Dotty for Elisalex

16 Feb

I was lucky enough to win myself a copy of the By Hand London Elisalex dress via a giveaway on House of Pinheiro, becoming the envy of many a sewing blogger mwah ha ha ha.

I decided to whip it up for a wedding I was going to. Teamed with some pretty brocade style fabric from Clegs (thanks to a birthday voucher from Mr ZoSews) this is how she came up.

Elisalex dress

The gory details

The pattern

  • If you haven’t already seen the gorgeous packaging BHL are using, you’re missing out. When I first saw it, it absolutely delighted me.
  • Personally, I’d really like to see some finished measurements and a hip measurement included. I know that the skirt’s huge so there shouldn’t be issues with hip size if you get the waist right, but for a hippy gal like moi, I just like to know. Ease and height of fit model would be useful too…
  • The instructions are written in very accessible language, and provide the sort of information that’s helpful for those just dipping a toe in sewing land, for example, “Back stitch at the start and finish of your line of sewing”.

Elisalex packaging

Pattern alterations

I traced and cut the bodice in a size 10, but then…

  • I’m long in the body, so I slashed and spread and added 4 cm to the bodice length, so the waistline would actually hit me on my waist. 
  • I moved the bodice princess seams across towards the centre 1.5 cm so the line went right through the apex of the bust.
  • I did some shaping from under the bust down to the waistline for a closer fit.
  • I used a pink cotton voile for lining, and in addition to lining the bodice, I lined the skirt. All I did was reuse the skirt pattern, and cut it at around 26cm length. 

Elisalex dress

Construction notes

    • I couldn’t find a 30 inch zipper on the face of this planet! Well in the few stores I went to anyway. So I got a 24 inch and just free-styled the insertion, hand picking it in.
    • Instructions say to machine hem the sleeves. Not for this little black duck, so I blind hemmed the sleeves by hand.
    • Because I didn’t make a toile of the skirt (bodice only), I cut it out in a huge size to start with (18 I think… ridiculous now but it made sense at the time). Not surprisingly, cut at an 18, the skirt was frickin huge and looked ridiculous. I went back down in size in stages by just basting my side seams together until I hit what I liked. I now have ENORMOUS side seams, but no-one can see that 🙂

Elisalex dress

  • It’s probably due to my giant skirt plus shaped bodice, but, sheesh, easing that skirt on to the bodice almost killed me. I reckon I had at least 4-5 tries and she wouldn’t play ball. So in the end I have some tiiiiny gathers between the two waist darts, and more annoyingly the waist darts don’t perfectly match the bodice seams – but I managed to deal with that because I don’t think anyone else would notice. Phew.
  • Pattern suggests top stitching around the neckline, but in this case I under stitched.

Elisalex dressThe verdict

At first I was worried that it wasn’t very flattering around the hip region. However, I’ve since decided it’s a winner. I reckon I’ll make this bad girl again. In a less ‘icing’ fabric, I think this would be a goer for the office. I also want to try the bodice with a pencil skirt. Overall, I’m very happy with it 🙂 And it seems I like grey and pink… 

Elisalex dressPostscript

I almost forgot. Walking around in Toorak between this wedding ceremony and reception, I crossed the road at a pedestrian crossing and heard two women talking about my dress as I walked past them. It went something like this, “Now THAT, is a nice dress”. Oh yeah, as you’d expect, I was quite chuffed! Especially as I had just finished the thing standing in the kitchen hand sewing while Mr ZoSews packed my bag to leave to go to the wedding. Last minute much?

Elisalex dress

Thanks for reading. I hope I’ve enticed you to give Elisalex a go?



61 Responses to “Dotty for Elisalex”

  1. poppykettle February 16, 2013 at 3:30 PM #

    Hey awesome! This is a total winner on you. Looks like you’ve hit gold on the one thing I always struggle with too – getting the right fabric for the pattern! This brocade couldn’t have been a better match to the structured look this dress demands. You look amazing!

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:30 PM #

      Thanks Pkettle!! This fabric was a winner 🙂 The structured fabric, mixed with this pattern reminds me of Cue…

  2. Maris Olsen (@sewmaris) February 16, 2013 at 3:32 PM #

    Zoe – your dress is beautiful! I love the grey and pink, and it is so feminine and flattering. Just right for a wedding!

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:31 PM #

      Thank you Maris! Hopefully I get another opportunity to wear it again soon 🙂

  3. CherryPix February 16, 2013 at 4:19 PM #

    Wonderful shape on you…love those random walk by comments 😉

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:32 PM #

      Haha, they’re the best!

  4. gingermakes February 16, 2013 at 5:10 PM #

    This is STUNNING! I so desperately want to make this pattern, but I’ve got a few other projects above it on my to-do list. You’re making me even more mad for this pattern! 😀 Really, truly gorgeous.

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:33 PM #

      Do it! I’m sure your sonyalex would be fabulous!

  5. Blogless Anna February 16, 2013 at 5:19 PM #

    Awesome dress. No wonder those Toorak ladies were discussing it. This Hawthorn lady would have been too if I’d seen you on the street!

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:34 PM #

      I’ll have to strut around Hawthorn looking for compliments 😉

  6. Mandy February 16, 2013 at 5:21 PM #

    Beautiful dress suits you perfectly

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:34 PM #

      Why thank you 😉

  7. marjtrundle February 16, 2013 at 5:42 PM #

    Beautiful!! No wonder the Toorak ladies commented.

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:35 PM #

      Hehe, maybe I should have offered to make them one?! Hmmm… Neh!!! 🙂

  8. Amanda Bimble February 16, 2013 at 5:55 PM #

    You sassy minx! This looks fab! And I love the fabric (pink + grey = luuurve!) The hand finishing sounds like a labour of love and well worth it 😀

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:36 PM #

      Ooh! I’ve never been called a sassy minx before! Lol

  9. Houseofpinheiro February 16, 2013 at 6:03 PM #

    Wowwwwwwww you look beautiful and the fit just works… I love the fabric too… You make me want go back and sew this pattern again x

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:36 PM #

      Do it again, it’ll be gorgeous whatever you do 🙂

  10. Julia Bobbin February 16, 2013 at 7:01 PM #

    You look amazeballs! My favourite dress yet. I have such fabric envy at the moment. Your spot matching on the side front is also flawless. Bravo Zoe!

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:38 PM #

      Lol thanks JBob! Spot matching was but a delightful coincidence 😉

  11. Kirsty February 16, 2013 at 7:03 PM #

    Dress looks great, super cute fabric, and you never have guessed the problems you had easing the skirt on. So pleased you got a random compliment 🙂

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:40 PM #

      Thanks Kirsty! Yeah, I figured (hoped) no one else would be able to tell – phew 😉

  12. Elisalex - By Hand London February 16, 2013 at 7:06 PM #

    This is absolutely BEAUTIFUL and looks so perfect on you! The fabric is quite simply delicious, and the little gathers at the front actually look really pretty and like they were meant to be there all along 😉 Can’t wait to see your pencil variation… have you thought of doing the Elisalex bodice with the Charlotte skirt…? We call that the Elisalotte!!

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:41 PM #

      Mwah ha ha ha, the gathers are totally meant to be there 😉 Very flattered you By Hand ladies like my interpretation! And Elisalotte sounds like a plan lol!

  13. Vicki Kate February 16, 2013 at 7:08 PM #

    Absolutely gorgeous!

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:42 PM #

      Aww thanks Vicki Kate! 🙂

  14. Lynne February 16, 2013 at 8:08 PM #

    Your dress is gorgeous! I love the fabric and colours, and the fit looks great. 🙂

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:42 PM #

      Thanks Lynne! You’re too kind 🙂

  15. sewbusylizzy February 16, 2013 at 10:46 PM #

    THAT is a gorgeous dress, lovely shape. Beautiful fabric.
    I’m planning a pencil skirted bottom…

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:43 PM #

      Oooh we can have an Elisalotte showdown then 😉

  16. Elise Lin February 16, 2013 at 11:01 PM #

    What a beautiful dress! You’re looking gorgeous. I love the fabric and how you matched the princess seams.

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:43 PM #

      Thank you Elise! My pattern matching this time round was a happy coincidence 😉

  17. prttynpnk February 17, 2013 at 12:43 AM #

    I’m not sure I can properly describe my feelings of appreciation and covetousness! This is wonderful!!!

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:44 PM #

      Bahaha, you make me blush 🙂

  18. Cuckoo Chanel February 17, 2013 at 3:03 AM #

    You look SOOOOOO beautiful, Zoe!!!! Sewing win! Your photos are adorable too. So fun.

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:45 PM #

      Awww you guys are the nicest!! X

  19. Carolyn February 17, 2013 at 8:31 AM #

    Saw this on Instagram so I had to come over and see it in person…it’s even prettier than your Instagram picture previewed. You did an amazing job and look fabulous in this!

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:45 PM #

      Thanks Carolyn! I’m glad you like it! 🙂

  20. Tia Dia February 17, 2013 at 1:09 PM #

    Oh, this is GORGEOUS! It suits you perfectly, and I’d be saying the same as the conversation you overheard if I’d passed you on the street!

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:46 PM #

      You’re too kind 😉 I know what to do when I need a pick me up now, strut around in this and get compliments from ppl on the street lol.

  21. Rachel (@mymessings) February 17, 2013 at 2:24 PM #

    Wow! it looks stunning!

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:47 PM #

      Thanks Rachel!

  22. Threadie February 17, 2013 at 11:44 PM #

    It’s a really georgous dress ! I’m planning to make it with a circle skirt.

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:47 PM #

      That will be super cute! Look forward to seeing yours 🙂

  23. Neeno - Sew Me Love February 18, 2013 at 9:06 AM #

    so gorgeous!

    • ZoSews February 19, 2013 at 9:48 PM #

      Thanks lovely!

  24. Marie Dorga February 22, 2013 at 11:00 AM #

    Love the fabric! You’ve got some talent!

    • ZoSews March 2, 2013 at 9:22 PM #

      You’re too kind Marie 🙂

  25. Kerry February 22, 2013 at 10:53 PM #

    Oh Wow, you look gorgeous!

  26. Bec February 26, 2013 at 6:59 PM #

    Looks gorgeous!!:)
    Love the fabric, it is delicious x

  27. Georgi May 13, 2013 at 6:35 PM #

    Amazing Zoe! Just wondering what size you made? It looks perfect on you and I think we might have similar measurements. I just did a full bust adjustment and am at the cutting out stage. Any tips would be most welcome. 🙂

    • ZoSews May 13, 2013 at 8:34 PM #

      Thanks Georgi! 🙂 I started with a size 10 bodice (adjustments outlined under ‘pattern alterations’ above – but no FBA) and then for some stupid reason cut an 18 skirt. Was ridiculously too big, so just pulled it in at the side seams until it fit properly. Consequently I have huge side seams 😉

      • Georgi May 13, 2013 at 8:38 PM #

        Thanks Zoe. All of that helps me. I’m going to finish cutting and start sewing tonight so that info is super helpful. Thank you! X

      • ZoSews May 13, 2013 at 8:41 PM #

        Pleasure 🙂 Good luck! If in doubt – toile 😉 Look forward to seeing a fancy new elisalex!

  28. Neeno - Sew Me Love March 28, 2014 at 2:11 PM #

    I want this pattern so I can make a winter dress (I cannot break the mold and make anything other than dresses). Unfortunately the Aussie stockists are Sold Out 😦

    • ZoSews March 28, 2014 at 2:13 PM #

      Bugger 😦 Maybe try a Kiwi supplier? I want to make some more of these, office appropro ones though, this one’s a bit too fancy for work lol!


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