The Return of the Elisalex . . . Or the dress that almost wasn't

Some of you may remember that I wrestled mightily with the Elisalex last fall, before finally putting it away because I couldn't stand the sight of it anymore. To date, this was been my only UFO, and it's been niggling me. Now that Spring really has made it to my part of the world in all it's blossomy glory, I decided it was time to give my own floral goodness another try.

If you'd like to recap, I wrote about the dress here and here. The main problems were, 1) the underlining I used (silk organza cut on the bias for stretch) and the stretch cotton sateen fashion fabric, were doing their own kind of wrestling beneath the surface; and 2) the original skirt design just did not work for my body no matter how much I messed with it. Want proof? Here it is:


Fighting Fabrics

I've been taking it slow this time around, so as not to get into rush mode where I just finish it no matter what. Here are the steps I've taken so far:

  • Took apart all of the seams and removed all of the underlining. 
  • Sewed the bodice back together as it was.
  • Used my TNT pencil skirt pattern to cut a new skirt from the old one, shifted the darts to match with the bodice, and sewed this up.
  • I added the piping back at the waist, sewed the skirt to the bodice, and basted in the zipper.

At this point, I almost sunk into despair because while it came together just fine, I didn't like it. I didn't like it on the form, I didn't like it on my body. It wasn't matching up to the vision I've carried in my head all these months. I decided to try one more thing and sewed in the sleeves. Trumpets! Angels! Blazing light! the whole dress was transformed for me. Somehow, the sleeves created the necessary balance.

I've got more work to do, like fixing the sleeves (somehow, one sleeve ended up bigger than the other with all my fussing around - luckily, I like the smaller sleeve), re-sewing zipper, lining the bodice and all the finishing work. But I now actually believe that this will be a dress I can wear by June at the latest.

I also learned that my lucky find dress form (purchased from a costume designer in Chicago last fall) is a pretty good match for me, except she has a flatter butt, probably because she doesn't come out running with me.

How about you? Do you have any UFO's that have come out of hiding recently?


  1. Very pretty dress, pattern, and loving the colors.

    1. Thank you! I just ordered some green shoes to wear with it!

  2. You have had the same issues that I had with this pattern and although I have altered the skirt so many times, having a pencil skirt was the best result. The sleeves didn't work for me either so I really shortened them and that seems to suit me better. What I have done is use the Elisalex bodice (sleeveless) on the Anna skirt and it was my favourite cool dress for our Australian summer. I will make another in spring (October). Anyway, I love where your Elisalex is going as this fabric is gorgeous and you don't want to waste it.

    1. Thanks, Marjorie! I think I'd like to try the pattern with a fuller skirt at some point. I do like the bodice a lot.

  3. The fabric is fab. So glad you are picking this up again :)

  4. I love it!!! So much better than what I saw when you tried it on. Great save.

  5. Oh this is a really very long back project as I really had forgotten reading about it :D. It is so irksome to remove seams with the ripper. you are having great amount of patience. The print looks good so worth the effort. I have a pant and wallet and Anise jacket as UFo :( dont know when I will get the mood to complete them LOL

    1. Ooo - I hope you get back to the Anise someday. I like that pattern!



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