Keeping the Weight Off

Today is the day before Thanksgiving, which I consider the start of festive feasting as we make our way through all the remaining holidays of the year. I thought I'd share a few of my tried and tested habits when it comes to keeping off the weight, especially when food is just about everywhere! I do love eating, so hopefully this helps with fellow foodies out there.

A Peek into the Poof

When it comes to the different styles of Japanese street fashion, Lolita stands out with its distinct silhouette.
Most of the time, the skirt is worn poofy with a layering of petticoats. A petticoat could also come in a variety of fullness, shape, and material, and could in turn, transform a dress (provided it could actually accommodate the poof!) This particular aesthetic of Lolita fashion has always been my favorite. That is why whatever I design and sew, I always prefer to make voluminous skirts. There is simply something so elegant about a fitted bodice, and a full skirt!

Originally, I wasn't planning on writing about the modification I made on one of my old hoopskirts. It was an experiment I picked up from my Dad's constant streaming of construction-related Youtube videos. The other day he was watching a video on water system installation, and the host mentioned about PEX tubing. I instantly thought the material could potentially replace the now flimsy and deformed plastic boning of my hoopskirts. 

Sad plastic boning. :(

Neat-looking PEX tubing!
You could read up about PEX tubing here, while below are some pointers on why I liked it:
❀ Available in hardware stores.
❀ Available in different widths.
❀ Easy to cut. (I used craft scissors!)
❀ Holds form well.
❀ Lightweight.

Now, this leaves me to consider one more factor - closure. I asked my Dad the best way to attach and detach the ends of the tubing, and he went straight to his work area and produced a screw-like attachment. I later found out that it is called a threaded rod, and that my Dad had a bunch of these readily available from his toolkit! Like the PEX tubing, it is not hard to find a threaded rod in Home Depot or even Ace Hardware. Similarly, it was simple enough to use once you cut it into your desired length. Once done, I just had to squeeze the rod into the other end of the tubing, et voila!

I  was excited to test out my updated undergarment. Additionally, I thought it would be nice to share what I usually put under my dresses for the most poof possible. And since earlier today, I was able to finally put on some fall decor, I thought it was all perfect timing!

The top petticoats are ones that have "died" and lost their poof. I do not like throwing away anything that is useable no matter how old, so I try to keep my for display only set separate from my fashion show set. This way I could just throw on a dress on the dress form and see it in its all poofed-up glory without having to rummage through my closet. The panniers with the map fabric, and another fuller petticoat underneath it, are somewhat new, so these ones I wear myself.

The combination of the pannier and petticoats provide the bell-shaped silhouette. When necessary, I try to wear as many petticoats under the pannier to lift it up more, and add to the side volume and width of the skirt. But I have always been one for easy dress-up so unless my outfit really needs it, I would always prefer to use a couple of undergarments. The need for comfort is also what prompted me to finally fix my flimsy hoopskirts!

I like my skirts full at the bottom, not at the waist, especially since I adore fitted bodices. I find that the bands of the petticoats usually bunch up at the waist. I've had this happen to me several times, and not only was it uncomfortable, but it also did not look as presentable. With this "pettihoopskirt" however, I only need to put on one, and the skirt would flare out!

I am really pleased that I found out about PEX tubing for my hoopskirt. I just need to figure out the best way to transport it. Before I would twist it into a mobius strip then fold it into two, to fit in my luggage. But you saw what happened to my plastic boning using that method! I have the other option of detaching the ends, taking out the tubing, and packing it the way I received it. But then, that would definitely require time, and often for fashions shows, there is just not enough time (and energy) for an extra task. However, I am willing to bet the tubing is durable, since it is used for something as serious as plumbing.  

Isn't it amusing to see how the shapes are so distinct from each other? I find the bell-silhouette appropriate for a cute and sweet style. Perhaps I think this way because the bell form is also called a "cupcake" shape. As for the flared hoopskirt, I like wearing it with mature and elegant (read longer skirt) styles. But that is the fun of dressing up, isn't it? You get to try out different ways of wearing clothing!

Which poof do you prefer? 

Of Grave Elegance

This Halloween I had the chance to wear this outfit delightfully inspired by the undead!

I shared a work-in-progress post on this dress, which I would like to label as "mummy doll", or perhaps even mummy Lolita. I have always wanted to incorporate a bit of my interest in archeology with the elegant styling of the said fashion. It took a bit of time, and some last minute addition in terms of accessories, but I think it all came together rather well!

I decided to plan a photoshoot in my room. This meant I had to get a good backdrop and a few props. The night before I even sewed some ruffles onto the backdrop since it was not as long as I needed. On Halloween itself, I included my calaca, Carlitos, in my set. I bought him in 2013, when I was invited to guest at Expo TNT in Mexico. It was during the Dia de los Muertos, so he is pretty special!

As for the coordinate itself, I wanted to incorporate archeology since it is the field of anthropology that studies mummies. Back in grade school, I was deeply inspired by Howard Carter, and his discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. In college, I transferred to UP Diliman's Department of Anthropology, in the hopes that I would one day be an archeologist. And then I moved to California, where I decided to focus on my fashion instead.

And this is why I took care to get as detailed as possible in making my mummy dress! It was born from my imagination, and yet at the same time, it was inspired by the things that I value most. In case you are wondering how I achieved the old tattered effect of the bodice and the sleeves, I wrote down my process here. As for the lace up back, I owed it to California's heat wave in the middle of October. I knew I would need to properly wear this with petticoats, boots, and Gothic Lolita Rhapsody wig, so I had to come up with a way to be comfortable in it. Fortunately it has been feeling more like fall lately, and the photoshoot wasn't as strenuous as I expected it to be.

Aside from the bonnet, I enjoyed making the scarab beetle choker. It was a last minute detail but I knew I had to incorporate it since it stood for a more specific study, Egyptology. I found a scarab beetle charm online and ordered it, hoping that it would make it just in time for Halloween. When it did arrive, I found it much smaller than expected. But thankfully I have my stash of jewelry findings! I repeated the tattered wrappings effect on the photo frame itself, and then attached my scarab beetle charm.

In ancient Egypt, the scarab beetle was closely associated with the sun, and symbolized rebirth. If you have seen Brendan Fraser's The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, you would remember that Rick, Evie, and the gang feared a flesh-eating variant! That said, the scarab beetle choker is also a tribute to my favorite movies of all time.

Archeology does not only reflect my interest in mummies. It also stands for my wish to travel to the distant past, to watch the rise and fall of civilizations, if I might be honest. Of course, most of it is revealed in material culture (studied in archeology), but sometimes I just find myself wondering if it could, one day, be possible to travel through time. Perhaps a girl can hope?

On a serious note, I feel particularly connected to this piece. It has been such a long time since I truly poured my heart out into something that I made. It reminds me of my younger self, when I made things for the sheer satisfaction of it. Once again, I feel free.

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