And I Was Like Baby, Baby, No…

Wicked Queen's Poison Cellar

Anyone who is my friend on facebook was subjected to a burst of intense rage directed towards BTSSB/AatP the other day when I opened up my package from them and tried on my Wicked Queen’s Poison Cellar JSK II. For starters, the description didn’t mention any boning, but when I opened it up, it had the same boning as Masquerade Theater. For those who aren’t familiar with the issues with MT, the basically sewed the boning directly to each seam with no caps and no casing. The dress is made of a thin, semi-delicate material. So the boning straws poked through the top and the bottom of the bodice. I love MT and I nearly cried when I took it off the first time I wore it to find it was basically ruined. So I had a moment of pure frustration that they would still be doing this.

Wicked Queen's Poison Cellar

Sewn in boning peeking out of the seam (you can see some of the fraying threads here too, also notice how crooked the two lines of stitching there are.)

The front seams were also crooked, and there was a clear spot where the thread had broken on the front seam, and they just restarted, but not in exactly the same place, so the whole top seam on one side was crooked and had a weird V shape in the stitching.

Then I turned it around to look at the back inside:

Wicked Queen's Poison Cellar

Note the non-cased elastic and the crooked stitching again, and threads everywhere

I associate this way of doing the elastic with cheap garments, personally because it’s not what you usually see with nicer lolita dresses.

What you can’t see above is something that I only noticed in this stock picture below after the seamstress who modified mine pointed it out on me; the elastic makes the straps dip in weirdly at the top.

Wicked Queen's Poison Cellar

What you also can’t see clearly here is that the corset lacing goes through actual lace (which is stupid on a dress with boning because they clearly expect you to cinch it up to bend the boning and that’s going to destroy the lace). You also can’t see that the hem lace is white with slightly cream roses (because they are a different type of thread), the back/neck lace is white and the waist tie lace is cream.

Wicked Queen's Poison Cellar

On my dress, this front detail was lined up at the top and bottom, but was a whole cm off to the side in the middle and the braid wasn’t centered, making the dress look lopsided on me. The boning, which started up in the straps made the waist stick a good 10cm out from my actual waist making me look pregnant, and the waist ties couldn’t pull it back in as they were higher than my actual waist. After the issues I had with MT, I wasn’t willing to try to force the corset lacing which was just through already stretching lace loops to pull in the boning with how light the bodice material was. When I put it on, the front of the dress compressed my bustline in a way that seemed dangerously tight on the seams, but the back shirring didn’t actually stretch to relieve the tension, even with the corset lacing totally removed. So basically, there was more fabric, but either the cut was wrong or the fabric was too delicate to pull the elastic in the back shirring and make use of the back fabric.

A seamstress friend* of mine took out the boning, and in doing so we discovered that there were tiny scraps of waste fabric still up in the sleeves on the inside. Under the facing the edges weren’t serged and the fabric is fraying a bit already. The skirt fabric was fraying inside the serging and there were threads everywhere. She just kept snipping new threads everywhere the whole time; it was kinda crazy. She also took out the top rows of elastic, move the waist ties and fixed the crooked stitching on the front.

She was kind enough to take the boning out of MT for me as well. Here is the pile of boning and elastic that she took out!

Alice and The Pirates Boning

In the end the alterations on Wicked Queen’s Poison Cellar were:

  • Remove boning (2 strips)
  • Resew Top Stitching (we decided to just do one row and iron out the other which was really just to support the boning)
  • Move down waist tie buttons
  • Remove elastic (Top 3 rows)
  • Detach center of the decorative trim and resew straight

And for Masquerade Theater:

  • Remove boning (6-8ish strips? I don’t remember off hand. It was a lot)
  • Resew Top Stitching
  • Re-tack bow (it had to be untacked in a few spots)
  • Re-attach a button I pulled loose when I tripped while putting it on (oops XD)

In the end, with the alterations, both dresses fit much better, and I’m really happy with her work. I will say that Masquerade Theater does probably look best over a corset or other foundational garment; because it’s so thin and unlined and has a longer torso (which is part of why the boning is an issue; when I sat in it, it got pushed against the edges because the torso was too long to sit in properly), so it gets a little lumpy at the hip. However, so do a number of other JSK I own that are cut the same weight and have back shirring, so it is what it is.

For reference:

Wicked Queen’s Poison Cellar JSK II
Bust: 85-99cm
Waist: 74-88cm

Masquerade Theater JSK
Bust: 83-98cm
Waist: 60.5-73.5cm

Me
Bust: 95cm
Waist: 72cm

That said, I now have owned two skirts and five jumper skirts from Baby / Alice and the Pirates. Of them, I sold one skirt (couldn’t fit a petticoat because of a bizarre lining) and one JSK (Treasure Hunt in the Mystic Island Alvida JSK – came to me 6cm smaller than the stated size, and couldn’t even be worn at half the size it was because of how delicate it was). I’m holding onto an AatP luckypack JSK (actually the best constructed piece I have from them.), a black JSK with a fruit print (waist ties aren’t faced and it isn’t lined, but it’s ok-ish; slightly better than good pieces from bodyline), Clockwork Teaparty Skirt (waist ties aren’t lined, not water safe, otherwise fine) and the two above. So far.. I’m just not impressed with Baby/AatP. They have so far sold me two pieces on reserve and one piece second hand that were basically constructed in a way that made wearing them while inside the measurements provided potentially damaging to the garment. This really is frustrating, because I like some of their pieces, but at the same time, I feel like I can’t trust them as a brand.

(*While she is really talented, as far as I know, she doesn’t normally do alterations, so after speaking to her about it, I didn’t use her identity so as not to recommend people to her for a service she doesn’t actually provide, but I am super grateful to her.)

5 thoughts on “And I Was Like Baby, Baby, No…

  1. I’m so glad to hear about brand alterations, as sorry as I am you had to make them. I myself am in the mental war with myself over altering brand, but I suppose if it makes it fit better, it’s well worth it in the end, even if resale value may be affected.

    • Like my friend below mentioned, it really depends on the alteration. Waistband alterations to make skirts bigger that are done well and don’t sacrifice the waist ties, for example, often don’t hurt resale too much because the skirt will fit different people that no other copy of that skirt would fit (I bought an old school meta skirt like that once). Of course, badly done alterations, or alterations that make things smaller, or that remove elements from a garment can be a harder sell.

  2. Honestly I think the resale value is better with certain alterations. For instance in this case the alterations to Wicked Queen’s Poison Cellar JSK where the front detailing was not sewn on straight and had to be taken out and straightened, and also on the right side the top stitching was completely bonkers and was fixed after taking out the boning make this dress better than it was out of the box. Of course doing things like taking out shirring may affect resale but if the shirring causes the straps to bend in an unflattering way now this dress can be advertised as “actually looks good in the back”. As for the boning… the boning in this dress made absolutely no sense to me. I tried both dresses on myself before altering them just because I wanted to know if they would fit me better because I’m 77cm/30″ bust and 60cm/24″ waist, and I have to say that both of them fit me better with the boning removed – and I’m rather flat. I mention this because the dresses are constructed for a flatter person, yet the boning looked weird on me, and the boning looked ridiculous on rainedragon, so it makes me wonder who exactly these dresses are patterned for.

    Other things that were not mentioned: aatp’s inability to sew in a straight line. I know the front detail was mentioned as not being sewn on straight but much of the top-stitching was not straight either. Also the whole “friction may cause this print to rub off” that’s actually listed on their tag. It’s something that really boggles my mind because it’s printed on polyester, it’s a bit more understandable on a cotton but at the same time not really since there are plenty of places to have fabric printed where your print won’t run/fade/rub off from sitting on something.

    As a whole taking this to any seamstress to have alterations done would probably be quite costly. We definitely had to do two fittings to make sure I knew exactly what alterations had to be done, an initial one to see some of the problems on the surface, and a second one after the boning was removed revealed the not centered detail, too tight elastic in the shirring, and that the waist tie buttons needed to be lowered by an inch. Mostly this was due to the fact that we had no idea going into this if removing the boning was a good idea or not (initially I was going to replace the boning) but since removing it fixed some of the major problems and it didn’t seem necessary I left it out. Luckily, Masquerade theater was not nearly as bad, because after removing the boning all that needed to be redone was the top stitching and re-tacking the front bow in place. All together alterations would probably cost around $80 for the two dresses.

  3. Wow. This is sadly not surprising at all.

    I have given up on reserves from Baby because while they’re almost certainly telling the truth about the amount of fabric they use, the shirring is so tight that it doesn’t matter, you still don’t fit. Also, the waist ties are never lined or double faced any more. I have a Baby dress that I love but it’s older, from when they made sizes.

    :(

    And quality? Sweet Jewellery Princess in Garnet didn’t fit and my former roommate ended up having to buy it because she ripped it trying it on. (She fixed it so you can’t tell.) The waist tie buttons are in an area where they’re not reinforced at all. She is much smaller than I am and WELL below the measurements, but the shirring elastic was so tight that the stress on the dress just from being pulled up over her head caused the button to rip before she could remember to remove the waist ties. :( Because that textured cotton that they use is freaking fragile. :(

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