Making clothes that fit, a winter Elisalex dress in butterscotch pudding

I made my friend a By Hand London Elisalex dress in a wool mix. My friend Mary got this beautiful wool viscose mix fabric from Tessuti. It’s called ‘butterscotch pudding’, and it is rather delicious. Canberra winters call for something warming.2014-06-02 17.35.20 2014-06-02 17.38.04

It was hard to decide which to call the right side, they were both lovely. In the end Mary went with the one with more black in it.

Winter elisalex dress front view

Winter elisalex back view

Unlike when I made the By Hand London Flora dress for my daughter who lives hundreds of kilometers away, Mary and I could go home from work at lunch time. She could try the dress, as a work in progress.

One of the things I love about sewing is that you can make clothes that suit you and that fit well. Many of my friends and I (back when I used to buy clothes) have trouble finding clothes that are made of lovely fabric, that suit you and fit well. Shopping for ready-to -wear clothes can be such a dispiriting experience. If you’d like an interesting read about sewing, fitting and body image, Karen, of ‘Did you make that’, has written very eloquently on the issues in The Guardian.

A good fit makes all the difference to look and comfort. While making Mary’s dress we did three fittings, before we were happy with it.

The first fitting, I should have called (and made) a muslin! It was way too high in the waist and the bodice pieces needed to be re-cut entirely. Luckily I had enough fabric because I bought some of the butterscotch pudding for myself, yay!

The second fitting, we made sure the waist was in the right place, made it shorter by about 15 cm and took it in at the sides about 2 inches. For this fitting I basted the side seams wrong sides together. When Mary then tried it on it was easy to pin for  the right fit.

Winter elisalex dress front view

It’s quite a loose weave so I lined the whole dress, including the sleeves. Lining the sleeves isn’t part of the By Hand London Elisalex pattern but I thought it would make it more comfortable. Lovely as the wool mix fabric is, it didn’t look super comfy against the skin. I used the sleeve pattern and made it a bit shorter.

I stabilised the front and back neckline with hug-snug ribbon. I used this to strengthen the back seam where I used an invisible zip. All the skirt seams are overlocked/serged. This wasn’t necessary on the bodice as all the seams are enclosed by the lining.

I didn’t add the pockets mainly because I didn’t know how they’d work with the lined skirt, does anyone know about this? I also thought they may not work well in the loose weave fabric.

tmp_20140511_085528759092122Close up of butterscotch elisalex

The final fitting, this time with the seams right sides together, I took the dress in very slightly along the length of the side seams. I think it ended up as a good fit and it should be very comfortable to wear. I’m looking forward to making my own butterscotch outfit. Mary and I will just need to check what each other’s wearing before we go out and about together. It will be like being teenagers again 🙂 yeah right!

Winter elisalex dress Mary sitting on

I can see this dress being worn for a winter lunch in front of the open fire at Grazing, Gunderoo or maybe at Flint in the Vines, Murrumbateman. You’d have to check buttersctoch pudding was on the menu first.

I’m entering Mary’s winter Elisalex dress is Sewing Indie Month over on Larua Mae’s blog, Lilacs and Lace. Have a look at all the other lovely outfit. Im also linking this post over at Sewing Saturdays at Simple Simon and Co.

Pattern: By Hand London Elisalex
Fabric: wool, acetate, viscose mix from Tessuti
Lining: acetate from Addicted to Fabric
Notions: invisible zip and press stud (alternative to a hook and eye).


13 thoughts on “Making clothes that fit, a winter Elisalex dress in butterscotch pudding

  1. Pingback: Look at all the snow! and the Elisalex dress | barbarajanemade

  2. Pingback: Exposed zip and another winter BHL Elisalex dress | barbarajanemade

  3. I washed the dress today very gently by hand and it was fine. Held its shape. Used those test swatches first. The one in the washing machine might have shrunk slightly. Think I will test that one again. I’m enjoyingthe dress how about you?


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