Blue Striped Komon Kimono with White Rabbit and Plum Blossom Pattern and Black and Yellow Obi

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2011 is the year of the rabbit, in the Chinese zodiac, so cute rabbit-related things have been popping up in my RSS feed for the past month or so, and it made me want to do a rabbit kimono. (By modern reckoning, I’m late, but in Japan, the New Year used to be celebrated on the Chinese schedule, between late January and mid-February, so by that standard I’m quite early!)

Of late, I’ve been inspired by the drama Osen to look at lots of vintage kimono, as the main character is the proprietor of a traditional Japanese restaurant and always wears kimono in a fun, fresh way. (I’ve found lots of good blogs along the way, but I particularly recommend Kimono Sarasa’s blog.) This is intended to be a casual, retro-style komon kimono, with large patterns all over the fabric: the bunnies are a reference to 2011, of course, while the sprigs of flowers are plum blossom, which is the first flower to bloom every year and therefore a traditional New Year’s motif. The obi, a yellow circle pattern on black, is meant to evoke — OK, not so subtly — the moon. Rabbits and the moon are linked in Japanese symbolism, because in Japan, it’s said that you can see a rabbit making mochi (a kind of rice cake) in the moon, instead of the man in the moon.

I drew this when I was visiting with my mom: we both printed out the black-and-white version and started coloring, but I finished mine, while she had to go do something in the middle and only finished her obi. Hopefully we’ll be able to see her kimono too, soon!

I’ve got a lot of things to look forward to in 2011, and I hope you all do too!

Bella Swan’s Anne of Green Gables Inspired Wedding Gown with White Satin and Rose Lace from Breaking Dawn

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In the final book of the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, Bella and Edward get married. Bella, whose parents are divorced, has never really seen marriage as a desirable life goal, doesn’t want people to think she’s pregnant and she worries about branding herself a desperate, vapid girl insistent on getting married right out of high school. Certainly nothing says “commitment” like forsaking humanity and spending eternity with someone, so what’s the point of a wedding? Old-fashioned Edward, however, wants to be married, and Bella comes around to his point of view, starting to consider it natural and happy for two people in love to be married, and to heck with the gossips and disapproval of society and her family. She keeps thinking of Anne of Green Gables, of the simpler time she associates with when Edward would have been young, of the high-necked blouse and long skirt she would wear.

Bella guesses that the inspiration was from 1918 when she sees her dress, Alice replies more or less and Liana tears her hair out. Here I thought we were using an Anne-centric timeline, but only in the miniseries did Anne get married during the First World War — in the books, Anne got married in 1890, according to this page, and WWI was her daughter Rilla’s turn as a heroine. So what does Bella’s dress look like? Victorian-style clothes play a large role in her fantasy of simple romance, and she says, looking at the dress, that it’s just what she imagined. Yet, a dress from 1918 probably wouldn’t have that Victorian high neck, or maybe not even the long skirt. It must also be noted that 1918 is when Edward was transformed into a vampire at the age of 17, so a dress from this age would probably appeal to him more than something his mom would have worn. 1918 would also be about right, if Bella’s mother, who thought the gown looked like something from a Jane Austen novel, was a hundred years off. Then Alice was stage-managing the whole thing, and I have a really hard time seeing her send Bella out in an unfashionable wedding dress. No one does high necks anymore, not even LDS members going for modesty, and long sleeves seem to be relegated to the Éowyn look. So what exactly do we have here? An Anne-style 1890 gown with puffed sleeves? A streamlined, more fashionable but still modest 1918 gown? A modern dress with vintage touches? I’ve been trying to decide for the last week.

So yeah, at this point I think I may have pondered the dress — possibly overthought the dress — more than the author, and it’s been maddening. Maybe it’s like the prom dress: however you see it is right. (Witness the range of Twilight wedding dresses on deviantart.) That means I’m going to stop trying to come up with something perfect and just go with a pseudo-1890s gown, taking Bella at her word that she wanted to dress like Anne and got her wish. But you could just as easily assume that Bella only saw the miniseries, so maybe I’ll draw a 1918 gown too, another day. Trying to combine the two — yeah, I got some pretty funny sketches out of the idea, but I think I’ll pass. In my sketches of this dress, she has her hair down and even though it’s old-fashioned, it’s still romantic and sweet.

Livedolling the 81st Academy Awards! Penelope Cruz’s Vintage White Lace Gown, Kate Winslet’s Blue and Black Lace Gown, Angelina Jolie’s Strapless Black Gown

Click for larger version (Penelope Cruz); Click for larger version (Kate Winslet); Click for larger version (Angelina Jolie); click for the list of dolls.

11:56: And that’s it for this year’s Oscars: thanks to everyone who kept me company! I enjoyed this a lot, I think I’ll do it again next year too.

11:38: I think I’m going to do something really easy tomorrow. Like a mermaid wearing a paper bag.

11:33: Yay for Kate! Wow, I had no idea how the back of that dress worked. Glad my drawing doesn’t contradict it.

11:19: Ohhh, Reese. Talk about a seatbelt strap dress. I really like the shade of blue though

11:17 OK — now I’m exhausted. That’s it for my drawing tonight!

11:07: Just finished Angelina’s black gown, scanning and processing. I think that will be it for the night, I’m tired now. Glad I don’t work tomorrow!

10:57: Oh, excellent, a Bollywood number. Wonder how Wall-E will fit in?

10:27: Yawn. How much longer do we have to go? Ten more categories. I wonder if I can do Angelina Jolie’s dress in that time? Black is easy enough…

10:25: Scanner made a hash out of this one, but oh well. I might have it in me for one more, but it has to be super simple.

10:12: Finished with Kate Winslet’s dress — not perfect but not awful. Scanning and processing.

9:37: I’m not so sure I can pull off Kate, but I’m going to give it a shot…

9:26: Is the sparkly vampire contractually obliged to keep his head down and glower at all times?

9:23: Funny that Tilda Swinton is the one bucking the nude lip trend. I think she looks fantastic!

9:21: Score another one for lavish period pieces!

9:20: Here’s our favorite category, costume design…

9:16: AAGH. Now I finish and post the thing, I find a better picture. I was close but it’s not quite right.

9:13: Here it is, Penelope Cruz’s white lace gown. I can’t promise this is precisely how the skirt works, but I think it’s pretty close. I’m thinking Kate Winslet next, but I need to take a second and look at the new pictures. Oh yeah, yay Wall-E!

9:00: Done with the dress — scanning and processing, up soon. Feel free to suggest my next subject in the comments. I want something with color now!

8:47: EXCELLENT. If I’m drawing the Oscar winner’s gown, I’ll get more traffic. *grin*

8:31: Ohhh, such love for the jazzy Lawrence of Arabia theme. Had to restart Penelope Cruz’s dress but it’s fun. Expect it to be done by 9, 9:15.

8:07 Angelina Jolie went too subtle, I think, but I guess that’s better than ending up on Go Fug Yourself tomorrow

7:52: OK, I’ve got my first paperdoll subject of the night.

7:47: Well, Kate Winslet is doing the one shoulder strap thing too, but I think it works for her dress…

7:43: Now that is quite a mermaid skirt on Melissa George. I think the fetish-style corset lace-up is jarring, but I like it from the front well enough.

7:41: Sarah Jessica Parker’s dress is growing on me — I think the belt makes it not so much a prom dress, even with that poofy skirt.

7:29: is failing me. It’s superfluous considering I have the Getty Images pictures, but it just doesn’t seem the same without the inane chatter in the background…

7:20: Wow, Marisa Tomei also has the seatbelt strap that Eleanor and I don’t like. Just saw a bit of it — looks like there’s something interesting going on with her skirt. Hurry up, Getty Images…

7:09: Great picture of Viola Davis and Taraji Henson — I think both of their dresses are really nicely done. Still haven’t decided who to draw first though.

7:06: Yeah, I’m not a fan of her neckline or one sleeve, but love the rest of her dress.

6:50: Hate the E! football-esque highlight pen — love that color blue on Frieda Pinto.

6:19: Ah — this is how her dress works. It’s a little more than most of them are going to be, I bet, and it reminds me a little of a pinecone, but I like it — I’d just take off the bauble on the belt. And wow, what a train.

6:09: I’m watching at now. Did I see a Cinderella-style overskirt gather on Miley? I just got a glimpse…

6:00 PM EST: Welcome to Livedolling the Oscars with Liana. I’ll be your host, once I stop frantically looking for a live feed of the red carpet coverage. I’ll also be using images from Getty Images’ Oscar coverage as reference. I’m not the only one liveblogging the Oscars, but I bet I’m the only one armed with colored pencils and not snark. There are some cute dresses showing up on the red carpet already, but so far they’re all “TV personalities.”

Powder Blue Airship Hostess Jumper with White Blouse via A Dress A Day

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So I saw this pattern on A Dress A Day and thought it was just beyond cute and it needed paperdolling. Seriously, look at the little collar and the pointy shoulders. Adorable. Erin thought it made a good airship hostess uniform, so I added a little cap and little airships around the hem. (Yes, that’s what they’re supposed to be…) Check out the original post and a post about a version of the dress being auctioned off.

I don’t have too much else to say about this dress other than that drawing tiny airships is fun and that my scanner is starting to annoy me (see the banding? It’s been doing that recently, plus the blue is cuter in person), so please go create a dress for me on my dress wiki.