Hello EGL! I'm sorry if this is the wrong place to post this, but I need the help. I'm a scared newbie to the highly competitive world of Lolita fashion. I'll be the first one to admit that I am incredibly nervous posting here for the first time. My first experience wearing Lolita in public got me called an ita by the other girls at the tea party meet-up, and bad-mouthed for my first attempt at hand-sewing a set, so putting myself back out in public with a modified version of my first coord is terrifying for me. I ask that you be completely honest with me despite this, as I do not want a repeat of my first experience under any circumstances. It was utterly humiliating.
To my credit, I did my research on the measurement details before I began, but evidently not enough on the styles themselves. I couldn't afford to buy brand under any circumstances, nor would brand come in sizes that fit me unless I custom ordered (Size 16-18 American), so I ended up modifying a simple, full skirted dress I already owned. Apparently, this is normally a big no-no. I measured the angle to ensure that I would get the right shape, then used designs on Fanplusfriend to sketch out my own original design. At the time, I shot for a jumper skirt-and-blouse set using a earthy brown base with cream-yellow/gold accents for my color palette, using medium-weight cotton broadcloth and a very light cream cotton eyelet lace for the material. It took me 3 months to hand-sew the finished product. I polished off the full outfit with a wide-brimmed straw hat touched with the same gold ribbon I used with the dress, and I touched it up with a wicker basket. This is the final dress, on the floor without me or the petticoat under it:
It looks a little odd just sitting on the floor like that, but you get the idea, right? As you can tell by the dress itself no doubt, I am a big girl. I'm a size 16-18, and wearing Lolita itself is a scary thing when you're large to begin with. I ask for your frank critiques. I don't want to end up humiliated again, so I'd like to avoid making any mistakes with my coord as I can. Looking back on that outing, and what I know now, I didn't do anything outstandingly wrong. I had a hand-made petticoat on that gave me sufficient A-line style poof, white knee-high stockings, and black flat mary-janes. My make-up was natural, and my hair was in tight curls. I can't think of anything intrinsically wrong with what I did, outside of getting my style wrong in casual conversation (I know better now, yikes!) and maybe accessorizing wrong, so it must have been the dress. I'm sorry if it's not enough information, but I don't have any pictures of that full coord. The basket is gone, as is the hat and my long hair. My basket and hat were lost during my inter-state move, and I donated my hair to charity. Just judging by the dress, what could I improve upon? Was it too costume-y because I mixed up my styles? Did I use the wrong colors? Can it be saved, or should I trash it all together and just buy pre-made from now on?
Please be frank with me.
Edit 2: Holy cow, so many different opinions! So many ideas! It's a lot to digest. Thank you, everyone! You all will be the first to see my next draft!)