Konnichiwa fellow Lolitas!
This post is a materials and sourcing list for a workshop I'll be teaching for the Frozen Lolita Club in the near future. We'll be making bonnets, Lolita head dresses, and bows. I'll turn it into an online tutorial after the workshop.
Choose a good quality cotton fabric for the areas needing fabric. Stay away from broadcloth or anything you can almost see through. Kona cotton, Country Classics, calico, quilting weight fabrics, etc. are all good. Lace should feel soft to the skin. Avoid lace that feels crunchy or rough. Don't worry about getting the "wrong" things. We'll make do with whatever comes along and you'll improve your sourcing and crafting skills with practice. The main goal is to have fun!
FOR ALL PROJECTS...
You'll need a needle and thread OR a hot glue gun and glue sticks AND sharp scissors.
Here is a good article on rectangle headdresses for beginners.
1. Estimate the length (from ear to ear) you want your headdress to be. Then decide how wide you would like it. You'll need a piece of fabric with those measurements plus 1 inch. For example, I want mine to measure 7" long and 3" wide. I'll cut a piece of fabric 8" long and 4" wide. The extra fabric will be turned under and stitched.
2. How will you attach it?
*If it will tie under your chin, you'll need ribbon. Measure from the top of your ear to under your chin, and quadruple that measurement. For example: My measurement is 9 inches, so I will need 36 inches of ribbon.
*If you'll use elastic, measure from the top of your ear to under your chin and double the measurement. Then add 2". For example: My measurement is 9", so I will need 18" of elastic plus 2 inches to equal 20 inches total.
*If you'll use clips, pick up 2 flat metal hair clips, or 2 combs to sew onto the headdress.
3. Decide what kind of embellishments you'd like. Look at examples online. You'll likely want lace, and will need at least 3 feet (1 yard) of lace. You may also want ribbon, so count on about 1 yard of that too. Don't forget to pick up silk flowers, charms, bows, etc. if you'd like to add them.
Bonnet...Here's an example of what we'll be making.
1. You'll need a straw hat with a wide brim. It should be in fair to excellent condition. A little wear and tear is okay, especially if you're planning to cover the whole thing with fabric. The best place to find these is thrift stores and garage sales. Don't be afraid to pick one up with hideous trims/flowers...they can always be ripped off the hat. Try to avoid hats with a very loose weave, unless you'll cover them completely with fabric.
2. Fabric...this is where you need to decide where you want fabric. You could use only the brim and add a fabric pouf on the back, or you could use fabric on both the inside and outside of the hat. Here's an example of a hat I covered completely and made the pouf. Even though this one sits on top of my head instead of Lolita bonnet style, the concept is the same. I'm estimating you'll need 1/2 a yard of fabric to cover the inside of the brim, 1/2 to 1 yard of fabric to completely cover the outside, and about 1/2 a yard of fabric if you want to make a pouf. These are generous estimates, so if you're a little shy of that, it should be fine.
3. Ties...you'll need about 1 yard of ribbon or 1/4 yard of fabric.
4. Embellishments...lace, flowers, toys, bows, etc. Here are some examples of gorgeous bonnets.
Bows...Here's my tutorial on making bows. We'll make some at the workshop if anyone is interested. Adding bows to the headdresses and/or bonnets is easy to do.
1. You'll need a rectangle of fabric that is twice as long and twice as wide as the bow you want to make. You'll also need another rectangle about 1/4 of the size of the larger one.
2. If you want to make an Alice bow, you'll need 2 large rectangles. The first large rectangle will be 1" to 1 1/2" larger than the second rectangle. Then, you'll need one smaller rectangle that is 1/4 the size of one of the large rectangles.
3. Lace or other trims to embellish the bow.
Fabric stores are an obvious choice. You can sign up for coupons for JoAnn Fabrics online. They'll come to your email and you print them off to use them. JoAnn Fabrics also accepts Michael's coupons. Look in the fabric remnants bin to find precut pieces in various lengths for 50% off the original price. You'll also find silk flowers and charms there.
Craft stores like Michaels are a great source for silk flowers and charms too.
Thrift stores and garage sales are a gold mine of great fabric and lace. Look for velvet, silk, brocade, leather, wool, and cashmere clothing. You can sometimes pick up wedding gowns, with excellent quality satin, and dye the fabric. You can also salvage lace appliques & trim, and beads off wedding dresses. Check the children's clothing section for Lolita-esque fabric prints that could be used for appliques and bows. Also look for dust ruffles. There is A LOT of hemmed fabric on dust ruffles. They're especially great if you can find eyelet lace ruffles. Steer clear of dust ruffles with serged hems and/or crunchy, rough, or see through cotton fabrics. Look for straw hats, purses that could be embellished, and new shoes. Ugly bed sheets make great mock up fabric if you're sewing a new pattern, or plain sheets are good for lining bodices and making petticoats & bloomers. Even pajama pants could be cut down and turned into cute, and warm, bloomers.
If you have questions, email me at ladymccormick (at) yahoo.com