The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

Elisalex Dress: The Details

This dress turned into a battle of wills. If I hadn't liked the fabric so much (purchased from the Etsy Shop FabricsAndTrimmings last summer), I might have waved the white flag and moved on months ago. Most of the problems were self-inflicted: poor choice of underlining, and not recognizing early enough that the skirt design just didn't suit my body. Once I ripped out the former and abandoned the latter, the dress came together pretty easily.

I probably can't remember all of the changes I made along the way, but I know that the following happened:
  • 1/2" sloped shoulder adjustment
  • took in the top of the princess seam
  • increased SA on sleeves to 1"
  • lengthened the bodice by 1.25"
  • reduced the side seam SA to 3/8"
  • used my TNT pencil skirt (drafted from Studio Faro's worksheet) for the skirt

I used some of the skills I learned from Susan Khalje's Couture Dress class on Craftsy for the construction:
  • traced the stitch lines and hand basted or pin basted the seams before sewing
  • made the piping from silk muslin and 1/8" cotton cord
  • stabilized the neck and back with silk organza selvedge
  • lined the bodice with stretch cotton poplin, attached by hand with fell stitches
  • bound the seam allowance in the skirt with Snug Hug using Laura Mae's tutorial
  • used stretch lace on the hem allowance (and sewed up with a catch stitch)
  • added drapery weight to the back vent to stop the corners from curling

The zipper was the last battle ground for the dress. All told, I think I handpicked a lapped zipper three times and a centered zipper four times. And every time it looked terrible. I've had success with lapped zippers in the past, so I'm going to say that the problems were due to the stretch in the fabric. In the end, I threw in an invisible zipper and I'm quite sure I won't lose any sleep over this. 

I'm glad the fabric didn't become a casualty of the war. And that I only suffered minor injuries (pricked fingers, one ding from the sewing machine). And that my medal of honor has green flowers on a lilac background!

If you want to read through the early battles, you can find them here, here and here, and my victory dance is here. And now I'm going to make something EASY with jersey fabric.

6 comments on "Elisalex Dress: The Details"
  1. Phew! You absolutely deserve a medal for perserverance but your efforts have so paid off. The dress looks fab on you. Im loving reading blogs like yours for inspiration. See my efforts on thegreatsewingmrsb if you have a spare moment. Cheerio for now. I'll be following you.

  2. Beautiful! That fabric was definitely worth saving.

  3. It's a very nice dress and it fits you very well.

  4. Awww, bless your heart. From reading the other posts first I was getting weak knees as the thought of the lovely Elisalex. (You see I just bumrushed my DD into purchasing the pattern for me soon).

    Thankfully you outlined some of the woes here. Perhaps I can circumvent a few of them thanks to your honest appraisal. I too am curious about the tulip skirt I believe it is called. I am "curvy" as they say. I simply say I have "a big butt" thus I am thinking the skirt may not be for me. Then again, I have seen larger gals just do the thing and wear those type of skirts. Hmm, I'm also older so will just have to contemplate that more I suppose.

    Again, you look marvelous in this dress, PoldaPop, you really do. And, thanks for the share here.



    1. Thanks, Lyric! I do still love the original shape . . . on other people. I think it's a bit of an advant guarde look, and I just can't pull it off. I think if I had muslined the skirt as well as the bodice, I would have saved myself a ton of time. Glad to have found your blog - I just followed!