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English Charm Review: Positive! 
29th-Jan-2013 08:18 pm
oldschool meta
I just got my first order from English Charm in the mail today, and decided to do a review!  Before I ordered, I looked around for reviews and found surprisingly few, so I figured the community could use another one :3  The items I ordered were a headbow, an A-line petti, and a bolero. (I feel super lucky about the bolero, I had had my eye on it for MONTHS and I think I got the last one- it went out of stock on the site right after I ordered)

Here's a basic timeline of my order:

January 4: I place my order using the shopping cart on their website, and pay with paypal.
January 5: I received a confirmation email from English Charm, stating that it will take about 2-3 weeks to complete my order (totally reasonable considering everything is made to order) and that I will receive another notification when my items have shipped out.
January 6-25: I wait impatiently.
January 26: I receive notification that my order has shipped and get a tracking number.
January 29: My items arrive in the mail!!

Overall it took exactly 3 weeks for Jacqueline (the designer/seamstress/owner) to complete my order, just as promised.
5/5 for speed.

Now for the pictures! (I apologize for the questionable quality of some of my pictures, my camera does not like to show black well and I ordered a lot of black things!)
box
Box it all came in, plus my super groovy couch xD. The patterned paper really added a nice touch.  The box underneath the paper was just a regular sturdy cardboard box, and it arrived in good condition.
boxopen
Box opened. Each item was neatly folded and individually wrapped in tissue held together with a cute sticker.  I was really concerned for a moment when I opened it, because I saw something furry underneath the petti--a faux fur capelet.  After panicking and thinking to myself "OH NO SHE GOT MY ORDER CONFUSED WITH SOMEONE ELSE'S D:" I dug around and found that all of my items had, in fact, been included, and that there was a really sweet note from Jacqueline explaining that the capelet was an extra gift, and that I should stay warm this winter :3 At this point I did a little dance of joy and then got dressed, since I knew it would be arriving today and had planned accordingly, lol.
I should also note that each item came with a tag with washing instructions, which is incredibly helpful.

Now it is picture time! I will start with the bolero. (see what I mean when I say my camera doesn't do black well?)
bolerooverall
I had originally thought when I ordered this that the material was a knit of some sort; however, it is actually a cotton eyelet woven fabric.  So it will be a little less warm than I thought it would be. The quality of the material is good, though, despite not being what I had expected-- surrounding the eyelets is an embroidered floral pattern (which not even the camera they used for the stock picture on the official site managed to pick up) which is very pretty.  The fabric is also very soft and of OK thickness, if I hold it up to the light I can see through it. IMO the details make up for the relative thinness of the fabric, though, and it will be very comfortable and breathable one summer comes around! It was about 55 out today and I was warm enough with just this over a JSK.

With regards to fit: I ordered the L size, which was described as being for a 36-38" bust.  I am right at the listed maximum but I figured that it would still fit, since the measurements given were for body size, not the size of the bolero itself. I also didn't want to order the XL because I'm busty but not plus-size all over, and I didn't want something that would be too big through the shoulders and arms.  I think I definitely went with the better option.  It fits me snugly at the bust, but not enough to strain the closure, and the shoulders are just the right width (if not a little generous).  The sleeves have elastic at the upper arm (they are detachable, yay!) which is almost a little big-- it doesn't stretch at all going around my arm.  Overall I am pleased with the fit.

Detail of the sleeve fastening:
bolerosleevedetail
The detachable sleeves are held on by four snaps. I have noticed they have a tendency to come open sometimes when I'm moving my arms vigorously. This is actually my first item with detachable sleeves, however, so I don't know if buttons or some other form of fastening would work any better.
boleroserging
Bad picture, but its the inside of one of the seams.  All seams are serged and I didn't find any loose threads anywhere.

Overall, I would give the bolero a 4.75/5

Now for the petticoat, which is apparently irresistible to cats:
petticat
pettioverall
pettidetail
It actually only has one layer of chiffon (or organza, I forget what it's called) over a silky polyester lining.  It is very, very full though so most of the poof is coming from amount that instead of many layers of material.  Here's a quick comparison of the JSK I was wearing today with and without it:
petticomparison
As you can see, it doesn't give a huge amount of poof, but it does give a nice A-line shape.  Which is exactly what I wanted (and what it was advertised as), so I would give it a 5/5.

The bow:
bow1
bowfixed
The bow was...interesting.  Its is exactly the shade of red I had hoped it would be (its a darker red IRL, similar to the second picture), and the lace is of very nice quality. But as you can see, the "tails" hanging off the the sides are incredibly long! The stock photo looked nothing like that, and it looks kind of silly when worn.  In the second picture, I folded one side up to show how it is supposed to look, and I will probably just stitch a tuck in each side to make it shorter.
Worn pic, for the curious:
bowworn
It reminds me of a lop-eared rabbit, really. I'll give the bow a 3/5 because I feel like I should have gotten one that looked like the stock picture, even though the quality of the materials is good. 

Finally, here's the bonus capelet:
capeoverall
Soooooooo cute!!!!  The construction is well done and the faux fur is delightfully soft. And it fits my shoulders nicely.  5/5

And finally, here's some awkward self shots so you can see what the bolero looks like on an actual human in an actual coordinate!:
worndetail
bolerofirstcoord
I am seriously in love with this bolero.  Despite the materials being different that what I had expected, it's pretty much exactly what I had wanted in a bolero.  It's just the right length, and quite flattering IMO.

Overall, I would give my experience with English Charm a 4.5/5. The only real issue I had besides nitpicking about fit (which will never be perfect anyways when ordering S/M/L instead of custom sizing) and fabric thickness was the bow being a weird length, which is fixable. My items were made on time and arrived in perfect condition, and the surprise gift more than made up for the bow being weird. I will most likely be buying from them again sometime (I really want one of their bonnets) and I definitely would recommend English Charm to others!

If you have any questions, just ask! :3
Comments 
30th-Jan-2013 04:58 am (UTC)
I love the stuff made by English Charm! I recently comissioned a custom-designed JSK from Jacqueline... I can't wait to see how it turns out! She includes lots of sweet little gifts for return customers. When I placed my second order with her, she included an adorable little round headdress that's become one of my favorite accessories!
30th-Jan-2013 06:28 am (UTC)
I didn't know that she did custom orders as well--clearly you should do a review once its done, I'm super curious now! What items do you already have? The basic skirts and jsks on the website are a little plain for my tastes, but I really want one of the bonnets, they look soooo beautiful and are decently priced too.
30th-Jan-2013 07:00 am (UTC)
Sure, I'll do a review. =3 This is my first time doing anything custom from her, but she does alterations to her jsks and stuff all the time. I have a jsk from her, as well as.. 4 blouses, I think? Somewhere in that range. I also had a headbow (which I sold, wasn't my style in the end). I've been debating getting one of the bonnets, as well, but I'm not so sure how it would look with my face shape or my hair length, so I'm debating trying on a friend's bonnet before I buy one myself, because they do look like a decent price, and I've loved everything I've gotten from her. She's so sweet, too--a real pleasure to order from. I remember when I placed an order with her a while ago, she accidentally made the two blouses I had ordered in white instead of black. I had needed them for a convention, and she managed to get the new ones out to me in about a week and a half! Super impressed with that.
30th-Jan-2013 07:58 am (UTC)
Oooh, it's lovely to see more reviews for this shop! I really want to order from her again - my petti is from her and I adore it (though mine's the cupcake, not a-line). LOVE the capelet! :')
30th-Jan-2013 05:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the review !
The bolero is very pretty, I need some, so I might buy them from English Charm :).
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