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The Elle Dress

Elle's Dress - Betsuni

Project Lead: Elle Nguyen

To tell you the truth, the design for the Elle Dress was an experiment.

For the longest time, I’ve been searching for a summer dress but I haven’t been able to find anything that compliments my shape, is super comfortable, and super fun to wear. So, I started playing with different silhouettes that I already love – fitted tops, short sleeves, and A-line skirts.

Another issue, however, popped up as Ames and I were shopping for fabrics. Fabric stores are dangerous for us, specifically our budgets – we tend to grab fabrics that we love but don’t have an existing project to pair it with. This spring season was especially dangerous – We found so many cute designs and one of them featured a picturesque scenery of a waterfront city.

How was I going to draft a dress pattern
that would show off the entire scenery,
especially on my petite figure?

The Fabric

I laid out the fabric onto the table and decided to divide up the scenery into “city” and “trees”. The trees would decorate the top part of the dress and the cityscape would be fanned out on the skirt part of the dress.

Fabric pattern issue solved! Next, the silhouette …

The Design

I have always been a fan of the sweetheart neckline – the name itself is so cute! This wide neckline lets the warm sun kiss my skin, but also keeps me cool on those hot, hot days. Also, for summer frolics, I prefer a sleeveless dress, so I can plunge my arms into water pools or overstuffed picnic baskets without getting my sleeves dirty. Unfortunately, my boxy body shape requires sleeves to create that hourglass illusion. So, I drafted a super cute peephole sleeve cuff that would widened the shoulder line.

The skirt was a bit of a nightmare – I drafted and tested the skirt pattern twice and still ended up mucking about with the fabric skirt three more times. The problem was the cityscape artwork – I couldn’t draft a conventional flare skirt pattern because the cityscape wouldn’t curve with the design. I also couldn’t divided up the cityscape to create a multi-panel skirt because the panels would look too mismatched. After reworking and reworking the skirt, I found a happy medium that let me keeps the entire cityscape and produced a cute flared skirt. The best part? I have pockets!

Custom fashion design allows for whimsical dreams to come dream … with a little bit of hard work and persistence. Fortunately, that’s our focus here at Betsuni – Design. Fashion. Anything Handmade.


Elle’s Mandala

I have always envision my life as a painting – each event in my life is a artistic ray stemming out of my center of being. Each event shapes my entire being and my entire being is the sum of so many different elements – like mandala art!

A mandala is a representation of the universe – it begins with a circle and extends outward with different patterns and designs in an infinite numbers of way. This is why I fell in love with mandala art – its originality and never-ending possibilities allows me to create different artwork that represents my universe at any given time.

I create my mandala artwork on my mobile phone using the Autodesk Sketchbook app and a stylus. I doodle. I rearrange. I remove. I release all of my everything into the little digital canvas and when I’m nearly satisfied, I transfer the result into Adobe Illustration and tweak it some more.

I try my best not to go insanely detailed at this stage to allow me (and other participating artists) creative freedom when I start the painting process. Also, since I engrave the graphic, smaller details tend to blur or disappear into ashes when I transfer the digital design onto a wooden canvas.

I rarely begin painting from the center circle of my mandala – I tend to choose plainer offshoots where I can add more details with a black fine tip marker. I water down my acrylic paint color to a pale pastel and add on more layers to create an almost watercolor effect –  a blurry representation of my feelings and memories. Then I mark up the design with little repetitive lines and curls to unite the colors and pull the body of the element back to the center circle.

Unlike other artwork I have done, I find myself coming back to indulge in my mandala art. I use them to relax, to dream, or to reflect.

Have you had a chance to indulge in mandala art yet? We have workshops! Check out:  Arts Workshops


Fashion In Progress – WCFW 2018

We are so very excited to announce that we are working on a piece that will grace the runway of Western Canada Fashion Week! It’s all hush, hush at the moment, but we are working with a Calgary designer team to create a beautiful and edgy fashion garment for the upcoming Autumn season.

Elle will be drafting the pattern, while Ames will work on pulling the pieces together into a spectacular ready-to-wear women’s outfit.

Stay tuned for more updates and follow us on Instagram to see our work in progress!


The Maria Dress

Project Lead: Elle Nguyen
Project Assist: Ames Hagon

I picked up this project just after Ames and I started on Ames’ Pearl cosplay (Steven Universe). I was working alongside another fashion enthusiast, Maria of Make Fashion, and she mentioned that she wish she had time to make herself a dress to wear to the upcoming Make Fashion show (April 2017). I took that as an invitation and ask “Can I make you a dress?” and that was how it started.

Maria shared a inspiring Pinterest board with me and mentioned that her preferred color was Sunshine Yellow. She also loves the work of Frida Kahlo. Connecting the dots together, I sketched up a flowy shoulder-to-floor gown, accented with a satin black belt and hand painted floral designs. She gave the thumbs up and the dress making process began.

We also create the first draft on “scrap” cloth. I fitted the draft on Maria, marked the the alterations that need to be made, and altered the original design accordingly.

The funny thing about the whole process was dressing the mannequin between sewing sessions – the 6 foot mannequin has insanely slim, yet super busty measurements and the Maria dress was made for a little 5 foot lady. So parts of the dress were too short for the mannequin, leaving it look like the mannequin was getting party ready for the Calgary Stampede season 😀

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I was the most anxious about hand painting the floral designs on the fabric. This was my first time painting on fabric and I rarely painted anything before – I have more experience painting walls than I do anything artistic. Hand painting the flowers, however, would really pull in Maria’s love for Frida Kahlo’s art – I needed to do this.

I used Jacquard fabric paint for all the artwork on Maria’s yellow chiffon fabric. I only painted with a medium sized pointed round paint brush and played around with different styles to create petals, leaves, and stems. I think I spent about four days figuring out how to place everything, dry and cure the paint, and fix/add more details. I obsessed and obsessed right until show day …

I’m assuming Maria was pretty happy with her dress 😀 She did a few twirls and she did wear it down the runway during the Make Fashion show – all good signs 😀



Pop Up Shop Coming Soon

Come and check our our very first mini collection of the new Betsuni line – lolita style yukata (lightweight Japanese robe style dress), a reflection of the crazy minds of Ames & Elle, the founders of Betsuni.

There will so many options available to you: Betsuni Magic features sweet & cute motifs and styles, while Betsuni Dark plays on the gothic designs of Goth Lolitas. We also have My Betsuni, which are DIY kits for creating your own yukata!

Also Featuring:
Twisted Arts offers handmade, crochet items, including toques ranging in sizes from newborn to adult. We have stuffies, including three sizes of bears, Pokéballs, and small stuffies called Eggits in various popular designs. Twisted Arts is constantly coming up with new ideas and designs.