Completed: Elisalex Dress

Today I had a work function to attend, at the races!  When I heard about it my first thought was that of course I would need a new dress.  It is winter here at the moment…OK, not winter by you Northern America or Europe folks standards, but winter nonetheless.  Yep, I know it doesn’t get below 8ΒΊ Celsius (46ΒΊF) at night and during the day is mostly around 20 degrees (68ΒΊF), but we are conditioned to be soft and this is cold for me!! 

When deciding which dress pattern to make my first thought was the Elisalex by By Hand London as it has a sleeve option – winner!!  I have seen so many lovely options around the blogosphere, have you seen Dolly Clackett’s versions here and here or Ooobop’s version?


This is my first time making this up, although I had made a rough muslin a few weeks ago.  My muslin was quite dodgy obviously as I ended up having to do quite a few alterations to this make.  I cut a size 12 and didn’t do an FBA as I thought with the princess seams I would have plenty of room for adjustment.  This worked a treat, my issues were elsewhere and I will detail those soon.

Excuse the wrinkles, I have worn this all day!

Aside from the alterations that really only come down to my body shape, this pattern comes together easily and beginners should not be afraid to try it as there is plenty of options to alter the fit and princess seams to me are very forgiving for this.

My alterations:
– additional 2″ off the back centre seam (1″ each side?
– narrowing shoulder seam by approx. 1″
– shortening bodice by 1″
– bringing in side seams by .25″
– narrowed sleeves by approx 1″
– shortened the skirt by 8″ – yep 8″, this dress is made for tall people!!
– inserted an invisible zip instead of an exposed one


Due to these changes the sleeves no longer fitted in the armhole, but instead of redrafting the curve I decided to pleat them at the top with a box pleat that you can just see in the pic above.

I also changed the construction method a bit, instead of hand stitching the lining at the sleeves, I caught it in when attaching the sleeves. I realize I never photograph the insides to show you, so here is how I finish my garments.  Most of the time I just overlock my seams, no fancy bound seams for me!


One other addition I made was to add bra strap stays. As the shoulders are quite wide (perhaps more so on me, I have narrow shoulders?) when trying it on my straps kept peeking out – I hate that, so this afterthought, whilst not super attractive is certainly functional.  For future makes (and there will be more) I will do this again, but will catch the strap in when attaching the lining so it is more tidy.


Initially I was not sure how this silhouette would look on me, I thought the tulip skirt might make me look hippy, but now it is finished I love it. I think the contrast of the fitted top and the tulip skirt really makes the waist look smaller.  I got so many compliments today and people were asking where my dress was from. There were 80 people at the function and three people were wearing the same dress so at least I was safe from that happening!

Did you notice I made a matching fascinator?  I was also nominated for one of the best hats of the day!


As for how I went at the races…I didn’t win anything – I am terrible at picking horses.  I am, however, good at the eating and drinking bit and chose to excel in these areas – especially the bubbly!!

40 thoughts on “Completed: Elisalex Dress

  1. You look gorgeous Liz. I love how your whole outfit has turned out. Well done on winning the best hat. I will now go ahead and make this dress as I really love yours. Hope to see you soon. I am still in Bali having massages!!! It's tough!!

  2. This looks really smart on you, I especially love the colour you chose. I am not brave enough to try a tulip skirt so bravo to you – another thing you excel at!

  3. What a great race outfit for winter. I like your sleeve alteration with the pleat, it looks just right to complement the skirt pleats. The fascinator is terrific, how did you make it? Very clever!

  4. Wow that colour is fabulous on you. I love your box pleat addition at the sleeve and the length is perfect. Also how nice to be looking so unique at a fancy event, fascinator and all, I bet those three matchy-matchy-rtw dress girls didn't get as many compliments! πŸ™‚

  5. Your dress is gorgeous, and it looks fab on you. Did you win best hat, because you deserved to? I laughed at 20 degrees as a winter's day! That's a good summer's day in Northern Ireland, in fact I think that's about what the temperature was here today. I was wearing a me-made sleeveless dress and flip flops, so I take my hat off to you for wearing long sleeves. I am totally rubbish with hot weather, it was 28 degrees here last week (that's a mega heat wave), and I thought I was going to melt! There's no way I could handle an Aussie summer!

  6. This is gorgeous and looks great on you. I'm not surprised you got lots of compliments!And 20 deg C? Other than during our recent heatwave, which is frankly abnormal, that's normally SUMMER temperature here in Scotland!!!!! We get our shorts out for that! πŸ™‚

  7. WOW! That style is fabulous on you – MAKE MORE!! Honestly – that colour, that fabric and that pattern are just WIN, WIN, WIN! πŸ˜€

  8. You've done a great job with this dress and the colour looks terrific on you (well done on the fascinator too – maybe a future blog post on your construction?)I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one whose had problems putting this dress together. Most other sewists have been raving about the perfect fit straight from the packet, but I've done 2 muslins and still don't think it's great (and that's only the bodice – haven't tried the skirt yet). I'm starting to lose my love for it very quickly, but I too have a racing event coming up that I planned on wearing it at, so I better get a wiggle on. I'm in Brisbane too, so maybe you can help me with a fitting session πŸ™‚

  9. Love the Frock & Hat Lizzy, you look fabulous and totally appropriate for the races. I succumbed to internet blather & hype and bought the pattern, just scouting for the right fabric…..

  10. Definitely a future fascinator post :)Very happy to help you with the fit on your dress, just PM me an we can meet up! How fun to meet another Brisbane sewer

  11. So many fabrics would work with this pattern I think, it is quite versatile. Although would suggest something with body if you are planning on keeping the skirt

  12. Wow! That is one gorgeous dress. I love it with long sleeves. And that fabric brings so much style. Hats off to all those alterations you made to get the perfect fit and congrats too for winning best hat! Who cares about winning on the horses when you are such a winner yourself!! πŸ™‚

  13. Youre Elisalex looks gorgeous! I am in the making of my own, for my sisters wedding, and yesterday, after sewing the zipper in, I tried it on. I was a little sceptic to the shape around the hips, but I see from everyone elses versions, that it is supposed to have those "handles".But still, I think I will try to take it in just a cm on each side seam…By the way, LOVE youre hat! I will be adding you to my Bloglovin feed. I would love it if you would take a peek at my blog, aswell. The Elisalex dress-post will be in there, hopefully not by to long:)

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