But first up today is Angelic Pretty's Romantic Little Garden. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, a head bow, socks and 2 additional hair accessories under the name 'Fairy Garden'.
First up is the OP. The bodice material looks baggy and loose in some of the stock photos and I find the overall bodice shape a little uninspiring. The sleeves are fully elasticated, so hopefully they will be comfortable to wear, but the shape of the sleeves is a bit flat and lifeless. I also don't think having the elasticated parts being so obvious is that attractive. The neck ties help to liven things up a tiny bit, and I do like that the neckline isn't overly square in shape. There is a belt, which helps to emphasise the waist. I also really like the choice of material used for the belt. For some reason, I feel it suits the overall feel of the series. Maybe it is because the material looks light and airy. The bodice is broken up by some very subtle lines of lace, which has an interesting floral design to it. There is an overlay on the chest area, which is finished with a line of lace underneath and also along the neckline. I don't think the overall shape of this overlay panel is that appealing and the lace cutting across the chest area sticks out at an odd angle. I also don't think these details would sit well on somebody who has a large bust. There is also a bow sitting on top of this line of lace, which I don't think has been well positioned. At least the bow is well shaped and holds its shape well. I just don't feel this is the best place for the bow. The floral lace along the neckline at least sits nicely. Despite the small bow on the neckline being shiny, I think it finishes off the neckline well. The back is fully shirred, so there is plenty of size flexibility, but it also means the shirring is very exposed and it looks unattractive. The stock photos show that the skirt seems to have a good amount of length to it and it has plenty of volume. It flares outwards a lot too. I can't say I am that impressed by the shape in the stock photos, although hopefully with the right petticoat it will look great. Aside from a line of lace, which appears to be hiding a join (is the skirt tiered maybe?), the skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. The lace used has a pretty design as well. The bottom hem is then finished off with more of the skirt lace, and a line of floral lace, layered over a ruffle of tulle. It looks very whimsy and I feel it is a good match for the print.
This is the JSK. The bodice seems well fitted, although possibly not that bust friendly. I also feel the bodice shape is very basic, and I hate the very straight neckline. None of the neckline details do anything to soften the neckline. The straps are a bit on the thin side and don't look too supportive, although thicker straps would perhaps not suit the style of the dress. They are lined very beautifully with floral lace though, which softens them nicely and stops them from looking too plain. There is a waist bow, which has a cute shape, but it perhaps slightly too big. It seems to hold its shape though, and I like the little adornments on the bow, like the lace and the pearls. Judging by the stock photos, this waist bow does not appear to be detachable, which I think is a shame. The bodice features multiple lines of lace, which breaks up the area nicely, without looking overwhelming. I like the lace choices too. There is also a tulle overlay in the middle of the bodice, but it doesn't really add much to the design. I didn't even realise it was there straight away. The lace features a ruffle of lace on top of a tulle ruffle. There are also some little ribbon bows here, which look cute, but the ribbon used is too shiny. Maybe it is just me, but I think the tulle on the neckline looks a bit cheap. These neckline layers have been layered well though, and I like that the lace and tulle taper off gently at the sides. The back is full shirred, so again there is lots of size flexibility, but it isn't too pleasant to look at. The stock photos show that the skirt is full with volume and it flares outwards generously. I love how plump and rounded the skirt looks in the stock photos. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off with this gorgeous pansy themed lace layered over a tulle ruffle. It is a good match design-wise, with the neckline details looking quite similar.
And here we have the print. This series comes in pink, sax blue, lavender and grey. I personally find the sax blue version a bit jarring, but the over 3 colours really work well with the print. In some cases though, I do feel the colours look quite similar, with little difference between them. As for the print itself, I think a lot of the print is really well drawn. I am loving the heart shaped floral wreaths. I especially like how the ribbon has been wrapped around the flowers. It adds a bit of depth and makes the print look more 3-dimensional. The text inside these wreaths has a nice font too. The simple stripy background stops the print from looking too over-crowded, although I think the wreaths are perhaps a bit too bunched together. There needs to be less of them. And it looks as though AP have gone back to including crosses in their prints again. In this instance, the crosses do not look that out of place in the print. I am just getting really sick of seeing them constantly.
So overall I think this is an okay series, but it seems to be lacking something. I can't say I am overly wowed by the dress designs and the print is nice enough, but nothing to write home about. I suppose this could make a nice filler print in a wardrobe, but I think it is safe to say this is not a series I would go out of my way to get. My top choice would be the JSK in grey. I found myself strangely drawn to that colour even though I don't have any grey in my wardrobe! I know AP have upped their stock anyway, but I get the feeling this series is going to be sitting on their site for a long time anyway.
Also today, I am looking at Dreaming Heart Lemon by Metamorphose. This series includes 3 dresses (one comes in 2 lengths), a hair accessory and tights.
First up is the Ribbon JSK, which comes in 2 lengths (pictured above is the mini length). The bodice seems fairly well fitted, but I don't like the overall bodice shape. I don't like how straight the neckline is and the way that the straps appear to point slightly outwards. There is no lace along the insides of the straps or along the neckline either, which results in this area looking a bit too plain. The straps look a suitable width though, and are at least lined with lace on the outsides. Sadly, I don't like the choice of lace! There is a waist bow, which is an okay size. The shape of this bow is too simple though, and it is really saggy. It sits really badly on the dress. I really wanted to like the waist bow, as it has the cutest heart shaped lemon charm dangling from it, but it just looks a bit sad. This bow is detachable though. Who knows, maybe it would work better as a hair accessory, like the floppy bows you see Angelic Pretty do sometimes? The bodice is broken up by several lines of lace. I can't say I am a big fan of this lace either. Something about it just doesn't look right to me. In the middle there are 3 bows, which I think have been well positioned and spaced out nicely. I like that the bows don't look shiny, and the size is good too. I can take or leave the pearls on the bows though, as I don't think they really contribute much. The back is fully shirred, which means plenty of size flexibility, but also that the shirring is very exposed. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full with plenty of volume. It should flare out well and hold plenty of petticoat. Even the mini length looks as though it has a decent amount of length to it. Out of the two lengths, I think I prefer the mini version. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed really well. The bottom hem is then finished off with the Meta swan logo themed lace. Although this lace has a pretty design, I don't feel it is the best match for the print.
Here we have the Before Autumn JSK (ooh, fancy name). The bodice material looked a bit loose and baggy in places, although I feel that may be because of the way the gathering has been done. I feel the overall bodice shape is a bit messy looking. The straps are an okay width. Any wider and I think it would have been too much. The lace lining the straps does emphasise their width though. I wish Meta had used thinner lace. They have used the same lace along the neckline, so I guess at least that matches. There is a waist bow, which is a bit on the big. Despite its size, it holds its shape quite well and it doesn't look droopy. It features that cute lemon charm again as well. After flicking through the pictures, it doesn't seem as if the waist bow is detachable. The bodice features many ruffles of the main dress fabric and also lace. It could have looked too much, but I actually think Meta pulls it off. The ruffles are layered well and nicely positioned. I like that it gives the bodice a frothy texture; a bit like lemonade. There is a line of buttons running up the middle, but the buttons used are so basic in design. Even simple heart shaped buttons would have been an improvement, and would have matched the theme. The back is fully shirred again, so there is plenty of stretch, but there is a lot of exposed shirring. The stock photos show that the skirt has a fair amount of volume and it flares outwards reasonably. I reckon it should hold enough petticoat and there will be the potential to create a cute, rounded shape. There are a couple of ruffles on the skirt, which I wouldn't have bothered with, but they at least end way before the border print. This means the print area is kept clear, and the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off with a line of the Meta swan lace layered over a ruffle of the main dress fabric. At least this means the lace doesn't stand out as much, so you can't really tell that the lace doesn't match the print theme that much.
This is the A-line Dress. There is practically no bodice to this dress. I imagine that very high "waistline" is going to sit terribly on anybody who is even the slightest bit busty. The sleeves are cute and puffy, although it feels a bit weird having the sleeves end further down than the waistline. On what there is of a bodice, Meta have used some lines of lace, which are set out nicely. The lace seems to be of a reasonable quality. I adore the little bow on this dress. It is really simple in design, but it works. The ribbon is matte and the shape is cute. It also has the heart shaped lemon charm dangling from it again. The shape of the collar is also pretty decent, with it being quite a nice size too. It is lined with lace, which matches up with the bodice and also stops the collar looking too plain. If the waist was just a bit lower down, I think this would be a pretty decent bodice. The back offers so shirring, although with such a short bodice, there isn't exactly room for shirring. The stock photos show that despite the super high waist, the skirt has a good amount of length to it. It seems to be very full with a good amount of volume. It should hold enough of the right kind of petticoat, although I suspect this dress will still look like a sack on most people. The bottom hem is then finished off with the swan lace again.
And finally, here is the print. This series comes in off-white, black and icy blue. The colour choices are very simple. I initially thought that the icy blue didn't quite work, but I now feel the blue offers a nice bit of contrast to the very yellow print. As for the print itself, I really love the lemons. They are drawn really well, and the heart shaped lemon halves offer a bit of variety. So the print it not too monotonous. However, I really dislike the bears. I feel the bears are very basic in design. Also, after seeing it pointed out that one of the bears looks as though it is getting a bit frisky with one of the lemons, it has tainted my view of this print a bit! I also don't think that if there has to be bears in the print, that there are enough of them. There are 2 bears quite close to each other, but then you have big gaps with no bears. To be honest, I would have just left the bears out of the print. A simple lemon print could have still been quite good.
I am actually quite glad to see a bit more fruit print variety. I absolutely love strawberry prints, but they have dominated the fruity lolita prints far too much. Lemons are definitely a bit more unusual, but I do feel it works. It is such a shame that I hate the bears in this print! As for the dress designs, I feel there are things that could have been better about each design. In fact, I am a bit sad that Meta didn't so a skirt as well, so I wouldn't have to choose between several bodice designs which I am not fond of. Would I buy this series? No, because I really do hate those bears. My top choice would be the Before Autumn JSK in icy blue, or maybe black. It depends how adventurous I was feeling.