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 8º Celsius (46ºF) at night and during the day is mostly around 20 degrees (68ºF), 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.
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.
– 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!!