Happy birthday to me in my Elisalex!

I’d had my eye on the By Hand London Elisalex dress pattern for over a year but never really felt that I has the skills to create a dress from a pattern. I’d used patterns to make tops and skirts before but dresses just seemed that little bit more complex – linings, joining bodice to skirt and fitting, OMG fitting, that’s for the experts! I bought this pattern to make myself a dress for my birthday – I had asked my husband to get us theatre tickets and I wanted to go handmade for the occasion. I thought this dress would fit the bill nicely ♥

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 It wasn’t as difficult as I initially expected (thank goodness). I made a toile and needed to take the centre back seams in a little. I think this pattern (and patterns in general) are designed with quite tall people in mind because I also had to take about 12 inches off of the hemline!

I had to spend a fair amount of time playing with the pleat notches on the pattern because initially they didn’t match up, although I’m no expert so it may have been down to pattern-user error rather than problems with the pattern itself (anyone else have this problem?). Thankfully, in the end it all worked out!

I learned quite a bit during the process of making this dress, firstly this is the first time that I’ve ever lined anything – the bodice is lined in a soft red cotton and I really like the way it makes the garment look and feel (albeit from the inside).

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Secondly, I learned that I need to be more accurate with my sewing – the back waist seams either side of the zip are slightly out of line. Boo. Fixing it would have meant unpicking half of the dress so I’ll just have to live with it!

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And lastly, the next time I use fabric with a big pattern I’ll cut the skirt pieces (the biggest pieces) first and then cut the bodice pieces because they’re smaller and therefore it’s easier to match the pattern. I would have liked to at least match the skirt front with the bodice front but I couldn’t fit the pattern piece onto the fabric in a way that matched the pattern. To be honest I was a bit worried about that but I actually love the finished result, who cares about pattern matching!!!

So I think that’s all to say for now, apart from confessing that I put in a regular zip instead of a invisible one – the result of a combination of not actually buying an invisible zip and being scared of sewing one in, surely it can’t be that hard?

So, time for the reveal!…

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And just in case you were wondering what we saw at the Theatre, we saw ‘Wicked’ after a lovely meal at a South African restaurant. Lovely, lovely, just lovely :o)

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