I'm not essentially writing up a comparison of the old print to the new, but more of a review /rant over the current dress stand alone with a bit of comparison from a previous release. For reference, I actually am right at the edge of their sizing for the S/M and was suggested by them when I order to order the size up. So given that from my previous experience with them I ordered up. With that stated, lets get started.
This was my original package when I received it from the post. I like the fact they use pink boxes as to remind me of getting pastries or sweets from a bakery. I'm not sure if that is intentional or not but I love it. This is my second order from the new company and I was so excited to get these gems. I'm a big lover of rabbit prints and my Lief Noble High Tea series is one of my favorite dresses so I had high expectations for these.
Here are both dresses taken out of the box as well as the fine cellophane packaging and gifts that were included. Opened up the print is super striking on both colorways and very vibrant. I actually had to take these photos a couple of times because my hands were so shaky I was so excited.
Here is the print close up. Granted its a little wrinkled from being packed up, but the lines are clean and print is crisp. It's a plain cotton dress so wrinkling is pretty common. In the second photo you can see that they tried to match up the print pretty well and they didn't cut into a panel. I also wanted to point out that the hem is very plain which you can see in the second photo. No lace, no chiffon..no trim of any sort. I knew the dress wouldn't have any of these things from the reserve photos, but I was just a bit dissapointed that there were not a lot of extra details that you usually see with their other series put into this this one.
And this is about where I started having issues with these dresses. So it should also be noted that every dress will be different with the bodice and sometimes the little doily print will be cut or only be on one side.. and as worried as I was about this during reservation it was the least of my qualms when I actually started looking at this dress overall. The construction of the bodice is good. And with the carrot they even used a carrot colored matching thread which you can see under the bib up close, but is barely noticeable.
The straps are pretty thin and plain, which is fine, but I wish they would have used thicker straps as to not make the rest of the dress look so heavy in comparison. Also, I feel the yoke is pretty ugly with this cut in my opinion and would have preferred the plain original print fabric. They also made the yoke/bib white on the milky dress. And it clashes..terribly. It's almost kind of a deal breaker if you wanted to wear a warmer blouse with it because the bib clashes so much. There are a lot of warm colors..then stark white.
In the first photo you can see that they actually changed the lining around the bib to make sure it looks as white as possible.. It is a nice touch even if I do dislike the yoke. And here in the second photo is the half shirring. I want to notice how there is no corset lacing. I was really surprised by this because these dresses are made to accommodate a varying degree of sizes. I do not know why anyone would skip this unless they were making more fitted dresses like Juliette et Justine. There are no ribbon loops on either side of the dress either so I'm just not sure how you're supposed to take this dress in.
Here is a comparison photo of my Lief Noble High Tea series dress and Lief Gardenberries. They are both size L / Xl as stated previously, but you can see in the photo I use the corset lacing to help it fit me. I'm not sure what was going on when Gardenberries was being put together and designed, but it looks and feels rushed and maybe not a lot of time was put forth in the actual design as much as the print. And by this point, my joy had now turned to sadness. I was really excited about these new additions to my wardrobe but there were too many little things rubbing me the wrong way about this dress.
Then I put it on.
As you can see, it's huge. Very huge. So much that I didn't have to unzip it to put it on over the tank top and shorts I was wearing underneath. And since there is no corset lacing or waist ties or straps.. I looked like someone wearing a trashbag. It was very disheartening. I ended up having to take these to Jenny my seamstress at Fine Stitch where 12cm of fabric were removed from the bodice to help better fit. ( and I can still pull this over my head wihout unzipping it ) But sadly even with that, I will still have to add grommets and corset lacing to the back of both of these as well as probably make my own waist ties for this dress.
Here is a coord I put together since wearing it isn't really an option at this point, haha. I am also making a point to hide those ugly yokes whenever possible.
Overall Construction : 4 All the seams were straight, they took the time to make the linings match.
Design: 1 It doesn't have corset lacing. The straps are thin and look kind of chinsy. There are no waist ties or waist ribbon holes to attach to the dress to make the waist smaller. It is super plain in comparison to their other dresses by a lot.
Quality: 4.5 For a cotton dress it's okay but the lace could have been nicer.
Print, crispness and placement: 5 On point for the most part and even matched it on the seams. The doiley placements were kinda.. meh. Mine personally were not enough to be salty about.
All in all I am severely dissapointed in this line. Originally I didn't want to write this review because I thought maybe I was overreacting.. but seriously these lack a lot of thought and details that are put into in a lolita dress. I hope Lief steps up their game, they lost a lot of faith from me with this series. I really hope to see better in the future with them.
I did want to say that even though these dresses are a fail, I did have the opportunity to design some new brooch rosettes to match this particular print and I'm tickled pink about them. Here is the base of one that I've started.
I hope you found this review / rant informitive and thank you for reading <3