Pattern: By Hand London’s Elisalex dress with a gathered skirt
Fabric: Birch Fabrics Faxosmile Fox cotton from Billow Fabrics
Spring has been a bit of tease here the last few weeks, hinting at warmer days to come by showing off blue skies and snowdrops in the hedgerows, only to wham bam change in an instant with squally showers and wintery rain. This time of year can be a bit wearying can’t it? Winter never seems quite done with us, and the transition between seasons seems slow and indecisive. We are sick of the cold and rain, of wet muddy fields and bare gardens. However, on this,the first official day of Spring, things are looking up – it’s been a lovely sunny week, with days starting slow and foggy only to give way to brilliant sunshine by mid morning. Evenings are stretching out and the countryside is beginning to slowly green up. Things are looking brighter!
Anyway, onto the dress. Is this fabric not the most amazing thing ever??! I bought 3 metres of it from Billow Fabrics – it’s a quilting weight birch organic a cotton called ‘Faxosmile Fox.’ They do a heavier weight cotton canvas in the same print too, and my mum has used this to make an overnight bag, which is fabulous. However I really fancied making a dress with it, specifically By Hand London’s Elisalex dress but with a gathered skirt. I’ve made several Elisalex dresses in the past and each time have had to do some serious tweaking to stop it gaping across the back (entirely due to my narrow shoulders). This time I really wanted to get the fit perfect. After making countless toiles I finally cracked it. By taking a V shape out of the back – about 1” each side and raising the back by another couple inches so that the top wasn’t sitting across the pointy scapula bone on my back, but slightly above it, the gaping problem seems fixed and as well as no longer feeling loose, the shoulders no longer slip down my arms. Victory!
The other great challenge with this dress was pattern matching. I wanted it to be pretty spot on at the CB zip as well as round the skirt and bodice side seams. Due to the curved nature of the princess seams on the bodice I was less worried about getting it 100% matched but wanted it as near as possible. I’ll grant I’m maybe a couple of mm out at the back but really, who’s going to notice that?! The important straight seams match up grand and the princess seams, whilst not a dead perfect match are as good as they’re going to get.
I’ve already worn this dress several times and, due to the 3/4 lengths sleeves can see it as the ideal all the year round dress – great with tights and little boots but also with bare legs and clogs. Whilst I’m all for having a simplified wardrobe full of key basics and neutral layering pieces, every now and again you just have to whip out a bold print like this!
Anyway, that’s enough from me – I have a skirt to hem and a zip to add onto a stripy Anna dress I’m working in at the moment. Have a good week folks!