How to Make your own Lolita Beret

How to Make your own Lolita Beret

Berets are very popular in the lolita fashion scene, and every brand seems to always be releasing a beret to match their current collection. Lolita berets are mostly, from observation, flat and barely serve the purpose of hiding or storing hair (unlike medieval/Tudor berets) and serve a mostly decorative purpose, almost just grazing over the hair/wig instead of being a snug fit. In this tutorial, we’ll make a beret like that! It’s quick, fun, and super easy.

Let’s start with the materials we need:

  • Your fabric
  • Interfacing/ Pellon (to give your fabric of choice stiffness and form)
  • Another color/pattern of fabric (optional)
  • Bias tape (for sealing in the edges)
  • Embellishments

First off, let’s start with the pattern!

 photo beret_pattern_zpsyfwn8nag.jpg

A beret pattern is made up of a simple circle. To ensure a snug fit, measure around your head first to get the circumference. You might want to measure around the place where you’d like your beret to go around. Then, get the diameter from this circumference by dividing  your circumference by pi (3.14). Math for fashion! WHO KNEW RIGHT?!

Map out the diameter in your pattern paper (any paper will do) and use it (and a compass) to draw a perfect circle. This is the inner ring of our circle. It will go around your head.

Next, add inches to your diameter, depending on how wide you want the brim of the beret to be. 1.5 to 2 inches is ideal. In this post I added 2 inches and seam allowance. Again, using your compass, draw out the outer circle.

 photo beret_1_zpsabcey2be.jpg

Cut out your pattern, You should end up with something like this.
 photo beret_2_zpse5aqkceb.jpg

Now, use the pattern to cut out your fabric. Cut a piece of fabric that is a whole circle based on the outer ring(the middle isn’t cut out), and another with the middle circle cut out. Also cut out their matches in interfacing/pellon. I recommend using interfacing/pellon because it makes the beret stiff and not lose it shape when worn.

My fabric with the cut-out has allowance, but that’s because the inner hole of my pattern was too big for me OTL because I didn’t measure and just guessed when making this pattern, basing it off the tutorials online. Other tutorials give a set measurement for the circle and it’s too much space for someone like me (asian) that has a smaller frame. THAT’S WHY YOU SHOULD MEASURE K GUYS.
 photo beret_3_zpsngybgrxi.jpg

Sew your two pieces together on the wrong side, with the right side facing each other. If something like this (in photo) happens, just fold over  and sew over it as displayed. You’ll see most hats and other berets have this at the back, so don’t mind it too much.
 photo beret_4_zps2sggqkxy.jpg

Trim the edges and seal them by encasing them in bias tape. I simply fold over the tape in half, and sew it around the edge. This is a cheap, easy way to seal up your seams if you don’t have an overlocker/serger, and it serves a decorative purpose too! It looks nice. :3
 photo beret_5_zpsb6a06pq4.jpg

Then you should have something like this~ Almost done!
 photo beret_6_zps1lmbi0u4.jpg

Now all we have to do is make a band to go around the inner circle. You can choose a different color for decorative purposes. Figure out how thick you want it to be, and take that measure, add a seam allowance (I normally go for half an inch) and multiply it by two. You’ll be cutting out a rectangle slightly longer than your inner circle circumference that is that wide.

Say, if I want my band to be half an inch, I’d add another half to it, and multiply it by 2 = the band would be two inches wide.

Fold it down the middle and iron it. (picture above) You may also want to tuck in the allowance and iron it to set it, but I’m comfortable with folding it as I go.

Depending on the thickness of your fabric, you may also want to put interfacing on it! A sturdy band looks way better than a flimsy one.
 photo beret_7_zpsyzi0b5al.jpg

Sew it into place around the edge of the inner circle~

Now when that’s done, congratulations! Your beret is complete!!

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You can customize it by putting embellishments like pinning on some bows and other decals. Most lolita berets are plain colored with embroidery designs, so you may also try your hand in that eventually! If your beret came out loose, you can sew hairpins or hot glue some clips into it to help hold it into your wig/hair.

Goodluck!

xoxo

Xarin

Cosplay Sewing: Notions and Thingamajigs to get you Started

Cosplay Sewing: Notions and Thingamajigs to get you Started

Hey everyone, and welcome to the second post in the Cosplay Sewing Series. In our first ever post, I discussed pointers on shopping for your sewing machine. In this post, we will be reading on about items that will get you started on your sewing adventure. I’ve only listed the bare essentials, so over time you might want to pick up more things to enhance your sewing experience, but these ones come highly recommended for me!

As a general tip these items can be bought in craft and sewing stores, and also in National Bookstores and the Notions section in SM Department Stores.

Let’s start!

 photo notions_1_zpsc9587901.jpgFor Pattern-making

In our part of the world (Philippines) you can’t buy patterns anywhere, and you only really have access to them if you are in dressmaking courses. But if you remember TLE classes starting from fifth grade, we are all taught how to draft sewing patterns from scratch. Never paid attention to all those classes until I was over with college and wanted to sew cosplay costumes, haha! For most of us here, the sewing starts with pattern-making. These are the items I have for that process.

Hip Curve – Used for marking the curves in the hips for pants, or other similar items.

French Curve – Used for making natural curves in the pattern, like for armholes and sleeves. Before I had this french curve I drew all my sleeve/sleeve holes at approximation and guess haha and let me tell you they really fit much MUCH better if you have a French Curve to measure them with. This set (along with the hip curve) was bought from National Bookstore, at their crafts section. (where they have facepaint and sewing kits, etc.)

Tailor’s Chalk – for marking on fabric; the marks easily go away with washing or ironing. There are also pencil and pen type markers in the market.

Measuring tape – for taking your own measurements. It is best to always have another person instead of yourself take your measurements.

Pattern Paper – there are different varieties sold in different countries; the ones sold her are “ribbed” and have lines to make sure your patterns are straight and equal. But you can also use any sturdy scrap paper you have on hand; I know some who prefer their patterns on a sturdier board. The pattern paper I have pictured here can also be easily bought from National Bookstore, and if you still have TLE classes your teacher may be selling it in class. =3=

Rulers (not pictured) – Clear rulers make marking easier, but out of personal preference I like metal ones.

 photo notions_2_zpsc77a00d8.jpgFor Cutting and Trimming

Fabric Shears – My shears are actually all-purpose scissors, but I dedicated them for fabric use only… mostly. xD In general, thou shall not use them to cut anything else, especially tacky things like tape (never duct tape!!). I sharpen them regularly as well.

Seam Ripper – aka your best friend. It doesn’t matter if you are a pro seamstress sewing for decades or a total newbie; mistakes happen. You sew something the wrong side up, you sew a non-straight line–it happens. And when it does, this is your bestie. Mine is a Clover brand, which is really sharp. In the Philippines however you can only easily get the super cheap ones for only like, 7PHP and I have one and believe me, it was PAINFUL to use. The thing was nothing close to sharp, and made you exert much force. If you can find and get a good seam ripper on sale, I say grab it as it is a good investment. (also don’t use it for silly things like poking glue and tape, you know.)

 photo notions_4_zps0c0faf99.jpgFor Making a Mock-up, and Hand-Finishing

There are many times, even when having the fanciest machine, that nothing beats doing something the traditional way, by handsewing.

Hand Sewing Needles – a set like this is easy to purchase anywhere. Use the thinner ones for finer fabric and bigger ones for thicker fabric.

Pins – Pearl-head pins are easier to spot, so I prefer them to the “aspile” ones which just have a flat head and is better off used for making elaborate skirting designs on a restaurant table.

Pin Cushion – the Tomato type is easily available in the market. For character the one I am using is a pumpkin. You may also want to pick up an emery cushion, usually shaped as a strawberry. You can sharpen needles and pins by pushing them in and out.

Machine Needles (not pictured as I didn’t have any spares hoho) – I didn’t have any spares (boo!) but it’s always good to have some handy. My needles just love to break just when I’m about to finish a costume haha. The “all-purpose” needle size that is recommended here in the Philippines is a “size 14”. However, for different fabrics and fabric weights, you could use a different needle.

  • For very light fabrics (chiffon, organza) use a 70/10. (In the Philippines we just say “Size 10”)
  • For light fabrics (silk, satin, lining fabrics) use a 80/12.
  • For medium-weight fabrics (cottons, cotton mixes, katrina, linen, the usual sorts you use for costuming) use a 90/14
  • For sorta-heavy coat/trouser fabrics (gabardine, tweed) use 100/16
  • For heavy fabrics (denim) use a 110/18

Fabric Glue – Sewing everything on is the “must” and the “proper” way to do things, but there are many things better solved by gluing them on. I do not recommend hot-glue for fabric as it can damage your fabric. Many people swear by Fabri-Tac, which is by far the best fabric glue I have used to even stick metal components to a costume, without damaging the fabric itself. For rhinestones I also use Jewel-It, or you can also use Gem-Tac (which is available at the Notions section of SM Department Stores for Philippine readers).

 photo notions_5_zpsbe8ebdc8.jpgThread

Thread can be easily bought anywhere, everywhere, and there are even peddlers hawking these for uber low prices at the markets. Two brands are commonly available locally–Astra and Apple. Apple is cheaper and comes in bigger spools, and Astra comes in smaller spools but their threads are of better quality and have a beautiful shine to them. You can also purchase serger thread for thread colors that you often use (in my case, white). If you want savings on thread, you can check fabric warehouses and stores for old thread–these usually have minor discoloration and are dusty, and if you don’t mind that, its a lot of savings. The blue thread here has a bit of dust and is an “old” thread.

Thread is very important; it’s a basing in costuming to match your fabric to your thread so the stitches just vanish into the fabric. Bring a swatch of your fabric when you’re out buying thread so you are sure that the color matches.

Bobbins (not pictured) are also very important. It is good to have a lot in stock for every color that you plan to use while sewing. If you buy sewing machines, they usually come with one or two free bobbins, but since I use many other colors I probably have around a dozen more. =3=

 photo notions_3_zpsc72c8019.jpgFinishing, snaps, closures, etc.

Lastly, here are items I think are great to have in-stock for the finishing parts of your costume.

Bias tapes – ready-made bias tapes are very cheap and already come in many colors. You can make your own, but if you can buy some for 10PHP why trouble yourself. =_= This is useful for many things–that thin bias strip on a costume, or for sealing in raw seams. I always have a pack in common colors (black, white, red).

Shirring Elastic – If you truly want to make your items “free size”, creating a shirring for them is the way to go, and for that you need shirring elastics. I am fond of making lolita skirts so I am practicing my shirring. For cosplay costuming, this is hardly necessary though.

Garter Elastics – I have a massive roll of garters at home. Again it comes with making lolita skirts and pettis, but I find that if I had to make something like shorts or trousers and I can decide between elastics or sewing in a zip, I would choose elastic garters 9 over 10. That one time is if the trousers really had to look tailored (say, for a black-suit set ala Final Fantasy VII Turks). But for costumes that appear more casual and certainly if the costume has “beach” spelled all over it, you are better off using garters.

Velcro (aka “Magic Tape”) – More popularly known as the strips that close your sneakers and sports shoes, Velcro is also loved by many for snapping costumes and armor parts shut. It is always a good idea to have a roll of it in white or black.

Zippers – There are regular zips and invisible zips and jacket zips available in many colors and lengths.

Hook and Eye – usually used about regular zips for added closure (meh why can I not thing of better description meh)

“Automatics” – this is what we call them locally, but I have no idea what else they are called. They are sort of like invisible buttons, and I prefer them as I dislike sewing buttonholes, haha!

An assortment of buttons (not pictured) – over the course of time I and my mom have built up quite the button collection. We take some off of old clothes we no longer use.

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So there’s everything I think you need to get started! Did I miss anything else? Hit me up in the comments if I did. Hopefully I get to demonstrate a simple, easy-to-do sewing project next time in this series. Have a nice day!

xoxo

Xarin

 

 

Tutorial Time: Thick Waistband Loli-able Skirt

Tutorial Time: Thick Waistband Loli-able Skirt

I will hereby call my Sewing posts as Instinctive Sewing because I have near-zero sewing background. I pretty much sew and draft patterns by instinct! Except for the patterns they taught in 5th grade TLE–basic shirt, skirt and shorts, all of which we never sewed anyway…just patternmaking, really boring tbh–I have no real formal lessons with sewing. It’s always been a long, hit-and-miss thing with me. I have been trying to sew since circa 2009. I’ve only recently gotten the hang of it. Almost five long years!

 photo skirtee_zpsab8c8b7b.jpgAnyway today I thought I’d share with you all how to make my recent loli-able skirt. It was a skirt I sewed mid-late-2013 and I’ve recently decided to ‘redux’ it. I haven’t taken enough proper photos as this wasn’t intended to be a how-to when I was  taking photos, just a chronicling, but I did try my best to illustrate the pattern and describe it all with my best! Read more for rough pattern and directions. ^^;;

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Creating Your Own Fabric Paint Stencils

Creating Your Own Fabric Paint Stencils

Quick and Easy (and cheap too xD) time this week! Today we deal with something every costumer or cosplayer had probably thought of – fabric painting. Sometimes characters wear clothes with specific patterns that can’t be readily found in fabric stores. I’m going to run everyone very quickly to a technique I use–making and using stencils for fabric painting. ^^

yuffie-collageYuffie was my first ever cosplay way back 2010. So very sorry for the blurry photos, our cameras were a no-go back then. xD She has very specific floral patterns on her shirt that I did using this technique.

You’ll need some paper, cutters, a pen, a brush, and your acrylic or fabric paint. That and your reference photo. And that’s really all you need. ^^

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Tutorial: Antlers made with Clay

Tutorial: Antlers made with Clay

Hey everyone! Here on my next tutorial, I’m gonna share how I made the last antlers commissioned from my shop, Three Smitten Kittens. Antlers are perfect for certain characters, for Halloween, or if you wanna dress up in Mori forest-girl fashion. Pair it up with a floral crown and it’s peeerrrfect.

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The finished product as worn by my client, Ms. Ady. Credits to the photograper.

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