19 Nov

Fair Warning: I did not sew this dress at all. This is a product review for eShakti. They mailed me a dress of my choosing, and now I get to talk about it on the internet woohoo!

When I was first contacted for a review, my initial thought was, “lolwut.” I mean, this is a sewing blog. I make clothes and then we talk about how awesome (or not awesome, I can swing both ways) the finished piece is. Trying out something for someone else’s clothing line just seemed weird and completely against the entire point of this damn blog. I’m not ~punk rock~ anymore, but I still get real weirded out at the idea of selling out, if that means anything.

Then I realized that there are lots of people who read this blog who don’t sew – or don’t sew clothes. There are a lot of us out there who struggle with getting a good fit (and yep, I’m part of this crew! Always learning new stuff!), and it sure would be nice to have a grey area between “Making Everything I Wear” and “Buying Bullshit At The Mall That Doesn’t Fit Over My Ass.” You know?

So, my non-sewing readers. This is for you. And also for me, because, hey, free purple dress ๐Ÿ˜€

If you’re not familiar with eShakti, it is a website that sells cute lady clothes. Mostly dresses, but there are also tops and coats and even skirts floating around if you look hard enough. Everything is adorable, and there is a wide range of styles to cover most events, from cocktail parties to a semi-professional office. What makes them unique, though, is that they not only offer a serious slew of sizes – 0-36! – but you can customize the fit to accommodate your ass. Or boobs, or petite stature, or whatever. In addition (I know, I’m just blowing your mind over here), you can change certain design elements as it strikes your fancy. Changing up sleeves, hem length, and sometimes even the neckline. So basically, it’s like the seamstresses’ dream wardrobe without actually pulling out the sewing machine and doing it yourself. FANCY.

Oh, I forgot to mention the price range. Most of the stuff they offer is under $80, and any customization is $7.50. Not too shabby, eh?

For my dress, I went with the Ruffled Tiers, except mine is purple, obviously, and not black. I didn’t see the purple one on the site anywhere, so sorry if you’re salivating in jealousy over mine (on the other hand, I did just discover this green goddess one, this silk (!!!) one, and this one that is totally channeling Liz Taylor, and now I’m really jealous haha). It was really hard to NOT just get a fancy cocktail dress, but seriously? I own like a dozen of those things and I couldn’t tell you the last time I actually wore one. So I went with something office-appropriate, in a pattern/fabric that I wouldn’t sew myself (too slinky!), that would also be suitable for biking. I did end up customizing the sizing (since this is normally an issue for me with RTW), but I kept the general style of the dress the same as it looks on the site.

And how did that turn out, you might ask?

eShakti dress

Seriously, though, isn’t it just adorable? I’m a big fan of the color, especially… and all the cascading ruffles. The off-center neck bow is my favorite part.

From a construction perspective, I have no complaints. Obviously, we’re not talking about the finest couture here – this dress is polyester, after all – but I will say that I was pleasantly surprised. I actually studied the insides like I was studying for a test, except that I was giving it the Evil Eye the entire time and waiting for it to slip up somewhere.

eShakti dress
I would like everyone to know that this dress is absolutely perfect for cycling in – a good length to prevent flashing, and the shirring in the back keeps it snug without cutting off circulation.

eShakti dress
My only beef is that the armholes are a bit low on me – see my bra peeking out? Yikes! I think this problem is pretty unique to me and my body, though – I definitely have low shoulders in comparison to my bust size (hence why it is so important to do a FBA on sewing patterns and not just size up), and most stuff has to be taken up quite a bit there. Out of all the measurements I gave, shoulder height was not one. So I’m going to chalk this up to LT-body problems and not point fingers back to eShakti.

That one doesn’t bother me too bad, though, because…
eShakti dress
Doesn’t it?! I knew it as soon as I spied it on the site. Actually – it looks good with ALL my handknits, including the Chuck sweater. The top is fairly sleek and smooth, so there isn’t much bulk when you wear stuff over it. Add in a ruffly tiered skirt and a little bow at the neck and now we’re just talking straight-up adorable.

Right now, they are offering $25 off your first purchase! Someone should go buy this dress, because holy shit I want.

In conclusion: Big thanks and thumbs up for eShakti!
In other news, I have a new garment on the sewing table that just needs picture… hope to get a post up this week ๐Ÿ™‚

~*~Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post, although I did receive a sample to review & keep. All opinions on this product are my own.

41 Responses to “Review:”

  1. Alicia November 19, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    This is a really interesting idea! As someone who sews but doesn’t have anywhere near enough time to sew everything, this definitely seems like a good compromise between perfect fit and no fit at all.

  2. Tracy November 19, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    Since we are just talking about clothing construction in general I was in H&M and tried on a striped skit. Since the stripes were black and white horizontal it was super easy to see how wonky and wavy the stiching was. I mean, the skirt was only like $9…..but still….

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2012 at 11:20 am #

      Oh man, H&M has some of the worst constructed stuff I’ve seen (for the price point, I mean). I’m so glad there’s not one in my town; I think I’d drive myself crazy going in there all the time & sneering at the goods hahaha

  3. LLBB November 19, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    so perf with your Agatha!!!

  4. Meggan November 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    I have the same problem with armhole depth. Last year when i was shopping for a business-y dress, I discovered that I actually need a petite dress size. Just a half an inch to and inch off the top of the shoulders snapped the bust darts and armhole shaping into the right place. I have this problem ALL THE TIME with RTW stuff, and I’m not an especially petite person.

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      Yeah, I’m 5’3″ so I’m barely petite, but every fraction of an inch makes a difference! I wish people would realize that petite does not necessary equal only an adjustment to a hem (and while we’re at it – petite does not always mean thin! ARGH that drives me nuts hahah!!)

      • Kitschy Coo November 20, 2012 at 4:29 am #

        Another one here with a really short armhole depth and big bust. I normally have to remove about two inches from the shoulder height to cover my bra in the armpit. And I’m 5’4″.

  5. Carolyn November 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    My daughter wears a pretty large size and we use this site to get her some kewl things. Being able to change things for her frame really works for her and I highly recommend it if you’re plus size and want trendy and up-to-date garments!

  6. Elisha November 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    It’s weird because I struggle with ethics in blogging and stuff all the time (see my Pinterest post But, i feel like an eShakti review is relevant for the exact reasons you stated: you can make adjustments to your measurements and some hemlines, just like in sewing.

    I noticed that Shabby Apple gave some dresses for giveaways to a few sewing bloggers and was all like, WTF? I think they were trying to capitalize on the “retro-styled” clothing thing, but I really didn’t get what Shabby Apple had to do with sewing at all. eShakti makes sense to me for the adjustments you can make.

    Also, blogging takes tons of time and energy and, in spite of what people think, you can’t really make a ton of money from it most of the time. So you’re basically putting tons of work into providing a fun blog to your readers for free. In that respect, I’m totes OK with bloggers getting free crap because, you don’t really get much else from it!

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

      Well, in the defense of Shabby Apple, they do things to help women and the community, including donating a portion of every sale to help women overcome poverty. I can get behind that. I actually hosted a giveaway a while back for them – I didn’t get anything out of it, but I am ALL ABOUT someone else getting that gift certificate! Haha!

      And yeah, blogging in general doesn’t net you anything in return (unless you have sponserships and advertising and stuff – which I don’t, obviously). But, you know, I’d be doing this stuff anyway regardless of whether or not I had an audience. I love the interaction with everyone and I love all the friendships and inspiration I’ve pulled from it. As dorky as it sounds, that’s payment enough for me ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. macstabby November 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    Holy shit, apparently I NEED to make an Agatha because it looks amazeballs with errrrrrvrything. I’m also jonesing for your haircut, but I just know it’d be a spectacular failure on me, which gives me a Sad.
    Oh yeah, and that dress is to-die-for adorable!

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

      For real, everybody needs an Agatha. No lies!

  8. K-Line November 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    L: I read about eShakti over a year ago. I called to find out about a few things and no one ever called me back. Then I emailed. No response. Then I started reading about the company and learned that it is EXTREMELY hit and miss and that it is very poor at communicating with its patrons. Some people get great results, some terrible (even in the made to order category where they’ve provided, apparently, the correct measurements). Some people, alas, experience both ends of the spectrum. It’s just really inconsistent, according to much I’ve seen.

    I do think this dress looks terrific on you and I’m so pleased you have received it / reviewed it. But I do want to mention the flip side in the event that people decide to order. When companies don’t respond after I try them on 2 occasions, I’m wary.

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

      Thank you for your comment! I will admit that I sent them an email inquiring about their factory conditions and no one ever got back to me about that. I guess I must have offended them haha.

      • K-Line November 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

        That’s what my question was about too.

    • Kate November 20, 2012 at 11:32 am #

      I’m so glad you said this – I have been feeling like the only person in the world who had a bad experience with them. I actually placed an order for two pieces; one came in the wrong size, and one never came at all. I ended up filing a credit card dispute because the company never returned my calls or emails. And then three months later, they called trying to offer me a discount “on my next order.”

      *sigh* I love their stuff, too.

  9. ShanniLoves November 19, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Holy crap all their dresses are freakin’ adorable! I love that you can customize your fit. This post was very blog worthy and yays for getting a super cute dress!! I think their prices are pretty fair too.

    • Margaret April 11, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

      What I hate is that they used to be WAY cheaper. I’ve heard the quality hasn’t improved, but the price has gone up a lot. It’s really disappointing, because I’d like to have kept buying from them, but if they cost the same or more than Modcloth, I’m going to buy from Modcloth because the styles, colors and prints are much more fashionable there.

      • Amy May 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

        Hopefully they are more expensive because they have proper conditions at their factories. I REALLY want to order everything eShakti makes…but I can’t find any info on their factories…
        I would love to know.

  10. Tasha @ By gum, by golly! November 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Really cute, that’s a great color on you. I LOVE it with your Agatha! How neat that they’ll customize some things too.

  11. Erika November 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    I think for a lot of women, shoulder depth or height or whatever you want to call it is a key fitting point. Watch the sewing blogs and sites and you’ll see it come up again and again. So def not you only. And a reason to sew! But, nice to know you can customize the other stuff, and the dress plus your cardigan? Gorgeous.
    Might be some lining you could use to put a little wedge in the armscye.

    • LLADYBIRD November 20, 2012 at 9:12 am #

      It’s funny, but I never considered this for my own fitting purposes – I knew my shoulders were lower than the standard patterns, but I figured I had sloping shoulders (mostly bc my mom made me wear shoulder pads as a kid – it was the 90s haha). So this makes a lot more sense.

      I’m thinking I may pull the collar off the dress and take up the shoulders that way, as the whole thing is very loose in exactly the wrong spot ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. gingermakes November 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

    This looks rad on you! I LOOOOOOOOVE it with you cardi!

  13. Isidore November 19, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    I am smitten with the idea of this! My size is on the verge of “plus size petite” clothes which is rarer than hens teeth at a normal shopping mall. I just put in an order, and I really hope it works out! If so, there are so many people I know who could benefit from the custom sizing. Secret tip if you are looking to order… I discovered that you can use the $25 gift card for your first order in conjunction with a coupon. So use “FACEOFF12” in the coupon code box for an extra %15 off! Now I’m going to stare expectantly at the mailbox for the next 3 weeks like that kid in A Christmas Story.

    • LLADYBIRD November 20, 2012 at 9:14 am #

      Yes! It drives me crazy when people confuse petite with thin – there are plus-sized petites! I rarely see petite sizes over like a 10-12. I hope the dress you ordered works out for you! Oh, and thanks for the coupon heads up – I do that stuff too, so nice to get a little extra discount ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Land girl November 20, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    Was excited when I saw that beautiful dress with the little dear on it, got the discount certificate, then looked up and there are not international shipping. BOOOO! I live in the UK and we have a huge market here all retro designs. And this brand is quite reasonable so customs charge and shipping this would still have been viable – poor old uk buyers we are missing out on some good stuff…

    • LLADYBIRD November 20, 2012 at 9:15 am #

      Ugh, that sucks – and it’s weird, too, since the dresses are made overseas in the first place. BOO ๐Ÿ˜ก

  15. Melanie Romero-Guss November 20, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    I just placed an order too with the $25 off and the 15% off. Cool savings! I too hope this works out. I am also on the cusp of petite plus and have been trying to make my own clothes, but I have to alter the patterns so much that it is very time consuming, Nothing RTW comes even close to fitting me, so I’ve been wearing shirts that make me look like I’m wearing a potato sack 0 ugh!

  16. maddie November 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    wow! You look wonderful in that dress. The colors is what drew me! And I love how you paired it with your me-made sweater!

  17. Lucy November 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    That Agatha looks fabulous. You’ve finally done it – I’mma make one. I made a St James a while ago but did the cast-off too tightly and didn’t immediately fix it. It’s been sitting in the knitting bag for weeks and I’ve now decided I don’t like it enough to re-do it. So I’m doing a swatch to see if the wool will work for an Agatha. I think it will have more utility than the St James, anyway. Pity we’re going into summer though, I don’t have a lot of use for woolly cardies at the moment.

    • LLADYBIRD November 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

      Oh, I’ve never seen the St James before. How pretty!

      I actually finished my Agatha right as the summer started here. It is a bit of a bummer to not be able to wear it immediately after finishing, but at least you know you won’t be rushed to knit it up… you can take your time, since, well, there’s lots of it! Haha!

  18. missjoiedevivre November 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    Your Agatha continues to amaze me with its go-with-everything-ness. Also, I love how you can wear something girly and make it look sophisicated and feminine at the same time. If I wore something covered in ruffles like that I’d look like someone dressed up their cat in a clown outfit. Something you want to laugh at but somehow feel that you shouldn’t.

  19. Sarah November 20, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    If anyone does hear back about the factory conditions I would be really interested to hear about it – as great as customisable clothing is, how on earth can they do that is a short time frame with such low prices? I LOVE the idea though

    • Isidore November 21, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

      I searched high and low and the best I could find was this interview from the CEO which describes the conditions a bit (so take it with a grain of salt):

      I have heard from people who travel to India that you can go to any tailor and get a custom made dress shirt for about $20 USD, so the prices are not outrageously low for India. Also, I know that the price of a piece of clothing doubles every time it changes hands, so combining manufacturing and sales cuts the consumer price by half. Wish I could find more info on the factory conditions though because I’d like to know that they aren’t forcing long hours to make those turnaround times.

      • Marcia Furman March 12, 2013 at 8:58 am #

        Thank you for posting this link from the CEO. I am about to do a review just like this one. When I received the dress I was surprised to see it shipped from India. I wanted to know more about the conditions. This at least put my heart at ease a little.

  20. ZoSews November 26, 2012 at 2:06 am #

    You’re right, it looks awesome with the cardigan!

  21. beverlyjames February 25, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    I have bought 6 dresses from EShakti and love every single one. My only complaint is that the zippers and plastic and cheap, and tend to run off track. But I love the customization and plan to buy from them again.

  22. northbrooklyn May 12, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    I just ordered from eShakti and look forward to a positive experience. I am also very concerned about the working conditions-if you find anything out let us all know.

  23. plus size clothing April 30, 2015 at 4:52 am #

    Nice post about plus size clothing……..


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