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Today I shall be taking a look at Ex Libris the Dolls by Baby the Stars Shine bright. This series includes 4 dresses, a skirt, 2 blouses, tights, a pochette, a barrette, a head bow, a hat, and a few pieces of jewellery.
First up is the Ribbon JSK. The bodice looks very tube-like and it will be interesting to see how well it fits in person. The bodice shape is also a bit dull and I dislike the straight neckline. I think the straps are a reasonable width but could do with being lined with some thin lace, just to stop them looking so plain. The waist area is topped with a stripy belt, which helps to nip in the waist area nicely. The belt also helps break up the print a bit. I really love the shape and size of the waist bow as well. I think it is the perfect size. The majority of the bodice is kept plain, as there is quite a lot of neckline details. However, I do feel Baby could have added some thin lines of lace running up the bodice, just to subtly break up the plain areas. The neckline features a strip of the stripy ribbon, topped with bows, and a line of wide lace hiding underneath. There is also a pleat running along the neckline, which has been done neatly, but doesn't do much to soften the neckline. I don't think the pleat looks that attractive used here like this. The bows are a cute shape and size and I like that the 2 outer bows are lined with lace. Perhaps the bow tails on the outer bows could have been a bit shorter and the middle bow a bit smaller, but I don't think they look too bad. I do feel the lace is needed underneath these bows, as it softens the bow detail quite nicely. However, I am not sure I like the choice of lace used and I dislike the way the lace has been gathered, which makes it stick out awkwardly from underneath the bows. The back has a generous panel of shirring which is topped with a ribbon corset. It is all kept fairly tidy. The stock photos show the skirt has a pretty shape, with just the right amount of volume to create a nice sweet-classic shape. It flares out nicely too. The skirt design is kept simple and so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is finished with a line of stripy ribbon topped with bows, a pleat and then a chiffon ruffle. It sounds quite crowded, but I actually feel it has been well executed. The ribbon and the pleats keep things neat and then the chiffon gives a softer finish. The bows on top of the ribbon could have been too OTT, but they are quite discreet and are a lovely finishing touch.
Next we have the Lace Frill JSK. The bodice material look a tiny bit loose and baggy in the stock photos, but didn't look too bad on the photo of the dress worn on the model. The overall bodice shape looks quite pretty. My main complaint with the bodice is the way the bodice has been split in to panels and the way the print has been lined up along these joins, so there are bits of text and pictures cut off. The straps seem to be a decent width and look quite supportive. I love how the straps and neckline have been topped beautifully with a line of gathered lace and chiffon. The gathering has been done so well and it creates a lovely, fluffy appearance. The waist is topped with a stripy belt again, which helps break up the print. I don't feel the belt on this dress has been done as well as it has on the Ribbon JSK though. With this belt you have to tie your own bow, and I feel the belt material is a bit too long. It doesn't look bad, but the belt doesn't look as neat and tidy as it does on the previous JSK. The bottom half of the bodice has a small ribbon corset in the centre. This is kept to quite a small area, so I feel the ribbon looks a bit bunched together. I would have made the ribbon corset a bit wider, or not bothered with it at all. The top of the bodice features 2 stripy bows, which I think are too big in size. The bows would look a lot better if the bow tails were a lot shorter. I do like that the bows are lined with lace though, to stop them looking a bit less plain. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has a reasonable amount of volume. I personally would have liked a little more length and volume. The overall skirt shape looks quite pretty though. The skirt design is again kept simple and the print is displayed brilliantly. The bottom hem is then finished off with 2 wide chiffon ruffles. The tiers are layered well and sit greatly on top of each other. My only complaint is these ruffles are over-stitched instead of under-stitched, which I feel looks a bit messier.
This is the Frill Frill JSK. The bodice looks well fitted and the overall shape is quite interesting. I love the soft neckline shape. The straps are an okay width, which suits the style of dress. I like that the outside of the straps are lined with a chiffon ruffle to stop them looking too basic, but I feel it is a little overwhelming with the neckline ruffle. I don't really know how else I would have done this design though, as I like the neckline ruffle as well! The waist area has a bow, which has an okay overall size, but I think could have been a better shape. The middle bit of the bow is a bit wide. The edges of the waist bow are lined with lace, which I don't feel adds that much to the design but at least make the edges a bit smarter. The bodice features a yoke with a pleated edge. The yokes shape and size is okay, but I am not keen on the way the pleated edge looks. The yoke is filled up with lace and pleats, which adds a nice bit of texture to the yoke. The yoke is then topped with 3 large stripy bows. The bows are a cute shape but look too big. It makes the yoke look too crowded. I believe this dress could have worked with none of the stripy bows at all, even the ones at the bottom of the dress, although perhaps some bows would be better than none at all. The back has a panel of shirring which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has plenty of volume and it flares out well. I do feel the way the chiffon ruffles at the bottom have been layered give the skirt a bit of a lumpy silhouette though. The print is displayed quite well on the top part of the skirt. I think it would have worked better if the printed part was a bit longer and there was one less chiffon ruffle. I do like the alternating colours of the chiffon ruffles though. It is just a shame the ruffles don't sit that well on top of each other. The top 2 ruffles and the bottom 2 ruffles seem to be split apart from each other, probably because of the way the ruffles have been gathered. The bottom of the printed part of the skirt is topped with 2 bows. The bows are cute but I am not sure they are really needed.
Here we have the OP. The bodice looks fairly well fitted and the shape is quite cute. I think the sleeves have a suitable amount of puff to them but perhaps could be a little longer. The cuffs of the sleeves are very neatly set out but could be a bit shorter and the lace a little narrower. The pearl buttons on the cuffs are a nice touch though. There is once again a stripy ribbon belt, which creates a a good shape and breaks up the dress nicely. I still think the Ribbon JSK waist belt looks best though. The bodice features a square shaped yoke, which is made up of the printed fabric. I really don't like the shape of the yoke and the use of wide lace lining the bottom of it. I do like the idea of using the printed fabric for the yoke though, as it is something a bit different. The yoke material is neatly pleated for a bit of extra depth. Although I don't like the lace at the bottom of the yoke, the rest of the lace used around and on the yoke is gorgeous and set out in a lovely way. The lace really stands out against the printed fabric too. The lace in the middle of the yoke is neatly topped with a line of pearl buttons. The pearl buttons are a lovely design and well spaced out. I think my favourite bit of this dress is the lace and chiffon ruffles around the neckline. It is gathered really well and the chiffon and lace sit so well on top of each other. I think it is really cute! The bottom of the yoke and the neckline are topped with stripy bows. I don't think the bow at the bottom of the yoke is needed, but the one on the neckline is a cute shape and nice size. So I think it is a real shame that the neckline bow is detachable but the yoke bow doesn't seem to be. I really think it should be the other way around! The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is quite limited. There is a square sailor-like panel on the back, which stops the back from looking too plain, which I felt was a nice touch. I felt the print along the zipline wasn't too bad and if you were casually glancing you may not noticed the print is misaligned along it. The stock photos show the skirt has a reasonable amount of volume to it and it flares out well. There wont be room for an OTT amount of petticoat here, but there is the potential to create a lovely sweet-classic shape. The skirt is once again kept quite simple and so the print is displayed very well. The bottom hem is then finished off with a double ruffle of chiffon. The chiffon looks pretty but it is a shame they have been over-stitched.
And finally, here is one part of the print close up...
... and another part of the print close up. This series is available in pink, sax blue, green and brown. All of the colours seem to work really well with the print. As for the print itself, it is a really interesting layout which reminds me of my old children's picture books. The square design is very bold, and it works well with the simpler dress designs. The pictures in the squares are pretty, with a very whimsical look to them. I love the cute kitten and the goldfish panel! The pictures look a bit fuzzy though, and could do with being a bit crisper. The writing is also nice and works with the book style layout of the print. Again, I feel the text could have been a bit crisper. Hopefully it will actually look better in person.
So I feel this is a very interesting series. The dress designs are not that OTT but the print is quite eye-catching. I just worry the print might look a bit blurry in person, which is not something you want from a brand print. I am liking the more mature sweet look and the dress designs definitely contribute to this. Would I buy this series? Probably not, but only because this is not my usual style. Unusually for me, I think I actually like the OP the most. I would probably go for the pink if I was going for this series.