Thursday, 30 July 2015

Adapting Japanese Patterns

 A few years back, there was a pattern in one of the Gothic Lolita Bibles which took my fancy. But this being the Japanese GLB, it meant that I did not understand the instructions.

The pattern in question was this Cinema Doll echarpe. This was probably the item that started off the sash trend that followed. After some unsuccessful attempts, I gave up about this sash and then forgot about it. But then I decided to sit down and actually properly think about the instructions and see if I really needed to know Japanese to make the sash. So, did I need to know Japanese?

The answer is no, I did not. This gold sash was made using the GLB pattern but I altered it slightly to make it a bit simpler. The main thing I altered was I made the sash as one continuous length, whereas the pattern is split in to halves. So I just had 2 long lengths to sew together and put the desired trims in the seams. I did put a chiffon overlay over a cotton base, just because I liked the look of the chiffon better. It was the chiffon that proved to be the biggest challenge for me, as I hand-stitched the entire thing and chiffon is a real pain to work with.

So my biggest piece of advice to anybody thinking of making something from a Japanese pattern would be this- use some common sense. I was able to work out how to make the sash because I sat down and figured out the rough order of how to make the sash. If need be, make a version using cheap materials so you can see how it will come together. I actually made a navy blue sash before this one and I admit I did make a few mistakes with that one. But it meant that I had a much better idea about how to make this gold one, and I feel the gold one turned out a lot better. A lot of the reason why I decided to make a sash using one continuous length is because I couldn't quite figure out how to make the sash if you used 4 pieces. So I came up with my own way of making the pattern simpler so I would know what I was doing.

It does help if you can figure out the materials, even if you don't end up translating everything. It helps to look at the quantities at the end. If you have a quantity like (random number) x (random number) then you know the material has to be a square, so it is going to be something like fabric or interfacing. If it is one number with cm after it, then you know it is going to be one length, like a line of lace for example. If it has something like x(number) then you are probably going to need some sort of embellishment, like a tassel. Look at the item you are trying to make to see if you can spot all the materials mentioned in the list. Once you have a rough idea of which materials are which, you can try and see if you can spot these words in the instructions, so you know when you need to use which bit. 

It is also worth seeing if you can find a version of what you want to make in your own language. I did look up a few sash tutorials in English, but to be honest, none of them looked as fancy as the GLB one. However, it did at least give me a rough idea of what I was doing.

And if all else fails, there is always the option of trying to translate the text. I found this link helpful- There was also an English GLB which had some useful sewing terms (I think it was the flower issue).

I also searched hiragana chart online so I could translate some of the bits which were not covered. It sounds tricky, but if you take your time you may be surprised how much you can achieve. You may find that some words look very similar to English words. For example "ke-mi-ku-ru" when said out loud sounds a bit like "chemical", so I worked out I was going to need chemical lace.

So I suppose I did cheat a little, because my sash design is simpler. But I was really pleased that I had taken the time to work out how to make the sash. I am confident now that I could make a more intricate sash in the future. I would really recommend making a sample of your item with cheap materials first though. It is not worth wasting money on expensive materials if you don't know what you are doing. I would definitely give interpreting patterns another go in the future. Alternatively, you could just ask somebody very nicely if they will translate the pattern for you!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Dreamy Planetarium by Angelic Pretty

Today I shall be taking a look at Dreamy Planetarium by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, a cutsew, a hair clip, a scrunchie, tights, wrist cuffs and a bag.

First up today is the OP. The bodice seems fairly well fitted and the shape looks quite cute. I really dislike the sleeves though. They look very slouchy and a bit shapeless. I think the sleeves need to be a little shorter and puffier. I do like the ends of the sleeves though, with the double stripe and the cute star shaped buttons. It matches up with the use of stripes elsewhere on the dress. The bodice is dominated by the collar and the massive bow. The collar is a very cute shape, although I think it is a bit too wide. The bow is drooping a bit, but given how big it is I think a bit of drooping is inevitable. The bow shape is quite simple, but it looks quite cute. I love the stripe along the edges of the bow and collar. What I really like about the collar and bow though, is the material they are made from. It is sheer and floaty, and it matches the dreamy theme of the series. The bodice underneath the bow is kept plain, but given that it is hidden by the bow anyway it makes sense not to put details here. The large bow is detachable but I feel the dress looks far too plain without it. To finish, there is a little modesty panel running across the chest area. Whilst I think this panel is a good idea, I kind of wish it was detachable because I quite like the sailor neckline shape. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is limited to just the waist ties. The sailor collar looks adorable from the back and it is the perfect shape. It is nice that the waist ties are made from the same material as the collar and bow too. It is a good bit of continuity. The stock photos show the skirt flares out quite well and there is plenty of volume. There is the potential to create a very cute shape. The skirt is kept very basic, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with some good quality lace, but I feel the lace is too narrow and is a bit too hidden. 

Here we have the Sailor JSK. I absolutely hate the bodice and overall shape of this dress. The bodice is far too short and the way the skirt attaches to the bodice is dreadful. This very high waist is likely to cut awkwardly across the wearer's chest area and the way the skirt has been done is likely to make a lot of wearers look pregnant. I also feel the neckline shape could have been rounder. I do like the sailor collar topping the straps and the neckline though. AP have used that same sheer material, which I think is a great choice. The stripe of ribbon on the collar has been done so neatly but the ribbon used is a bit too shiny. The neckline is topped with a large bow again but this time satin is used for the bow instead. The bow is a very cute shape and I actually really like the big size. But I feel the material used for the OP's bow works a lot better. This large bow is detachable, but I feel the dress looks a lot better with it attached. I don't like the pointed edges of the collar hiding underneath the bow. There is also some small star buttons on the bodice, but they seem very pointless. The dress also looks very basic with the large bow detached. The back of the dress offers no shirring so the sizing is once again very limited. Considering how short the bodice is, I doubt there is much point having shirring on this dress anyway. Although I dislike how the skirt attaches to the bodice, the skirt does at least seem to have plenty of volume. The stock photos show the skirt flares outwards a fair bit too. There should hopefully be the potential to create an okay shape. The skirt design is kept simple but because of the gathering an the way the fabric drapes, the print is not displayed as well as it is on the other 2 dresses. The bottom hem is then finished off with pretty AP logo themed lace. I was a bit surprised AP didn't choose star themed lace for this series.

Next up is the Standard JSK. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape is quite nice. However, I am not fond of either pair of straps. I don't feel the halter straps have been executed that well and they don't suit the bodice shape. The other pair of thin straps look flimsy and at a quick glance you could almost mistake them for bra straps. The 2 pairs of straps don't seem to work well together either. The waist area features a large ribbon bow (although in comparison to the other 2 dresses, this waist bow looks tiny!). The bow is a cute size and is well shaped. It sits quite nicely on the dress too. The bodice is split up in to panels which are divided neatly with some good quality thin lace. I do like the paneled appearance, although judging by the stock photos the print hasn't been lined up that neatly to fit the panels. In one stock photo showing a close up of the bodice, the cat's head is cut off and one of the panels looks sparse in comparison to the other panels. The middle panel is topped with a line of star shaped buttons, which look very cute. The buttons are very well spaced out and there is a good number of buttons. There is then a small bow and a thin line of lace along the neckline which I feel is definitely needed to stop the neckline looking too plain. The back of the dress is fully shirred, so at least this dress offers a lot of size flexibility. Although the shirring is quite exposed with nothing covering it, it doesn't stand out too much with the style of print, especially on the darker colours. The stock photos show the skirt has a lovely amount of volume to it and it flares out beautifully. There is the potential to create a fantastic full shape and it will hold plenty of petticoat. The skirt design is simple, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with the same good quality lace as the other 2 dresses. 

And finally, here is the print close up. This series comes in sax blue, lavender, galaxy and navy blue. The colours are pretty standard options for a cosmic themed print, although I feel some of the details in the print are lost on the light sax blue colour way. As for the print itself, the galaxy background is really pretty. As for the animals and planets floating about the print, I feel some of them work better than others. The animals are drawn well but I don't recall some of these animals having constellations, so they feel a bit random. I do like how the animals have a semi-transparent appearance to them. It adds a mystical look to them. I like the random lines in the background, although it reminds me a bit of the crystal dome from the Crystal Maze!

So I feel the print is quite striking, but there are bits of each dress design that I would want to tweak. I personally really hate the Sailor JSK and I feel it will only look good on a very specific figure. I do like the combination of sailor and cosmic themes though, so my go-to piece from this series would be the OP with its cute sailor collar and bow. Would I buy this series? Possibly, but it is not going on my wishlist. I would opt for the OP in the galaxy colour.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Birthday Adventures!

I have recently been out and about a fair bit, as I was celebrating my birthday! It was great catching up with some of my close non-lolita friends in London, and I then had a separate meet last Saturday with Sammi and Shalisa. I then spent my actual birthday with my husband James and we went out on a little adventure of our own.

This was my outfit for my little meet with Sammi and Shalisa. I obtained Rose Toilette by Angelic Pretty a couple of months ago. It is such a lovely dress. I put off getting it for ages, because I have the Bodyline perfume print, but Rose Toilette was definitely worth getting! The pink colour is quite an interesting shade, so I mixed it with some peach coloured items, as they seem to compliment each other quite nicely. Shalisa has warned me that the tea barge we were visiting was small, but I vowed to take off my petticoat if need be! Luckily we actually had plenty of room, so nobody had to witness me panic undressing! I am really happy with how this outfit turned out. The only thing I wish I had done was ditch the ankle socks, as I feel they made my ankles look chunky.

We went to the Whittingtons Tea Barge on the river. It proved to be a lovely little venue, although some road works and a closed pavement meant we had a few issues walking there! We ended up all climbing over this blockade and crossing this blocked off road 5 times because the barge had changed locations to the other side of the river and we didn't realise (that is the only downside of choosing a moving venue). We all had an afternoon tea but most of us switched to elderflower cordial instead of tea. It was quite hot that day and none of us fancied tea. I was quite pleased with how much food I got for the price we paid. It was really delicious too. This barge is the top rated food venue in Reading on Tripadvisor and I can definitely see why!

We encountered this baby goose on the riverside. But despite being very cute, we had to back off as its protective mother looked like it was about to launch at us!

And here is a small group shot from the pub. As you can probably tell from the table, we indulged in some Pimm's! We tried the new strawberry version and it tasted amazing. We were all feeling very drowsy after our afternoon tea, so we ended up lazing in the pub for a few hours. It was all perfectly pleasant until we witnessed this couple doing some very, erm... 'affectionate' PDAs and this guy who kept wheezing on another table! Later on we went to Mr Chips, and instead of just getting bubble tea, we actually tried their chips! (I can confirm they were amazing chips). Eventually we parted ways with Shalisa and the rest of us endured a bunch of drunks on the train home. I am looking forward to seeing Sammi and Shalisa at the next meet!

And a few days later, it was my actual birthday. I went and had another afternoon tea! This time it was just James and I, and we went to The Manor Hotel at Weston on the Green, which is a little drive away from Oxford. 

I have to say that I didn't feel the afternoon tea was worth the price we paid (I did say in a recent post that places in Oxfordshire charge extra just because of the Oxford reputation!) but the food was very yummy. I especially loved the scones which were stuffed full of jam and cream. Just look at how packed they are! The scones were warm and flaky. As somebody who is obsessed with cream, I was very pleased with the generous helping.

Here is the rest of the afternoon tea. It looks quite sparse but actually, there was more than enough food for the 2 of us (this picture doesn't include the 2 scones I had).

What I really loved about this trip was the venue. The hotel was stunning and I really want to spend a night here. James and I spent some time waking around the grounds and taking photos. We spotted a swimming pool and there is even a massive croquet lawn. We didn't feel like having a game though, seeing as we had just eaten.

And this was the outfit I wore for my birthday. I had a hard time deciding how "dressed up" I wanted to look, as there were a lot of guests walking about. I decided to go for a more sweet-classic look and I still kept a few fancier elements and a generous petticoat. This time I tried to use all of the colours in the skirt and attempted to spread them out according to how much the colour appears on the skirt (if that makes sense). I used the peach beret again but switched my white gloves for peach ones and I added lavender flowers to the shoes. I used slightly different tights and a different blouse too.

And these are the lolita-relevant presents I received! I haven't been getting as much lolita stuff recently, as I am currently having storage issues. So I ended up with plenty of new books and DVDs to keep me going instead! I like that James kept the 'royal' theme going with all his lolita purchases. The wrist cuffs are from Stocking Shock, who now let you choose which way up you want the bows. I really love the crown charms and the chains of beads. I think out of all the Stocking Shock cuffs I have, these ones are by far the best. I wasn't sure which colour I wanted, so I asked for both! The Teja Jamilla tights are perfect. The size guide seems pretty fair. I am not at the maximum size for these tights, but I could tell that the tights would stretch a fair amount more. They are pretty opaque when worn, apart from right near the top of my thighs. The tights material is thick and feels soft too. I love the screen printed emblems. They lined up really nicely on my legs when I put them on. So the quality is very good and I would definitely consider getting more tights from Teja Jamilla in the future.

So I ended up having a fantastic time. And thank you again to whoever made me the lolita valentines for my birthday and all the people who texted, messaged me, sent cards and left greetings on my Facebook wall. The messages really meant a lot!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Brand Print Double

I would just like to say a quick thank you for the birthday valentines I got this weekend. It was weird seeing my face pop up on the Facebook preview! I am in number 1 and 21- Valentines It was also great to see so many other lolitas with birthdays this week get valentines too!

Today I am taking a look at 2 recent brand prints. First up today is Classic Fairy Tales by Angelic Pretty, but scroll further down to see my views on the recent Alice and the Pirates release.

So first up is Classic Fairy Tales by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, a head bow, socks and a cape.

This is the OP. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape is quite interesting. I think that the short part of the sleeves are really well shaped for this particular style of sleeve, which has detachable longer parts. I especially appreciate the ruffle at the join where the longer detachable bits attach. The detachable long part of the sleeves is also a lovely shape and I like the subtle flare to the cuffs at the bottom. There are 2 thin ribbon bows topping the cuffs which are a suitable size and I think they look quite cute. I have to say, the style of the bodice and sleeves looks very old-school (not that this is necessarily a bad thing). There is a large waist bow which is well shaped, but I feel it looks too big. In fact, the dress could have easily worked without the waist bow there at all. I like that the bow is lined with thin lace, as it matches up with the lines of lace running up the bodice. These line of lace on the bodice are well spaced out and I like the lace that has been used. In the centre there is a ribbon corset, which has nicely spaced out ribbon, which also isn't too shiny. However, the ribbon does blend in to the background quite a lot. It is a nice finishing touch, but it doesn't really stand out. The bib and collar are a lovely shape and size. I love the way the bib has been set out with the line of rose buttons and the ruffle. The buttons are distributed very evenly and it all looks very tidy. The good quality lace used around the edge of the bib and collar are beautiful too, with a really lovely design. There is a detachable ribbon bow on the collar, which looks very cute and is a suitable size. It is detachable, but I think it really pulls the design together, so I would leave it attached. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is limited. The zip on the back is very well concealed and the print lines up very well against the zip line. The stock photos show the skirt has plenty of volume and it flares out beautifully. The shape is beautiful. The skirt design is kept simple, so the print is displayed really well. The bottom hem is then finished off with some lovely lace with an interesting design.

Here we have the JSK. The bodice looks very well fitted, although the shape is a bit boring and quite simple. The width of the straps suits the style of the dress and they look reasonably supportive. The insides of the straps are lined with ribbon threaded ladder lace, which continues down to the waist area. There is also an additional line of lace with a pretty design, which ends at the chest area. Whilst I like this lace, I dislike how the lace ends abruptly at the chest area and to me, this really sticks out. There is a waist bow which I again feel is a very pretty shape, but is too large. It sits really well on the dress though, with no obvious signs of drooping. There is a ribbon corset in the centre of the bodice, which stands out a bit more than it does on the OP. The ribbon is well spaced out and does not look bunched together at all. The edges of the ribbon are concealed very neatly with thin lace, which gives the bodice a very tidy appearance. The neckline is lined neatly with lace, and then topped with a ribbon bow which matches the ribbon used on the bodice. The bow is a cute shape and the size is pretty good. This bow is detachable, but I would leave it attached, seeing as it matches the bodice ribbon so nicely. In fact, I think AP should have made this ribbon more of a feature elsewhere on the dress. Perhaps a line of ribbon at the bottom of the dress, just above the lace, would have tied in nicely. The back of the dress is fully shirred, so the dress should have plenty of stretch, but it does mean the shirring is quite exposed. However, with the style of print and dark colours, the shirring doesn't look as obvious. The stock photos show the skirt flares out loads and there is plenty of room for petticoat. I love the full, bell shape and the amount of volume there is to the skirt. The skirt is again kept simple and the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with good quality lace.

And finally, the print close up. This series is available in green, wine, navy blue and brown. I personally really dislike the navy blue and I also find the wine version a bit overwhelming colour-wise. However, the other 2 colours are quite pretty and I am quite fond of the green colour. As for the print itself, it is cute but I think it is too crowded. It is very busy, and the non-border part reminds me of grandma curtains. The border bit doesn't look as bad, as it isn't so cluttered. The animals are very cute and are well drawn. Unfortunately, the animals do blend in to the background quite a bit because of the colours that have been used. I think that individually, every part of the print is well drawn, but thrown all together it looks messy.

So I feel this series could have been lovely and I like the subtle old-school feel to the series. But the print just doesn't work for me and it is really obvious that AP are out of their comfort zone. This series probably would have been amazing if Baby the Stars Shine Bright had done it. I think this is one of the rare occasions where I prefer the OP to the JSK, and I think part of that is because there are more white parts to balance out the printed fabric. This is definitely not a series I would go for but if I had to I would choose the OP in green. I am writing this post the best part of a week after this series was released, and a lot of the series is still available. In times when we are used to seeing stuff sold out in an instant at AP releases, this really speaks volumes.

Next up today is Sheherazade One Thousand and One Nights by Alice and the Pirates. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, a blouse, 2 hair accessories, a hair pin, a necklace and socks. 

First up is JSK I. The bodice looks quite figure hugging, but I feel the overall bodice shape is quite awkward. I feel the neckline shape is quite harsh and needs a softer line. The neckline is lined with thin lace, but it doesn't soften the neckline at all. I also hate the way the straps attach to the neck and feel the straps are far too basic. They are as plain as can be and I feel they need to be a little wider, and also lined with some thin lace. The bottom half of the bodice features 2 lines of lace at a slight diagonal. I don't like the lace used at all and I think the lines of lace being here looks odd. I wouldn't have bothered with this lace at all. The middle of the bodice features a line of ribbon cutting across the bodice. The ribbon used is a bit too shiny for my liking, but I like the bold colour used and the way the edges have been lined neatly with gold lace. I do worry that this line of ribbon will sit weirdly on some wearers though and cut across the chest area in an awkward way. The ribbon is topped with a large ribbon bow. The bow is a cute shape and I like that the ribbon has been double layered. The gold themed ribbon overlaid over the other ribbon has such a pretty design to it and it is a lovely finishing touch. However, in some of the stock photos the waist ribbon looks a bit droopy and I feel maybe some discreet stitches are needed to hold it in place. The neckline has a double gold and pearl chain dangling from it, which I think looks beautiful. The length of the chain and the spacing is lovely. It is just a shame it has been paired with that neckline. The chain is detachable, but I would leave it on. The back of the dress has a panel of shirring, which is topped very neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has a decent amount of volume, but I think it needs to be a bit longer in length. The skirt flares outwards fairly well and the overall shape is okay. The skirt design is kept simple, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off with this very spiky looking lace. I do feel the lace goes well with the theme of the print, but I am not overly keen about how it looks on the dress.

Here we have JSK II. The bodice is fairly well fitted and the shape is quite cute. The straps look a supportive width and I like how eye-catching they are. The 2 lines of lace topping the straps  and continuing along the neckline has been very well gathered. The lace is so structured and it creates such an interesting shape. I like the gold colour of the lace too, as it brings out the hints of gold in the print. The waist line is topped with a line of lace, which sort of mimics a belt. It helps to emphasise the waist area, and the lace used has an interesting design and look to it. There is also a double chain dangling from the waist area with a pretty charm in the centre. The chain definitely stands out more on some colour ways than others. This chain is detachable but I would definitely leave it on. The main part of the bodice is kept simple, with just a bit of gathering, but the neckline makes quite a big statement anyway. The top of the bodice has a subtle line of gold lace running across it which doesn't detract attention away from the statement lace on the neckline. I think this lace is pretty and it sits on the dress nicely. The neckline is topped with a ribbon bow with a gold brooch in the centre. The bow has such a cute shape and I actually think the large size works better here. The gold brooch on the centre has a pretty design too. The ribbon used is a bit too shiny though. The back has a panel of shirring which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt flares outwards reasonably well. There seems to be plenty of volume, so hopefully there is enough petticoat room. The skirt is simple in design, so the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off with a line of pretty gold lace, which I feel looks a lot better than the lace on the other JSK.

And finally, here is one part of the print close up...

... and another part. This series is available in red, lavender, blue and black. I really love the blue and lavender versions. The black is pretty too, although I am a bit unsure about the red. As for the print itself, I like that AatP have used quite a fresh and new idea which is not often seen in lolita. The layout of the print looks quite well thought out. I love the shapes of the buildings and the hints of gold are perfect. The books and flying carpets are interesting to look at and are well positioned in the print. I especially like the way the bird is coming out of the book. The background of the print has been kept simple and the print does not look over-crowded.

This series is definitely a bit different from your typical lolita release. There are a few elements of both dress designs which I find quite interesting. The print is not to my taste but I can appreciate that AatP have done something a bit different from the usual over-done themes. So I may not be buying this series myself, but I do think it is fascinating. If I had to go for this series, my choice would be JSK II in lavender. I don't think the design of JSK I has been executed that well. The one item from this series that I may be interested in is the headdress, as I like the use of gold ribbon and the little head chain at the front. I will be keeping an eye out for worn pictures of the headdress!

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Wunderwelt Review

I recently placed an order with Wunderwelt, a second hand lolita store which seems to be starting to grow in popularity. There doesn't seem to be that many Wunderwelt reviews out there so I thought I would share my personal experiences.

Ordering Process

Whilst the actual ordering process from Wunderwelt is not too difficult, the international ordering guide is quite hidden away on their English language blog. So to save time, I am going to give you all the direct link- How to Order (EDIT- they have since put a button to their guide on their front page)

I feel this ordering guide needs to be more prominent on the website, so that it is easy to find. If you don't know where to find the guide, it could put people off placing orders. Once I found the guide, I found it pretty straight forward. The guide has plenty of pictures and I was able to place my order with no issues.


When you place an international order with Wunderwelt, you pay for the items first and then pay for the shipping separately (using the same ordering process as you did for the items). Wunderwelt calculated my shipping very quickly and sent me the link to the shipping payment page I needed to use. However, apart from the shipping email I was not impressed with Wunderwelt's communication. It took me a while to realise that Wunderwelt seemed to want me to reply to them to confirm I was happy with my order. Judging by the paperwork on my parcel, they only sent out the parcel once I had replied to them. If I had known I needed to reply, I would have done it a lot sooner. Then I waited for an email to say they had shipped out the package and a tracking number. But no email came through an the first I knew of the parcel even being in the UK was when I got a customs note through my door. I think Wunderwelt need to provide customers with a tracking number (as the parcel did in fact, have one) to give the customer peace of mind.


Once I had responded to Wunderwelt, the package only took a few days to reach the UK. It was sent via EMS, and they are usually very prompt.

Here is the box my shoes came in. I felt the box was a bit big for just a pair of shoes. The box itself was very sturdy and very well sealed with tape. However, the contents of the box had a lot of room to move about inside and there definitely needs to be a bit more padding, just to ensure the contents don't get bashed about. Thankfully, my shoes were okay.

Inside the box my shoes were wrapped in plastic and then further wrapped with a sheet of bubble wrap. I feel this photo shows just how much room there was in the box. I haven't removed any of the packaging here.

Condition Ranking

My shoes were ranked C (D being the lowest rank) so I was expecting a bit of damage on the shoes. The product listing mentioned some scuffs but the in the photo the shoes seemed to be in good condition. I found quite a few stains on the shoes. I am not sure how obvious the stains are in my photo, but they are indeed there! (It is near the sole, by the straps in my photo). I was able to clean up the shoes with no obvious stains and there was just one obvious scuff, where the paint had chipped away a little. This scuff was quite small. The shoes are definitely still in reasonable condition and once I had cleaned the stains away they looked really good. Therefore, I feel the C ranking was probably quite fair and accurate. So I am somewhat confident that Wunderwelt are good at judging an item's condition.

So this was quite a successful order and I am very pleased with my new shoes. However, Wunderwelt should really consider improving their communication. If I wasn't so confident at ordering from Japanese stores I would probably feel quite paranoid not knowing when my package was going to arrive. All they really need to do is send out an email to say the item has been shipped and give out a tracking number. Apart from this issue, I did find my Wunderwelt experience to be a positive experience. I would recommend Wunderwelt to my friends and I will probably be ordering from them again in the future. And I finally have a pair of pink shoes which are actually the shade I wanted!

Monday, 13 July 2015

My Advent Calendar by Baby the Stars Shine Bright

Today I shall be taking a look at My Advent Calendar by Baby the Stars Shine Bright. This series includes 6 dresses (3 non-print), a cutsew dress, a kirt, 7 hair accessories, 2 pairs of socks, a handkerchief, a pullover and 2 blouses.

First up is the Scallop JSK. The bodice looks well fitted, although I think the shape looks a bit boring. I think the neckline looks a bit awkward and maybe a bit too high up. The scalloped neckline doesn't appeal to me, as I think the scallops at the bottom of the dress are enough scallops for me! At least the lace along the neckline helps to soften the appearance of the scalloped neckline. The straps look a suitable width and the lace along the outside of the straps has been really neatly gathered. The lace looks fluffy and creates a cute shape. The waistline features a polka dot ribbon "belt" and a large waist bow. I don't think the belt design has been executed that well and it doesn't do much to emphasise the waist area. The lace along the belt doesn't add much either and I dislike that the "belt" is only on the sides of the dress. The bow has a cute shape, but I feel it is too big. Thankfully, this waist bow is detachable, and I do feel the dress looks better with it detached. I just wish the polka dot ribbon part had been made in to a proper belt. The bodice has a raised panel in the front centre of the bodice, which has a scalloped edge and is then lined with lace. I feel this raised panel is a bit odd looking and I hate the scalloping. Instead of having a raised panel, I would have just broken up the bodice with the lace to give a paneled look. The raised panel is topped with 6 golden buttons, which have a pretty design. I think there is something a bit off with the spacing of the buttons and perhaps it would have worked better with 2 fewer buttons. There is a line of polka dot ribbon, just below the neckline, which is topped with lace which has heart shaped holes. This is such an interesting idea. The polka dot ribbon shows up inside the heart holes. I think it looks really cute! This ribbon and lace combo is used for the neckline bow too. The bow looks cute, but I think the tails need to be a little shorter. The back has a panel of shirring, which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has a fair amount of volume. The skirt flares out decently and there is enough space to create a decent sweet shape. The skirt design is kept simple and so, the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem has a scalloped edge and there is then a line of lace underneath. The scallops are perfectly formed and the lace helps soften things nicely. I think the choice of lace here is a bit dull, but is at least of a good quality.

Next is the Yoke JSK. The bodice looks well fitted. I think the bodice is an interesting shape, but the rounded neckline is a bit weird. However, I really dislike the way the straps have been done. They are gathered and bunched together where they are attached to the bodice. It looks odd and the straps are too bulky at the top. The lace along the straps only adds to the bulk. I don't think there is a single thing I like about the straps. There is a large waist bow, which is a cute shape and it sits nicely on the dress. However, with the large bows on the yoke, all these bows on the bodice look very unbalanced. The waist bow is detachable but I feel the waist area looks too plain when it is detached. Perhaps if the yoke bows were smaller it would look a bit better balanced. Weirdly, there is a line of lace just above the waist area. The lace is lovely, but it looks very out of place and I really don't think it needs to be there. The yoke is a pretty shape and I like the way the lace has been used around the edge. It does seem as though the yoke adds a lot of volume to the chest area, and I am undecided if that is a good thing or not. There is a line of polka dot ribbon running along the neckline, which has been threaded through lace. As previously mentioned, this yoke is topped with 3 large polka dot bows. The bows are a cute shape, but I definitely feel they need to be a lot smaller, especially teamed with the waist bow. I also feel the shiny polka dot ribbon used for the bows looks a bit cheap. For some reason, the bodice design reminds me a lot of something Bodyline would do. The back has a panel of shirring, which is again concealed neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has a good amount of volume to it and it flares outwards very well. There is the potential to create a very cute shape and the dress should hold plenty of petticoat. The skirt design is again kept simple, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a ruffle of good quality lace. The lace is nice enough, but I think it is a bit too wide here. 

This is the OP. The bodice looks reasonably well fitted. I think the overall shape is cute. The sleeves have a suitable amount of puff to them. I do wonder if the sleeves are a bit too long though, as they certainly look quite long in the model photo on the product listing. I also feel the cuff part is too long and the bows on top of the cuffs are weirdly placed. I don't think bows are needed on the cuffs at all. Another thing I am not sure of is the bows at the waist area. I feel they add unnecessary bulk and are also positioned strangely. Also, the bow already has a couple of bows elsewhere on the dress and I feel there are enough without the waist ones. The stock photos would suggest that these waist bows are not detachable, which is a shame. The bodice features a solid white bib, which is lined with lace. I think the dress could have easily worked without this bib, but I suppose the bib is quite cute. According to the product listing, the bib is detachable, so I would definitely do that. The bib is topped with 6 gold buttons. The buttons are fairly well spaced out, although the top buttons are a bit obscured by the chest bow which is also on this panel. I feel the bow is quite poorly formed and again, it looks a bit cheap. I do feel this bow is needed though, just to balance out the bows at the bottom of the dress. Although the bib is topped with these details, it does feel as though there is a lot of the plain, flat bib underneath showing. Perhaps some pleats could have added some subtle detail and texture to the bib, without distracting attention away from the buttons and bow. The collar on this dress is so cute. It is a good shape and size, and I like the ruffle of lace lining it. The lace really adds to what would have otherwise been a boring collar. The back of the dress offers no shirring, so the size flexibility is a bit limited. There are waist ties, but they are very thin and don't look like they would offer much in the way of size adjusting. I love the shape of the skirt. It is very full and it flares out beautifully. It will hold plenty of petticoat and I think the skirt shape works very well teamed with the top half. The skirt is once again kept simple, and the print is displayed very well. The bottom hem has a double ruffle, topped with a line of lace with ribbon threaded through it. The ruffles look cute and finish off the dress nicely, and they are layered well on top of each other. I also think the ribbon and lace look cute here. This ribbon and lace line is topped with 2 polka dot ribbon bows. The bows are a good size and shape. I just worry about the quality of the ribbon used still.

Finally, here is part of the print close up. This series is available in ivory, pink, mint and navy blue. I personally don't think the ivory version looks that appealing, but the other 3 colours are quite cute. The colours on the mint version are a little unusual, but I think they work. My favourite has to be the navy though. As for the print itself, the sweets and stuff are cute, but I find the print a bit confusing. The bird cookies look a bit like chicks, which I would associate with Easter more than Christmas. Then you have the candy canes, which are a bit more Christmassy. This aside, I think the candy is well drawn and I like the teddy bear (which isn't shown in any of the print close up photos). I love all the cute wrappers. The ribbon background is also a good match for a sweet themed print. I like how the ribbons have been set out, as it sort of mimics a check print. I love the occasional bow on the ribbons too. I am not as keen on the numbers floating in the print though. I get that the print is meant to be advent themed, but I think the numbers stick out in this print and don't look as aesthetically pleasing.

So there are bits of this series that I like, but also a fair bit which I don't find as appealing. There are things I would change about every dress design and I think the polka dot ribbon looks a bit cheap. There are also bits of the print which I feel stick out and look out of place. So this is probably not a series I would go for, even if I was the sort of person who would usually go for holiday-specific prints. If I had to pick something I guess I would pick the OP in navy, but I would have to get rid of those waist bows.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Sweet and Classic Colours Giveaway Winners!

I am very pleased to announce the winners of my Sweet and Classic colours giveaway!

As a little reminder, here is the Classic Colours prize.

And here we have the sweet prize.

And the winners are...

Becky Lock from the UK and Caroline Cherry from Australia! As Becky's name was drawn first, she will get the choice of sweet or classic (Sorry Caroline, fingers crossed you get the prize you want!). Please can you both email me within 5 days with your addresses so I can send out your prizes ASAP (and Becky, please also let me know which of the prizes you want).

I would like to thank everybody who entered my Giveaway. Here is hoping I will be able to hold another giveaway in the future. It does mean a lot to have so many lovely people supporting my blog!

Monday, 6 July 2015

Fantastic Carnival by Angelic Pretty

The giveaway ends on Wednesday! Winners announced on Thursday!

Today's print is Fantastic Carnival by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, a salopette, socks and a head bow.

First up is the OP. The bodice looks well fitted and the overall shape is very cute. I think the sleeves are the perfect length and have a suitable amount of puff to them. The sleeves are finished off very neatly with lace and topped with bows. The bows here are a cute shape, but I feel they could have been a little bit smaller and I don't like how shiny the ribbon used is. The waist bow is a bit large, but I think the size suits the dress. It has got a really good shape to it and it is formed so well. It looks so perky with no obvious signs of drooping. The bodice has a yoke and a collar, both of which have a cute shape and a nice size. At first I thought the lace lining the yoke was a bit too wide, but on reflection I think it has nice continuity with the lace on the sleeves. The lace used has a pretty design to it too. My main complaint about the yoke and collar is that I really dislike the use of rik-rak, even if it has been used in quite a subtle way. I don't think it is needed at all. The yoke is topped with lace and a line of buttons, as well as the rik-rak. The lace is pretty and the buttons are well spaced out, but I feel the choice of button is a bit boring. Instead of having the lines of rik-rak on the yoke, I would have had pleats instead. The bottom half of the bodice has 2 thin lines of lace, which helps to break up the bodice nicely, without drawing much attention. The back of the dress offers no shirring, so the size flexibility is very limited. The print lines up fairly well along the zip line, but I am not overly fond of the way the collar and yoke look from the back. I think the yoke should have been kept to just the front. The stock photos show the skirt has a very full, bell shape to it. There is plenty of volume for petticoats and the skirt flares outwards beautifully. The skirt design is kept simple, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off with some cute, candy themed lace, which matches the floating candy in the print.

Here is the JSK. The bodice looks very well fitted. I think the overall bodice shape is a bit simple, but it has been well executed. The straps are a suitable width and look very supportive without appearing too bulky. The insides of the straps are lined with lace, which continues on down the bodice until it meets the belt. I think the lace is a cute choice and it creates a suitably frilly look. The lace sits nicely on the dress too. The waist area has a solid coloured belt, which I think is the perfect choice. It nips in the waist area really well and the solid colour breaks up the print. The bow topping the belt is also very cute and I think it is the perfect shape and size. The material used for this belt and bow has a slight sheen to it, but I don't feel it looks too bad. I like how well the waist bow sits on the dress too. The bodice has 6 star shaped buttons dotted on the front of the bodice. The buttons are well spaced out, but I feel they look a bit plain just by themselves. Perhaps AP could have done what they did with Daydream Carnival and have little chains running between the star buttons. The buttons would at least look a bit less sparse then. The neckline is topped with a solid coloured bow, which has a fantastic shape to it and is well formed. It stands out well and sits well on the dress. I do wonder if the bow could do with being a bit smaller though. I am not sure if the size of the neckline bow works teamed with the size of the waist bow. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped with a ribbon corset. However, the lace from the straps continues down the back and the sides of this shirring panel. I feel the lace draws attention to the shirring. The stock photos show that again, the skirt has loads of volume and flares outwards loads. There is the potential to create a really cute shape. The skirt design is kept simple and the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with the same cute candy themed lace.

And finally here is the print. This series comes in pink, sax blue, mint and lavender. All of the colours work with the print. I like that for this carnival print AP have offered a mint version, as this is a bit different to their previous carnival prints. As for the print, I have very mixed feelings about it. The print is set out very neatly and I love the non-border part of the print, especially the fluffy clouds. I love the swirls of gold throughout the print. I am just not feeling the border part of the print. It is certainly interesting having the different animals for the carnival ride, but I think certain animals work better in the print than others. I love the bunny, but I think the cat could have been drawn cuter and the colours of the deer stick out. What I do like is the little details added to the animals, like the colourful seats and decorations dangling from them. I love the fluffy clouds behind the animals but the bunting, floating candy, balloons and banners makes the background far too crowded. They could have gotten away with just having the clouds, perhaps with the odd balloon here and there. So there are bits I like and bits I am not so keen on.

So in summary, I feel this is quite a cute series but I am not completely sold on the print. Also, I was a bit surprised that AP didn't offer one slightly more OTT dress. I like that the simpler dress designs help balance out the OTT print, but at the same time I would have liked to have seen one dressier option. Would I buy this series? No, I wouldn't, and I am quite happy to stick with Daydream Carnival! The print just doesn't work for me. If I had to, I would go for the JSK in lavender.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

How I Would Wear It Now- Bodyline Waffle Edition

Do you ever look back at your early outfits and cringe? I am the first to admit it took me a while to figure out my style and I did make some huge mistakes with some of my outfits. I was having a little browse through my old outfits the other day when I came across what I felt was one of my worst outfits. It was with the Bodyline waffle skirt. It was a bit of a hard time for me, as I was still only just staring to build my wardrobe and due to some personal circumstances, I was not really in the best of places and probably should have taken a bit more of a break from lolita. So I turned up in my waffle skirt outfit and years later I am taking a look back at the waffle skirt to see if I can co-ordinate it any better now. It is sort of to prove to myself that I have in fact improved since that time and also, I think it is interesting to see how my style has changed. If you want to go and dig up my old waffle outfit and post it on 4chan then by all means, go ahead. I am trying to focus on the positive and hope my new waffle outfits are an improvement.

This was my first outfit attempt. It is sort of based on several recent outfits of mine. I didn't want to go too outrageous, so I stuck to the red and black colour scheme. I added white because it features on the skirt and makes a good base colour to go with the black. I love berets and the polka dot tights are the same Ebay ones I got a few months ago. I added the necklace because I felt that the waffle theme of the skirt needed to be acknowledged elsewhere in the outfit. I would probably add a red bow ring or perhaps a cherry themed ring to this outfit. There wasn't much canvas room left, so I couldn't include rings in the picture! I would probably wear my hair or wig in pigtails, so I could use the Sugar Trampoline bow clips to decorate my hair. I would probably go for the red bow to help balance out the colours!

After completing the first outfit, I decided I quite liked the slight retro feel. So for this outfit I upped the retro elements a bit more. I am not sure the shoes are quite the right colour, but I thought this style of shoe worked better for this particular outfit. This time I made the cherries a bigger theme, because cherries are quite a popular theme in lolita. I kept the waffle necklace again though.

I am not saying these outfits are perfect but I do feel this is a huge improvement. This does not mean I am now going to go and buy the waffle skirt again. I feel this post was more like "closure". When I started wearing lolita I would buy pieces without really thinking about how I would co-ordinate them and it really showed. One of my biggest newbie mistakes was getting over-excited about my new purchases and wanting to wear them straight away. But I am glad to say I am learning from my mistakes. Maybe I will re-attempt more of my past pieces in the future. It was quite fun trying to compete with my past self!

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