Thursday, 9 May 2013

Melikestea (aka anatnof) review - positive! Direct petticoat comparison included (Victoriangirldress vs. Classical Puppets vs. Melikestea)

In my quest for the perfect petticoat, I stumbled across a petticoat commissions post by anatnof on the egl_comm_sales. She is a Brazilian seamstress who periodically takes commissions for dresses, skirts and of course petticoats and also has a website for these commissions, melikestea. All the petticoats she makes are netting, which appears has fallen out of popularity to an extent with the wide availability of softer, swooshier organza and chiffon petticoats from places like victoriangirldress and Classical Puppets.

I commissioned the Poof Monster in lavender (PT05) and the Cotton Candy Petticoat (PT06) in black to fit waist 25"/64cm and hip 34"/88cm, at the standard price of 45R$ and 64R$ (Brazilian reals). I also ordered some hair bows in lavender with clip backs for 7R$. Combined with shipping to New Zealand, the total came to 163R$ which at that point in time converted to $84.24 USD - so averaged out, it's around $40 for each petticoat including shipping, which is not too dissimilar to Classical Puppets. Apparently they can be cheaper if you do not want a full lining, but I think with netting a lining is essential so that tights/socks don't get snagged and you don't get itchy. The only time I would recommend not lining is if they were always worn over another petticoat.
Poof Monster - photo from Melikestea website
Cotton Candy Petticoat - photo from Melikestea website
I ordered on the sales post on the 1st of April, was replied to and invoiced on the 2nd, and informed that my items were beginning production on the 3rd with a manufacturing deadline of 30th April. The manufacturing guidelines on the website are 10-15 business days for the first item + 10 for the next, so this deadline was well within that timeframe. I was given a shipping number on the 29th of April and received the parcel on the 8th of May, which is very reasonable for international shipping here. The petticoats arrived inside sturdy plastic bags taped shut inside brown paper wrapping, and the plastic bags were very solid and thick.
Parcel did not arrive like this. I got excited and ripped it open!

When compared to the stock photos, what you see is pretty much exactly what you get. I have absolutely no complaints about the photo accuracy given that I ordered in custom colour rather than the standard white. 
Featuring naptime Nala.
The short version:

Actually ordering: 10/10 - You fill in the order form and get invoiced, how simple is that? The website itself is easy to navigate with very obvious tabs at the top to find the relevant information, and orders can be made in multiple languages.

Manufacture/shipping time: 10/10 - as stated on the website

Packaging: 7/10 - Although the outer packaging is paper, the bags the petticoats come in are very sturdy and appropriate for the garment.

Accuracy to stock photos: 10/10 - they look the same, but are just a different colour and squished from shipping.

I then of course tried on and measured the petticoats to make sure they fit. Unstretched, the waistband of the lavender petticoat is 52cm and the black is 54cm; fully stretched they are over 100cm wide. The elastic used is very stretchy but not super tight, which worried me because I thought that the waistband might stretch and my petticoat would slip down, especially with the black one due to its weight. My way of testing this was to do some jumping up and down with both petticoats on. 

After about 4 bounces, the lavender petticoat moves down a small bit from my natural waist, but stops just below my navel where my measurements are about 68cm and does not move further unless I jump around very violently. Normal walking around does not make it move at all.
After about 4 bounces, the black petticoat moves down a lot to sit on my low hip at the level of my iliac crest, where my measurements are about 75cm. Continued bouncing makes it feel like it is moving lower but it does not go over my hips. Normal walking around feels like it is going to fall down and it does slowly move down over the space of a couple of hours.

I do think this is an issue, especially if you have narrow hips and like to wear your petticoat at your waist; I would also imagine that the waistband could stretch over time and that this would become more of a problem.
Quick! A picture to break the wall of text (actual discussion below)
 I also double checked the length of the petticoats because they appeared to be slightly shorter than the length measurements given. Of course, measuring the length of something poofy can be a bit difficult because of all the gathering and length measurements can be taken in different ways. I used a measuring tape and ruler and measured both on the inside and the outside to bring you these measurements. The purple petticoat was advertised as 40cm, however measured in at 37cm to the end of the lace. Likewise, the black petticoat was advertised as 45cm but measured 43.5cm. This bothers me a little simply because of the discrepancies rather than a wearability issue - I feel that if a garment is advertised as a certain length, it should be that length, and I know that this could be a problem for people who want a particular length petticoat for a particular garment.
This is a terrible photo. Trust me when I say it did measure 43.5cm.
I am definitely happy with the construction, but I did notice some points about the way the petticoats are made that makes me question how customised the sizing actually is.

The lining is about the same length as the petticoats, and it looks as if it was cut the width of the selvedge and then stitched together at the edges. This means that the hem circumference of the lining is significantly smaller than the petticoat, which is pretty standard for petticoats but also means that the lining needs to be shoved up if you want to layer them. This same piece of fabric is used for the waistband, rather than there being a separate waistband attached - this explains why the petticoat stretches to the measurements above as I imagine the lining comes a standard fabric width of about 110cm. Looking at this construction method, I am actually wondering whether there was all that much custom sizing to my petticoat given that I seem to fit the standard size range that this fully elasticated waist offers - I would have thought that for smaller waist sizes pulling the elastic tighter would be more appropriate, as with an elasticated waist of this type and stretchiness a 11-13cm difference between "smallest measurement" and "my waist measurement" is barely enough to hold the weight of either petticoat without it slipping off my waist.
French seam; hem; selvedge visible; the one loose thread I found on BOTH pettis!
All the lining seams are french seamed, and the hem of the lining, rather than being edge-finished and turned under has been doubly folded and then stitched, which is nice, and the edge of the tulle is sandwiched into the waistband.

The short version:

Fit - 8/10. They both 'fit', but there are issues with them slipping down off my waist which shouldn't really happen with custom sizing. I do not have the same issue with my Classical Puppets or victoriangirldress petticoats despite the lack of custom sizing. Given that they slip down, my conclusion has to be either that they don't fit, or that the waistband elastic is inappropriate for the garment. Obviously, I believe this is due to the latter; the stretchy elastic in the waistband is very comfortable, but pretty useless for holding the petticoat on my waist.

Pattern/Construction/etc. - 8/10. Really happy with the overall construction. I feel like the fit issue is more related to the elastic used, but if that is the case the pattern should possibly be altered so that the waistband is smaller and more fitted, e.g perhaps using  a half elastic waistband or pulling the elastic tighter.

Now of course the most interesting and important part - the poof! I bought both these petticoats for specific purposes - the purple for a shorter dress with a drop waist, and the black to hopefully help stand up under my heaviest velvet dress. For review purposes I have compared melikestea to two of the most commonly recommended pettis, victoriangirldress basic A-line (hereafter referred to as VGD) and Classical Puppets bell shape. As a fair disclaimer, I have owned my VGD petticoats for over a year, and the Classical Puppets since late January. They are stored in a drawer which definitely does them no favours in terms of keeping them poofy. I have previously owned a Classical Puppets A-line but found it too triangular and too long for most of my dresses.
Classical Puppets bell shape in white, VGD basic A line in red XL, VGD basic A line in purple XXL,

Starting with the lavender...
Left to right: No petti, XXL VGD petti, Classical Puppets bell shaped, both VGD petticoats, Melikestea PT05 petti
The Melikestea petticoat creates a very nice A-line shape, does not show under my dress (you can see the Classical Puppets is too long in the middle photo and is trying to escape) and removes the need to wear 2 petticoats. I am very happy with it for the price!

And then the black...
Left to right: No petti, XXL VGD petti, Classical Puppets bell shaped, both VGD petticoats, Melikestea PT06 petti
As you can see the velvet dress is a petticoat eating monster! I was really hoping that the Melikestea petti would be more of a cupcake shape like the Classical Puppets, but it's more an A-line and is actually pretty similar to how I recall the Classical Puppets A-line being under this dress. Still, it is the poofiest of all the petticoats I have at the moment and will probably layer really well when I want to go full on megapoof with this dress. This is not a problem with Melikestea but rather with my hopes about this petticoat!

The short version:

Poof: 10/10 - absolutely what they say on the description. Compares favourably with known brands at a similar price point.

Price/value for money: 9/10. I think VGD still wins on the pricing front if you can get them on auction rather than buy now, but Melikestea is priced competitively and I certainly could not justify spending time making a similar petticoat (with similar construction/details/materials) for the price I paid.

Overall: 8.5/10 - points off for sizing being slightly large/elastic being not tight enough and the non-waterproof outer packaging, but I am very happy and would buy again from them. I will have to really wear these petticoats to see how well the stiffness of the net stands up to time - I expect to get a good 6 months to a year out of petticoats with weekly wear before they pack a sad on me and deflate, so I may update this in future to reflect on their comparative longevity.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Fuzzy cat and myself

Nala has become infinitely more friendly since the temperature dropped...

Casual outfit with new shoes and new-to-me-but-secondhand dress
Pre-haircut, no makeup, and a bit of derp.