Then it got me thinking – why stop there? What else could I make to fit in with my lolita wardrobe? Searching around on the internet, I couldn't really find a satisfying source of lolita knitting patterns, so, after a lot of research on lolibrary (the lolita clothing database) and ravelry (knitting pattern database), I thought I would share my thoughts and finds with you here. I'm also working on a series of blogposts on knitwear including defining characteristics of brand knitwear, what to look for when buying offbrand knits, how to customise and embellish knitwear, and my favourite finds from Etsy and Taobao).
Who remembers this image?
A few years ago, when I was still an "armchair lolita"* I thought this cat scarf was the cutest thing ever, but I lacked the knitting skills and confidence to be able to make it. However, now that I am a lolita myself, my tastes lean more towards the classic style, so this would be out of place in my wardrobe. A lot of people have also said the pattern does not work very well, and the finished piece does not match up to the photo. If you'd like to try it for yourself, it is available in the Gothic Lolita Bible 27, and the English GLB vol.4. Click here to see other people's versions of the finished scarf.
|Image from frillyroses.blogspot.co.uk|
It is also this image that appears most frequently for "lolita knitting patterns", and there seems to be a lack of patterns out there. I think this is for a few reasons:
- A lot of lolita cardigans, boleros, and accessories are not knitted, but sewn with a knit fabric or jersey, which has a very lightweight feel to it. This is cheaper to produce, easier to layer up, and avoids a bulky appearance. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of knitting patterns will never look quite right with lolita, because they are too thick, and it is harder and takes longer to make something out of a finer yarn.
- Gloves, scarfs and hats are winter wear, so you just don't see them in coords very often, for obvious reasons.
- I might be wrong on this one but I think a lot of crafty lolitas prefer sewing over knitting, and this is reflected in the fact that there are quite a few indie lolita brands, but none specialising in knitwear.
However, I do think that there are a lot of patterns available for those of us who enjoy knitting or crochet, they just take a little longer to find (I can help you here!), and may need slight alterations. Don't be afraid to use your imagination – sometimes cardigans and boleros are completely transformed by adding ruffles, lace and other embellishments. If you are quite an experienced knitter, you may even be able to adapt patterns further, and make them similar to brand garments.
I feel it is important to mention that you likely won't save any money by knitting things yourself – quality yarn costs money, and takes up a lot of time – but it is a lovely, cosy feeling to knit in the winter, with your favourite shows on the TV and a mug of tea by your side, and you can create something truly unique and beautiful. The best thing about knitting is that you can quickly pick it up and put it away, without having to get out all your fabrics, tools, plug your sewing machine in, clear the table, etc etc, that you need to do when sewing.
Let's start off fairly simple with some cute crochet flower necklaces and brooches – the great thing about these is that you can wear them all year round. I also couldn't resist the teddy bear – a cute accessory that you could clip onto your handbag.
The perfect winter accessory. I've included a basic glove pattern that you can use by itself, or decorate with pearls, ribbons, lace and crochet flowers, as well as some more feminine gloves. For the more adventurous knitter, how cute are these animal and strawberry mittens by Drunk Girl Designs, Tiny Owl Knits, and Spilly Jane? Even the designers' names are adorable.
You can start to see a theme here – another basic knitting pattern with endless customisation possibilities. The bow scarves are based on ascot designs and couldn't be more lolita if they tried. Continuing the animal theme is this adorable fox scarf, and for classic lolitas, this knitted floral collar can be adapted to suit your coord by changing up the colours, or if you are able to, adapt the shape to a peter pan collar and change the flower design for something else entirely.
You can't go wrong with a simple beret, and there are so many variations of them on Ravelry – just take a look! My favourite hat pattern here has to be the mushroom cap, which would also suit mori kei and otome styles. The animal pattern this time are these bear and bunny ear berets.
If you fancy a challenge, you could try your hand at knitting socks. Not for the faint-hearted, socks are knitted in the round on four double-pointed needles, and take a long time to knit if you're slow like I am. They are also the least value for money, in that the yarn might cost more than brand socks. But, they can be very satisfying, and the advantage is you can have them completely custom fit, which is great for making tall or plus-size lolita socks. If I haven't put you off, I love the "Mother May I?" ankle socks as they look great with Mary Janes. While not lolita in the form here, the stripe socks are a good basic pattern if made with solid colours or dots. The bird and Harry Potter socks are incredible, and if I improve my skill, I'd love to have a go at making them.
Boleros and Cardigans
The lolita cardigan and bolero patterns took the most time searching for than all the other sections combined, but I feel that I have discovered some gems here. I've just included a few, but you can see more on my pinterest board here. The main design elements I searched for were a cropped or short length, and a fairly lightweight yarn. Most of the patterns are great as-is, others would benefit from customisation such as added lace or ruffles along the edges, embroidery, pockets – there are so many options, but it helps to look at brand cardigans and boleros for inspiration. Sometimes, all you need is a simple brooch to transform the look.
I hope this post has been useful, and I would love to see your knitting projects in the comments! For more patterns, visit my pinterest board below. If you would like to see specifically Japanese knitting and crochet patterns, this link on Ravelry takes you to over 1200 Japanese patterns, but not all are suitable for lolita. I do plan to comb through these soon and add the most relevant ones to my pinterest board.
--*Armchair lolita – someone who owns no lolita clothing or participates in the fashion, but has an interest in it and enjoys reading about it/looking at photos