A Novice Sewer Ventures Into Handmade Lolita

April 28, 2019

This post could be subtitled: what to expect from me in the coming months because I've been so swamped with working two jobs, revamping my small business, going to school, trying to be active on social media, and holding my life together by a few fine threads.

Really, perhaps I exaggerate, but I have taken on quite a bit this year. In April especially, my birthday month nonetheless, I've started going to school for fashion sewing and have been slaving over a hot laptop to bring my dog training business full-time. Between these two things, I'm hoping those who read Grimoire Girl will forgive that much of my time is already preoccupied.

On this Sunday, I wanted to take a minute after work to sit down and talk about how my little lolita life is going, especially since I've started with my education in sewing.

I'm finding lots of enjoyment in learning to sew. Between learning new stitches and techniques, I'm also learning to not beat myself up so much about sewing machine frustrations - troubleshooting those things can be a dreadful pain, even after learning how to use them correctly!

For my birthday, which is the 14th of this month, I was gifted a new Brother sewing machine - a relatively inexpensive one on amazon that promised to be a good starter machine. Unfortunately my original Babylock was a secondhand machine my mother had picked up a few years ago, and it was missing a vital part (the bobbin case holder). After getting familiar with machine parts, I was disappointed to find my original machine wasn't going to work out, because at the point of having to replace parts it was a better idea for the dollar to just upgrade to a better and newer machine.

This is the exact sewing machine I got, and I am super pumped about it! After a couple of weeks in class getting to try out all the different machines in the lab, I really wanted a simple computerized machine with a drop-in bobbin. This one has so far been super easy to use! It even came with a detachable sewing table and an assortment of different feet.

I set it up at a messy little station in our apartment that is...technically, our kitchen table. Between the two of us, though, we rarely use the kitchen table, and it mostly sits in its most compact form against one wall right off the kitchen. Now it holds my sewing machine, which is fine because it can be easily stowed away when we need to fold out the kitchen table for dinner or if guests come over.

And as you can also see from the photo, I also picked up some of the lolita patterns from Simplicity! Some of them look pretty good as-is, given you're using a decent fabric for it, but a few of these will need some heavy modification to steer clear of ita territory. I've been doing this long enough to hopefully be able to tell myself when GIRL THAT SHIT LOOKS HELLA ITA. 😂

I've gotten a little opportunity to practice with my new machine and supplies, though I'd love to be able to set aside more sewing time while at home. So far, the machine has really performed well. Loading the bobbin is easier than any of the machines I used in class, and it has yet to give me any sass while practicing.

I've been working on seams and stitches mostly, but our current project in class is a tote bag, which is promising to be quite fun. I have a pile of fabric set aside collected from fabric shops, thrift stores, and salvaged from old clothing. I've mended a few things from mine and LOML's wardrobes that have been needing some TLC for a long time, and I plan to take in some old thrifted dresses that are too big for me, which will be a fun challenge since we just learned concave and convex seams in class. In Surface Design class, we've also done some procion dyeing, color lifting, and fabric stamping, which will definitely be fun to work into lolita!

I will be constantly reminding myself to document my progress with making our projects. In Surface Design, my instructor and I are both pretty excited about a moon phases print idea. In sewing lab, I'm working on a lolita-friendly hoopskirt and finally have the concepts drawn out and planned exactly as I want them. In fashion sewing, we are making tote bags this week and I plan on making a simple corset skirt for my final project - I might even combine the project with my Surface Design idea.

If you're following, definitely check in as I will be posting about these projects as I go! This year I plan on focusing on learning to make lolita clothing. Though I probably will never be a 100% handmade lolita, I do definitely plan on padding my wardrobe and enoying the creative process in the meantime.