Milky-Chan the Fawn Restoration: The Sewing

Project 5, part 3 – Ties That Bind (Part 1, part 2 here)

There’s so much going on here. I find something new every time I look at this dress!

Welcome back to the Milky-Chan JSK restoration project! First off, thank you to all the people who asked about the final reveal for the Mary Quant dress. ❤ Two things have held it up – the first is a massive heat wave that smothered my town and kept me from wanting to go outdoors in any capacity (and delayed other photography as well). The second is that I’ve been really busy with work and some other obligations, and haven’t had time since the heat wave to feel relaxed enough to pose for the camera. I hope to have this done soon for you!

I did, however, manage to finish the waist ties for the Milky-chan JSK! I also severely underestimated the amount of time they would take; mostly because I ended up having to do quite a bit of hand-sewing.

I also used some interfacing, but it’s not very aesthetic! So it didn’t make the photo. 🙂

Keen eyes may note that this is different lace trim from the trim I previewed in the last post. That lace was cancelled with no good explanation by the company I purchased it from (they said it was “out of stock,” but the website still showed in-stock so…?). I really loved the idea of white lace with pink hearts, so I ordered this adorable ruffled eyelet lace from BBTRIMANDRIBBON on Etsy and decided to use pink embroidery floss on the hearts! As for the buttons, I thought matching the crystal heart on the front of the dress would be really stylish, so I found these on Etsy as well from PiecefulDesign.

I got to use my new buttonholer attachment for my Featherweight! It makes such nice buttonholes!

I had a lot of frustrations during the construction phase. I think the interfacing I used was too heavy, and I should have cut away more fabric at the top end so the box pleats didn’t overlap. My machine couldn’t handle the thickness of the upper portion so I had to hand-sew all of it using a thimble and pliers (and I still broke two needles). Making the ribbon bows to adorn the bottom was an exercise in extreme frustration until I finally just used hot glue to shape them (and then sewed them to the waist tie). The worst irritation was when I was trying to make the buttonholes – they worked perfectly in my test fabric, but then the pink thread kept getting caught in the upper tensioner disc in the final product and I could NOT get it to stop. Ultimately I had to admit defeat, and switch to white thread that I knew wouldn’t catch. My husband assured me that the white buttonholes actually looked better than the pink would have, so hopefully you all think so too! All in all, just finishing the first one took nearly 8 hours.

Pictured: the whip-stitching that broke needles and sanity alike.

I had a lot of time to reflect (and cuss) as I was sewing, and it occurred to me that waist ties really represent a sincere community bond amongst people who wear lolita fashion. They are very difficult to tie solo without lots and lots of practice, so it’s very common for people when they meet to fix each other’s waist ties. It’s part of the culture of social grooming and looking out for each other – people who wear lolita fashion (in my experience) really want to not only look their best, but for all their friends to also look their best. “Concrit,” or “constructive criticism” is an amazing part of the fashion – people don’t just say “oh you look great,” but also offer advice on how to improve even more. Examples of concrit that I’ve gotten include ideas on how to better match my makeup to the theme of my outfit, a suggestion to add a wrist adornment to carry the color better through the entire look, and links to different blouses I could potentially purchase to add more interest to a coordination. Every piece of concrit I’ve received has been given with love and appreciation for what I’m doing; in the generous spirit of helping me to get even better at looking fabulous!

Speaking of fabulous; just look at how this turned out! Even with all the frustrations, I’m still really proud of it.

That generosity extends even to helping other aficionados find their “dream dresses” online. As I mentioned in the first post, this dress was sold to me directly by a wonderful person in my online community. I’ve gotten several other dresses from people in that community because they wanted their dress to go to someone who they knew would love it rather than just the highest bidder on Lace Market (the second-hand auction site for lolita fashion). Some people in that community check Japanese and Chinese sites every day just to try and find dresses for other people! It’s such a close and kind group of people, and to me waist ties represent this perfectly. To look your best you need someone else to help, and it binds us all together!

I did have to do this photography before the second waist tie was completely finished as I was running out of daylight! I promise it’s done now! 😀

After all the stress and effort, I have to say I am really pleased with how the palette swap with the waist ties turned out. The colors match really well, and it all ties together thematically. I’m afraid to even say this because of how much work making them was, but long-term I could even see making sets in different colors (particularly white and sax – a light blue color) to match different outfit coordinations! So join me next time for the reveal of the full outfit I’ve chosen including the most adorable beret I just bought… 🙂

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