Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lolita Dolls on a Budget

It's no great secret that many lolitas are also doll enthusiasts. Poofy dresses, perfectly curled makes sense given the general doll-like aesthetic of Lolita, and besides, what could be a better twin than a tiny version of you? Brands occasionally come out with doll collaborations, and there are many other beautiful dolls out there to choose from, including Pullips, Blythes, and BJDs. The problem is, you're generally going to have to pay over $100 to get your hands on one (much more if you're interested in BJDs). While it might certainly be worth it, given the detail and quality, it's just not doable for many of us. Personally, I like to squander my hard earned money on pretty things for me to wear.
So, whilst browsing through a Salvation Army the other day I came face to face with a rather pretty porcelain doll with a full head of red hair and brown eyes, and an absolutely hideous gold dress. Still, I saw potential and given that she has my eye and hair color, I thought I might be able to fix her up and have a doll to twin with. It turned out much better than I'd hoped! I lightened her skin, redid her makeup, and gave her a new wardrobe. I went to Goodwill the next day and picked up two more. I'm very content with the results.
The quality and detail in no way compares to brand dolls, but on the other hand, all they cost was $5 and some time.
So here's a few easy steps for making your own lolita doll.
1. Get thee a victim. Go to a thrift store, a yardsale, a flea market, or your attic/storage. I have no idea if you can find porcelain dolls online for thrift store prices, but it might be worth a look if you can't find anything locally. Things to look for in your doll are the quality and condition of the wig and body. A mangled doll wig is almost impossible to fix, the only remedy I can recommend is to tease it up even more and make a cotton candy-like hairstyle. Clothing that is easy to modify into something nice is a plus, especially if you're not very good at sewing. Unfortunately, if you're interested in a Gothic Lolita doll, you probably won't find usable clothing.
2. Give it a new paint job. If you like your doll's skin and face as is, skip this step. If you intend to lighten, darken, or otherwise paint the doll, remove all clothing and do this step before making any clothing. Tie back the hair to keep it from getting in the paint. I used basic acrylic paint, I'd say anything else that isn't oil or latex based would work. It will take several coats to get even color, and you want to try to be as smooth as possible to avoid lumps and imperfections. If you're going for pallor, don't do straight white, mix in yellow and red for a more natural pale. Let each coat dry in between, and let the skin dry entirely before adding makeup and moving onto clothing.
 3. If you've found a doll with usable clothes, you're lucky! Make you needed modifications. If not, a cupcake shaped skirt, puff sleeves, and bloomers is surprisingly easy. It's pretty much the same process. Note that I am not a professional seamstress and I just do whatever I find works. Also, the doll clothing I make isn't removable.
Here's how to make a basic lolita outfit.
To make a full skirt, cut a strip of fabric as tall as you'd like your skirt to be long, and about 3 times as wide as the doll is. Hem both long sides, and then sew the short sides together, so you basically have a fabric circle. Run a thread through the top to make a drawstring, tighten it around the dolls waist, and tie it off. Once you've got the skirt in place, sew the pleats down. To make the bloomers, do the exact same thing, just attach the second skirt underneath the first skirt, and then cut the second skirt in half up to the crotch. Sew the sides of the separate halves to together to make the legs. Make a drawstring at the bottom of each leg to make them poof. Next, make the top. I make mine very simply, just cut two fabric squares, hem the bottom of each, and sew the sides together on the doll, under each arm. Skip over the arms to make the armholes. On top of the shoulder, continue to sew the halves together. Sew the bottom of the shirt over the top of the skirt. Next make the sleeves, same thing as the skirt and bloomers, with a drawstring at each bottom. They can be short or full length. Sew them to the armholes. The only thing you ought to have left now is the collar. You can make it pointed or round collared. Cut an inner circle to fit the dolls neck, and an outer circle to the desired width. Hem it before attaching- and you're done.

Here's some pictures of my dolls, before and after.

A Gothic Lolita doll...

 And a Guro Lolita doll. Fortunately, I only had to hem her dress.

I unfortunately didn't get any "before" pictures of the red haired doll.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Well, I'm a bit late on the Christmas posting train, but I took today and boxing day to really start my vacation. I laid in bed with my new purple velvet comforter and my cat, Ophelia, and I did nothing but watch tv shows online and read my new vampire novels! And it was awesome.
Anyway, I had a very nice Christmas. I hope everyone else did too.
Christmas Eve, my roommate, boyfriend, and I made a nice dinner and burned a pumpkin pie. Afterwards, we watched the Christmas episodes of various TV shows, like the Addams Family, Munsters, and Invader Zim.

I got all fancy for the joys of grocery shopping and cooking. Luckily, I have an apron that goes perfectly over cupcake skirts.

My boyfriend spent the night so we could spend Christmas morning together, since it's my first Christmas at my own place (!). Bright and early he woke me up, but I wouldn't stop grumbling/swearing at him until he agreed to let me shower before opening presents. It was kind of sweet though, he has an enthusiasm that I lost a long time ago.

I gave him an aristocrat shirt, a button up shirt I painted spiderwebs on, a life size bat skull necklace, a leather-bound copy of The Divine Comedy, a victorian top hat, and coffin and bat belt buckles.
He gave me an Alice In Wonderland tea pot/cup set, a couple vampire novels, a tattoo book, Hello Kitty socks, a Nightmare Before Christmas pajama set, and TrueBlood season 2.
I wore red to make my family happy, since I almost always wear black. My OP is from F+F, but I've modified it a lot (original here). I think I might make a post about modifying dresses, something I do pretty often (one of the reasons I don't buy brand, no guilt altering them to death).

Around afternoon we parted ways to go have dinner with our families. My mom and new stepdad got me some nice things, most notably a red jacquard trenchcoat and a beautifully illustrated copy of Dracula. I gave them a huge pile of crossword books. My brother gave me a bottle of Cupcake wine (though the label is adorable, it's actually a good wine too).
It was a pretty hectic visit over at their place, everyone seemed to show up at once. But I got a chance to take a long walk to talk with my brother, away from everyone else. It's something we like to do when we get together, because the past 4 years, he's been living in Los Angeles and Ypsilanti.

So, in total, not a bad holiday at all. In fact, better than it's been in years :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


What's the most popular accessory in lolita? A head-eating bow? A purse? Tea party shoes?
In my opinion, it's this frame from the Swedish home superstore Ikea. It really shows up everywhere; lolitas' homes/bedrooms, brand photoshoots, vendor's booths at conventions, even this month's issue of Gothic Beauty Magazine! It's one of those things, that as soon as you think about it, you start noticing it 10x more.
I actually own two myself. One has been converted to a mirror, the other is filled with pretty black/gold wallpaper. It's really a wonderful, elegant piece of decor. It can be sweet, classic, or gothic. It looks great hung empty, painted different colors, filled with pretty paper or artwork, anything really. And it's price, $29, is not entirely unreasonable either. Just writing this makes me want to go buy another and fill it with pretty silhouettes!

Here it is looking lovely in various colors and arrangements...

My bedroom

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I'm back, mostly intact.

Ah, winter break. Time to sleep, laze around, and forget this past month ever happened.
In two weeks, I did 24 illustrations. Twenty four. I am not a machine! But no, my professors give me a workload that only a zombie could handle. During this time, I also have to work at my job, study for my Religions and Art History exams, write my final essays for those classes, go to those classes, and occasionally sleep (if I'm lucky).
On the plus side, Thursday morning, we had the most beautiful snow. It was light and fluffy and falling softly, and stuck to everything. Here's the view from my apartment window, it made my whole day better.

Anyway, I am just glad it's over and I did actually produce some art work that I am proud of. My favorites are my illustrations for The Masque of The Red Death, and a vampire story that I wrote.

From my vampire story:

 From the Masque of The Red Death:

So now I have a month off, and it's lovely to not have anything due, hanging over my head. Even though it's just begun, when I haven't sleeping, I've redecorated a bookself, given a long sleeve OP short puffed sleeves, and vacuumed everything. I like optional projects. Right now I'm making bat ornaments for my newer, bigger Christmas tree.
I promise to make a post about something more interesting soon, now that I have the time. I hope you all have lovely holidays and get lots of sleep if you are also on your winter breaks.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tangled Meetup

This past Sunday, I went to my community's Tangled meetup! It was a great excuse to wear one of my favorite pieces, my F+F Antique Beast replica (which is just a bit dressy for day to day wear). 
We assembled at the Egyptian 24 to buy tickets, and quite unexpectedly ran into a group of ninjas! They were dressed up to see The Warriors Way.

Once we'd snagged a few photos with the ninjas, we went off to get something to eat. The food court had a tree with snow falling from the ceiling above it (fancy!). Afterward, we wandered around and shopped a bit, I got 3 kinds of spider earrings from Claire's for $1!

Then we took more group photos!

The movie itself was very charming! It definately fits in the with 2-D animation princess movies. Flynn, the love interest/ male main character, mostly because his endearing roguish antics reminded me of Miguel from Road to El Dorado. My only issue with it was with the animation style- the textures were too realistic for the style of animation. For example, super realistic eyebrows and eyelashes on a very cartoony face looks...odd. But clothing and surroundings were fine, it was really mostly their hair/facial hair.
And finally, better outfit shots taken at home :)

Outfit Rundown:
Coatdress: F+F
Skirt: Retroscope Fashions
Boots: Bolero

My next post might be a while, my first sophmore semester ends next week and I have final projects to finish and essays to write. Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Dark Side of Hello Kitty

That odd mouthless face, that red bow...there's a certain je ne sais quoi about Hello Kitty's Japanese cuteness that has endeared her to Lolitas everywhere (and Goth girls too, don't ask me why). While HK and Sanrio and not Lolita, they've had a lot of crossover, like Gloomy Bear and other characters. Hello Kitty has even taken some dives into other alt. fashions besides lolita, like Punk and Mod. But what I really can't resist is when Hello Kitty goes to the dark side! Gothic Lolita focuses on elegance over cuteness, but sometimes one needs a little silly, girly infusion in their life.
Here are examples of my favorite Hello Kitty taking a walk on the spooky side.

Tarina Tarantino Jewelry

A touch of elegance, a splash of pink and a whole lot of cute! In her little cameo setting,  Miss HK is perfectly accessorized with a skull headbow, parasol and fleur dis lis JSK. I own a long "Baroque" necklace from this collection and am dying to get more pieces, especially a ring.
The online jewelry store Regencies is currently have a sale on their collection.

Hello Kitty goes zombie! 

I was walking through the mall the other week, and popped into Hot Topic. Expecting to be assaulted with the usual 80's retro-hipster displays (I know, I used to work there), I was pleasantly surprised to see a whole isle of Hello Kitty. And it wasn't just HK, was a Hello Kitty zombie apolcolypse!
I bought a keychain and a fleece throw blanket (the latter is of unsurpassed fluffiness). Brainssss!

Halloween Hello Kitty

Two of my favorite things combined! Hello Kitty dons many costumes, such as Frankenstein, Dracula, a devil, and a black cat (a bit odd, that last one). Ty toy company (the maker of Beanie Baby) currently has a series of Hello Kitty plushies out, not only including Halloween but Christmas and other holidays too.

What are your favorite incarnations of Hello Kitty?
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