wikiHow to Design Your Own Gothic Lolita Outfit

There are a thousand sites out there where you can buy, borrow, or steal your way into getting a decent quality Gothic Lolita dress. Unfortunately, if you're on a budget, most of them are vastly expensive and don't ship to the US. It is equally effective and much more imaginative to create your own.

Steps

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    Gather inspiration. Many sites or stores love to show off their own creations; take what you like and work with that. Research on the style, what can be done and what can't, so that you won't look like an Ita Loli.
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    Learn how to sew, if you don't know already. Look for patterns in websites. They don't have to be exclusively Lolita patterns, as they are in Japanese most of the time. Victorian and Edwardian patterns can work wonders; you just have to adjust and edit them for the garment you want to create.
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    Don't rush your work, otherwise, it will turn out sloppy. If you are on a deadline, feel free to enlist friends who can help you.
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    Remember that this is Gothic Lolita, so pick the right colour scheme for the style, and remember that it has to be flattering to you, too. Maybe you love the colour red, but it makes you look all blotchy, so try to avoid using it as an accent instead of part of the main scheme. A good colour scheme might be navy blue with white, or black with red tartan, or even a very very deep purple or the ever present white and black combo. Stay away from bright or neon colours combined with black.
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    Make a preliminary sketch. Focus on the details of the dress, skirt, blouse, or jacket. Remember the basic shape of a Gothic Lolita outfit: bell shaped or A-line knee-length skirts that are at the waist or a tiny bit lower, but never at the hip. If you're using lace, use it in moderation. Remember to put all the details: buttons, ruffles, bows, etc. You might want to gather small samples of the fabrics and other materials you might use and paste them next to your sketch so that you can have an idea of how it might look all together. DON'T FORGET TO ADD YOUR PETTICOAT AND BLOOMERS TO YOUR SKETCH, THEY ARE A MUST IN ANY LOLITA OUTFIT.
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    Learn how to do your hair and makeup. You might to want to look into the makeup and hair by this time too, remember that those are also essential parts of your Gothic Lolita outfit. Hair is neat, clean and tidy, usually in soft curls or straight and with bangs. The makeup is a bit darker than on almost all the rest of the styles, but that doesn't mean Raccoon Eyes. Gothic and Lolita Bible has great examples of makeup and hair looks.
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    Gather your fabrics and other materials. Good fabrics for a Gothic Lolita outfit are cotton fabrics or mixed cotton fabrics with a dull natural shine to them. Synthetic fabrics or satin fabrics are a total no-no. Don't use heavy or crushed velvet, and try to find natural fibers. For the laces, eyelets, Venice and Cluny made of cotton and other natural fabrics are a must. Synthetic laces tend to be hard, rough, and have a wide netting that will look grayish and ugly from afar.
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    Draw your pattern on a piece of paper before you start on the fabrics themselves. That way if you make a mistake, you won't be wasting precious fabric.
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    Go to work on the fabric once you're happy with the pattern. Remember that you can always make last minute modifications, but always be very sure of what you're doing.
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    Try it on several times. Don't save this for the exact day you'll be wearing it on. Do this fairly early on to fix anything outrageously wrong. Do it as many times as necessary.
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    Add the details. Once you have the skirt, dress, JSK, etc. done you can add the rest of the details, be it lace, buttons or some such. Always look back at your sketch, but keep in mind that you can change anything last minute if you're very sure of it. DON'T OVERDO THE LACE OR YOU'LL END UP WITH AN UGLY AND ITA LOLI LACE MONSTER.
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    Look at your sketch again. Start looking for the complimentary accessories. As a Gothic Lolita, you can look for crosses, coffin purses, Alice bows, bracelets, chokers, etc. Remember that they should match and compliment the outfit. Remember that the shoes are very important too: Mary Janes (with or without the characteristic Lolita heels) and rocking horse shoes are great for a Gothic Lolita style, stay away from stompy boots. Knee or over the knee length stockings are necessary to keep your modesty.
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    Have a final try on, this time with make up, hair, accessories, and all. Check the over all outfit and fix things here or there.
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    Polish the look, and wear it proudly. Try not to brag too much, but be proud of your hard work!

Tips

  • Always ask for help if you can't do something alone or research as much as you can before you even sketch your outfit.
  • Even if you're doing a Gothic Lolita styled outfit, try to make it your own by adding your favourite accessories to the outfit. If you really like that beautiful lace choker and it compliments the outfit, wear it! It's all about making it comfortable for you.
  • Ruffling lace can look really good at times, but don't go overboard, especially if the lace looks really nice flat. Save the ruffled lace for the outermost hems, like at the bottom of your skirt. And avoid adding ruffled lace to already ruffled material, it's a bit too much (according to the Lolita handbook).
  • Be proud of your work and don't let anybody put you down because you're wearing handmade clothes.

Warnings

  • Be careful when planning your design, abide by the rules or you might waste quite a bit of money.
  • Make sure to use good fabric. Don't use crushed velvet or satin, as it tends to look cheap and costume-like.
  • Do not use glitter or tie-dye type of lace. While this type of lace can look neat on some projects, lolita may not be the best place to use it.
  • AVOID LACE MONSTERS, MAID DRESSES, AND COSPLAY INSPIRATION LIKE THE PLAGUE. You don't want to be branded as Ita Lolita, do you?

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing skills medium to high, or somebody to help you.
  • Patterns and pattering paper (can be regular bond paper, or newspapers)
  • LOADS of fabric. Lolita outfits tend to use quite an amount of fabric.
  • Buttons, lace, zippers, fasteners, etc.
  • Sewing machine, sufficient threads, needles, and pins.
  • LOTS of patience.

Article Info

Categories: Goth | Japanese Fashion