Pink roses – Lolita skirt

This skirt was a birthday gift, inspired mostly when I saw the fabric. The girl it was for wears a lot of Lolita clothing, a Japanese fashion style inspired by Victorian and Roccoco fashions. The one of the main characteristics of lolita is the knee-length (sometimes calf-length) skirts, alwasy worn with a petticoat. The fabric I found was perfect for the style, so I decided to make her a skirt!

The base of the skirt is similar to most of my own cotton skirts, a pleated rectangle with a waistband and lace at the bottom. I wanted to make it a bit customizable as well though. Loads of lolita skirts have high waists decorated with bows and lace, so I decided to make a ‘belt’ thing to wear with the skirt. This way it seems high-waisted, but can be worn without the belt for more casual wear as well. Finally, I also made a big fabric bow which can be worn with the skirt or as corsage. (I just attached a safety-pin to put it on or off). The fabric is cotton I found in Edinburgh, the lace I already had but was pure white, so I tea-deyed it.

So, pictures:


The whole ensemble. Skirt, belt and bow



The side of the skirt with belt.


And the back. The belt laces in the back. The laces are still quite long, so she can cut them to the length she prefers.


The front of the belt, with lace and 2 little bows.


The lacing in the back.


The skirt without the belt, as a more casual look.


The zipper.


And with the bow-corsage-thing to the waistband. Here it’s on the front/side.


The bow.


It can also be worn at the back.

Book skirt

I’ve always loved reading. As a child, I always read at least 30 minutes every evening and was constantly visiting the library. Nowadays, with a busy schedule and full job I do most of my reading in the train. The only advantage of travelling 2 hours every day is that I’ve plenty of time to read.

Combining my love of reading with my love of wide skirts, when I saw the various versions of book prints in Lolita-style skirts I immediately wanted one. Prices and shipping being what they are, however, I chose to make my own. The skirt I first found was by Juliette et Justine:



I spent a long time looking for the right fabric, but it was quite difficult to find a print. Not wanting to pay shipping costs from far away, I was limited to Dutch fabric stores and there aren’t that many. The only type of fabric with a book print I could find were upholstery fabrics, and I wasn’t sure if that would fit the style. But then I saw this skirt by TaoBao:

This skirt also has a coarser weave, but it’s actually quite nice. So I decided to just go for the heavier fabric. On a visit to Amsterdam I went to the store where I found the fabric online, and bought it. I’m glad I didn’t order it online, because I found that with natural light and scale it’s much easier to judge fabric than from an online image.

This was the fabric I bought. It’s not very supple, but it that also makes it stand out on it’s own quite well. It rarely needs a petticoat. I really like the pattern and colors of the print (or weave in this case).


By now the skirt is done! Some progress pictures (all taken with my phone in bad light, so sorry for the quality).

I made the skirt in my standard bell pattern of a large pleated rectangle. I cut the rectangle, and then made box pleats of 2 inches wide each.



Half-way with pleating.


After everything was pinned in place, I sewed the pleats in place. Next up was the waistband and hemming. I wanted something contrasting, and looked at some black lace I still had for decorating the hem. It didn’t work so well, because all the lace was rather subtle and the book fabric is not. I finally settled on a black velvet border around the hem, and a waistband from the same fabric.

Then came making the closure, and this was also when the trouble started. I bought a blind zipper, but had loads of trouble putting it in. My sewing-machine wasn’t getting the tension right thus creating a very loose seam, and the fabric was so stiff that it just didn’t look right. After trying again 3 times, I gave up and removed the zipper again. The fabric just wasn’t supple enough for a blind zipper. Instead, I made a clasp closure and made a little panel behind it so it wouldn’t fall open.


This shows the  eventual closure. This actually works quite well, so I think I’ll be doing more closures like this in the future, especially when working with heavy fabrics.

Finally, some photo’s of the finished closure:


And of the whole skirt (in bad light, but the idea is clear!):