Completed: the Elisalex Dress

14 Jan

I know I’m SUPER late to the dance party on this, but I just looooove the new goods from my girls over at By Hand London. A pencil skirt with generous ease at the hips?? That made me sit straight up and divert all my attention at once (a feat on it’s own!). So when I was offered to try my hand at the patterns, I responded with an enthusiastic “UHM YES PLEASE!!” and was immeditely given my very own hourglassy pencil skirt pattern of dreams, as long as the Elisalex dress pattern.

Elisalex Dress

I’m going to fully disclose here and let y’all know that I’ve actually been working on this pattern for over a month – we got off to a very rocky start, unfortunately. My first problem stemmed when I couldn’t find any finished measurements listed anywhere in the pattern, and for some reason I had a huge issue with measuring the pieces (which is not the fault of the pattern, I was just basically being a dumbass. It happens.). Once I got the sizing sorted out, the muslin I whipped up gave me the biggest hunchback that you ever did see. Just… oh my god, it looked like I had a growth back there HAHA. I had to cut quite a bit off the center back to get a snug fit – about 1.5″ per side. I hesitate to blame this back on BH, as I’ve seen a few of these dresses in the wild west (aka, internet) and no one has mentioned the size of the back, which would indicate that this is a Lauren-fitting problem, not a poor drafting issue. Happily, the rest of the bodice muslin looked fine, so I cut my fabric, cranked up the music, and started assembling the dress.

Oh, the fabric, by the way. Isn’t it AMAZING!? It was a (super sweet and incredibly thoughtful!)gift from my homegirl Erin of Miss Crayola Creepy. She bought a bunch of this stuff at the LA Garment District, apparently it’s ~Prada~ ooohhh!! Don’t worry, she kept some of it for herself – you can see what she made with it here. I’ve been sitting on this fabric for foreeeeever, just waiting for the perfect pattern to come up. With the marriage of the Elisalex and the dreamy Prada floral twill, I thought I had it made. I HAD IT MADE.

Elisalex Dress

But you know what? That tulip skirt, as beautiful as it is – it really sucks with this drapey, stretchy fabric. Ask me how I know. Wait, no, I’ll tell you. It droops and sags and it looks like a shit sack made out of beautiful fabric. There’s a reason they tell you to use a weighty fabric to make this dress – the skirt needs the structure for those beautiful pleats. I had done goofed, again. Sooooo I threw the bodice on my dressform and gave up for about a month. Womp womp.

Elisalex Dress
I finally pulled the UFO off my dressform last week and decided it was time to asses the situation – normally, I’d throw in the towel at this point, but considering both the fabric and the pattern were given to me with wonderful intentions, I thought it was pretty shitty to just toss them out. So I made it work. I scrapped the droopy skirt and traded it for a circle skirt – I had to shorten it a little to get it to fit on the rest of my fabric, but it works! I sewed some 2″ horsehair braid at the hem to give it some lift and combat any potential droopiness. And then I spent like 3 days handsewing the the lining and hem, bc, FUCK, there is a lot of handsewing involved.

Elisalex Dress
It was worth it, I think πŸ™‚

Elisalex Dress
The finished size ended up being a 6 at the hips/shoulders, grading out to an 8 at the bust. I didn’t bother with a FBA, I think the fit is fine. In the future, I need to lengthen the bodice as it is a bit short on me and hits at a kind of frumpy place… hence the belt.

Elisalex Dress
The back is my favorite part! Love love LOVE that V detail- so pretty!

Elisalex Dress
Here it is without the belt. See what I mean about it being a hair short? It kind of makes me look like a box. A beautiful autumn box (perhaps full of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, mm)

Elisalex Dress
I added a little bit of trim around the neckline and the sleeves as well, to help break up the pattern a bit.

Elisalex Dress
Oh, and I subbed out the exposed zip in favor of an invisible one! Mostly because I really wanted to try out my new Bernina invisible zipper foot πŸ™‚ This fabric did NOT like that invisible zipper – it bunched up soo bad, and I had to rip it out several times. The mess you see right now was the best attempt I managed, haha!

Elisalex Dress

Elisalex Dress

Elisalex Dress
Neon yellow Bemberg rayon lining, courtesy of my remnant hoarding πŸ™‚

This dress is quite comfortable and well-suited for those of us who like to be a bit active, see:
Elisalex Dress
Great for kicking at the cat when she tries to get in the picture frame

Elisalex Dress
Trying to pull the cat out from under the desk because you know she’s totally giving the camera the evil eye and could quite possibly be scaring small children

Elisalex Dress

Elisalex Dress
Aw, so sweet!

Elisalex Dress
Nope, nevermind.

In closing: Elisalex is a YAY, just make sure you muslin that baby out first if you are prone to hunchbackness πŸ™‚ And yes, I have plans for that Charlotte skirt! Just you wait and see!


54 Responses to “Completed: the Elisalex Dress”

  1. Marcy January 14, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    I tried posting my comment and wordpress said it hates me so I’m trying again – sorry if it’s a duplicate.

    I love your dress and hearing how it didn’t turn out perfect in one try, but mostly I love pumpkin spice lattes. My husband buys me fancy lattes on the weekends or when I need cheering up. I was sad when pumpkin season ended but I tried the new vanilla spice and it’s also delicious. Crisis averted.

    • LLADYBIRD January 14, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

      Omgggg yes, pumpkin spice lattes are the bomb! I actually bought the pumpkin spice latte ice cream last night; I would like to report that it doesn’t taste like a pumpkin spice latte. However, it is still delicious and I still ate the fuck out of it haha!

  2. Megan January 14, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    love, love, love the combo of this fabric and pattern. I agree, the v- back is the best. I love that detail on dresses. i’m glad you gave it a second shot, i’m going to keep this very exacmple in mind next time i make a real mess of something.

  3. Jenny January 14, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    Awesome fabric ~ very pretty dress!!

  4. Rochelle New January 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    Bahahaha omg you and that cat, I swear!! I love it. I love it so much. I also love your version of this dress and I can’t wait to see the Charlotte! …and all the other top secret projects you’ve been withholding from me πŸ˜‰

  5. puu January 14, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    fabulous combo of fabric and pattern, and i love the yellow lining. i love how short the circle skirt is, too – it almost looks like it should be too short, but instead it is hot and flattering and rocking those tights. great job.

  6. Elise January 14, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    Ooh this is such a pretty style, I love circle skirts for twirling! πŸ™‚

  7. Michelle January 14, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    This dress is such a classic, great shape. I see it being very versatile. Your version is lovely.

  8. kaitui_kiwi January 14, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    That dress is so cute, I love a ‘v’ at the back and the colour fabric is gorgeous in you, like the touch of black you added too! I have never seen this pattern company before so off to check it out, thanks πŸ™‚

  9. Amanda January 14, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Rad job and love the fabric! I’ve had the pattern sitting in my stash a while now but I’m waiting for the right fabric to make the most out of the pleats… Am thinking a circle skirt could be a winner if I don’t want to weight anymore though…

  10. didyoumakethat January 14, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    That last photo is hilarious! The cat’s wide eyed expression is, ‘Will you just Get. Off. Me.’ The dress is very pretty and I think the fabric looks lovely, even if it was awful to work with.

  11. Claire (aka Seemane) January 14, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    Luv, luv, luv the new dress Lauren πŸ™‚

  12. Houseofpinheiro January 14, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    Done such a great job with all the issues. It’s awesome

  13. gingermakes January 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    This is so cute! I love it on you! The circle skirts makes it so fun and twirly! Shiiiiiiiiit! I REALLY wanna make this dress but I’m sooooo backlogged on projects right now so it may be a while before I get to it. Argh!

    • LLADYBIRD January 15, 2013 at 8:53 am #

      HAHA I’m totally ruining your (sewing)life right now, aren’t I? SORRY NOT SORRY. Get that shit done and come make fun patterns with meeeeee haha! πŸ˜€

      • gingermakes January 15, 2013 at 8:56 am #

        Gotta finish this damn jacket! Argh!!!!!! Maybe I should just quit my job and sew full-time? I’ll just run an extension cord into the park so I can still sew when I’m homeless.

  14. katrina January 14, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Yay for the cat photos! I must admit, after one of your previous posts with her staring out the window, now I always look for her cute kitteh butt by your serger.

    And what a beautiful dress! I especially like the trim around the neckline/sleeves.

    • LLADYBIRD January 15, 2013 at 8:54 am #

      Haha, well, cat butt is usually hanging by the serger. I try to kick her off the table before I start taking photos, though, as her evil stare ruins most of them. Maybe I’ll let her stick around for a couple, though πŸ™‚

  15. Lucinda January 14, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    Prada?? Wow. That’s a stunning dress!!

  16. Katie January 14, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    Great dress! I actually prefer your circle skirt to the tulip.

  17. Rebecca January 14, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    I love everything you make, they are all adorable:)

  18. misscrayolacreepy January 14, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Lauren!!! It’s so beautiful!!!! I want to find more fun fabric and send it to you just because I love everything you make. You’re a talented lady! xo

    • LLADYBIRD January 15, 2013 at 8:55 am #

      Ooh, girl, don’t tempt me haha! And THANK YOU again for the lovely fabric! Twinsies fabric, yay!

  19. Cassie Stephens January 14, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Oh my, this is just the best ever! I love a circle skirt too…and that b*tch is lined too, holy crap! I dream of the day I have the skill set (and the patience) to pull that off. I love this, it’s divine!

    • LLADYBIRD January 15, 2013 at 8:59 am #

      Aw! Lining isn’t hard – it’s usually the same pattern pieces (or something creepily similar), just dropped in the shell. Lining is awesome because then you don’t have to worry about finishing your seams πŸ˜‰ If it’s too intimidating for you, maybe try using a soft cotton batiste or voile as a lining in a summer dress, so you can get the hang of doing it without the slippery mess of the rayon stuff πŸ™‚

  20. Neeno - Sew Me Love January 14, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    Awesome fabric choice.
    Can’t wait to see the Charlotte skirt!!

  21. Sarah W. January 14, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

    Super cute!!

  22. Liz January 14, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    A gorgeous make, and great save on the skirt. I really like the lines of the top and the black detailing you have added. Another great addition to your wardrobe! Fab, Fab FAB!

  23. annaintechnicolor January 14, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    Too cute, and I love how polished the inside of your garments look!

  24. Maggie January 14, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    The dress looks amazing! I really like it with the circle skirt on the bottom. Looks fantastic and super comfortable!!

  25. ginger January 14, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    Your beautiful dress passed the fairly skirt test of all girls… well done! Lol

    • ginger January 14, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

      Swirly skirt test… dang spellcheck!

  26. CarolinasCallin January 15, 2013 at 12:43 am #

    Oooo…really, really cute! Sometimes mistakes turn out to be hidden treasures – and this one is (although clearly not cat-approved!). LOVE the fabric, and the dress just looks like YOU! Wear it and you’re going to look like you’re having a blast, no matter what you’re doing. Tres chic!

  27. sewbusylizzy January 15, 2013 at 1:19 am #

    Curse you & Oona! I’ve been resisting sooooo hard not to buy these new patterns!! I’m off to London soon and I keep thinking it should be in THIS dress!!! And you two keep posting these awesome pictures…. NOT HELPFUL πŸ™‚

  28. Nikki January 15, 2013 at 2:54 am #

    What a cute dress! The fabric is really lovely and ‘specially love the black trims. Another pattern I need to check out – HELP!

  29. Anne W January 15, 2013 at 5:24 am #

    LOVE the fabric! And the trim on the neckline is cute, great job on rescuing the dress!

  30. Vicki Kate January 15, 2013 at 6:34 am #

    Awesome as ever and there isn’t a lot a circle skirt can’t save!

  31. tracy January 15, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    As fab as ever! Love the fabric and the pattern and the lining, well done x

  32. sallie January 15, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    It turned out beautifully! I’m so sorry it gave you so much trouble along the way, but hopefully you and the dress have made amends and you can go on and live a happy, autumnal colored, pumpkin spice scented life together!

  33. Becca January 15, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    This is lovely! The circle skirt was a good choice, it hangs beautifully. Great job salvaging the back zipper area. I’ve had my share of zipper woes, and I know how frustrating it is. Several times I’ve had to fight with a project, ripping and resewing multiple times, but I’ve never managed to come out on top like you did.

    I love Pumpkin Spice Lattes, too! I may have to check out this ice cream that you speak of, even if it doesn’t actually taste like a pumpkin spice latte.

    Oh, and I smile every time I see your cat pictures! My grandparents have a tortoiseshell, and she has a similar personality to yours: ornery, prone to death glares, observes the world in quiet disdain, etc. What she doesn’t seem to realize is that it just makes me want to cuddle her even more. πŸ˜€

  34. Kay January 15, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    It is a very pretty dress. You look good in bright, bold colors and designs!

  35. Tasha @ By gum, by golly! January 15, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Okay I admit I don’t get the appeal of Tulip skirts, but I LOVE that the unfortunate pairing with your fabric led you to this skirt as it’s super swishy and cute on this dress! That is great fabric. The neckline is perfect, especially with that little additional trim!!

  36. Lynne January 15, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    You know what, I’ve been a bit late to the Elisalex pattern party too! It’s only in the past few weeks that I’ve taken notice of it after seeing some lovely versions on the interwebs. Yours is gorgeous, what a shame about the first skirt, but the circle skirt looks great. It’s interesting to read your comments on this re the fabric weight, and also the sizing – I find I have to chop a bit off the back of patterns too. This dress is definately on my “To Buy” list,

  37. Librarian Tells All January 15, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Oh, gurl. This turned out so well! Then again, I love circle skirts and I’m not so sure about tulip skirts. They never quite fit me right. I’m looking forward to seeing the dress made up with the original skirt design, and heavier fabric. I’m cheering for it. I want it to win me over!

    P.S. You just pinpointed the problem with my eShakti dress: Cotton poplin isn’t the right weight for the skirt. It’s too heavy and stiff, and that’s why it hangs weirdly and sometimes sticks out randomly. Like ghost children are hiding under my skirt. Something drapey, like this, would’ve worked better. Okay, mystery solved. Thanks!

  38. missjoiedevivre January 15, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    Ha! Your cat cracks me up. More evil photos please!

    And the dress is great. I’m not at all sold on the tulip skirt but your version is gorgeous! That back neckline is dreamy.

  39. Scruffybadger January 15, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    Jaw droppingly gorgeous. Love how you rescued it….awesome. I bet your dress form is glad to be back in use now! πŸ˜‰

  40. Elisalex - By Hand London January 16, 2013 at 3:48 am #

    LOVE IT!!! Absolutely deee-vine on you Lauren. The sitch with the finished garment measurements, I can assure you, is being amended and will from now on be on all future patterns and future re-prints of the Charlotte & Elisalex! Learning and improving as we go! I love that trim you’ve added and that fabric is perfect for a circle skirt variation. Thank you for not giving up on it! xxx E

    • LLADYBIRD January 16, 2013 at 8:52 am #

      Yay!! I’m so glad you like it πŸ™‚ And I’m so glad I was able to work out my fit issues because it’s so awesomeee to wear πŸ˜€ Thanks again for letting me try out the pattern! And I’m glad to hear the update on the finished measurements; bc clearly I’m not savvy enough to figure that shit on my own (believe me, I tried haha).

  41. The Amazing Taracat January 16, 2013 at 5:58 am #

    You guys all need to stop making such fantastic dresses from this pattern until at least February, when I may be able to justify buying it. Absolutely gorgeous!

  42. velosewer January 19, 2013 at 3:57 am #

    This is simply gorgeous. It’s great that you did the hand sewing and finished this gem.

  43. Stacy @ Stacyverb February 5, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    Gawd, the hunchback thing. I get that all the time on otherwise perfectly fitting dresses. SO. INFURIATING. Glad you persevered on this dress, it’s gorge.

  44. Chickeys March 7, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    Late to the partay on this, but your dress is gorgeous…the trim is perfect!

    Also, I think I own that same belt! It annoyed me that the whole thing was black EXCEPT the silver thing on the I painted it with shiny black no-chip nail polish. Worked like a charm! πŸ™‚


  1. What I bought recently – By Hand London | Made by Gaby - July 16, 2013

    […] Elisalex dress by Dolly Clackett (1, 2, 3, 4… you get the picture) , Lladybird, Sew Bizzy […]

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