Sorry I didn't post last week. I have no good excuse for that, and I am trying hard to actually post weekly now, but at least this time I didn't just fall completely off the posting bandwagon again. I have made some progress on my projects this week, including a very successful try-on of the mock-up of the tutu panty and bodice. They fit on the first try, so I don't even have to make any adjustments to the pattern. That's always a win.
But today, I really want to share my experience with the website DHgate. DHgate is a website based out of China that is a little bit similar to Etsy in that it allows consumers to buy from many different merchants from a single website. Unlike Etsy, it doesn't focus on vintage and handmade goods. They sell manufactured items. This is the website where I found these boots that I wanted for my Batgirl costume:
And this leads me to one of the things that impressed me most about the website: DHgate holds onto your payment until you verify that you received your item AND that you're satisfied with it before they release the payment to the seller, and if necessary, they facilitate returns.
When my boots came, I chose to give them a chance rather than immediately send them back for being the wrong color because I could also use a good pair of hiking boots. The fit isn't perfect, but that isn't really the sizing being off--these were men's boots, so I had to estimate my size in the first place. They are slightly big, but not by much, so thick socks should fix the problem.
But fit obviously wasn't the only concern. If these were going to be serious hiking boots and not just a costume piece, they also needed to be good quality. They are made of good leather, probably Veg tanned and oil hardened. I don't know the exact thickness, but it is nice and sturdy. The stitching both on the upper and connecting the upper to the sole is good quality, and the sole is both stitched and glued on--also a good thing. The sole itself is strong and has deep tread. So it passed the quality inspection too.
Now for the color. The boots that came were tan instead of yellow. If I were just getting them as hiking boots, I would probably have ordered that in the first place because it's a more normal shoe color, but as already stated, they're for my Batgirl costume. The specific design of Batgirl that I'm trying to recreate wears yellow boots, not tan, so they seemingly fail that criterion.
That's where the Dreamstress will hopefully save my butt. I found this tutorial on re-dying leather shoes on her site, and I have ordered the dye she recommended. I kind of expect the shoes to end up a darker yellow than I originally wanted, but still acceptable. I'll let you know the verdict on that after I actually use the dye. I'm a little nervous about it, but at least they're hiking boots, so if the color ends up weird, I won't mind as much as I would with something more fashion-oriented.
Summary: I was very pleased with the customer service at DHgate and from the specific seller I used. DHgate offers pretty good protection against getting ripped off by the individual sellers (not that I had that problem, but I have only purchased from one). The quality of the boots is very good. They were not the color I ordered, but that was not a mistake; it was a substitution for an out-of-stock item, and they communicated the situation to me clearly. I am happy with my experience. If they have something I'm looking for at the best price, I would use them again.