I might have known that putting an Independent pattern company up against any other pattern option would be guaranteed to get me bossed into making up that independent company’s pattern. And thus, for my March Monthly Stitch project, I was bossed into making up By Hand London’s Elisalex dress.
I made this up properly, starting with a muslin and ending with a lot of hand stitching. The skirt ended up longer than I thought it was going to. For some reason, I thought it would be below-knee-length. As drafted, however, it is more like mid-calf on me. Obviously, I only muslined the bodice, not the skirt. Since the skirt is really shaped, cutting it off on the bottom would have wrecked the style lines. As it turns out I rather like the old-fashioned vibe of the longer skirt with this fabric, though I might like to try a shorter one at some point. The bodice, was the perfect length, but I gave it a little bit of extra waist room. The sleeves needed a couple of inches of bicep width added (because I have such thick muscles there, really). Overall, I don’t think the alterations for this dress were excessive or overly complicated. I was working with the size 14/18 for the upper bodice, grading out to 16/20 at the waist, but ended up taking in some of the waist width after attaching the skirt (yes, even though I had done a muslin), so I might just do a size 14/18 if I make another version.
The neckline on this is wide and dips low in the back, but not low enough to show anything. It’s just about perfect, though, because of where the neckline ends in back it’s impossible to hook it myself so I need help getting in and out of my dress. You will also notice that I have an invisible zipper instead of an exposed one. I was going for an elegant vibe, so wanted the closures to be unobtrusive.
Because I was fitting as I sewed, my construction order differed from what the pattern instructions called for. The lining is hand sewn at the back edges and along the waist. I used a mystery lining out of my stash. It was pressing so nicely as I sewed that I got curious and did a burn test. It turned out to be silk; what a lovely surprise.
The main fabric is a home-decor 100% cotton jacquard. Instructions said dry-clean, so I put it through the washer/dryer before cutting out my dress. It held up just fine. The selvege says it was treated with “Bloomguard”, so I’m water- and stain-protected when I wear it to lunch like I did today.
I’m not going to ask if you noticed my hat. Not even the giant sofa-appropriate roses on my dress (none of which ended up in any awkward places as far as I can see) can distract from the utter awesomeness that is my blue vintage hat. I bought it nearly a year ago from Lil’ Gypsy, a wonderfully curated vintage and costume shop in Salem, Oregon which I will highly recommend you visit if you find yourself in downtown Salem with some time to spare. I’m glad to finally have a dress that seems to coordinate with the hat.
The fabric is from my stash (though originally from Fashion Fabrics Club and I think still available there)
Stash Busting Stats: 19/50 projects. 36 yards.