Date Added: Tuesday 29 January, 2019
by Ian M.
The construction and build quality of this vest is solidly superb. The craftsmen who assembled it clearly ensure that it is built to last while providing comfort to its wearer.
By that merit alone, it more than earns the four star rating; I am sure any standard issue article of clothing they make would prove to be more than satisfactory.
That said, however...
As a replica of the original waistcoat it is trying to emulate, upon seeing it in person, it leaves a lot to be desired.
The general proportions and placement of details such as buttons and pockets is off, which may be due to the original pattern block being modified from a more standard run of the mill waistcoat design and not a custom drafted pattern from scratch. Now I do understand this also may very well be due to an error on my part in submitting my measurements, but I would have hoped that the pattern used would have compensated accordingly to preserve the overall look of the intended design. As it stands, the areas around the upper chest and hips were very loose and roomy despite my rounding down on my measurements in hopes of achieving a slimmer fit; but this is something a local alterations shop can easily fix for the most part so that isnt much of a big deal.
Other details are a bit less flexible in nature and sadly I am unable to alter accordingly, such as:
The placement and spacing of buttons/buttonholes, which were set a bit low and too close to the bottom of the waistcoat and spaced too closely together, leaving a noticeable gap between the top button and the roll of the lapels.
The lapels themselves, which seem to be merely rolled over and pressed into place as opposed to being a separate element attached to and laid flat upon the upper waistcoat body, which leaves a noticeable "pucker" at the point of overlap which is absent in the original waistcoat. I understand this is a more complex tailoring method that isn't common, so I can forgive that for the most part, but what really irks me is their overall proportion, being a bit on the large side (again, I'm getting the sense that this stems from being based upon a modified standard waistcoat pattern and not a custom drafted pattern), and that the angle of the neck opening is too narrow and falls too deeply upon the chest; threatening to expose the top of the third button of a dress shirt whereas it should fall just below the second. Moving the top two waistcoat buttons over a bit should ever so slightly help with this in theory.
The points at the bottom closure are also on the small side, and sit far too low on the body, with the bottom button being roughly parallel to the button on one's pants as opposed to sitting slightly above it and letting the longer points provide the covering for the waistband. Again, without me being physically present for fittings to ensure that this detail was executed properly, I understand that this was in no way guaranteed to sit correctly straight from production, but at the same time, I'm at a loss to figure out how to correct this through post hoc alterations.
Ultimately, I believe these prior faults are moreso based on some error on my part in recording my measurements and ended up manifesting themselves in odd ways which affected the look and fit of the garment. I can ultimately forgive this, despite my disappointment in the finalized product.
The biggest issue present however has to be the color of the fabric. This was the number one concern during my period of considering the commission, and without any photographic depictions of past examples purchased by prior customers (allowing customers to post photos with their reviews would prove to be a big help in aiding future potential buyers now that I think about it), I was torn between the standard "dark aubergine" fabric and the dark gray check fabric, the latter of which I would have inevitably resorted to an overdye bath to ensure a proper correct color, which I initially wished to avoid. Through consultation and assurance that the aubergine was sufficiently dark enough, and despite my wary skepticism of the site photographs and digital swatches representing the standard color, I decided to take a risk and go with the aubergine; now that I have physically witnessed this fabric with my own eyes, I will readily admit that I was at fault in that decision, and accept full responsibility for that error accordingly.
For anyone who is considering this purchase and also torn as to which color to get, go with the dark gray check fabric and give it a dark purple dye bath; you will achieve a more faithful result to the screen fabric. The "dark aubergine" is anything but so, being more of a maroonish burgundy shade as opposed to the deep, dark, almost black violet it ought to be, and it seems to have a sheen to it that makes it glisten in direct sunlight. Needless to say, this distractingly clashes when worn with the rest of the cosplay ensemble, and will require an overdye bath in dark purple to counteract both the improper color shade and the glistening effect, which will also necessitate the removal of any custom screen accurate buttons you may send to be professionally installed beforehand (and believe me, these are the most secure button fastenings I have ever seen on an article of clothing. Like I said, the construction quality is top notch), effectively undermining the extra time and cost it took to ship them in the first place.
With that in mind, while the intended modifications will serve to make the waistcoat in my possession a passably serviceable placeholder for the next one or two Cons I plan to attend, I will ultimately be seeking it's eventual replacement to be obtained at nearest convenience; whether that shall be a custom commission from a separate party or repurchasing this same item with revised measurements in another fabric option remains to be seen for the time being.
All in all, I have learned a very valuable lesson on the merits of ordering custom MTM clothing sight unseen, which is disheartening given the previous items I have ordered being of top notch quality and VERY satisfactory in every conceivable aspect; the whiplash of which is probably what is bugging me more than anything else. I still eagerly wish to purchase more accessories in the future however, and will continue to encourage others to do the same.
In conclusion, I do send a sincere thank you to all parties involved for time time and efforts you have put in; I really do appreciate it!
Best regards to all!
Rating: [4 of 5 Stars!]