they're black, knitted on the headband and furry where the ears are and they're AUD$119 (That's the number I have in my memory... they're very pretty)

If I were to own a pair of earmuffs, I'd go a little outrageous and opt for a bunny one... just like the pair that was in a Baby The Stars Shine Bright lucky pack:


 After all, earmuffs can be cute so why not go all out on cute to the point where most people consider it ridiculous? I'd love to wear those earmuffs and what better timing for Easter! 

Pictures: here 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tutorial: Red Bow Headband

Hello there! 

As it's the school holidays in Australia, I've had quite a lot of spare time. There was one particular project I had always wanted to make and that was a headband. Specifically, it was the red bow headband on Gossip Girl's Blair Waldorf from "Victor, Victrola" in the first season. It's one of my favourite headbands worn on the show. (The other one being the 'Queen Bee' headband given to Jenny: the Swarovski crystal headband by Jennifer Behr, which she hardly wore.) 





This is actually the first tutorial I have ever written and I really do hope I don't spare any important details. In that case, I had taken heaps of pictures of the process and yet I haven't used all of them.

The measurements I give out are only approximate and you may alter it for a bigger bow or a smaller bow. You may also alter it to make your own design, if you wish.

Level of Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate
Skills: Hand-sewing and machine sewing

What you need: 



  • Fabric: About 1/2 m or 1/2 yard (That's more than enough). You may use any kind of fabric you wish but in this case, I'm using silk dupioni, in red as I'm making my own replica of the headband.
  • Plastic Headband
  • Thread (preferably same colour as the fabric)
  • Needle (for hand-sewing)
  • Tape Measure
  • Thread clipper/scissors
  • Fabric scissors
  • Sewing machine
What you might need:


  •  Pins
  • Tailor chalk/ Dressmaker's pencil
  • Seam ripper
  • Hot glue gun (I used a low temp hot glue gun)
  • Tweezers
Method: 
Measure your headband's length and width as shown. Calculate those measurement with some seam allowance (accurate measurement + seam allowance) and cut a strip of fabric with those dimensions. 


For the bow, you will need to cut:
2 strips of 4 ½ inch x 12” fabric (approximate 12 x 30 cm)
2 strips of 4 ½” x 10”(12 x 25 cm)

Also for the knot of the bow, 2 strips of 3 ½” x 1 ¾”(9 x
4 ½ cm)

Confused? I drew a diagram. The measurements in inches are in black. The centimetre measurements are in red while the amount of pieces you need to cut out are in blue.


 On the sewing machine, use the zig zag stitch on the edges of your pieces of cloth. Alternatively, you may use the overlock sewing machine to do this. (If you're using silk dupioni, you know it frays easily, so you must do this step!)


For the headband, fold the cloth in half lengthwise and sew the ends together to make a tube. Alternatively, you may hot glue the cloth onto the headband. Anyway, if you're sewing the cloth, turn it inside out and you may use a safety pin or a pair of tweezers to help you.


 Slide the tube into the headband. The tighter you make your tube, the smoother it will look. However, if the tube is too tight, you cannot slide the headband through it. Make it just right for the fit of the headband.

Once you have make the tube fitted to your headband, you will need to stitch up the ends of the tube onto the headband. You can hot-glue it if you want. 
 For the bow, sew the two pieces with similar measurements together, edge by edge, leaving an open seam in the middle of one of the longer edges and flip them inside out. Once you've flipped them, you will need to close the opening by sewing it. 


You must leave that open seam in the middle on one of the lengths or else this will happen:



As you can see, the stitching in the middle of the rectangles would be less noticeable as you're going to put a knot over it. 


Once you've finished the steps for both rectangles, you will need to cinch the middle of the pieces by folding it like a paper fan with 2 mountain and 2 valley folds - like shown on the diagram below. If you're doing the same bow as I am, the double bow, you will need to lay the smaller rectangle over the larger one before folding.

Once you've cinched the middle, you'll need to hand-sew the folds together in order to keep that cinch.






Now you'll need to sew the strips together that create the knot. You will also need to flip them inside out so at least one of the widths should be open, in order to do so. Wrap the rectangle around the cinched middle of the bow. You will then need to hand-sew the two widths together to form a loop.

 You should end up with a bow and a headband wrapped in cloth. To attach the bow to the headband, you can stitch the bow onto the headband or you can hot glue the bow onto the headband. I had used both in order to secure it properly.

 Enjoy your headband à la Blair Waldorf. (Yes, that's a Legal Studies handout underneath the headband but it suits it, doesn't it? I mean... red for blood and genocide? It also channels that Intelligent Schoolgirl thing that Blair has) 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

'Round the World #4: Steampunk

Today’s all about Steampunk. I suppose it’s a little tribute to my friends. It’s also the first entry of ‘Round the World that has nothing to do with Japanese fashion! 

Steampunk – it’s based on Victorian fashion, a little fantastical and has a little dust of nostalgia but at the same time, futuristic. I don’t know when Steampunk had started but lately, it’s become a little more mainstream so I’m sure everyone has seen something of the sort, if not heard of it. When it comes to fashion - it’s all about the elegance of the Victorian era, mashed with brass machinery and clockwork and aviator goggle, at least that is how I see it, but it's a little more than that. It's a little daring, just like all alternative fashion.

 I first heard of Steampunk probably around two or three years ago so I’m not exactly new to the style but I don’t know much about the culture itself.

The clothes are very much like your Victorian goth but a bit more brown and brassy. If you really don’t know what steampunk looks like, just have a look at Panic! At the Disco’s video for “Ballad of Mona Lisa”. 


I’m sure you’ll agree that it has that little bit of nostalgia. It’s a little strange that someone has a net gun but steampunk is all about the strange machinery and weapons.

It wasn’t so much the clothing that steampunk had grasped my attention. I was quite interested in Goth back then and the clothes were not much different. When I first came across steampunk, it was the jewellery that had caught my eye. I loved the clockwork and the little specks of ruby. Because of that, I started taking apart old watches just to see the clockwork. 





You may find this piece and many others at http://www.etsy.com/shop/edmdesigns?ref=pr_shop_more








Sunday, April 10, 2011

Formal: Betsey Johnson + Gibbous Fashions + My Plan

As I had promised (I think), I'll be writing about formals. It's been a while since I've written something. I'm not exactly pleased with my examination results so I would have to limit the amount of time I have for writing these posts in order to fill them in for some study. 

I suppose Betsey Johnson would be one of the designers I think of whenever I hear anything about Prom. I adore the 50s inspired, feminine dresses they offer - it's just so girly and lacy. While I was thinking about what to wear for my year 10 formal (I didn't end up going), I came across her Evening Tea Party Dress. I had fallen in love. 


 The dress I'm talking about is what Selena Gomez is wearing. 
Now, I'm not a fan of Disney anymore (hey... who didn't watch anything Disney when they were little kids?) but I really liked the dress. 

Of course, the dress doesn't exactly suit my shape, seeing as I don't have much of a waist. Not to mention, it was about US$400... which I wouldn't even consider buying for a year 10 formal. One can make their own replica of the dress with lace, tulle and satin and don't forget the lining. 

Now, I intend on making my formal dress for Year 12. My tastes in clothes haven't changed much but rather I've found something else I adored. Whether it suits my body shape or not, I would just have to adjust it so it does.

My formal dress will be something inspired by Gibbous Fashions. If you have heard of Gibbous, you'd know that it has this "vintage" appeal but it's patchwork and "out there/alternative". I first came across Gibbous before I was hunting down formal dress inspiration. It hadn't crossed my mind that I could use patchwork for my dress. That was until I saw this gown they had created a while ago and I also fell in love.





Of course, I could never get my hands on one because:
1. US$650 - way out of my budget. It's just a night with your school friends.
2. It's sold and it's an original, so there will be only one of them.

I explained to a friend of mine what I intended to do on the train home. She commented that the idea was like "Cinderella", only she's half-transformed, still in rags but at the same time, elegant. That's precisely what it is. 

I drew a quick sketch of how it would look if it were a little longer at the back. However, it ended up looking like something a showgirl would wear. I also added in a little fabric cage but I probably won't end up doing it as it seems out of place. 



Please ignore the messy writing. It was just little notes I made, thinking of the kinds of fabric I could use. It's also very wonky and the strange line that looks out of place comes from one of my chemistry handouts because I was too lazy to take them out. The colouring is horrible because everything was rushed.

What I do plan to keep for my final product is the fluffy skirt and the lace on the neckline. I don't have much of a bust but it's the place I want to draw attention to (because it isn't flat but it isn't va va voom), so any trims and lace and details will do that. The sweetheart neckline will also make my chest look a bit more curvy. Whether my dress will end up being as fluffy as the original, I'm not sure but I'll probably end up toning it down as something very fluffy will make my derriere look huge.
As for the length of the dress, I really don't mind. I don't exactly had great legs to show off but as long as I don't wear striped stockings, I don't think people will look at my legs. I'm a little confused about the diagonal strips of cloth on the bodice and what they will do with my figure but I love that detail. Of course, that'll be something I need to research on. 

For the fabric, I've decided to use both new and old cloth, so it'll have some of that vintage appeal. I've kept about 4m of white soft tulle and I haven't used it (or at least I think it's about 4 metres... it's a lot of tulle. It was originally for a petticoat.) so I'll be using it for the dress. As for silk and other cloth like organza,lacy fabrics, I've been op-shopping for silk shirts in ivory/cream. 

Wish me luck and hope I make it on time. If I ever finish the dress, I would definitely post it up. 


Picture credits, etc:  here, here, Google Images (because I can't remember where the picture came from)

Friday, April 1, 2011

'Round the World #3: Lolita

My mid-year exams are finally over! I'm not sure what I feel about how I did but that's not what I'm here for. I originally planned to add another entry into formal dresses but that will have to wait as I'm still thinking about how I'm going to make my dress. Instead, I'll be adding another entry into alternate fashion.


Lolita has to be one of the most well-known styles. When I say "Harajuku", this style will be one of many styles that pop into people's minds. It's probably one of the older styles too as it goes back to the 70s/80s. Of course, there are many different styles of Lolita - just like how there is in Goth. 


If you are unfamiliar about Lolita, please don't relate it to the book by Vladimir Nabokov. It has nothing to do with it. Lolita fashion is about modesty (usually...) and not about dressing up like girls to attract pedophiles. Lolita fashion is based on Rococo and Victorian fashion, so it isn't really unique but you don't often see people wearing it when you're walking down the street.

I also feel like I know more about Lolita fashion than any other Japanese styles as I'm a constant viewer and admirer of lolita fashion, but I don't wear it (I wouldn't mind though but it is quite expensive).  Lolita is basically all about the bell-shaped skirt (petticoats!) and elegance. 

The most colourful has to be Sweet Lolita. It's all about pastel colours (pink!), teddy bears, rabbits, sweets (ie. macarons), strawberries, big poofy curly wigs (if you want to be OTT) and just child-like. I find this style very adorable but I could never see myself wearing it. Angelic Pretty and Baby The Stars Shine Bright are just some labels that sell Sweet Lolita clothing.  






Angelic Pretty (both images above)






Baby The Stars Shine Bright or BTSSB(Yeah... the last picture was from Australia's Next Top Model 2010)

 A more reserved form of Lolita would be the Classic Lolita.  BTSSB offers some Classic Lolita garments. Other labels like Innocent World, Victorian Maiden and Mary Magdalene also offer this style. It's is more neutral and patterns tend to be floral. Definitely more mature than Sweet Lolita.




Lolita can also be a bit more darker in the form of Gothic Lolita. On the top of my head, I don't really have any brands in mind that offer this style but looking into it, there's Millefleurs, Moi-même-Moitié. Millefleurs also branches into Classic Lolita but basically any black lolita dress can be used in Gothic Lolita, despite the brand. There is also Alice and the Pirates, which is a part of BTSSB, and they offer a more pirate style but it can also be used in Gothic Lolita (I'm quite fond of their dresses and that pirate-ish look). 


 Only the first one is definitely Gothic Lolita but the others could work.
For Gothic Lolita, dark colours and white only. You'll never see pink in Gothic Lolita. Also, it is more Lolita than it is Gothic so you won't see white theatrical makeup. It's all neutral. Gothic Lolita can have bats, or anything Gothic (like silhouettes of chandeliers and Gothic-style gates) but you can also see solid colour. It still has the frills and lace just like the rest of the styles.

There are more styles of lolita than what I've listed so far ie. punk, casual, aristocrat. The three I've written about are perhaps the more popular styles and the ones that I know most about. If you're interested and wish to find more information, you can look it up. There are many internet communities with people interested in Lolita fashion and the lifestyle is comes with.

So, this concludes the third entry of 'Round the World. (Sorry, I had to rush it.)

Photo/Picture Credits: here, here, Kera (magazine), other various sources (ie. Google images). None of these pictures are mine.