In late March/early April, Italian indie lolita brand Tomoyo’s Atelier announced a made to order (MTO) reservation for 3 original prints benefiting those affected by the war in Ukraine. The prints were designed using commercially licensed art from Ukrainian artists, and proceeds from the sale of this series were donated to charities. I immediately fell in love with the maroon colorway of the simple skirt, the “Herbal Apothecary”, which featured a delightful mixture of books, potions, herbs, and skulls on a patterned backdrop.
I placed my order via Paypal after giving detailed measurements for my skirt and matching collar. The brand confirmed my order via Instagram and sent me a screenshot confirming that my skirt had generated a donation for Ukraine.
Tomoyo’s Atelier is operated by just one person, and their MTO ended up being quite popular! The designer posted updates on Instagram, and kept in touch with me via private message. On Monday, August 8, I received shipping confirmation. On Thursday, August 11, I had the package on my front step in Los Angeles, California. I was surprised and delighted by how quick the shipping was.
The Herbal Apothecary
My order was beautifully packaged in a printed hatbox. The package also had some unexpected goodies tucked inside, including tea packets, a pair of ankle socks, and a lavender scent packet (the whole thing smelled so good!)
The “Herbal Apothecary” skirt is a thin cotton (I’d call this quilting cotton in the US) and is fully lined with beige cotton. The designer told me that the fabric was printed in Spain. The hem of the skirt is lined in a crocheted/cluny cotton lace. The interior seams are finished either with raw edges enclosed or with a zig zag stitch. The collar features the “neutral” background of the print in red, and has matching lace and lining.
It’s all in the details
Given that the skirt was made to order, I felt that the amount of shirring was a little excessive. It certainly fits comfortably, but I think it adds a bit more bulk in the back than I would prefer. The designer told me that she hopes to give everyone flexibility in the fit of their garments, so the generous shirring was intentional. If you experience weight fluctuations or don’t love a fitted, restrictive waist, this brand is for you!
Additionally, the bow in the front is sewn in place. While this means my skirt will always have a perfect bow, it does mean that it will be difficult to wear with belts, corsets, or waist cinchers. I think I would have preferred a detached bow or belt (although I’ve also found that turning the skirt around allows me to wear this Black Ribbon Bodice without running into the bow in the front).
My package also came without any order sheet, business card, or flyer. I don’t want tons of excess packaging, however, indie brands, please give me at least a business card! Sometimes I’m gifting the items I buy, and if I don’t have a branded flyer or business card, I can’t brag to my recipient about how great your brand is!
I love the print, which is the perfect mix of cozy and spooky for my wardrobe. The color will go perfectly with so much of my wardrobe. Already, I’ve had fun using this skirt in a coordinate for an elf wizard!
The inclusion of a matching collar (which was included in the price of the skirt) is an excellent idea for skirt designs. I know that many people I’ve talked to say they struggle with coordinating skirts because it can be hard to make them feel cohesive. However, the collar makes it easy to immediately add interest and detail to the top of a coordinate. Even with this simple cutsew, I look really put together!
Tomoyo’s Atelier’s fun print and commitment to charity caught my attention initially, but their solid construction, cute packaging, and lightning fast shipping will make me a repeat customer. Though this release was limited, they have more releases on the horizon, especially for Christmas, which is the designers favorite holiday to create for. You can find them on Instagram, Facebook, and Tiktok.