Name of Commissioner:
Hope Estheim, FFXIII for $285
Link to Pictures of Commissioned Item: album here
I began the commission in mid April with a September event in mind. I asked for a mid/late August deadline.
E-mails were promptly answered. My specifications about the cut of the pieces were taken into account and the finished garment is fairly accurate in cut to the references and specifications I sent (I requested leg-belts, pockets, a shorter cut on the jacket and matte fabric for the scarf ~ all of which I recieved). The workmanship is respectable -- most stitches seem tight. The fabrics chosen are, for the most part great and not the cheap kind one usually runs into with factory costumes.
Communication was very short and stilted. I was called "dear", right off the batt. I know it's silly, but it's a pet peeve of mine to be talked down to in diminunitive terms with someone I'm about to give so much money. My costume was not begun for the longest time, in spite of my early commission date. Instead, quite a few costumes commissioned later than mine were finished earlier and Mandy continued to accept commissions throughout. Nothing wrong with that in itself, but I was given a bit of a run-around reguarding the costume's progress:
May 23 - "I thinki can show you some pics soon."
June 24 - "I think it can get it done in about 2 weeks from now." "I will send u some pics asap."
July 13 - "should be finished in about 2 weeks from now dear."
Finally I had to confront the commissioner about the costume and the images promised. In the end, I recieved no progress pictures, reports or information about the construction process at all. I eventually recieved an apology and finished pictures. I requested one change be made -- in the trim on the scarf which was not provided. She could not provide it, so I requested $5 off the price of the commission, which I recieved.
The pants are the wrong color and while I understand why the mistake was made, I could easily have corrected it in the event I had been asked for clarification or had been shown progress pictures of any sort... The references I sent were figure references and have a sheen on account of the light reflecting off the plastic. Mandy interpreted this as black synthetic leather when it's actually a green matte fabric... this is partially my mistake, but still leaves me with a choice to make about re-commissioning/replacing the pants in 2 weeks or going with synthetic leather of the wrong color in 90 degree heat at Game Show.
I didn't have time to argue... so I paid the balance and had the costume shipped.
When the costume arrived -- it arrived not from San Diego, California where the commissioner claims to live, but instead from someone in China... Wait, what?!
The gloves are gigantic spatulas seemingly designed to fit, not a young woman but a man the size of a small mountain. They are unusable.
The pants fit very loosely... I can make them work, but it will take pins.
The capelet is held onto the jacket by three single stitches... I will need to finish the jacket myself or tape it on with double-sided tape if I want it to hang properly or not fall behind me whenever I move. The capelet is also a smidge too long and covers the detail on the jacket's arms when worn. I'll need to cinch it up.
$40 of the commission charge was shipping. According to the shipping slip, actual cost was a third of the cost charged.
An incredibly frustrating experience. Wonderful work and fabrics but with poor communication and disingenuous business practices. I still have no idea if she actually made the costume herself or just outsourced the work to a factory in China then charged a middleman fee before presenting it as her own work. This costume was obviously custom made by ~someone~ since so many of my initial requirements ended up being met... I'd just like a better grip on who...