Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gail Carriger in eShakti Second Time Same As The First?

So, buoyed by my first eShakti shopping experience, I hopped on for a second, more ambitious, order. 

Here's what I got compared with the online image. (Mine are wrinkled right out of the box, sorry.) It's kind fun to see a garment on a real person as compared to the model.

Its raining umbrellas print dress ~ Discontinued

Why did I buy it? I ordered this dress purely on the basis of the fabric, it has little umbrellas all over it. How cute is that? Almost a parasol. I got it with a sweetheart neckline which might have been the wrong choice. It's lined, which is nice. I do like the skirt part a great deal.

Flaws? Yes. The fit on the top is quite awful, or am I overreacting? It's also weirdly warm.

Keep it? I can't decide. What do you think? I could turn the bottom into a cute skirt. The AB likes it and pronounces it cute, he suggests shortening the sleeves and I must say that is an improvement.

Lesson learned? I'll have to remember that any of eShakti's patterns that rely on waist pleats for bust room will not work with a Rack. Anything that doesn't have seams is going to be right out. (I shall amend the 10 rules to include this one.) I also am going to be more reluctant to tinker with the necklines in future. This may have worked a great deal better with the original neckline ~ then again it would have been even warmer!

Colorblock A-line cotton knit dress Jade green black ~ Discontinued

Why did I buy it? The color kinda goes with my November book release cover art. I love green and I'm intrigued by the idea of color blocking. I really love the fabric on this one. It's not lined but the cotton knit is a nice thick stretchy fabric, that slips on easy and fits well.

Flaws? Yes. Look at the way that skirt makes me look. All wide and stumpy. Bad color blocking! Bad! Also I find the style is not to my aesthetic at all.

Keep it? No. I'm sending this one back. I really do not like the way the bottom part makes my frame look. I'm not impressed with the shade of green, and I usually love green. I like the neckline, but that's about it.

Lesson learned? I've added a neckline to the list of ones I like. I should stick with the vintage looks and cuts that I know work on me. Stupid Gail, you are not a modern colorblock woman.

Contrast trim cotton poplin dress

 Why did I buy it? For my second book release beginning of next year. I liked the cheeky feel of it. I modified the neckline to a high back scoop.

Flaws? A few. For some reason this dress isn't lined. However you can't really see the bra seams and the skirt is dark enough I don't think it will have the see-through-when-backlit issue. It does make for a nice cool light weight garment. I wish it were black, not navy, and that the light part were on the bottom and the darker color on top (but I knew the colors when I bought it). I wish the fabric didn't wrinkle quite so much. Going to make traveling with it a pain.

Keep it? Hell yes. I love it. I love the way it makes my waist look so small. I love the stripes at the bottom. I adore the neckline, another one for the list of things that work with the Rack. I was afraid it would open too wide and show the bra straps on the sides but it doesn't. Yes!

Lesson learned? I've added another neckline to the list of ones I like. Supported the fact that those patterns best customized for the Rack have princess seams, at the very least.

Polka dot print blouse

 Why did I buy it? To go with the dress I bought first time around, so I could turn that dress into a multi use garment.

Flaws? Holy smokes yes. Look at that awful thing. Again, no good bust seams. The blouse is not even boxy, it's trapeze! The only shape it gets is from its belt. That kind of cut is AWFUL on a Rack. It blouses badly, it makes the girls look even bigger, and I'd have to spend all day tugging it down. Ewe.

Keep it? Absolutely not. It was a good idea, it just doesn't work.

Lesson learned? Seems, look for those darn seems.

Ruffle hem floral skirt ~ Discontinued

Why did I buy it? I've been looking for a true red trumpet skirt for ages. I ordered this one customized it to midi length, so it wouldn't look quite so hoochie. Later I panicked thinking I wouldn't be able to walk in it, but it's fine. It's fully lined and has a fish tail.

Flaws? A few. The waistband isn't a perfect fit. And I don't love high wasted skirts with my figure, but otherwise, just look at that skirt. It's divine!

Keep it? Oh my goodness yes. It fits a wardrobe niche, and the cut! I adore the cut. This one is a winner. I regret not getting the embroidery removed (it's an option with some dresses), but I didn't even think about it at the time.

Lesson learned? Stick with what works. Remember to think about removing the embroidery details for the sake of versatility.

Sweetheart surplice cotton knit top

Why did I buy it? I've been making do with this thin H&M knit top as my one true red option for a while. I like it, but it is very thin and I can only wear it with my least comfortable bra. Because of the style with the pleated fabric over the chest, I thought this would allow me more undergarment versatility.

Flaws? Few. The neckline is a little low so you can kind of see the bra in places. However, there are shoulder keepers that may help with that, and an easy way to pin it to the bra with out the pin being visible (hide it in the folds). The fabric is a little thick and warm but otherwise it's great.

Keep it? Yes. It pretty much does exactly what I wanted and I don't think I could find a better fitting garment for this particular wardrobe hole. This one may come to England with me.

Lesson learned? Knit is my friend, and so is pleating on the boobs, it adds volume, but also bra options. And these days the second is more important than the first.

So there you have it. Now I get to experience eShakti's returns process for you all.

But first I need to know...

Should I keep that blue umbrella dress and turn the bottom into a skirt or just modify the sleeves?

Both are relatively easy for me to do. Or should I return it as I am returning the green and and the dot top anyway?

Your thought are needed. I am torn with indecision. 

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.


  1. I think the color block dress looks really good on you and balances out your figure! Maybe it'll grow on you??? (Thank you so much for doing these reviews, btw. 28GG here and I feel your pain!)

    As a seamstress I'd say send the blue back. You can get fabric like that elsewhere and get someone to sew it up for you at a better price and maybe a more fun style. If you do want to keep it and do anything to it, it might be worth looking for an alterations place that could change the bodice from gathered to seamed and perhaps salvage the dress in entirety?

    1. Thanks for your thoughts. I'm leaning in favor of sending the blue back since I'm already sending the other two.

  2. I like the way the Polka dot print blouse turned out. You look great in it.

  3. I think making a skirt is a great option, it is very cute. Also random question, why do your pics not include your face? I feel like it would give a better sense of the overall look without your head being removed.

    1. Oh, because that's where I am holding my phone. Also I have no makeup on and my hair isn't done.

  4. For what you paid, I don't personally think it would be worth you keeping the blue dress to make into a skirt. As Elenatintil said, you can likely find a similar fabric and get a custom skirt made for less. I like the colorblock dress too, but then I don't have to wear it (and I find if I keep stuff I'm not sure about, I don't end up wearing it).

    My first order should arrive later this week or early next week! One of my dresses is for signings too (it has blackbirds on it, which tie into my YA UF).

    1. You simply MUST tell me how your order goes.

    2. It's left Delhi and is on its way to me in California! I'll post pics on FB and tag you

    3. Okay, my photos and feedback are up at http://www.angelicarjackson.photography/EShakti-Order/n-fdKbz
      The order came really fast--ordered July 11 and got it July 25

    4. Oh, so sorry they didn't work for you, but I do LOVE the one that you kept.

    5. Thanks! I decided to do the gift card option and try for some other ones--but I think I'll stick to knits :)

  5. I think you should send the blue one back. It looks like it wrinkles easily and it seems like a lot of effort to turn it into a skirt that is just going to wrinkle when you sit on it.

    I also agree that the green color block dress looks good on you. But if you don't like it send it back!

    The purple and navy dress is the clear winner out of all your purchases.

    1. I think you should send the blue one back. It looks like it wrinkles easily and it seems like a lot of effort to turn it into a skirt that is just going to wrinkle when you sit on it.

      i agree.

      and depending on the level of regret about the embroidery on the red skirt, i'd return that too & get one without it. unless because it's discontinued, it would be too hard to get another one.

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  7. I agree with the blue dress issue. I want to love it, but the girls look like they are fighting in the top and I am not sure that it will be a notable skirt if you modify it. Cap sleeves might save it, but the pleated seams in the front would need to be tuned up too.
    I am glad you tried out the color blocking, maybe if the skirt was a few inches shorter it might look less blocky. However, my observation has been that this body-con blocking style is better for ladies with uhmmm... who are small on top. They never seem to sit right for us endowed types.
    The polka dot top, I like it! Its very bohemian, perhaps that is outside of your style comfort zone? It would look great with a long floaty gypsy skirt or a maxi to the floor skirt. with not pattern.
    Purple poplin dress, so cute!
    I love both of the red pieces. The embroidery on the skirt is quite slimming, and leaves you with the option to match to the embroidery colors or anything in those families.
    I love that you tried more going on on the top with the red top. I will have to give that a whirl as I often avoid it!
    This has been informative and helpful! Thanks!

    1. I am so glad! I'm only posting this process to help others out who may want to order with them. I was really leery about it because I wasn't sure how it woudl go, now I feel like I'm plunging in and you guys should get the benefit of the experience.

    2. I am waiting for the day when they will ship to Canada and will totally dive in. Off the rack doesn't often fit the rack (totally on purpose). The idea of custom makes me so happy! Thanks for being our experimenter! Experi-mentor?

  8. I want to love the blue one for you but I think your instinct is right that it doesn't fit properly on top. And I agree with the other folks here that turning it into a skirt isn't really your best route.

    The black and green color block however... Va, va, voom! It creates an amazing hour glass figure on you. Have you tried it with heels? The shoes will change the angle of your hips and legs and can make all the difference for some dresses.

    Thanks for all the info about eShakti. I'm expecting my first order any day now. It includes a dress I'm hoping to wear for a wedding in the fall. Fingers crossed!

  9. I think you should keep the umbrella dress, try it with the shorter sleeves and wear it out. Have AB take pictures and see how you think it really looks. If that doesn't work out then turn it in to a skirt.

    I don't think the color block dress makes you look wide and stumpy ( that would be impossible, no flattery just truth ) but it does look somehow a bit strange.

  10. I would try modifying the sleeves on the blue dress first. Maybe add some side darts to the top since the gathering in the front doesn't make adding darts there easy. Or for an adventure, taking the top off the waistband and adding darts to the front where they belong, then reattaching. Worst case, you end up with a very cute (lined!) skirt and some extra fabric to use on headbands or to trim a scarf or two.

    I love the red pieces on you, and the pink with navy. Fabulous!

  11. I would not keep the blue dress. The way the top fits is not attractive.

  12. I have to agree with those who say send the blue dress back. The skirt part is cute, but I wouldn't want you to pay for something you then have to alter. The red skirt though? Amazing! It is totally darling with a dash of sexy and you look fantastic in it!

  13. Just typed a longer comment here, but not being logged into my blogspot account killed it, sigh. I'll try a shorter summary:
    Don't keep dresses you're unsure about - changing the blue dress into a skirt will likely be nearly as much work as just sewing a new one, with an even nicer fabric. You could even design an umbrella patterned fabric yourself on a site like Spoonflower!
    Also, looking at the color-block dress made me think it doesn't work because of the longer sleeves. It kind of throws the colors off balance by adding too much black.

  14. So I too ordered the red Sweetheart surplice cotton knit top and it arrived yesterday. I'm new to clothing beyond teeshirts and jeans. How do I keep this shirts creases in place? Will ironing work, or will I need to starch them? Or will it be okay straight out of the drier? So puzzled.

    1. Ah! Excellent questions all. First wash in cold inside out. Second, line dry if you can. Any item with stretch to it will be damaged by heat. (I pretty much wash everything I own in cold and line dry.) I think the wrinkled part should dry as it folds but I would iron lightly if needed. Hope that helps.


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