Right now, I'm positively ecstatic to present to you my utterly beautiful Elisalex dress! This babe was finished last weekend, but before I could snap some pictures the sky darkened and the heavens opened, staying that way until about Friday!
But why the shame, you ask? Well, this pattern was generously sent to me by the gorgeous Elisalex months and months ago. For one reason or another, I kept putting it on the back-burner, making me feel ashamed and so jealous by the very many versions I kept seeing across the blogsphere! Roisin alone made 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 stunning versions for crying out load!
After taking my sweet time making this pattern up, I had to do it justice in every way - it's the very least I owed Elisalex. I picked the loveliest medium-weight fabric from my stash - a vintage floral chintz which has a sheen to it that fades somewhat in the wash. I know 'petite' girls aren't supposed to don such large prints, but I loved the colours too much not to give this a go.
I'm hoping it shows, but I really put my all into this dress! I carefully top-stitched the neckline and armholes to stop the lining from peeking out and I hemmed it by hand.
I hand-picked the zip twice for extra strength and I took great care to match my princess seams up with my box pleats.
Still not impressed? How about this: Elisalex is my first ever fully lined dress! I don't know why I was so afraid of full linings before, you all told me how easy it was, but I'm definitely a convert. I lined the bodice in a cotton lawn and the skirt in a luxurious silk cotton that cost a mere £4 a metre from Goldhawk Road. Jane, you've created a silk cotton monster - I'm head over heels with the stuff and never want to line a skirt with anything else ever...you might have to become my dealer if I can't find any up here ;o)
Like some people, I too was dubious about how the exaggerated shape of the skirt would suit my curves. But, as part of my plan to make Elisalex proud, I wanted to make this dress exactly as it was intended. And, to my surprise, I really couldn't be happier with the result. I feel like a million dollars in this dress. I feel theatrical (think Marie Antoinette) and high fashion at the same time. It actually makes me sad that the only summer wedding I'm attending this year, is one that I'll be a bridesmaid at! I could go on, but I think Heather Lou sums this pattern up perfectly:
"The exaggerated curve at the hip makes your waist look teeny tiny and I think the end result is a sweet, vampy, almost cartoonish celebration of a woman's curves."
Finally, and importantly, a word on the construction. This sweet little pattern comes with great instructions (helpful for other projects too) and sews up surprisingly easily and quickly. Sure, the princess seams are tricky little buggers - but more fiddly than difficult really. Before cutting out a size 8 (US) / 12 (UK), I shortened the bodice pieces by an inch and took a whopping 10.5 inches off the skirt. I then dared not to make a muslin, as princess seams are easy enough to adjust. It was a gamble, but it paid off. The shoulders and back fitted perfectly and I got rid of some side boob gaping by just taking in my princess seams by an extra 1cm from the armhole to my bust apex. When attaching the skirt, I did have to move the box pleats a little to get them to match up with the princess seams, but I think this is because I shortened the bodice pieces in the first place.
Now onto some gratuitous photos that show off colour, print and shape...
I had to include this photo of my incredible lollipop head and bug eyes - a hilarious insight into what I might look like if I abandoned my Cypriot-eating ways and lost a substantial amount of weight!
In closing, this one's for you Elisalex and By Hand London girls - mwah! I foresee a number of Elisalex variations in my future...