I’m posting the second Elisalex dress I made first, as the first one I made is still not finished – I just have to sew the lining in on the inside. I wore this version on Saturday to a friend’s wedding, having finished it an hour before I had to leave the house. Some might say I left it until the last minute, I would say it was finished in the perfect amount of time!
It’s made from a heavy, probably upholstery weight green and white stripey cotton from Rolls and Rems in Holloway. You can’t see the stripes from a distance, but it’s really pretty. I bought 3 metres but have loads left – any ideas what I can make from really thick fabric? I’m thinking maybe a pleated skirt of some kind?
Here’s a close up:
I had to make a few changes to the pattern, but luckily not too much – I’m not sure I have the skill level for a bust adjustment just yet!
I cut out a size 8, grading to a size 10 at the waist, on the side seams only (I didn’t want to mess with the princess seams) as those were the closest measurements to mine. I cut out a size 10 on the bottom as I figured it would be easier to ease a bit out of the skirt than the bodice. As it turns out, the 2 pieces fitted together rather nicely. I’m quite pleased with how I got the seams and pleats lined up:
When I cut out the pattern I realised that it was way too long for my 5’2” frame, so I cut off 20cm from the skirt length before I cut out my fabric (which might be partly why I needed much less fabric than suggested). I then sewed a 3cm hem to get the length to just above my knees.
I didn’t have a 22” zip, as the pattern suggested – I think the zip is meant to go all the way down the back? So I used a 19” zip instead, from my stash. Because it was from my stash, it’s yellow – it was the best one I could find and I didn’t have the time to go and buy another, more matching one. I managed to hide it so you can’t see it when the dress is on – I’m getting much better at zips than when I made my first dress!
Part of the reason I’m getting better at zips is because I must have sewed the 2 zips for my 2 Elisalex’s about 10 times between them. This wasn’t just me being rubbish, but me trying to get the back to fit better. This was the main change I had to make – I sewed the zip(s) in with a 2.5cm seam allowance, going up to 5cm at the neck, for the top 2 inches or so. When I put the zip in as instructed, the back gaped loads and taking fabric out of the zip seam allowance seemed like the best way to get it to fit – there might be better ways, but I had made pretty much the whole dress at this point and was too lazy to unpick it and work out a better way to fit it. You can see from this picture that I have a narrow back – I look much thinner from the back than the front! It’s still not perfect, but I tried it with even less ease and I couldn’t really breathe, so I compromised for comfort!
I used a bit of old gingham I had lying around for the lining. This is the first time I’ve lined anything and I really like it – the instructions are really clear and the pattern comes together nicely, so it was a good introduction to linings. It was also quite necessary to have something a bit softer next to my skin!
I’m quite pleased with how neat it all looks from the inside – this is by far the neatest of any of the insides of anything I’ve made so far. I even did french seams on the side seams of the skirt, so it all looks lovely!
The only other change I made (I just remembered) was I took 12cm off the short sleeve length as otherwise they would have come down to my elbows. I made the sleeved version so that I can wear it with cardigans in the winter – and it won’t look as odd as wearing a sleeveless dress in winter.
I was worried the dress would feel restrictive and not very comfortable, but aside from getting a bit warm with all the dancing at the wedding, I forgot what I was wearing, so that’s got to mean it was comfy! I might give the bodice a go with a circle skirt like lots of other people have done – this pattern is definitely a winner!