Fit is not a destination, it’s a way of life… Elisalex dress no.2

I mentioned this dress briefly in my Selfish Sewing Week post but didn’t want to go into too much detail as that was already a long-enough post! I’ve adored this pattern for AGES and treated myself to it for my birthday this year when I made a wax print version for my big night out to the theatre. I did make a toile then but there were still a couple of fit issues; the shoulder seams needed taking in a bit, and the waistline needed to be raised (the waistline has a tendency to rise up constantly, I think that’s because I am shorter than the model that the pattern is designed to fit). Despite these flaws I still love that version of the dress but felt the need to make more adjustments for Elisalex No.2.


The fabric I used this time is a cotton sateen print from the legendary ‘man outside Sainsbury’s’ in Walthamstow market. It’s a medium weight fabric with a bit of stretch to it and it’s really soft, almost like a brushed cotton, so it’s perfect for the cooler weather.


After cutting out the pattern pieces I pinched out the excess fabric and pinned, which was a bit tricky as I had no helper! But I think it went okay. After 3 or 4 ‘fittings’ I was finally able to transfer all the alterations to the paper pattern pieces ready to go for next time.


These are the alterations that I made to the bodice:

* I took in the bust seams by 3/4″ at the top tapering down to 3 1/4″ above bodice bottom edge

* I took in the side seams from the underarm tapering down to 7/8″

* I took in the shoulder seams by 1/2″

* I took in the centre back seam by 1/2″ from the top tapering down to 5 1/2 ” above bodice bottom edge

* Once all this was done I then shortened all the bodice pieces by 1 5/8″

* I also lowered the armscyes by 1 3/4″as after I altered the shoulder and side seams they were too small. Lesson learned!

The only alteration I made to the skirt was to shorten it by 4″ (I had already shortened the skirt pattern pieces by a fair amount the first time around).


I didn’t rely on the pattern symbols when it came to assembling the pleats as I didn’t think they would match up with the princess seams since I had shortened the bodice. I just assembled them so they all lined up nicely. You can just about see the pleats and princess seams here, the busy pattern does kinda hide them though…


Other pattern alterations
I inserted an invisible zip in the left hand side seam instead of at centre back. My first Elisalex has a back zip as per the instructions but I do find it awkward to zip up and now that this dress is complete I really do prefer the side zip. It’s also actually invisible unlike some of my previous attempts! I realised that to get a zip in as invisibly as possible it’s good to hold down the zip teeth as they go through the zipper foot. Like this…



This time around I omitted the lining and bound the neckline and armscyes with this orange bias binding that I found in my stash. I quite like using a contrasting binding as I think it’s just a bit more fun. It’s like a secret that only I (and now you) know about ;o)


Finished dress


I love it! This is one of my favourite patterns and I can’t wait to make my next one. I think I just need to add an extra 1/2″ to the bodice (I took a little too much off this time of I’m honest). I really like this plain black version made by Bec Stitches, it looks so classic! I think Elisalex no.3 will be an all black version too, French seamed throughout and lined for a neat finish.

For now though, I’ll have fun twirling about in this one.




Red shoes! Love, love, love…




9 thoughts on “Fit is not a destination, it’s a way of life… Elisalex dress no.2

  1. Gorgeous! I love the fabric and the orange bias tape. Putting the zip in the side seam is genius! I wish I’d thought of it. I love my three Elisalexs (or should that be Elisali?!), but, good grief, the back zip is tricky to do up. I will definitely be stealing this idea for my next one. Thank you!

  2. It looks lovely. I too prefer invisible side zips and bias binding necks and arms! I would love a visit to the legendary man in Walthamstow market! Haha is he close to where you live and you end up passing every weekend? ! Financial disaster!

  3. Pingback: Sunday Sew Love: 12 October | Life by Ky

  4. Pingback: The best of ’14! #sewingtop5 | One year. One wardrobe.

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