Handmade Lolita Finds: Oldschool Sweet and… Punk?

Hello there, readers. This is the first installment of a little series I have planned for this blog where I write about things I’ve come across and discuss how they might be made to work with lolita.

This week, I have some fabric finds to share with you. (Note: All of the fabrics I ever mention in this series will probably be from Jo-Ann because it’s the only widespread fabric store I know of, and I believe that, whenever possible, you should touch the fabric before buying it.)

 

(The cherries on all the fabrics are identical, and it’s only the backgrounds that change.) I think all of these fabrics would be perfect for making something oldschool sweet. At the same time, I really wouldn’t suggest straying from the oldschool aesthetic too much. Sure, feel free to modernize it a little if you decide to use any of these fabrics to make your own clothes, but the size of the prints really do not lend themselves to the modern sweet aesthetic. Also, all these are quilting cotton, but they’re perfectly fine for making a dress or a skirt.

Anyway, I’d make a skirt or short-sleeved, puff-sleeved OP with these fabrics and use multiple (two or three) horizontal rows of white lace, some beading lace with red ribbon and/or little ribbon bows. I’d try and make something like these below:

Images from Avant Gauche

Also, these fabrics are great for making hair accessories of all sorts. Even if you don’t want to make a dress or skirt with these fabrics, they are nice and simple enough to make some versatile hair accessories that can even work with more modern sweet lolita. You can make a head bow with the strawberry print fabric that can match the strawberry-themed items you might already have in your wardrobe, and same goes for the cherry fabric.

 

If you have trouble telling the scale of the prints of these fabrics from the pictures above, I’ll share a trick I use to find examples of Jo-Ann’s fabric being used: go to Etsy. Search for a really generic term, like “cherry fabric,” and you’ll probably find what you’re looking for. For example, this person made an apron with the gingham cherry print, and this person made a 12″ x 14.5″ bag with the black cherry fabric. It’s a super useful tip to find out what a fabric really looks like if you can’t go to a physical store.

 

And now comes punk?

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I know, I know. This is garish. Still, punk lolita is about embracing things that you probably wouldn’t think go together, and this reminds me a lot of a blue version of Meta’s Heart Leopard series. If you’re a brave soul and like punk lolita, this fabric might be an option for you. At the very least, you could make something that’s different from the majority of “tartan JSK + combat boots = punk lolita” coords out there.

The trick with punk lolita is to remember that it’s still lolita, and lolita is about balance. Since this is a really, really busy print (to give you a better sense of scale, this person made a coffee cozy with this fabric), I’d recommend trying to combine Meta’s Heart Leopard series with their retro, leopard poodle skirt. I’d try and add an appliqué right where the Meta leopard is on the poodle skirt to ground everything and also give your skirt or dress (or even lolita biker jacket) a theme for you to work with.

Also, since the print is so busy, I’d try and keep it simple in terms of design. If you want an accent fabric, use plain black. Try and keep any lace you use thick/wide so it breaks up the pattern instead of adding confusion. Of course, if you want to make something with this fabric with tiers and ruffles and contrasting colors, go ahead. Ultimately, you can make and wear whatever you want, but just make sure it fits into the lolita aesthetic if you’re going to call it lolita.

I hope you liked these finds, even if they weren’t really your style. Do you have a different suggestion for how to use these fabrics in lolita? Leave it in the comments below. Do you think that any of these fabrics have absolutely no place in lolita? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll give you a sketch of what I was thinking of when I wrote this post.

Stay sweet,

Raven

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2 thoughts on “Handmade Lolita Finds: Oldschool Sweet and… Punk?

  1. personally, as someone who wears almost entirely oldschool lolita and who makes lots of things, I think those prints are super cute. I think that solids and subtle florals are not to be ignored though because they give you the opportunity to add things like appliques, frills, pretty lace, bustles, and other fancy design elements without overloading the dress.

    • Thanks for commenting! I’m glad you liked the prints, and you’re absolutely right about solids and subtle florals. Most of my favorite dresses are actually solids because they normally have more intricate dress design/craftsmanship (for the reasons you mentioned).

      Still, sometimes it’s nice to have a more simply constructed item that feels complete, and I think prints are very good for that. In general, though, I think that finding printed fabric that works well with both the lolita aesthetic and proportions is a challenge, so I wanted to see if my discoveries could be helpful to someone seeking printed fabric. (Plus, a bunch of pictures of solids would have been very boring to look at!)

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