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hollymessinger

Custom Victorian, Steampunk and Superhero costumes

947 Sales

hollymessinger

Custom Victorian, Steampunk and Superhero costumes

947 Sales On Etsy since 2007

5 out of 5 stars
(227)

Announcement   Thanks for your patronage over the years, but I will not be taking any more orders for the foreseeable future. I am retiring from costuming to focus on my writing career. My first novel, THE CURSE OF JACOB TRACY, will be out from Thomas Dunne books December 1st, 2015. You can pre-order it in hardcover or ebook on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Curse-Jacob-Tracy-Holly-Messinger/dp/1250038987/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Thanks!
Holly

Website: www.hollymessinger.com
Blog: www.theliteraryassassin.blogspot.com

Announcement

Thanks for your patronage over the years, but I will not be taking any more orders for the foreseeable future. I am retiring from costuming to focus on my writing career. My first novel, THE CURSE OF JACOB TRACY, will be out from Thomas Dunne books December 1st, 2015. You can pre-order it in hardcover or ebook on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Curse-Jacob-Tracy-Holly-Messinger/dp/1250038987/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Thanks!
Holly

Website: www.hollymessinger.com
Blog: www.theliteraryassassin.blogspot.com

Holly Messinger

Contact shop owner

Holly Messinger

Reviews

Average item review
5 out of 5 stars
(227)
Harley Greco

Harley Greco on Jul 21, 2016

5 out of 5 stars

I bought this pattern a few years ago and used it over and over till it finally died. I love it so much i needed it in digital!

Alaina Danio

Alaina Danio on Jun 11, 2016

5 out of 5 stars

THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING PURCHASE I HAVE EVER MADE

Emily Rivas

Emily Rivas on Jun 19, 2015

5 out of 5 stars

Just got it yesterday :) it's beautiful. Thank you very much Xoxo-Emma

View all 227 reviews

About

the drama of it all

First and foremost, I'm a writer, but I've always been drawn to music, dramatics, and theater--both the performance and the technical aspects of make-believe. My mom taught me to sew when I was little, and as a teenager I helped outfit several school musicals and a couple of Renaissance faires.

After college I started going to the local science fiction convention, hoping to make some literary connections. Of course, being the narcissist I am, I was instantly attracted to the masquerades and hall costumes. I made my first Harley Quinn costume in 2002, at a time when there were no ready-made costumes available. I really knew very little about the character, I just liked her outfit! So it was a big shock to me when my pictures hit the internet, and suddenly strangers were emailing me, begging me to make them a Harley costume.

Costuming has exploded in the past decade and my business has grown with it. I do a lot of spandex work, which I enjoy because I love the human figure, but my true sartorial love is the bustle era: corsets and flounces and swags and pleats.

I love bold design, duo-tone color schemes, and lots of texture. Velvet, PVC, leather and silk are all favorites. For my most extensive sewing gallery go to www.hollymessinger.deviantart.com.

And by the way, I still write. In fact I just signed a contract with Thomas Dunne Books to publish my gothic Western novel, "The Curse of Jacob Tracy."

Visit hollymessinger.com to see all the projects I have my fingers in. Or go to hollymessinger.deviantart.com to see the most comprehensive collection of my costuming work.

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Shop members

  • Holly Messinger

    Owner, Maker, Designer

    I love all things stretchy, silky, slinky and sexy! My mother and grandmother taught me to sew when I was very young, and I've never stopped playing dress-up.

Shop policies

Last updated on August 10, 2016
I am currently closed to new orders. Occasionally you will find surplus listings or "closet clean-out' items for sale in the shop, but for the most part I am closed for the costuming business as of Feb 2015. The details below are left for historical reference.



FAQ:

DO YOU STILL MAKE SUCH-AND-SUCH COSTUME YOU MADE FIVE YEARS AGO? WILL YOU MAKE ME ONE?

Probably. 99% of the time I keep my "regular" line of costumes up and available in the shop, so check there first. If there isn't currently a listing in the shop, or if you want something special, Convo me.

Generally I like to have 4-10 weeks to complete and ship a costume. Turnaround may be longer during the Halloween season (which starts in late summer, for me).

I reserve the right to charge a rush fee if you ask for a faster turnaround, but I know my schedule makes things a little weird for you guys, so if you give me enough warning I'll try to accomodate you.


HOW MUCH DO THEY COST?

The range right now for most of what I do is between $400-1000. I charge $25/hour for labor, with materials & shipping on top of that. The cost of spandex and shipping has almost doubled in the 10 years I have been doing this.


HOW MUCH IS THE HARLEY QUINN COSTUME?

The spandex suit is $410(+shipping). This includes the suit, hood with attached collar, gloves, ruffles, booties, and a mask if you like. Check out the pics attached to the pattern listing to see what everything looks like. Certain design modifications, such as making the collar detachable, are extra.
NOTE: I AM NO LONGER OFFERING THE PVC SUIT DUE TO SEVERAL FACTORS, INCLUDING THE UNPREDICTABILITY OF FABRIC QUALITY.


HOW MUCH FOR JUST THE HOOD? CAN I BUY THE COSTUME A PIECE AT A TIME?
You can, but please understand if you do, your colors may not match exactly. I order fabric in small batches from different suppliers, and the textures and dye lots will vary, especially in the reds.

Individual pieces are priced as follows (not including shipping):
HOOD: $110
COLLAR: $35
BODYSUIT: $150
GLOVES: $35
BOOTIES: $90
WRIST RUFFLES: $35
Note also, I give a slight discount when you order the whole costume, so it is actually more expensive to buy it a piece at a time.
I AM NO LONGER OFFERING THE PVC SUIT DUE TO THE UNPREDICTABILITY OF FABRIC QUALITY.


CAN I GET JUST THE PATTERN FOR THIS ONE PART OF THIS COSTUME?

I do not sell or give away parts of patterns. Everything is sold as packaged.


DO YOU MAKE OTHER PATTERNS? CAN I BORROW A PATTERN FOR ANOTHER THING YOU MADE? CAN YOU GIVE ME TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE MY COSTUME?

Because I am in the business of sewing costumes, it is not in my best interest to give away all my secrets. The few patterns I sell are available in the shop; if you don't see it there, it's not for sale. And for God's sake don't ask me for free advice. It makes me cranky.


CAN I RENT/BORROW A COSTUME? CAN I GET ONE THAT'S NOT CUSTOM-MADE?

I do not keep any in stock. Everything I make is custom-order only.


THAT'S A LOT OF MONEY. CAN I PAY YOU HALF NOW AND HALF LATER? WILL YOU MAKE ME A COSTUME AND HOLD IT UNTIL I CAN PAY YOU?

Short answer: Not on regular shop items, No. (See Additional Information, bottom of the page, about custom work)

Long answer: Because I am a one-woman operation, I have to be efficient with my time and shop space. That means I can't waste time working on a project that I may or may not get paid for. Therefore all orders must be paid in full in advance. And I'm sorry but I CANNOT "hold" sales/places in line for customers unless you have prepaid. It messes up my schedule and it's not fair to other buyers.


WILL YOU MAKE ME A CHEAPER VERSION OF THE COSTUME? CAN I GET A DISCOUNT?

No. I take pride in providing my clients with well-made, well-fitted garments that will last for years and inspire envy in others. Please don't ask me to dilute the quality of my work.


WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG??
Over the years, as the costuming business has exploded and more Asian sweatshops are getting into the business, customers have developed a fast-food mentality toward getting custom work. Frequently I see complaints on message boards about some small costumer's business: "She said it would take 8 weeks but I KNOW she didn't start on it until the week before she shipped it!"

Of course she didn't. There's no reason you should expect otherwise.

Most of my costumes take 16-40 hours to complete. That's 2-7 days. None of us could make money doing this if it took us 8 weeks to complete a costume.

The delivery date is 8-10 weeks out because I have 10-20 orders in front of yours. So please don't email every week wanting updates, or photos, because I simply won't have them until shortly before I ship.


CAN YOU SEND ME SOME WORK-IN-PROGRESS PICS??? :-)

I don't send WIP photos to clients. They are not a good use of my time, and I don't like pictures of my unfinished work spread around the internet. I only send pics if I have some design issue I need the client to approve.


HOW DO I TAKE MY MEASUREMENTS?

The instructions page for Harley Quinn, and most other bodysuits, is here: http://picasaweb.google.com/hollysmess/Etsy#5250047852978120130

Other costumes (i.e. corsets) require specialized measurements charts. I can either send them to you after you place your order, or you may contact me ahead of time and I'll send you the chart you need.

For more information about Custom Orders, see "Additional Information" at the bottom of this page.

Accepted payment methods

  • Pay with Visa
  • Pay with Master Card
  • Pay with American Express
  • Pay with Discover
  • Pay with PayPal
  • Buy with Apple Pay
  • Pay with Sofort
  • Pay with iDeal
  • Accepts Etsy gift cards
Payment
For most sales I accept Paypal or Etsy checkout. No out-of-U.S. Money orders. I can also take payments thru Google wallet. If you prefer Google wallet please select "other" and leave me a message stating your preference.

PLEASE NOTE: Unless I have made other arrangements with you, payment is due within 48 hours of you making the transaction. Buyers who do not make payments and do not contact me will receive negative feedback and will not be permitted to order from me again. Don't buy things if you don't intend to pay for them!

Payment on most items, including the Harley Quinn costumes, is due in full at time of order. Cancellations must be made within 24 hours or up to 40% of the purchase price may not be refundable. I order fabric within a day or so of getting an order so I can stay on schedule.

On first-time custom orders (items I haven't made before) I usually take payments in installments, i.e. half down/half upon completion. After I receive your deposit you have 24 hours to change your mind. After that the deposit is forfeit. See below about my Refund policy.
Shipping
Except in rare cases, all shipping is via U.S. Postal Service. Generally, I ship on Tuesdays and Fridays, so if you order something ready-made from the shop, you should have it in 3-7 days.

For items over $50, the cost of insuring your package is included in the shipping costs. I do not ship costumes without insurance. Everything over $50 ships with a tracking number.

INTERNATIONAL BUYERS: I am happy to ship outside the U.S. in most cases**. Please Convo me for the shipping costs to your location.

**Please be aware of any import duties your country places on American goods. I cannot predict or be responsible for those charges. Because the declared value of my custom costumes is often quite high, you may have to pay a substantial fee to collect your package. Please allow for these charges in your costuming budget so there aren't any rude surprises or last-minute delays. I have no control over import fees, or whether Customs holds your package.

Rush shipping is available at market rates. Please Convo me if you want rush shipping.
Refunds and Exchanges
Generally speaking, all sales are final. Refund of deposit on custom items may be given if cancellation is requested within 24 hours. Refunds on patterns may be given ONLY if you request it before the pattern ships out. I reserve the right to refuse all refunds.

After shipping, all deposits/payments are forfeit. I will be happy to work with you if fitting or design adjustments are needed. Deposits for custom work are non-refundable (including Harley Quinn costumes).

A WORD ABOUT FITTING:

After 6 years in clothing retail and 9 years of custom sewing, I have learned that everybody has a different idea about what "good fit" means. Modern Americans tend to wear our clothes much tighter than people did 20 years ago, partly because great strides have been made in stretch fabrics. Lycra ("spandex") fibers have been incorporated into almost all ready-to-wear, even men's suits.

However, almost no finished garment will have the exact dimensions of the body. If you measure the waistband of your favorite pair of jeans, you will find they are a couple of inches bigger than your actual waist measurement. Without that extra 1-2 inches of "wearing ease," you wouldn't be able to breathe, sit down, or climb stairs.

Ergo, there are certain standards of tailoring/dressmaking that I fall back on when designing a pattern:

~For stretch/spandex costumes, I draft the garment to have a negative ease of 1-4 inches smaller than the body, depending on design, fabric tensile quality, and finished size.

~For fitted non-stretch garments, I allow 1-2 inches of "wearing ease" in the finished piece.

Please understand that video games and comic book graphics distort the human body, and portray clothing fit/construction in a way that is incompatible with real fabrics and their properties. I am pretty good at fitting these days and can get close, but the fit may not be precisely what you have imagined based on those unrealistic images.

When possible, I try to ship the mocked-up garment to you to try on. However due to time constraints this may not always be possible. When in doubt, I will leave extra room in the garment. A costume can always be made smaller; making it larger is often impossible.

I am happy to do a one-time fit adjustment at no additional charge (we split shipping costs) if you inform me of fitting problems within a week of receiving your costume. However, for the absolute best fit, you may want to take your finished costume to an alterations expert near you, and get them to fine-tune the fit to your body. Most of my customers look on these costumes as an investment and plan to put in the time and effort to get the best fit possible--which includes alterations beyond what I can do at a distance.

NOTA BENE (That means, "Pay special attention here!"): By placing an order with me you are agreeing to give me the monies and information I need to complete your costume. That may include: getting measurements to me promptly; providing reference photos; shipping shoes or other accessories for me to modify; etc. Sometimes I may have questions that need your attention days or weeks after you order. Please be sure to provide me with an email that you check regularly, and respond to all my emails promptly. If you do not, there is a chance you will not receive your costume in time, and I definitely will NOT do refunds if I miss a deadline because YOU did not answer my emails.
Additional policies and FAQs
CAN YOU MAKE OTHER KINDS OF COSTUMES? IF I SEND YOU A PICTURE CAN YOU COPY IT? HOW MUCH WILL THAT COST? HOW DOES IT WORK?

I charge $25/hour for custom sewing. This includes the time needed to draw up a pattern. I am happy to draw up custom patterns and/or work from a sketch.

If you send me a picture of what you want, I will do my best to duplicate it, but there are a few caveats:
1. I'm not big on anime. I don't want to discourage people from asking about a costume they love, but generally anime costumes don't excite me, especially the ubiquitous schoolgirl uniform-look. I only take on designs that I find appealing, so please don't be disappointed if I decline to take your order.

2. Many anime and video game character designs are so complex and/or unrealistic that they are not practical in terms of my time and your money. I sew. I do a little leatherwork. I don't build paper maché weapons. There are many good craftsmen out there who make oversized accessories.

3. I'm not the kind of costumer who makes "exact replicas." Very often I will slightly change designs to make them more practical, easier to construct, or simply to reflect my own tastes. Usually these changes are unnoticeable to the casual observer; if the change is major I check with the customer first. Furthermore, my prices don't allow for "exact" replicas of things. "Exact replicas" of movie costumes mean custom-made fabric, injection-molded plastic, latex prosthetics--things I don't do. Making "exact replicas" means three times the labor and three times the price. Just sayin'.

4. I may refuse to recreate fan designs stolen from DeviantArt or personal websites. I may ask you to get permission, from the original artist, to have me recreate their work. I definitely will not rip off designs from other seamstresses. I am pretty familiar with the work of other stitchers on the web. Please don't try to pass off someone else's design as your own because you will get caught.

Once we agree to do business together and I put up a listing with your name on it, you have a set amount of time (usually 7-10 days) to purchase the listing and get me your measurements and payment. The expiration date will be stated in the listing. Setting this time limit allows me to stay on schedule and use my time efficiently.

If for some reason you are unable to go ahead with a sale or you want to delay your order, please let me know right away. I understand that things happen and I am happy to be flexible.

On the other hand, I consider it very rude when people beg me to make them something, and I agree, but after I put up a listing, they don't buy it and I never hear from them again. I will not do business with that person a second time.

Good communication is the key to a successful relationship!