- 4 years ago
- Wedding: February 2013
OMG… my eBay dress arrived today!
It’s *yet another* Gemma replica from the an ebay seller that goes under noble-dress and vivian-dress, Vivian Xu. It’s fantastic! It’s only done up as well as I could by myself (not very!) so I probably look more of a size 18-20. I’m 5’6 with 2″ heels for reference. Unfortunately (fortunately?) I have lost about 20lb since ordering it so may have to sell it and order another – it’s probably still cheaper than alterations! I’ve let it hang overnight beside my flash steamer, (aka the clothes dryer) and spent about 30min fluffing it with the hair dryer. When I was “on the prowl” for a cheap china dressmaker, I wished everyone would write more about their experience, dress cut, quality and include more pics, so I’m gonna do just that. Hope it helps someone! Lots of you won’t care so here’s the “shorts” so you can get on to the pics 🙂
The Ups: 85-90% similar, took 6 weeks cost $170USD including shipping. Vivian was good to deal with, answered emails quickly and was happy to make alterations as requested. Well boned/supported, good fit and fabric quality similar to dresses in the $500-1200 range.
The Downs: Slightly uneven in the hem which could be fixed fairly easily non-professionally, more rosettes than the pics advertised, bodice and join to skirt needs a couple of professional tweaks to sit nicely.
Obviously it’s not 100% the same. The JBS version is probably closer BUT it was about quarter the price at $170USD including shipping. Definitely doesn’t look or feel “cheap” compared to any of the lower price point designer dresses I tried on. There is a slight “shine” to the fabric, obviously the original doesn’t have that, but it is similar quality to the look-a-likes ie: Mori Lee 5104, Maggie Sottero Primrose. It doesn’t have the awkward hemming on the skirt rosettes like some Gemma replicas (which change the fabric colour, fall and shape too). Of course, this means the skirt has a few unfinished edges which will fray with wear. I’ve seen this on a real Gemma and it is noticeable on the Primrose also – I guess this means Vivian is on the right track??
There is lots of boning and cups are sewn into the dress. The bones go to the hip. The lining is heavy, yet soft and breathable – much like the designer dresses I tried on. I’m a size US14, on the edge of plus-size and an F-cup, but would have no qualms going chest-commando in the dress (FH tied me into it properly last night but I was too excited to remember to take photos!). I’ll still wear my spanx-esque sucky-inny shorts that go from knees to bust though. I picked a corset-back to give me a bit of leeway if Vivian’s sizing was off , if I lost/gained weight and to help give me the mermaid “shape”. The cut is low enough at the back that I don’t get back boob (it would be covered by the modesty panel anyway) or any other ikky rolly bits.
The shape and construction of the skirt is a little different to the Gemma, and what was advertised. The picture showed a dress Vivian had made, with five large, long rosettes showing in the front of the dress. When mine arrived, it has 12 shorter rosettes in the front. It looks a bit like the lovechild of the Gemma and the Divina TBH. It’s a bit “busier” than I wanted, but I’m happy with it. I’m more annoyed that it’s different to what was advertised (10 years in retail sales and service will do that to ‘ya).
The front of the skirt is a single panel and the rosettes have been sewn onto this panel then sewn to the rest of the dress. This means there is a line down each side where the rosettes don’t offset properly. Instead of “flowing” from the bodice into the skirt like the original (or JBS version) there’s a slightly awkward looking ruffle. It seems to have come up ok with a fluffing from the hairdryer, but may need a stitch or two to make it sit nicely at the sides. I think it’s unlikely anyone would notice it on, but it’s one of those things that worries you when you know! Also, there seems to be a rosette/filler piece missing at the front, so there’s a bit of a gap. A well placed stitch would bring the rosettes either side together and fix the problem. Also, the bodice seems to connect to the skirt slightly assymetrically, I’m not sure if it was intended or not, but will become unnoticeable once the rosette gap is fixed.
The bodice doesn’t quite sit as flat as I’d like and you can see the small stiches used to keep the folds down. Maybe a professional steam/press will fix this. The shape of the cups is really good, but hard to see in the pics as I really can’t get it tight enough!
Phew! Is anyone else tired after reading that? Time for a cuppa joe and nap! Let me know if you’ve got any questions or want any other pics 😉