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Tag Archives: pattern alterations

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?

Zxx

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Flower Power skirt

11 Feb

The now OOP v8560 skirt was the first garment I made using a commercial pattern.  I was like a deer in headlights in my local fabric/haby chain store looking at patterns, notions and fabric – but very excited! (Of course this was before I knew the joys of buying patterns online!)

Now, regarding the aforementioned chain store (that shall remain nameless), I spent ages poring over pattern books, shortlisting, and re-shortlisting – finally coming to a decision. (And that is no mean feat for me, making decisions is tough!) I approached the desk, asked for the patterns, and how many do you think they had in stock? I’ll give you a hint – none! Yes, you heard right – none! Instead, they proceeded to send me over to another store (across the other side of the city) to get the pattern there. You’ll never guess… they didn’t have want I wanted there either! I now know better than to expect service in any of these stores. But, I digress….

I ended up purchasing a lovely bright floral cotton and contrasting blue cotton from Amitie which you can see in the photo below.

Flower power skirt

I made variation A (the pink version in the pattern envelope image above). And apart from being a complete newb, I had no huge problems with this pattern.

Alterations:

  • I added in piping in between the top and bottom yoke pieces using the contrast blue, I’m not sure if you can see it in these pics though sorry!
  • I doubled the width of the contrast hem band – I don’t like to show too much leg! 🙂
  • I used an invisible zip. I much prefer invisible zips.

I love that this skirt has pockets – more womenswear should have pockets! To avoid bulk, the pocket bags were made out of lining fabric, I think some kind of acetate.

Flower power skirt pocket

I love the bright print, and I have been known to wear this skirt into the office in the depths of winter, trying to imagine it’s summer.

So there you have it! My first commercial pattern. You can see more photos of my flower power skirt in finished projects.

Do you remember sewing your first commercial pattern? How did you go?