Anticipating changes

I just received a call from my hosting service GoDaddy, informing me that Google has implemented new regulations regarding websites without SSL certification. You might notice that this website doesn’t have a little green lock icon in the URL bar. It’s about $150 to buy the certificate for a three year period.

Having a shop hosted here was an experiment, and it is time to move on to bigger and better things.

I don’t have need of two blogs, so the main “bloggy” type blog that I’ll be using in the future is located directly at with my pattern and sewing archives (Lolita Fashion Sewing and Pattern Archive).

As I get my business of Mode a la Belle legitimized, I’ll most likely be ending my hosting services with GoDaddy and using this web address to redirect to a dedicated online shop. So the address will remain the same, no worries there! But there’s going to be some redesigning in the near future.

Currently I have successfully organized into an LLC and received a federal Tax ID (EIN) . . . woot woot! I have begun the process of working towards having a ready-to-wear collection, but I will still need YOUR help! In order to apply, and be seriously considered, for a business loan, I must raise enough funds for a down payment of 15% of the loan total. Baby steps, however, are essential. I’m currently working on a series of videos showcasing my work process, in a somewhat tutorial-like fashion. Through videos, sample pieces, and commissions, I hope to be able to raise the money I need to expand into ready-to-wear.

I would love to hear your thoughts on my work, and also what you would like to see more of. If you want to contact me directly, you can do so through my Mode a la Belle Facebook page. I try to keep on top of messages, and I do this best through FB. Although, if FB isn’t your thing, you can also certainly contact me direct through the contact form on this site.

I’m sorry it’s been a while

As stated in my last post on this site, I had been in school for two semesters, which didn’t give me a lot of time to do anything related to Lolita fashion or blogging. I went back to school because I was inspired by everyone at the Santa Fe Opera, and all of the apprentices, who were continuing or finished with their education in costume design and technology. It’s not that I needed a piece of paper for validation, but I did want to hone my skills at draping, pattern drafting, and sewing. I’ve done all those things, and even created a collection this last semester!

I’ve been experiencing technical issues with my offline blogging client for this website, however, which has led to some difficulty in trying to post updates. As it stands, I’m looking at redesigning the site while I organize a legitimate business for my designs and products to be sold.

I’m also getting more involved in video tutorial creation using the Gosu Rori and Otome no Sewing pattern books. I finally achieved a setup that I like for proper camera angles and have begun working on the first of what I hope will be a growing series of videos! Questions and comments always welcome, as well as requests for specific tutorials. All my pattern books are archived here:

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I’m back in school!

SFCC Entrance

Hi everyone!

Sorry I’ve been so quiet. This year has been quite a doozy! After the craziness of my life last year – the shit hitting the fan kind of crazy – somehow life got back on track for me. I can’t say I did it alone, though. I had the help of some wonderful and empathetic friends. First, I was introduced to the world of film and TV production as a costume PA for an independent movie called Priceless (check out the trailer here). Now, I may have only worked as a PA (production assistant), but because the costume department consisted of just three people (including myself) there were things that needed doing that required a seamstress. Most times, PAs start out green, not knowing anything about clothes or costumes. In fact, I’ve even come across a lot of costumers for film that don’t sew a stitch. So I brought a lot of experience to the table. They had me sewing alterations on a couple things, sewing police patches onto sleeves, and even helping to pick out some outfits for some characters.

The costume designer was kind enough to bring me along her shopping trips to show me the ropes. I got the CliffsNotes on all the costume stuff I didn’t know, like how to label the changes, how to read the call sheets, how to set the line, the numbers corresponding to the characters and their changes corresponding to their scenes, continuity photos. I even learned some things about how and why to dress characters in certain ways, what colors to use and how they might work or not work for that particular character, or what’s going on in the scene. Even without building the costumes themselves and just shopping for outfits, there’s a lot of thought that goes into everything that character will be wearing. Knowing this now, I pay much closer attention to just about everything I watch.

So even though I was a PA for that production, I was given the chance to do a lot of stuff PAs aren’t even allowed to do (sewing, for instance). Usually this rule only applies to a show that is unionized, and this requires certain positions to be union members. Costume PAs aren’t union sanctioned positions. Set PAs and Office PAs are (strangely). My hope is to eventually become a full union member, which would give me better pay and benefits, and more opportunities to work. This show DID garner me the two required letters of recommendation, however, that start the process of entering the union by way of taking two classes (set readiness, and safety) and putting me on what’s called “Overflow”. The overflow list is for job blasts from the union that advertise openings in certain positions. It is first sent out to all union members, and in case those positions are not filled first by a union person, it then gets sent out secondary to the overflow members list.

Costumes is a very small niche, and I’ve been on the overflow list since April now and I never see an overflow job blast for that department. I think – maybe – once I saw a posting for stitchers wanted (which is as rare as a unicorn and right up my alley) . . . but, I was then deeply immersed in the world of opera!

Santa Fe Community College

… is the only college in this state, that I know of, that offers any kind of degree or certificate in fashion design. I’m constantly asked which I would rather do, fashion design or costumes, and deciding between the two is like trying to decide between two favorite cereals! Both, I say! I want both! And frankly, the many fashion designers I have spoken to over the years have dabbled also in costume design and/or construction. On the technical side of things, the two are practically the same. It is only divided by the venue in which the garments are shown. And that one is marketed to a wide, modern audience, and the other is meant to convey a feeling of a character’s personality and time period.

But I want that degree. I know I don’t need it at this point. Fashion design and costumes are two fields where acquired knowledge and skills are good enough to get you the job. But while I was at the opera, so many of my apprentice peers were in the middle of their schooling, some of them graduate students even. All of them early to mid twenty-somethings. The first hands on many of the teams were then my age. Trying to tell myself that I didn’t need the degree wasn’t working. And I really did want to brush up on the technical side of things. Sure, I can make patterns and drape garments. But I want to do it well. And I wanted to practice my illustration and rendering again, and going to a class for that is a good motivator for me.

I’m four weeks into school now, though, and I already wish I could just work faster and get it all out of the way. At this point, flat patterning and textiles study is very remedial. Production Sewing 101 is for absolute beginners, and so I’ve been taken on as an assistant teacher for the first half. Even my Japanese class is rudimentary, because they only had “Intro” and then the second level class 112 – I fall somewhere in between 111 and 112, so just to fill time, I enrolled in the introductory class.

At least now I understand better why I end up sluffing class so much . . . I get bored. Somehow I’ll make it through these classes, though, because now that I’m an adult, I’m not afraid to come up to the teacher to ask to be challenged. The sooner I can get all this out of the way, the sooner I get that degree.

Etsy Store

In the meantime, I reopened my Etsy store and I’m available again for commissions. I just turned off vacation mode, and now all of my listings have expired. I’ll put a few of those back up, however. And if you have any inquiries about potential projects, I’d be happy to discuss them with you.

Santa Fe Opera Apprenticeship!

I have had quite a busy year so far! First, I briefly worked at the local movie theater to get through the winter, which was actually pretty fun and I made friends I wouldn’t have made other wise. Then a friend brought to my attention the potential opportunity to work at the Santa Fe Opera – in some capacity. She seemed convinced that I had enough skill that I could definitely go for that, or some other more advanced sewing/costuming venture. She even suggested going to New York to try my luck out there. But I thought it best to play it safe and stay local for now.

The opera sounded perfect! I had no idea what it would entail. Nor was I aware of just how prestigious it was to be accepted into their ranks. Even as just an apprentice. I sent an application with my portfolio, resume, and cover letter back in February. From then on, I was on pins and needles waiting for a call, an email, . . . something! I was nervous about calling and following up on the status of my application, unsure if it was kosher to do that. I’m very, very lucky to have a good friend that has been contracted by the opera for costumes for many years now. Not only did she let me put her down as a reference, but she even sent a personal message to the people in charge of hiring, and spoke highly of me and my work. I was thrilled, and forever grateful to her! I’m pretty sure that without that, I don’t think I would have made it past the thousands of other applicants (thousands!).

There are only about 70 positions, and of those only a handful of stitchers – which is what I applied for. But I got in! I was offered an apprenticeship for stitching in the costume department of a very prestigious opera house here in the Southwestern United States.

It’s only a two month contract, starting May 30th to July 30th. I’ll be living in a dorm type situation for the duration, meanwhile the rest of my stuff will be living in a storage unit down in Albuquerque. This means that I’ll be moving out of my house here in Taos and relocating to ABQ after my contract with the Opera ends. So it’ll be quite a chaotic summer, I should think. I’m so sad to be leaving this beautiful house I’ve been living in this past year, but the owners are putting it on the market, and they want us to renew a year lease or move out. It doesn’t make sense to keep it while I’ll be living in Santa Fe. All of this is simply the universe steering me in the direction I need to go.

After the Opera? Who knows! I know I’ll still be sewing and designing. I think I’ve finally accepted it as my main thing. As well as trying my hand at costuming for film and television, which was the other busy thing I ended up doing for most of March and part of April. I worked on a period western, an indie film called Justice. My work actually made it onto the screen too! Talk about exciting.

I’ll still be doing my Lolita designing and sewing, and hopefully I’ll be able to settle down before September so that I can expand my little shop on here.

Starting today, my online shop will be closed and unavailable. My Etsy shop will still be open until the 20th of May, and then it will be in vacation mode until probably sometime in August or September. So this is the post that’s mostly FYI about that, and why. :) Maybe I’ll keep up my adventures at the opera here in my blog. I can’t wait to see what kinds of things I’ll learn while I’m there.

Sabaku Con 2016

Fashion Show

Mode a la Belle - Fashion Show models 3 Mode a la Belle - Fashion Show models 2 Mode a la Belle - Fashion Show models 1






Tea Party

Group Photo - Sabaku Con 2016


Anyway, thanks for reading my blog, everyone! And thanks for all your support! Stay tuned… <3

Modeling Call–Sabaku Con J-Fashion Show

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This is a little PSA for my peeps handling the J-Fashion show for Sabaku Con in Albuquerque, NM – May 6-8, 2016

The fashion show will be on Friday May 6th, at 7pm in the Yucatan ballroom.

I will be entering some of my own pieces, and would love to have models for them. If you’re a NM local, especially in Albuquerque, I would love to consider you as a model for my work. You must be in attendance for the convention itself to apply.

Information on fashion show registration can be found here on the Sabaku Con official website.

Rules (from the official website)

If you want to enter the fashion show please read the rules below:

  1. Outfits for the fashion show must be associated with or inspired by Japanese street fashion style.
  2. Your outfit can be purchased or handmade or a combination of the two. Just look as fabulous as you can.
  3. Designers are allowed to wear their own outfits or have models wear the outfits. A model should wear no more than 2 outfits during the show.
  4. If you want to model, Poison Sugar is looking for models- please email her at poison.sugar@yahoo.comfor more information.
  5. Please no cosplay. We want to focus on Japanese street fashion, if you want to show a costume please sign up for the masquerade.
  6. Contestants entering the J-Fashion Show may also enter separate outfits for the Masquerade.
  7. Local fashion designers are always welcome in the Jfashion show! If you are a local designer inspired by Japanese culture and clothing and want to showcase your creations and promote yourself in the show please enter! Even if you only do accessories, this is a great way to promote yourself! You will however have to find your own models and get them ready. Being a model does not get you a badge to the con We will not have hair and make-up people on staff.
  8. A maximum of 50 entries total will be allowed for the J-Fashion Show.

Please fill out either the individual or designer form below and email it to


  • Please understand that failure to give a narration by the show date may result in only your entry name being read.
  • We cannot supply specific music for only your walk. You can give us a style of music you would like- all music will be played by an experienced DJ

Registration Form for individual

  • Entrant’s real name:
  • Name you want announced by M.C. or nickname you go by:
  • Email:
  • Over 12: Yes or no?
  • Number of Outfits to be Displayed:
  • Outfit/piece description/title of style:
  • Narration: Please let us know what you want said by the MC when you/your models go on stage. The narration should be about the outfit, design, or style the model is wearing and name you want announced. Please limit the narration to 35 words or less.

Registration Form for Designer

  • Label or brand name:
  • Contact name:
  • Contact Email:
  • Number of Outfits to be Displayed:
  • Description of your style/what Jfashion inspires you: (I don’t need a description of every outfit- just your overall style influence):
  • Narration:

Other Links of Interest

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Sabaku Con 2015 006 (683x1024)JFashion Show 1J-Fashion Show - Sabaku Con 2013