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Monday, September 22, 2014

In a Quarth State of Mind

A few years ago I crafted up a Game of Thrones Khaleesi Quarth Inspired Gown where I added instructions and crafting tips on how to make the costume yourself. Over the years that post has collected a great deal of add-ons in which I discussed details in relation to selling the item. That blog post was way too long so I decided to split it up and this post will be on the sale of the item where as that post is on the construction detail.

If you are looking for the blog post on how to construct the costume yourself then this is the link you want -> http://craftzies.blogspot.com/2012/10/game-of-thrones-costume-remake-making.html

If you are considering ordering the costume from me then this is the blog post you want. I have sold many of these of the last few years and in a variety of sizes. Construction has changed ever so slightly over the past few years to the point where I have a materials standard I go by. All costumes are dyed in the same light blue fabric dye colorant, made of the same materials and in the same way. The only differences you may find between costumes would be that a costume for a smaller size will have slightly slimmer shoulder blades and belt, and if a very small size, will usually have a fin of extra fabric added to the lower back of the gown, hidden under the cape and this will help with movement around the lower skirt when walking.

The costume comes with the blue and gold gown with the attached cape, the gold shoulder blades, matching belt and a set of foam stone garlands that hang in front. The foam stone garlands have earring facets on the end in which to hang the garland off of the belt. I include extra gold twine in case you need it however you should find that if you are planning on tying the garland to the belt once it arrives that there is enough twine on the end in which to tie the facets to the belt. This is for the adult costumes. For children’s costumes, which are at times sold when a customer contacts me, I do not include the earring facets on the end. I leave the ends with a little bit of extra gold twine so that they can be tied to the belt once the costume has arrived. This is safer for the little ones.

Sizing: When placing an order I ask for a few details so that I can make your gown the correct size. I ask for your clothing size, your measurements of bodice, waist and hips, and your height. When it comes to the style of this gown, you can expect it to seem a tad bit oversized initially and that is because this gown is a shift styled gown, meaning it falls straight down with no real shape to it until you add the belt. This gown needs to be wide enough so that you can pull it over your hips easily and have room in the leg area to walk. I have on many occasions received comments such as “I want this really form fitting, really tight in the bodice” and despite such requests, that is again simply done with the belt added and based on the style of this particular gown, I can only slim it down so much.

Size varies by US, UK, Euro for the most part so I may clarify your size if internationally located. In some cases I may confirm measurements if I want to just make sure. Please understand that my ability to make the right size gown is based first on your size and measurements sent. The rest is then up to me.

*click this image to enlarge

Construction Time: Unless listed as a ready to wear item in the listing, all gowns are custom listings and take 1.5-3 weeks to make. The listing you are ordering will say how long your wait time is, it may only be a week depending on the season and my current orders. Currently it is set at 2 weeks or sooner-as of 9/22/14. If this changes I will notify you both here and in the listing itself so it is clear to you when placing an order as I know many of you are coordinating with conventions, parties and the like throughout the year.

In order to cater to the vast majority of customers I needed to establish a standard in relation to what I offer for this costume meaning that I needed to decide how I was going to construct this costume for the general public. I decided to leave the sides and front bodice open low as in the original. This way it is as the show and the customer should know that if they find it too revealing when it is on, they will be expected to sew up the sides and bodice ever so slightly themselves.

I put every single costume made on a mannequin that is size appropriate to the measurements sent so that I can see how it falls and fits with belt and everything together. I pull the belt tight and lace it and then add the wings to the underside and in many cases, sew up some of the sides and bodice based on customer requests that come in. Customers in many cases send requests such as “please sew up the sides and front a bit more for me” and things of that nature. When on the mannequin and belted I do my best to make these openings perfect however I cannot guarantee that they will be exact to what you want. In order to cater to the vast majority of you, and with my best intentions at heart, you may still need to pick up a sewing needle and a bit of thread and make a few alterations here or there. 

Due to this, I sell this costume lower than others despite the hand dying, hand painting, hand cutting and overall blue feet and gold t-shirt stained self, so that you don’t freak because you paid $300+ for a costume and had to pull out a sewing needle and tack up the bodice slightly. This is my way of compromising with my customers a bit I suppose. This small amount of hand sewing to alter the gown is not difficult. It only takes a few minutes to alter these areas, and that is if they are even necessary. The way I look at it, if Don Draper (yes, from Mad Men) can sew a button on a shirt then a customer can alter a few areas if she feels she needs to, none of which is more challenging than sewing a button on.

Alterations: If you find your underarms are too low and revealing you will want to sew them up by hand sewing from the bottom of the area upward toward your shoulder. You will pinch the fabric seams together and sew upward, ¼” inward from the outer edge. Sew up to where you want the arm opening to be. Do the same with the other arm opening, comparing it to the other side to make sure they are even.

With the bodice you will do the same, pinching the seams together from the lower area upward until you want the opening to be. If you want the outfit to be revealing while also not having a wardrobe malfunction, you will find there are a number of items on the market such as body tape in which to hold costume areas in place. I have not used these before but I know they are available at shops like Joanns and probably even the drug stores in some cases.

If you find your cape is not falling smoothly in back then you will want to carefully snip out the hand sewn thread that has held the wings onto the gown  (not the cape-just the gown), reposition the wings, and tack on once again. The cape is connected to the gown at the shoulder blades but is again attached to the gown by way of small fabric wings sewn on the underside of the cape. This is similar to in the show with the purpose of keeping the cape from pulling out too far from the gown. When attaching the wings to the gown keep in mind that they are attached to both the outer sheer fabric and the lining.

I like to mention this about some slight hand sewn alterations you may need for the sole purpose of being up front with you on what you can expect when your costume arrives. I want you to be happy with your order and I want your costume to fit well. No one wants to be running around in a nightgown fit for an elephant and so it is the intent of this blog post to offer you details on what you can expect when your order arrives.

If however you have any issues with your order please let me know. I had a customer once leave a comment in which she wanted a return and never got one because she felt the costume was too big. Despite a sizing issue, I am always left in a state of wonderment over this since in reviewing the details, she had been offered a return from the very start, all funds including the payment to ship the item back were sent. I also had a customer say once that she never received her item and it was too late for a refund. This is absolutely not true. There is no way someone could be in business like I am, working online in such a transparent manner and have a bad business rap like that. If, and in that particular case, the postal code was entered wrong and the post office shipped it to..well, I’m still not sure?, the customer had the choice of a return (goods might still be MIA but I would return funds as her item was never received and the post office wasn’t sure where it was), or she could be offered another costume. She picked the costume choice and her new costume was again shipped out, this time with a check that the postal code issue didn't happen again. 

And so in short, not to make it sound as though I am perfect because none of us are, if you have any concerns as to whether you will receive a costume when you order one or in time for an event, the answer is yes! Despite being beholden to the postal service just like everyone else, I am very familiar with shipping within the United States as well as internationally. I know their shipping details very well, I know how long it will take me to make a costume in the heat of summer or throughout monsoon season and have it ready to ship, and I know how long a package should take for a costume to arrive. 

This is the very first costume I made. I would today consider this to be a larger size, more like an xl, and this was before the bottom hem was finished. When constructing the first gown I wanted it to be flowy and big enough to fit on my sewing doll. It fit, even if it appears a bit oversized. The images shown on the plastic mannequin are of smaller sized costumes in which the gown is too small to fit on the sewing doll. 

Pricing: Pricing for this costume is $135 + shipping for the entire costume in the adult women's size. For baby khaleesi costumes the price is $45 up to a size 2/ 2T, and $55 for a size 3 to size 7/8. Junior sizing is the same as adult pricing.

For those interested in separate costume pieces, please contact me for a custom listing. The gown is available without the shoulder blades, belt and garland for $105 (just the dress with the lining and the  attached cape). Separately the belt is $40, the shoulder blades are $25, and the foam stone garland set is $23.

Shipping: All packages shipped within the United States are shipped out usps priority 2 day delivery (once finished and packaged, which is part of the construction time), except for locations such as Hawaii and Alaska, in which case the shipping time will be more like 4 or so days for delivery. All international orders are shipped out first class if they are under 4 pounds. I ship to Puerto Rico but it takes 8-10 days to arrive. IPO's take longer and depends on your location but you knew that already.

If the package is more than four pounds then it will have to be shipped usps priority. There is no tracking offered for international packages unless the customer wants to go with usps express. A few countries offer tracking with the service of usps priority, however most do not. If you know for a fact that your country will offer tracking for priority packages, then you are free to upgrade to priority shipping (instead of express) and I will provide the tracking number once your item has been shipped. In most cases for shipping upgrades I simply send you a shipping listing to order on etsy for the additional funds. 

All khaleesi gowns weigh a little over a pound so they are shipped first class. First class does not provide tracking of any kind, and all I have to provide proof of shipping is the receipt and customs form. If a package has not arrived it can be tracking by way of the customs number. This is done through the postal service and may take a few days possibly in order to find out if it was marked received or returned, or in a strange case I suppose, marked lost. If the postal service says that the item was lost or returned, the customer will be offered a return or I can make and ship a new costume and I will handle the ‘finding and return’ of the original costume with the help of the postal service. 

If however your costume was marked as received by your postal carrier, then I will not be held responsible, just as I am not responsible for any sales or taxes imposed on your package from that of your own country. This has not come up before but if it did, that is my policy. In regards to taxes , here in the US we do not have it where, if we were ordering something internationally, you would have to pay a tax on the item. I do know however that certain locations like the United Kingdom do and in many cases, a customer will not receive their item in their postal box but instead receive a note saying they must go to their local postal shop and pick up the package while also paying the tax on the item. These are the circumstances I am referring to in which I have no control and can only offer you information as I have received it from customers or the postal service prior to your order.

For usps express shipping -> This service provides tracking for the package, which seems to be updated every few days as it passes through postal check points and then at customs. It is then up to the policies and procedures of that country’s customs department to upload tracking details.  You can expect express shipping in the US, which is usually 1-2 days for arrival, to have a tracking number and I always allow for the package to be marked left at door so that the customer needs to be mindful that their package will be left at their location if they are not at home. The customer can expect to pay a total of around $25+ for express shipping. Rural areas throughout the country and locations like Hawaii and Alaska should assume an additional day or two for delivery.

For international orders with the request for express shipping please note that shipping is subject to your country’s customs and delivery times. This is the same as first class and priority international shipping however the price for this shipping service is around $50+ to ship expedited. The rate of time on average seems to be around 8-10 days to locations like the UK, perhaps longer to places like Italy. I personally am not entirely convinced that express packages arrive any faster but some customers do want tracking, while others want the package faster that regular shipping time as they know their package will arrive quickly. I would say based on experience that in the states express shipping is very quick and is as close to overnight delivery that the postal service provides. For international orders however, I do wonder at times so I will offer it if the customer wants it, however I honestly cannot promise that the package will arrive in the exact time they say it will.

For domestic US shipping the rate is $12 (or less) for priority 2-3 day with tracking. Some states such as HI may take a few additional days for delivery.

For International shipping the standard rate is $18 to Canada and $20 elsewhere (or less) for First Class (no tracking available) with an average delivery process time of approx. 12 days. The postal service says the shipping time is less that that however my experience has been that it takes a little longer. The postal service estimate is based on what they expect customs will take for delivery and every country is slightly different with their policies. 

Final details: I used to include a sewing kit with every order however I worried that including it was slowing down the packages at customs so I do not include them anymore, just a small little notions bag with some extra thread and gold twine if needed. Please keep in mind that you may need a sewing needle, scissors and some thread to make minor alterations once your costume arrives.

Can you get a custom costume still in time for Halloween? 
Yes! ;)

I think I covered all of the details however if you still have any questions please let me know on etsy at www.Craftzies.etsy.com and you can find the costume for sale directly via this listing -> https://www.etsy.com/listing/196755374/game-of-thrones-themed-princess-daenerys?ref=shop_home_active_2

Lindsay J

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