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