Monday, October 29, 2012

Haunted Halloween Carnival Dinner

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This year, the SF Lolita Halloween meet up was at Straw in SF. Click the read more! to learn more about it.

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My friend was a demon and instead of a tail she opted for wings. She was very unnerved by all the trolls in the bathroom.

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People arrived throughout the meet. They came by to say hi, but chose to eat elsewhere. The restaurant has no parking lot of its own and there are no parking garages nearby. Everyone managed to find parking on a Sunday evening without too much trouble, but had to park a number of blocks away.

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My table mates, early on in the meet. It got fuller later on.

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It was a pretty small restaurant. You can see everyone inside.

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I was a witch. My inspiration was witches from fairy tales, particularly the witch queen from Snow White. That was been a popular tale and character this year in terms of movies and television. I was also inspired by actual witches, in a historical context. These witch women were smart women who often did a lot for their community. Therefore, I chose to embroider anotomical images on the dress.

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The heart is center front, because that is what the evil queen wanted first from snow white. The rib cage and lungs follow, since the witch then tried to bind Snow White's lungs with a corset. The foot is by the lungs because the lungs are assciated with the legs; if you can't breathe well, you have trouble with running and such. On the other side is the skull and brain. The queen's last move was to attack Snow White through the mouth with the poisoned apple. The skull is also a symbol of death. The hand is located by the brain since the hand is associated with the brain; i.e. left or right handed and left or right brain. The bodice design is inspired by the rib cage. The faether on the hat is because the queen is also associated with the raven.

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She was a grim reaper. I need to get gloves like hers.

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He was a vampire. See that little bit of lace in his hair?

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He could attach it to a different place on his headdress to make a lace visor. Very cool! He also made the headdress hisself.

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They were the jabberwock and the Mad hatter.

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I love her purse!

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Everyone had a lot of fun speaking with everyone.

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She got the horns off of a viking helmet and made a headband out of them.

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Everyone seemed to like my dress. I was very proud of it. It made all the time I spent working on it worth it. The embroidery alone takes about 14 hours to complete. =O

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Here's everyone that sat at the first table. They all arrived early or on time.

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Table two was the next table started. I was going to sit there, but moved over to table three as the second table was right by the entrance to the kitchen, making it a little crowded.

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As we were a large party, we had a fixed menu. We had a choice of three appetizers, three entrees, and two desserts. They also decorated our special menus with stickers. Their regular menus are fixed inside the covers of children's books.

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Instead of cups, the drinks were served in jars with straws. The straws were red, which is good if you happen to have lipstick that rubs off.

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The sweet tots were pretty good. They're made from sweet potatoes. Unfortunately, I don't like sweet potatoes. If you do, you'll likely like the sweet tots. These were my fiance's. I had a green salad. It was the sort with a lot of mixed greens tossed in a mild and sweet vinaigrette. It was also pretty good.

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The emperor's new clothes looked lovely. I had the nerd's inspired shepard's pie. It again was something that tasted good, but the ratio of components was off, keeping it from being truly good. It needed to have more meat in it. It was large and could have fed two people.

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I enjoyed the funnel cake the most. It's a lot of little pieces so you can dip it. The chocolate sauce tasted like brownie batter. The white was a vanilla cream, and the red was a tart strawberry sauce made from real strawberries, so it had none of that horrible fake strawberry taste. You'll be disappointed in it though if you expect a traditional funnel cake. This restaurant has a fun theme and is worth a visit at least once. I don't know if I will return to it though given its location and overall middling food.

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After we finished eating/were ushered out for another party, we hung around out side and took some photos.

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And that's where my day ended. My group was tired from a long Halloween weekend so we all went home. You can click through any of the photos to see the rest in my flickr photo stream. Most of the photos were taken by my fiance.

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Outfit deets!

dress- me made
blouse- metamorphose
hat- target with pin from chantilly added
socks- sock dreams
shoes- bobbi blue

Still working hard!

Ivy Frozen

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Enchantilic Enchantilly

Fumiko & I
On Sunday, I met Fumiko! Fumiko is the owner/designer of Chantilly. She recently renamed the brand Enchantilic Enchantilly. Her company is still called Chantilly though. Click the read more link for more information.

Chantilly is a indie Japanese lolita brand. The brand was recently renamed Enchantilic Enchantilly. Her company is still called Chantilly though. While her dresses are manufactured, Fumiko makes pretty much all of the bows and other accessories herself, including the bows on the dresses. She also picks out all the fabrics herself too and does her best to listen to her customers. A lot of her pieces are one or few of a kind, because the fabric she uses for it can't be found again. She also does a lot of custom orders and requests as she has time, including for her non-Japanese customers. She's the first Japanese lolita brand that I have encountered that gives this level of care to customers outside of Japan. Many of her items are customer requests. She also custom dyed some fabrics to help meet customer requests. Fairly recently, she partnered with/hired an illustrator to make prints for her. Fumiko decides on the prints, and the illustrator draws them up from Fumiko's directions. Meeting her really inspired me a lot. I keep working and improving and maybe one day I'll be able to host my own brand events.


Harajuku Hearts hosted a party for Fumiko's visit. We had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and then went back to the store for a Q&A session and to play games. Afterwards, there was private shopping time where double stamps were given out for all Chantilly purchases.

I've never been to the Cheesecake Factory, so I was excited. I suppose I expected more than it was. It was a little hard to find the restaurant. It's on the 8th floor of Macys but only a specific elevator goes up to it and it's on a weird half platform in between the 1st and second floor. It's right by one of the entrances, but as I came in a different entrance, I had to find an employee to ask. This wasn't very hard though, and I was directed to the right place. As it was lunch, I opted to have a cheeseburger and a coke. The burger patty was good, but it didn't have the proper ratio of meat, bread, and cheese so I didn't enjoy it very much. The fries it came with were salty and not much to write home about. I enjoyed the complimentary bread the most. They had a sour dough, which I didn't try, and what I believe is a pumpernickel. The pumpernickel bread was very good, though it was crushed, which I did not enjoy. It was a Sunday afternoon, so it was crowded, but still. The restroom has a nice looking design, but my local walmart has better equipment. There was a line that was very awkward due to how small it is. The line had to be blocking something.  I won't return to the Cheesecake Factory unless invited or for a special event such as this Chantilly party. It wasn't horrible, but there was nothing to make it worth a trip or remembrance.


After lunch, we went to a little park across the street and took some photos. & a few people took photos of us and with us. The people on the tourest buses were excited to see us. Then we walked back to the store and had a Q&A session. A few new items that Fumiko brought with her were introduced. That's where I learned most of the information I presented above. Her illustrator also handmakes some of the pieces, such as the utensil accessories. They're all hand painted by the illustrator.

Fumiko also expressed that she really likes when customers wear her pieces in their own way, which I do think a lot of designers enjoy.  I know with my work, I love seeing a customer wearing something.  When I make it, I have my own idea about how the item should be worn, but then a customer can take it, and turn completely on its head.  They can do something with it that I would have never thought.  The piece has now taken on a new life with its owner.  At least at the last AP party I attended where two of the designers attended, they also seemed to really like when girls made pieces from the brand their own.  It's really an amazing thing for a designer, and very inspiring.  Despite the rigid rules sometimes enforced in lolita, I think the designers at least are open to some innovation. 

Back on topic, we spent quite a bit of time on the Q&A, so we only had time for one game: old maid. I had a lot of pairs in the beginning, but in the end, I was not a winner. =( There were four winners and they happened to be all of the girls wearing blue and the one guy in attendance. Fumiko brought a special lunch tote bag for one of the prizes. While the lunch totes are available at the store, this one had lace that Fumiko added to the top herself. The other prizes were a pair of socks, a $30 gift certificate to the store, and a headband that was also like handmade by Fumiko.

brooch & chocolate

With the game done it was shopping time! She has so many amazing items, and I think so many girls at the party couldn't resist making a purchase. I was included and couldn't resist purchasing a brooch I had been eyeing for some time.  Fumiko also made some special chocolates for everyone who came.

This is probably my favorite party that I've attended by Harajuku Hearts/Angelic Pretty USA.  I've been to the big AP parties, but the smaller attendance of this event made it a little more intimate, and I talked more than I usually do.  I made a new friend, and talked to some other local girls that I haven't had a chance to talk to much.  I also really enjoyed the Q& A session, and wish they would have that for more of their guests.  I also enjoyed that it was a real lunch, instead of just a tea or other sweet snacks.  It's also maybe the 2nd one of these events where I did not have a migraine by the end.  I was worried I would have one, since I was shaking so much.  But I made it through with flying colors.   I'm really working on my health and figuring out what works for me, and I just started a new routine that seems to be working well for me.

phantom carnival

I wore a dress from the brand with a carousel print. My theme was phantom carnival, int he spirit of Halloween.  It is the 13 days, afterall.  The hat was made my a local lolita accessory maker, though I'm not sure I got her name. On it I put a little masquerade mask made by Mr. Dada, a local duo who make accessories good for lolita, mori girl, and otome styles. I got my thigh highs from socks dreams. The book purse was designed and made by my boyfriend and me. The shoes are by Bobbi Blu, a brand by the same company as Mudd. It is no longer in business.

Working Hard to one day be as awesome as Fumiko,

  Ivy Frozen

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012


The Shop is reopened! I have a few ready made halloween dresses ready to ship listed. Check it out. I should have a few more ready made dresses up later this week.

Working Away,

Ivy Frozen

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How to get the Best Fit

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I want my dresses to fit you very well.   Part of the reason I chose to take a break is because I had reason to question how my garments were fitting my customers.  So part of what I've been doing over the break is evaluating the fit of my garments on various bodies. To make sure you receive a dress that fits properly, click the read more link and see the causes and solutions for fit issues.

ladybug romper measure guide

1. Make sure you take your measurements properly.

The first thing to always do is to double check your measurements.  A lot of people don't know how to take their measurements properly, which is certainly understandable.  Most clothing is sold by sizes with small numbers attached, so you don't need to know your measurements; you just try on things until they fit.  Clothing size charts are also often inaccurate, so please don't rely on those.  Also, your bust size is not your bra size.  Read my post on how to take measurements here

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2. No bra/improperly fitting bra

This is the number one reason I saw my dresses not fitting properly. Pretty much in every instance I've seen, this was the problem. My dresses are designed to be worn with a properly fitting bra. A bra that fits and is doing its job will keep your breasts located about halfway between your shoulder and your elbow. An improperly fitting bra or no bra at all can result in gaping around the neckline and weird wrinkles around the bodice, as seen in the photo above.  The photo above is from a photoshoot I did maybe 2-3 years ago.  I did not use the photos from it because the model did not do what was agreed upon, and I've had the lack of bra issue with a few of my models.   And while you might not think a bra can fix that, I confirmed during this break that it can and will fix that.  A bra that fits you right will help flatter you, making the dress look better on you and have a slimming effect.

But this is the bra size I measure to/I was fitted by someone!

-Often, stores just want to sell you a bra, any bra. Their bra fitters are often not really qualified, especially department stores. I'm also not a fan of Victoria's Secret and even Agent Provocoteur tried to sell me a bra that clearly did not fit.

-The bra size you measure to is just a starting point.  You may measure a certain size, but another size may fit better do to your breasts' shape or spacing.  It could also be the style of bra.

-Bra sizes vary by manufacturer. This means you might wear a different size bra across different brands.

-A lot of times, the bras are also just graded from a 34B or whatever they consider their median size to be. This means the 34B will have a true fit, but as you get farther away from that size, the fit gets more questionable.

-Bras are also not immune to the "vanity sizing" or just changing of sizing over time.

-Your breasts may also grow and/or shrink at a variety of times for a variety of reasons.   Many women go up and down a cup size during their monthly cycle.

-Lingerie models are often wearing bras that do not fit them properly, if you happen to be basing your idea of a bra fitting correctly on that.

-The bra can also just be poorly made or worn out.  A good bra is worth the cost as it will make all your clothes fit better, and you can wear it often.  It will also last longer.  Bras do stretch out over time.  Many places recommend replacing them every 6 months.  If you buy a good bra, it will last longer.  If you have your bra on it's tightest hook and it's not doing it's job, it's probably time to replace it.

But bras are so uncomfortable...

A properly fitting bra should not be uncomfortable.  You are probably not wearing the right size bra. Even for larger cup sizes, underwire isn't required, but look for bras with seams on the cups.

Read below and make sure your bra is fittng right.  If it is, you may just be extra sensitive.  I would check with a doctor to make sure you're healthy.  Also consider a chiropracter as you may just have a alot of inflammation going on or be out of alignment.

I still don't want to/can't wear a bra for whatever reason.

While I am clearly in favor of bras, I understand and respect your decision.   If you want to wear a dress fitted in the bodice, look for one with a built in bra or corset. I'm not currently offering that at this time. If you just want a dress, look for a looser, easier fit in the bodice or a stretchy fabric like jersey.

Does my bra fit?

- Check the cup. Do your breasts fit in the cups and fill them up? Make sure they're not overfilling the cup and spilling out. Underwires should not be digging into you anywhere. Also, make sure the cup is not flapping because your breasts are not filling them up all the way.  If your breasts are different cup sizes, fit the larger size and slip a chicken cutlet in with the smaller breast.

- Check the bridge. It's that area in the front that joins the cups, inbetween your breasts. It should sit flat against your chest.  It is permissable for it to not lie flat here when you are wearing a push up bra.

- Check the band. It should not be riding up or down in the back. The straps should be snug, but not tight; the band should be doing the work of keeping your breasts up. It should fit snuggly, but you should be able to get two fingers under it. When you first buy your bra, you should hook the bra on the last hook. That way, as you wear it and it stretches out, you can make the back smaller by hooking it on the smaller hooks.

- Check where your breasts are from the side. Is the fullest part about halfway between your shoulder and elbow? Are you comfortable? Good job! Your bra should be fitting you properly.

- If you have large breasts and/or want to go strapless, I recommend a longline bra. They stay up securely, distribute the weight to your torso, and provide a smooth foundation for the dress to lay on.

- Here's another article that talks about fitting bras and gives some video examples: 

Snowflake Underbust Jsk18

3. Petticoat and/or Bloomers

Speaking of undergarments, if the skirt isn't as poofy on you as it is on me in photos, it could be because I'm wearing a petticoat.  I wear a petticoat and bloomers under all of my fuller skirted dresses.  Even without a petticoat, bloomers help effect the shape below the waist.  I'm currently not offering petticoats and bloomers, but I will be soon.

When looking for a petticoat, select one that's at least 2 inches shorter in length than the skirt of the dress, unless you want it to peek out.

Malco modes make good petticoats.  Here's one that's 18", a good length to get.  This one is is a cupcake shaped petticoat, which is good for under skirts and dresses that are gathered at the waist.  Feel free to ask me for a petticoat recommendation for any of my dresses.  I often layer mine, and might layer those two for ultra poof.

Bloomers can easily be found on etsy and ebay.  Again, I'd be happy to recommend some for you if you need and can probably whip up a custom pair for you.

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4. Adjust the Straps
Many of my items with straps have buttons on them to allow them to be adjustable. You can take the button off and resew it higher or lower on the strap to allow the bodice to sit higher or lower on your torso. 

5. If you're still not happy with the fit, note that I will do alterations for free.

You'll just have to pay to ship the dress back to me.  

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Maui Dresses

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I went to Maui to visit my boyfriend's family.  I designed a couple new dresses for the trip.  I actually ended up fixing my boyfriend's mother's sewing machine and sewing them while there. Therefore they aren't the best sewn, and may still get some tweaking yet.  Click the Read More! link to see a preview of some new designs I'm working on for you all, including one for you bombshells. 

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There's actually a toppled over ship in the background of these images of the ocean.

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This dress was inspired by a regency dress I saw and a popular style of Victorian dress for girls.

Source: via Alegra on Pinterest

Source: via Alegra on Pinterest

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I had to try and keep up the tradition of taking photos with these things in sailor dresses.

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I finally figured out how to make a wing bust and faux sarang style dress!  This style will be available soon in store for all you bombshells.

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This is all one tree, by the way. All these photos of trees is actually just one. This banyan tree is the largest in the world, recorded anyways.

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It was pretty clean and bug free too.

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Those little hanging things grow down and some of them become the new faux trunk-like things

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I fell pretty soon after taking these. It was me or the dress.  I chose the dress and luckily managed to avoid any injuries myself.

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Oh, and I have a purse shaped like a coconut now.  It is awesome.

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We rode the train, and I got engaged. But more on that later.

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It's called the sugar cane train but there was no suger cane.

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I made a hula dress too. It's a pretty simple, classic. It'll likely be jazzed up a bit the next time you see it.

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A lot of famous people stayed at this hotel.  They even shot that step by step hawaiian episode here, apparently. 

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There were giant koi in this pond, the biggest I've ever seen. They could barely keep themselves underwater.

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The lobby of the hotel.

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We came to the hotel to eat at this restaurant.

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Their breakfast wasn't very good.

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Another restaurant we had breakfast in.  This time, it was on a mountain.

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I couldn't wear heels everywhere.

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This is my exotic kitty dress.  The bodice is designed to look a bit like a wild cat's head. 

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It also has a lot of very subtle kitty cat details.

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The trim on the hem has little cats embroidered on it.

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If you click through to the big size pictures, you can see the cats I embroidered all over the skirt

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It's a pretty comfortable dress, made in a linen blend.

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I also gave it a zip down the back and two pockets, making it a perfect dress for me to run errands in.

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Sewing forever!

Ivy Frozen

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