Frequently Asked Questions

Why isn't there a button to add the design I like to a cart?

I only accept 20 orders at a time for wrap dresses, pinafore, and kimono dresses. I generally accept orders once every couple of weeks. During that time all listings will be switched to available and you can check out like normal. Once I hit 20 orders, I'll switch everything back and the cart button will disappear from larger items. You have to be quick; the spots tend to fill up in 2-5 minutes from February through October. Check out how orders work and how to find out when my next order acceptance date will be on the How to Order page.

When is you next order date?

I don't pick out an order date until I'm sure I can dedicate the time to it, which is usually 5-7 days before the actual date. If I have a date picked out, it will be announced in the store's Blog and will also be posted via Facebook, Instagram, and the email newsletter. If no date is currently posted, I do not know when I will be taking orders again.

Why does everything cost so much?

Most of the price goes to materials and taxes. California is extremely unfriendly to small businesses, so approx. half of my profits go to taxes after everything is said and done. Most of my supplies also aren't available for wholesale (unless I switch to low quality fabrics), so all of the material adds up pretty quickly. Prices are calculated so that I make $10-12 an hour (up to $15 for really frustrating designs) after taxes and materials. Sorry about that  XD I'm as upset as you guys about it.

Can I see a picture of on a person?

1/16/2018 Update - I'm working on getting a Customer Photos gallery up and running on the new site. I'll be constantly updating it, so keep checking back for more fabulous customer photos <3

If I have pictures of the particular design that I've taken, it will be in the listing gallery already. I do, however, have a HUGE gallery of photos that customers have sent back that I do not post in the galleries. The Customer Photos section has a variety of pictures of different styles on many different body types. I love that it also shows how things can look under different circumstances. You get to see mirror shots straight out of the package, fully styled cosplay outfits, formal wear, casual, wrinkled vs unwrinkled, cell phone vs dSLR...it's pretty neat!

What is a pinafore?

A pinafore is a clothing accessory rather than a piece of clothing itself. This makes it super versatile and able to accommodate multiple styles unlike full dresses. I've seen customers use my pinafores as a variety of things: clothing, lolita fashion, lingerie, costume, apron, work uniform, art smock....the list is endless.

How do I wear a pinafore?

What style are you going for? For a simple yet sexy look, I like to pair my pinafores with corsets (or bustiers) and a petticoat. If you're looking for a more cutesy look, they go great over dresses and frilly blouses. I've even seen them over jeans. Remember, it's a clothing accessory and there is no right or wrong way to wear it. Make it work for you style and whatever you think is the most comfortable.

How does sizing work?

In general I have a standard size that I cut most pinafores at. For pinafores that can tie at the front, these skirts easily wrap around  the waist and easily tighten to accommodate smaller sizes. Pinafores that tie in the back (usually pinafores that have belt details or mini aprons) can be tightened when tied. For much smaller sizes, the skirt can be tied into itself (much less painful than it sounds) to make a ruffle butt and smaller waist. For this reason I do typically recommend that you get custom sizing if you want a design that ties in the back.

Kimono dresses are made based on your measurements, so there is no standard size. Please include all measurements in the description. The most important measurements are the waist and the bust. The others can be approximate.

Printed items and wrap dresses are the only things in the store that follow a set size chart. Please measure yourself closely and find the size that fits you best. When in doubt for Printed items, size down; they are very stretchy and can accommodate two sizes larger. It all depends on how clingy you want the outfit.

What is the standard pinafore size?

I generally cut the skirts with a 37-39 inch waist if no waist measurement is provided at checkout. This makes them ideal for 36-inch waists and smaller. I do recommend leaving your waist measurement if possible, though, so it's not too big or too small. I also use your provided waist measurement to estimate your bodice size, so it's always a better idea to leave your measurement if you happen to know it.

Do you offer custom sizing?

I do! I just need your waist measurement for a custom pinafore size since the bodice and hips are free sizes.  To do this you would just need to add your waist measurement after you add your design to your cart. From that measurement I'll add 2-3 inches to the waist so you have some wrap and wiggle room. For larger sizes the bodice can be extended only an inch on each side before it starts to warp. Most of the time I will extend this bodice automatically for those with waists of 36 or more. It is best, however, to say that you want the larger bodice in the notes section when checking out.

Kimono dresses will require more exact measurements which can be found in the listing descriptions. Keep in mind that most of the measurements can be approximate since the jackets of the kimono dresses have an extremely loose fit; most of the shaping will be made by you when you pleat and fold it. The waist measurement is the most important measurement to have correct since the elastic has to be cut smaller than your actual waist size.

Wrap dresses can not be custom sized since the bodices have some tailoring. Using your measurements, you'll need to pick the size that best accommodates your body from the provided size chart.

Printed items can not come in custom sizes at this time. Sorry XD

How much does custom sizing cost?

Nothing! Custom sizing is complimentary since it doesn't use any extra fabric. This does affect the skirt length of larger waist sizes though. The larger the waist, the shorter the skirt. If you're worried about the length of the skirt, please message me ahead of time with your waist measurement and the design you're interested in so I can let you know approx. how long the skirt will be.

Correct custom sizing for kimono dresses and skirts with waist measurements larger than 40 inches may cost more in fabric and should be cleared before placing an order. You can still to go with the fabric available and request the free custom sizing, but the jacket and skirt might be pretty short. If an order for a kimono dress is placed with plus sized measurements and I have not been contacted and set up a custom listing beforehand, I will assume you want the free custom sizing and carry on from there (since this is the option most people choose) 

How long is the skirt?

With the exception of wrap dresses, tea length skirts, and printed items, skirts are approximately 15-17 inches long for waist measurements between 25 and 40 inches. Some of the suiting fabrics come on a wider bolt and can be made a little longer without needing extra fabric. Any skirt with elastic (including those used with kimono dresses) can be 1-2 inches shorter to make room to fit the skirt over hips or shoulders.

Can you make them longer?

Yes, but it costs more and affects the design. To even add one inch of length to a circle skirt, I automatically have to double the fabric required. It also puts a seam down the center of the skirt in many cases. If you still want to lengthen the skirt, please message me with you waist measurement, desired design, and desired skirt length for a price quote for the extra fabric. For most designs using solid fabric, the average upgrade cost is $12-16. You can ask for a quote using the Contact page.

I don't want to pay to lengthen the skirt (or didn't read the FAQ before ordering), but I want something longer. What can I do?

The best solution is to wear a corresponding skirt underneath. For example, if you are wearing the Heartless Honey Pinafore and want to cover a bit more, simply add either a black or red skirt underneath in the length you want. Plain skirts can be easy to find in stores that sell basics for women. They also add an adorable third layer to the outfit as a whole. If I'm going for a more moderate look, I often pair a pinafore with a knee-length lolita skirt. (Example)

How do I wear a wrap dress if it's not sealed?

Like with all of my clothes, I always wear something under a wrap dress. At minimum, I wear a camisole and bloomers under any skirt or dress and this is no different for wrap dresses. I usually like to up the fancy with wrap dresses, though, and throw on a petticoat underneath. I also use one of my wrap dresses as a beach coverup since it's easy to remove and can be extra adorable when your leg plays peek-a-boo with the split. In general, it really depends on how you want to wear it  =)  Go fancy with a lace cami and petticoat or beach casual with a swimsuit and flip flops! 

How long do they take to make?

I used to be able to get most orders out in 2-4 weeks, but I'm now a full-time mama to a lovely baby girl, so my current construction times range from 2-8 weeks. I'll list current construction times at the top of the homepage. Remember, Darling Army is not so much a company as it is a hobby with me as the only worker. I am not an established business with multiple workers, a warehouse, and industrial machines. Homemade takes a little time  =)

Items from the Printed section take approximately the same amount of time before I can ship them to you. I do typically send them out closer to four weeks, though, so they generally go out sooner than larger items since most parts aren't sewn by me.

If there are any circumstances that will change the construction times (illness, moving, upcoming trip, etc.), it will be noted at the top of the store and likely acknowledged in the Blog.

You just accepted new orders when mine hasn't shipped yet from the last batch; what gives?

Since supplies can take up to two weeks to get to me, I like to order supplies early. That means the orders from the previous batch are still being completed. I do this so I don't accept orders and then  have 1-2 weeks of nothing to do because I'm waiting. This way I can start on them as soon as I finish the previous batch.

How long does shipping take?

Domestic shipping (United States) typically takes 2-5 business days.

International shipping is a little trickier. On average, international shipping take 5-10 business days. This is not guaranteed. Because your country's customs checkpoint has the right to hold any package that comes into their country, there may be shipping delays. They can legally hold the package for as long as they want and the only way to speed that up is to ship Global Express

Do you offer express shipping?

Yes. But you have to make sure you clear it with me first since pinafores are made to order and might not be ready to ship by the time you need them. Make sure you message me BEFORE you order if you have a specific date. If I start on something and you try to cancel the order because it won't be there in time for the con, you'll be liable for the cost of supplies I bought and used in the process.

If I approve the date you need the item by before you place the order, please leave the date you need it in the notes section when checking out as a reminder to me. I get an average of 20 messages a day and will not keep track of who needs what when since I get many repeat names and orders.

Can I buy patterns from you?

No. And I don't say this to be mean and monopolize on my designs. I'm a freecutter and can't read or make patterns. I really just don't know how. I've been making pinafores long enough so that I know exactly what I'm doing, but I could never explain or draft out how to do it.

I did make my own patterns for the wrap dress, but they're drafted on newspaper and extra scrap fabric, so they're more or less just things for me to keep around to reference when I'm cutting new orders.

Can't you just add a back to a pinafore and make it a dress?

No. This is much more difficult than it sounds. Since I'm rubbish with patterns, I would have to  try and construct a custom one on a dress form which would take me the majority of a day (or two  XD). It would also compromise the design and functionality of a pinafore instantly making it less versatile.

 Do you offer payment plans? Can I make a deposit to hold my spot?

Goodsie (the store builder I use) does not offer payment plans or allow me to accept deposits. You can, however, checkout with Paypal's Bill Me Later (now called Paypal Credit) option. They will pay me up front, you will get your design in the mail, and then you will just need to pay the amount over the next six months to Paypal. After your initial order, you would deal with Paypal for payments and not me or my site  =)  I have had a couple girls choose this option and they assured me it worked just fine.

 I don't have a credit card/Paypal. Do you accept cash?

I don't accept cash, but there is a way for you to order if you only have physical money. Mastercard and Visa offer loadable "credit cards." You can find them at many grocery stores, gas stations, and Wal-Marts around the US. You simply give your money to the cashier and they will load it onto the card, essentially making it into a gift card. Because the cards are linked to a credit card number, you can use it to purchase things online, including things in my store. Just make sure you have the full amount on the card since the transaction won't go though if you're short even a couple cents.