I got my order from Taobao Spree today, and I decided it might be helpful for others to post a review.
I did business with Susan at first, and she was really helpful with the ordering process and measurements, because I was unclear on a lot of them. She actually did up the whole spreadsheet that is usually done by the customer for me, because my word processing program decided to be a little brat on me, which was fantastic. (Her help, not the word processor. XD)
My order was then sent to Esther, who was really fantastic as well. She let me know every step of the way what was happening. There were actually 2 mixups with my order-- at first, the wrong items were sent from HMHM. She let me know right away that she'd gotten them, and what was wrong with them. I asked that they be sent back and my items sent, and once again, HMHM mixed up. They sent my petti in white, instead of black. At this point, it didn't matter too much to me, so I asked that they just be sent.
The reason I give 4.5 out of 5 is because I actually first inquired about measurements for a bunch of items. I hadn't actually intended for custom sizing, but I sort of felt pressured into getting it anyway, when I might have ordered some items in just standard sizes.
Even though HMHM was pretty slow, Taobao Spree's communication was always within 24 hours, and often, if I was on early, just a few minutes after I sent mail.
It's also worth noting, they shipped out my item only this past Monday, and I got it today, so that was pretty speedy!
I didn't get pictures of the box, but it was basically the same as every other Taobao Spree order review shows. I was astonished at how small the box was, to fit the volume of the items in it! Everything arrived just fine.
Taobao Spree only charged 10% of the total of the items, which was great. They also listed my items as gifts, so I wouldn't get hit with customs. The only thing I'd caution-- as usual, shipping was pretty steep, so keep that in mind when you order. By my math, it was cheaper to order through them than it was to do so through HMHM, and given the mixup I had, that is how I'll continue to order.
I can't vouch for communication between HMHM and the shopping service, but they mixed up my items twice, which is pretty bad.
I placed my order in the middle of August, and only got it today. I knew there'd be a wait of about a month for custom items, but I wasn't expecting another month after their mistake of sending the wrong items to my SS. I was pretty unimpressed with that.
I will say, for the overall price of the items, the quality was really awesome. I'll review each item individually, though. . .
Century End Gothic Blouse
I'm pretty disappointed with this. It looks really great on me, but the lace in the ruffles is a little scratchy. I wanted to custom order this because I have a large bust and a small waist. It fits both areas perfectly with no gap or tug, buuuuut. . . . the buttons just fall right out of the button holes! I couldn't move my arms at all without all the buttons at my breast and halfway down my stomach just sliding out and, uhm, exposing me in a way that was just so not loli. My mom, who knows much more about these things than I do, said the button holes were too big, and we'd have to sew them smaller.
A previous review said the stripes on the blouse weren't really noticeable-- I'd have to disagree. They're not quite pinstripes, though-- instead, there are stripes of a slightly sheerer cotton within the fabric. It's really refined and elegant, I think.
There were also a lot of loose threads around the button holes, and the chain at the neckline is a bit flimsy. I'll probably end up replacing it with sturdier jewelry chain.
I do love the big ruffle, though! It ends up looking like a really foppish jabot, and, well, I looooove jabots.
Lace Edged Tulle Petticoat for Daily Wear (Thank you, faerydragonet!)
I really only knocked this down because I wanted it so badly in black! It fits me really well, but is just a bit longer than my skirt, so it seems to like to make a break for it. However, it is crazy poofy! It puffed right up after I took it out of the package, and held up to being sat upon for a while, too. It also has a nice silky satin layer under its two layers of tulle, so it doesn't scratch or anything.
The lace isn't fantastic, but it's not as shiny as it looks in my picture.
Grey Lady Skirt
Under layer 1
Under layer 2
Damask flocking detail
This skirt is gorgeous! The picture on HMHM's site doesn't do it justice. It fits me perfectly, and comes right down to my knee with the petticoat above. I'm a bit short, so I'm glad I ended up custom ordering.
I had thought the damask layer was velveteen or something like that, but it's actually a really lovely textured flocking. It has just a faint sheen, and is more like a gunmetal color than the really light grey my picture shows. The main part of the skirt is true black.
There are ties at the topmost part, so you can pull that layer up or down to change the shape of the skirt to look more bustle-y and rouched.
The one caveat I'd give-- this skirt is HEAVY! If you want to order it, you'll need a super sturdy petti.
Century End Gothic Vest
Lace and lacing detail
The quality of this piece is really great. The material is a beautiful velveteen, and the color ranges from a rich plum to vibrant red in different lights. The buttons are lovely, and the lace was surprisingly high quality.
However. . . . it doesn't really fit me well. The shoulders slip off, and it's really big around my waist. I had to pull the lacing really tight to get it to look okay. It also has the same flimsy chain as the blouse did, so I'm going to end up taking it out and replacing it, most likely.
I'd say if you want this vest-- don't custom order it! Everything else fit, but I'm gonna need to get this altered, or alternatively, never bend my shoulders at all. :<
finally, I have a worn picture of all of it together! I was really sick today, but I just HAD to try it on and take pictures, so please excuse the greasy hair and face covering. I look like a zombie right now XD
In summary-- Taobao Spree is a good SS, but don't buy from HMHM if you have any kind of deadline, even if you're not getting it custom made.
I hope you've found my review helpful <3 If you have any questions about anything, feel free to ask. I don't bite. Not hard, anyway.
(I tried to tag this correctly, but I couldn't load the tag selector. I'm so sorry D:)