First, let me say what a great pattern this is. I really enjoyed making it and I set myself a few new skills to master in the process, including some couture techniques and some fit problems that needed conquering.
I traced a size 8, tapering to a 10 at the bust and back to an 8 at the waist on both the front and back bodice pieces. I cut an 8 at the skirt but I had box pleat issues which I fear are a result of my meddling with the bodice back. I had to tweak the box pleats and there is probably an inch or so ease in the waist that I think I inadvertently added somewhere along the line. It isn’t too much and doesn’t really bother me, but I would possibly shave off a half-inch or so on my next Elisalex (and yes, there will be another Elisalex!)
I made the full-length sleeve option, but chopped 19cm off the sleeves for 3/4 length. I also lopped off 20cm off the hem of the skirt and did a 1-inch full bust adjustment to give my chest room to breathe.
I made this baby in a bluey-silver cotton sateen. I loved sewing with this fabric. It made the princess seams seem like a treat rather than a trouble (which they usually are when I’m doing them). I underlined the skirt (new skill – check) in purple crystal organza (everyone raves about silk organza but do you think they sell that at Spotlight – uh, no!) and lined the bodice in cotton lawn. I wanted purple but they didn’t have any! I made bias binding (new skill – check) and used this tutorial to set in the sleeves with purple polar fleece (new skill – check). I hand-picked the zipper with the guidance of this tutorial (new skill – check AGAIN) and I also understitched the lining instead of topstitching as per the pattern.
I am 90 per cent happy with this dress. I made a few rookie mistakes that came back to bite me, and I’m only moderately in love with the colour, but it is certainly a step up from the other dresses I’ve made before. A few things worth mentioning:
- The shoulders of this dress still don’t fit me quite right. I went down TWO sizes at the shoulders than my normal size, and I know the pattern is supposed to sit off the shoulders a bit, but the dress does slip off. I might sew in something to attach to my bra strap to keep the dress up, but when it rides up there is fabric pooling at my upper back, which leads to point two…
- I think I have a short waist and I should have realised and made a fix in the muslin stage, even though I am kind of unsure how and when to make this fix, and how much by. The dress rides up a bit because it is a bit loose on my waist, and so then the back gapes. It’s not *too* bad but the whole reason I sew is to eliminate the fit issues I have with RTW garments, and fabric gaping at my upper back is a major one.
- Pockets. I had full intentions of putting the suckers in but I STUPIDLY cut them out of the lawn instead of the sateen and I ripped them out in haste of finishing the dress at the weekend before a trip away. I didn’t finish the dress in time, but I couldn’t be arsed to cut out new pockets in the sateen and unpick the side seams, especially when I had fecked around with the skirt so much.
- I burned the organza underlining with the iron. D’oh!
And now for the gratuitous dog pics…
All in all, I’d highly recommend this pattern and I plan to make it over and over again. I’ve already picked up some white upholstery fabric with grey flowers from IKEA. I guess it’s a bit drab, but it’s pretty and a bit more “me” than the silvery-blue sateen. It might not get used for another Elisalex, but something along the lines of a large-scale floral print is what I have in mind for dress no.2. And no.3, and no.4!