Ever since I saw Amber’s Review for the Toru & Naoko Cassia Set, I wanted it. However, by the time I wanted to make a purchase, the fabric was out of stock! Thankfully, Camila, the owner & designer of Toru & Naoko, was able to source more of the fabric and make more sets. (Shout out to her seamstress Daniela!)
I purchased one of Toru & Naoko’s half-price gift vouchers after seeing them advertised on Instagram by the company and some fans. To my delight, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Cassia set on sale when my voucher went live and snapped it up along with a pair of the party panties. (Both the gift vouchers and the party knickers were used to raise funds for a new studio space.) Consulting their size chart, other reviews, and wading 20+ pages deep into Google searches, I took a size medium, my “standard” size.
Shipping was a very reasonable & affordable $6 to the US. I received my order quickly once it worked its way through the queue and was shipped. My items were beautifully packaged in a vinyl envelope with a postcard and catalogue. Hooray!
Unfortunately, as I started trying things on, all joy dissipated like the air out of a leaky balloon. The fit of the Cassia bra was good: runs slightly small but definitely wearable. The knickers, on the other hand, were TINY. Like… Maybe I could wear them if I were 20 years younger? I managed to squeeze my ass into them, and as such, they’re tight and not particularly flattering. Ehhhh. Not feeling too good about this especially if I’m worried about popping stitches or losing feeling in my lower body.
As for the party panties, they were on the small side as well. Like the Cassia knickers, I was able to get them on, but due to the open “cage” effect, they’re 1) completely uncomfortable and 2) all of my body fat feels like it’s being squeezed out of those openings. Think of a tied roast. You’re welcome for the visual.
I reread Karolina’s review, and she mentioned receiving some extremely tiny medium-sized knickers, too. I then took my measuring tape and measured the waist while flat. The waist is about 10″ across, so roughly 20″ in circumference. The hips are 11″, so approximately 22″ in circumference.
Knits or fabrics with stretch are usually sewn with negative ease (the finished garment is smaller than your actual measurements). This is where stretch and stretch recovery are crucial. For each fabric, stretch and stretch recovery need to be gauged. I do not feel that the “devore” or burnout fabric has the stretch and stretch recovery to expand an additional 15-17″ to fit properly and comfortably over 37-39″ hips. (Please note, flat measurements aren’t exact nor solely indicative of whether or not a garment will fit, but to generally explain a few things, I’m using them.)
I decided to compare the Cassia knickers to other brands’ high-waisted mediums. These brands have similarly sized measurements to Toru & Naoko’s medium. As you can see, the knickers are roughly the same size throughout the hips across three other brands. I also took some measurements, and the hip measurements fall within the 30-32″ depending on the stretch of the fabric. (Again, sizing is not limited to a flat comparison, but for simplification’s sake, most of the fabrics/stretch components are very similar.)
I posted about my experience quickly on Twitter to see if anyone else had similar problems, and I heard back from a couple of lovely ladies who typically wear XS/S and confirmed that they also had fit issues with the knickers. One had received a replacement S (in lieu of the XS that was too small), and even then, it was still too tight to wear comfortably. After some discussion, I can’t help but feel that the amount of stretch in elastics and fabrics are not accounted for across styles and materials. After reading Karolina’s and Esty’s review review from early 2014 and hearing that Toru & Naoko announce a rework of their patterns last year, I had assumed that the fit issues were resolved.
I contacted Camila about the fit issues with my products, and she said that there were no complaints on the sizing for Cassia. She also said that she received feedback from others that the party panties did appear to run small because the elastic used was not as stretchy as other elastics in the past. IMO, if fit varies per design or style, I feel that this should be noted in the item description. Anyway, Camila was undoubtedly polite and friendly and offered me 50% off a future purchase. While I truly appreciate this kind gesture, I am not super confident about purchasing from Toru & Naoko again in the near future.
For me, it’s hard to write about lingerie that I’ve had problems with; even more so with a company that I’ve long admired and still respect. While I like their designs (Cassia was seriously one of my holy grail wishlist pieces) and think that the lingerie is well-made with good craftsmanship, the fit issues are too significant for me to dismiss or overlook. For now, I’m kind of at a loss with to do with my Cassia since I am Miss Matchy Matchy. For now, they’ll be relegated to the bottom of my lingerie drawer until I have the energy to sell it or re-engineer them.
All items within this review were purchased by me. Toru & Naoko did not ask for a review. No affiliate links were used.