An Ivory Elisalex
Posted on Friday the 24th November 2017 by Michelle Sews
Hello again! Honestly, between work and ‘life’ I feel like there’s been no time at all in between my last few MCBN posts! Christmas is around the corner though, so I can’t complain..
For this month’s project, I requested an ivory tweed fabric from Minerva (unfortunately now sold out). It was described as a coat weight tweed and I had planned to make a simple French tweed jacket from it. However, when it arrived, it was lighter than I had expected and so deliciously soft that I knew I had to rethink my plans. I was immediately reminded of my friend Bianca who made a gorgeous classic white dress recently. I think it was the By Hand London Orsola, but since I have so far managed to resist buying more sewing patterns, I had a look through my stash and decided to try my hand at the Elisalex dress instead (also by By Hand London).
The Elisalex features a princess seamed bodice with scoop necklines in front and back (deeper in the back), and a pleated tulip-style skirt. I had resisted it for a long time because I’m not sure tulip skirts suit me, and I was worried about the skirt looking too ‘poofy’ on me. Little did I know… Anyway, I sewed up a straight size 10, as recommended for my measurements, and didn’t have to make a single fitting adjustment.
The instructions were helpful and clear, although I realised during this project that I could trust my sewing instincts, and so I actually didn’t refer to them much at all. I lined the bodice in the main fabric, and used an ivory satin from my stash to line the skirt. I think it was originally intended for a blouse, but I thought that in this instance the skirt really did need lining in order to match the ‘weight’ and opacity of the bodice of the dress. The skirt just felt a bit flimsy unlined. So I basically cut the same skirt pieces from the satin, slightly shortened, and then attached it to the inner bodice instead of just sewing the inner bodice down at the waist seam. I then - and I was chuffed to have remembered how to do this without looking it up :) - machine stitched the inner bodice/skirt lining all the way down the zip tape at centre back. This was soooo much quicker than hand stitching and I really must use this technique more often.
I left enough room at the top of the zip to sew in a small hook and eye (but then realised there was no-one around to help me do it up when I took these pictures, so you’ll have to take my word for it that it’s there but not fastened!). I probably should have given it a quick iron too!
For all its simplicity, this dress is up there with my favourite makes. The fabric is really lovely, feels so soft to the touch, and I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of this dress for summer/holiday occasions. This pattern is a bit of a dark horse - suddenly I’m thinking about making the sleeved version for a nice winter work dress!