I have a great fondness for architectural motifs, especially in lolita. While wandering around Etsy, I came across the Alberta skirt from Eat Me Ink Me, an indie brand based in Latvia. I really liked the general look, especially how the print fades from being a saturated color at the bottom of the skirt to being very pale up near the waist, like a reverse Rottenburg. (This Innocent World skirt remains a dream item for me.) I enjoyed that the print was based off of art nouveau buildings, too.
Then I saw that the Alberta skirt had a high-waisted option, and that it came in purple. I was immediately in love.
I actually had liked a lot of things I’d seen from Eat Me Ink Me through the years, but nothing really sang for me. Alberta did. Unfortunately, I was only able to find one review of the indie brand, but it was positive, and I liked what I saw in the product photos. After looking through all the photos of the two skirt variations and the matching tote bag, I decided to take a chance and place an order.
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Note: I have played with the colors in all of my photos to try and get the color of the skirt to look accurate. The color in the stock photos is just a little more purple than in real life, but not by much. My camera kept greying the skirt out massively, and I think that the stock photos are still the best reference for the real life colors of the purple colorway.
I asked a couple of questions just through the Etsy messaging system, and Zeleco was always very prompt in answering me. She was super friendly and accommodating, and she was very positive in all her messages. In talking with her, she also offered to make minor adjustments to the skirt so that it would fit me a bit better whenever she found out any of my measurements, which was very kind. Zeleco took the initiative and messaged me the night before sending out my package and told me that it would ship the next day, assuming the post office was open on Christmas Eve. There was some sort of glitch with etsy, and I never received the automatic tracking number information in my e-mail, but Zeleco provided me with it as soon as I asked her.
The main question I had before purchasing it is whether or not the custom fabric was printed with Spoonflower. (I do not trust the durability of any Spoonflower printed fabric, which makes me wary of ordering from indie brands that might use it.) Zeleco said that the fabric is “made with the help of a local printer and the print is made in sublimation technique on polyester fabric, so it’s there to stay and the colors are not prone to fading and are safe to machine wash on low settings (mostly because of the delicacy or the chiffon details rather than print).” That was a big relief to me, so I wanted to make sure to include that information here for anyone else who is nervous about ordering from lolita indie brands that use their own prints.
Full disclosure: I have not tried washing this skirt in my washing machine, so I do not know how the print will hold up. Zeleco said that it should be safe to wash on a delicate setting (for the chiffon), and I will update this review accordingly when/if I throw this skirt in the washing machine.
I placed my order on December 14, 2014.
It shipped on December 24, 2014.
It arrived at my house on January 8, 2015, but I was not home to sign for the package. I picked it up from the post office on January 9, 2015.
All in all, there were a little less than four weeks between the time I placed my order and when I got my skirt. I got it a lot earlier than I assumed I would from the etsy listing, which said that it would be ready to ship in four to six weeks.
When I first saw the outside package, I was a bit disappointed. I’m used to these shipping bags being torn up during the shipping process, but my package was perfectly fine. Upon finding that there was another bag inside, I felt a lot better about the packaging. The extra little goodies were very nice, and I really enjoyed the hand-written note. (I especially liked that the chocolate bar was sandwiched between the inner and outer bags, so that there was no way that any chocolate would get onto the skirt if the chocolate bar had melted during shipping.)
Materials and Construction
(See “Overall Experience and Worn Photos” below for detail shots of the print.)
- I love the print.
- The box pleats are done well.
- This isn’t something that I can capture on camera, but all of the materials used are very nice.
- The main printed fabric is very soft and it’s a good thickness.
- I like the opaque black fabric that is used for the waistband. It is also very soft, but it has a little bit of texture to it that’s a needed contrast with how smooth and soft the other two fabrics are.
- The chiffon is really nice as well, and all the chiffon edges are finished beautifully.
- There is a hook-and-eye closure at the top of the skirt, which is just one of those extra finishing touches that make this skirt feel really high quality.
- All the seams are finished on the inside. (They look funny because the thread is black on white fabric, but the finishes are good.)
- The print is designed so that one complete panel makes up the front of the skirt and an identical panel makes up the back of the skirt, so there isn’t a risk of the print getting weird at the seams and the back of the skirt is just as pretty as the front of the skirt.
- The puffy bows are super cute.
- I like the cording that’s used in this skirt a lot, and I don’t feel that it’s too delicate to have the lacing in the back threaded through it. (The Alberta skirts have such a diverse range of sizes that you shouldn’t have to pull the shirring section in very far, anyway.)
- Zeleco did indeed make the waistband 1 cm shorter than normal for me. (It turns out that I must have measured myself wrong??? The waistband height is not ideal on me, but she did adjust the skirt to the measurements I gave her, so this isn’t her fault. The extra centimeter she took off definitely made this skirt wearable as-is for me, though. Full points to her, no points for me.)
- The zipper is still a little stiff, and it’s hard to get it past the waist seam, but Zeleco did do the little trick of giving the the invisible zipper more room around the waist seam to make that transition a bit easier. I’m not really sure why the zipper is still a bit stiff. My only guess is that it has difficulty pulling the shirring side in towards the non-shirred side.
- The two bows on the waistband are attached with thread that is visible on the inside of the waistband. I personally like this, because it just means it would be easier to move these bows to a different spot if I ever wanted to, but it does look unpolished. Being sewn through the two layers of the waistband also makes the bows sturdier, and they won’t try and separate the front layer from the back layer with their weight (thus creating a weirdly saggy waistband), but some smaller stitches would have made the bow attachment seem more intentional and not so late-minute looking. However, this is a tiny detail on the inside of the skirt that no one will ever see.
Could use improvement
- I really do think that this high-waisted skirt would have benefited enormously from having boning in the front. Especially since the back of the waistband is lower than the front of the waistband, the top of the waistband has no support. This wasn’t really an issue when I wore this skirt without my corset, but I did have the top of the waistband flip down over the top bow when I wore the skirt with my corset underneath. (My corseted waist measurements are still within the correct size measurements of the skirt. I’m assuming that the more drastic change from the underbust to the bottom of my bust was too much in the corset. In theory, if I had given her proper measurements, this wouldn’t be an issue because the skirt would actually end before encroaching on my bust…)
- Also, with my corset on, the waistband became all wrinkly. Obviously, there is no squish left to my midsection in the corset, so the corseted measurements of my waist and my waist-to-underbust are the absolute measurements. Since I couldn’t adjust the skirt position anymore, and since the waistband of the skirt is unsupported, it buckled like crazy.
- The skirt fits me just fine without my corset, so that is how I’ll wear it.
- There is indeed interfacing in the waistband, so the waistband isn’t actually unsupported. It felt like a sewn-in one to me when I was harassing the skirt. If the skirt design just does not admit boning, or if Zeleco doesn’t want to put in boning, then I think that a more heavy-duty interfacing would help address the “unsupported waistband” issue.
Construction: 9/10 (If I had measured myself correctly, I probably wouldn’t have run into any issues with the waistband buckling or trying to fold over when I’m in my corset, so I might not have felt the skirt needed boning. -1 point because I do feel that the interfacing could be more heavy-duty to better deal with the uneven heights of the waistband.)
Overall Experience and Worn Photos
Here are some worn pictures:
I really love this skirt. It has so many elements that I like in lolita (a high waist, architecture motifs, the color purple), and I am not disappointed in the slightest. The fact that I can’t really wear it with my corset on is minor because the skirt still fits well without a corset. I’m happy to see how detailed the print is while still being clearly readable from a distance.
Here are some of my favorite parts of this print:
All in all, I’m very satisfied, and I’m excited to see what Eat Me Ink Me does in the future.
Overall experience: 9.5/10