Monday, 16 January 2017

Alice and the Secret of the Dressmaker by Alice and the Pirates

Today I am looking at Alice and the Secret of the Dressmaker by Alice and the Pirates. This series includes 4 dresses (one non-print), a skirt, socks, a maid cap and a ring.

First up is JSK I. The bodice seems very well fitted, although I am not fond of the rounded neckline shape. The straps look a fair width and quite supportive. I don't like the way the straps have been left bare though, without even a thin line of lace to line them. The bodice features a small solid coloured yoke with a rosette detail. Although the rosette is really pretty, I am a bit unsure about the placement. It looks as though it will sit awkwardly on those who have a larger bust. Maybe it should have been placed on the neckline instead. The dress listing would suggest that the metal pin in the middle of the rosette is detachable, but the ribbon underneath is not. It would have been better to have the option to detach, and maybe simply reposition, the entire rosette. The yoke is on the small side and I don't find it particularly interesting. It has a few neat pleats and some rose themed lace. At least what is there is well presented. The neckline then features a line of ladder lace with ribbon threaded through it. I like this choice of lace and feel the ribbon used here goes well with the rosette. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped very neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full with plenty of volume. It should hold a good amount of petticoat. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of thin lace. I personally think AatP should have made even more of a feature of the ribbon by having the ribbon threaded ladder lace on the bottom hem as well, to match the neckline.

Next we have JSK II. The bodice looks quite well fitted and the shape is interesting. I personally think the V-neck neckline goes too low down. It would have been a good opportunity to wear a blouse with a fancy neckline, but the wide lace lining the neckline might make that a bit awkward. At least the straps are generous in width and look really supportive. This neckline lace is very well gathered, but I don't think it is the prettiest of lace choices. Overall, I am not a fan of this lace and how it looks on this particular dress. The rose lace just inside the neckline is lovely though. The waist has a "belt" made of solid coloured ribbon. This really helps to define the waistline and I especially appreciate the non-shiny choice of ribbon. The lace lining this ribbon belt is pretty and sits well, but I would have liked it to be a bit narrower. The bodice is finished off with a ribbon bow, which is a cute shape and size. It sits well on the dress too, with no signs of drooping. I am also pleased to see the non-shiny ribbon has been used for this bow as well. The back offers a panel of shirring, which is again neatly topped with a ribbon corset. I do feel the way the ribbon belt abruptly ends at the sides of the shirring panel does draw attention to the shirring though. The stock photos suggest that the skirt has plenty of volume and flares outwards well. I really like the rounded shape created in some of the stock photos. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of good quality lace.

This is the OP. The bodice looks reasonably well fitted, but something about the bodice shape just looks a bit awkward to me. Maybe it is just the way the photo has been taken, but the way the arms attach to the dress feels a bit off. The arms are randomly split in two with a seam halfway down them, which doesn't seem to need to be there. The overall arm shape doesn't look very flattering either. I also feel the cuffs are too big, although the lines of ribbon on them are a nice touch. These cuffs are detachable, although the sleeves are very plain underneath. Perhaps the sailor-like collar is also a bit too big, as it reaches the shoulders and emphasises how wide that area is. In fact, I don't really see any need for the collar to be there at all. Thankfully, it is detachable and I think the dress looks much better with it removed. Underneath the detachable collar, there is a solid coloured yoke, which is a good size. I think the collar looks a bit stuffy and uncomfortable though. That lace looks like it could tickle quite a bit. This yoke is topped with 6 buttons. Although I don't think the buttons necessarily look bad, I don't think they have been well positioned. I also feel the yoke needs some pleats to stop it from looking so flat. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. I think the zip is very well hidden though and the back looks tidy. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and flares outwards lots. The pictures suggest that the skirt has a lot of potential and a great shape can be created. There is also the detachable apron. I like how the ribbon on the apron matches the cuffs. It also matches the detachable collar if, unlike me, you happen to like that collar. I think the apron is a good size and shape, with it not reaching, and then obscuring, the border part of the print. The lace and ruffle around the edge of the apron is cute too. It matches the lace around the edge of the yoke. Aside from the apron, the skirt design is kept simple, so the print is displayed wonderfully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of good quality lace.

Finally, here is one bit of the print...

... and another bit. This series comes in bordeaux, green, navy blue and black. All the colour options are quite dark, although I don't think lighter colours would have worked as well anyway. I think the colours chosen work very well, especially the green version. As for the print itself, I think it is an interesting concept and it is kept quite mature looking. The store fronts are well set out with elaborate swirls around the signs and the pillars. The displays inside the shop are well drawn too with lots of interesting little details. I don't feel the Alice in Wonderland theme is at all necessary though, and thankfully it is kept very subtle. You may be able to spot the Cheshire Cat in the mirror. I think the non-border part of the print is lovely too, especially the dangling tape measures.

So I think the print is nice enough, but to be honest I feel a bit underwhelmed by the dress designs. There are things that I would really love to change with each dress design. Would I buy this series? Probably not. It is just not something that I would go out of my way to get. My top choice would be JSK I in green, but I would have to take that rosette off if I didn't feel it sat right on me. It is an okay looking series, but in my opinion it lacks the 'wow' factor.

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