An Elisalex with feathers

I am sorely behind in posting about things I’ve sewn this summer. So much so that I may not even blog about it allβ€”you might just have to see it show up in outfits at some point! And right now, my sewing machine is having issues so I’m going to have to take it in to get repaired. No sewing for me for awhile.

So let’s backup to a month ago when I finished this dress! This is my first Elisalex dress from By Hand London.

Elisalex with feathers

I bought this and the Anna pattern several months ago and can I just say, best thing evaaah to get a personalized note with your order from the By Hand London ladies. What, me gush??


Now I wasn’t really sure what size to sew, since my bust was a US 6 and waist was a US 4. I opted to follow the sew-along advice of Elisalex herself, who sewed a US 4 and did a full-bust adjustment. That’s exactly what I did, and it worked great! The ease in the princess seams at the bust was a bit of a beast to deal with, but it worked. In the end I could probably take the side seams in just a touch or possibly go down an entire size, but it’s comfortable without feeling restrictive.


I did two muslins of the bodice. The first was with the FBA and a narrow shoulder adjustment (and trying out a v-neck in the front that I didn’t end up liking).

I knew from the wide neckline and lots of Elisalex photos online that the straps would probably fall off my shoulders, so a narrow shoulder adjustment was in store. But because the straps were so thin, I narrowed the pattern piece on the sleeve side, but then added back the width on the neckline side. I’m really pleased with how that solution worked.


Plus, it meant the straps weren’t too skinny to pull the bodice lining through, which I think might have been a concern otherwise. I went with lime green voile for the lining. It really is whoa mama bright! I did intend to top stitch the neckline but thought about it too long and by that point my machine was out of commission. So eventually I’ll get to it.

Elisalex lining

In the back, I wanted a little more coverage than the original deep v-neck, so using the Craftsy class for altering necklines, I raised it a bit. The back was gaping in the first muslin, so that’s why I did a second one. I sliced the back piece about halfway down the neck at an angle towards the lower part of the armhole, overlapped about an inch, and rotated it out at the armhole (which barely changed the armhole at all, probably not even 1/8″). I could probably still remove more as I feel it gaps a bit as I move.


I did a centered back zipper and may I add, I’m so proud of how it looks at the top. Finally got it perfect! If only I could actually tuck the pull into the laps without assistance. Or decide if I like side lapped of center back zippers better. I’ll probably keep flip flopping back and forth.


So let’s talk about that fabric for a second, you’re dying to know more, right? I randomly encountered some project online at one point that used a different color scheme of the same fabric, and I pined to Rochelle about it. She managed to track down what it was, Feathers by Martha Negley, and I found some at Pacific Fabrics. Huzzah!

The print feels very summery but I could easily transition this one to fall with the right accessories and layers. I’m thinking about that a lot right now, of course!


Sven Clogs and Elisalex dress

I nixed the tulip skirt from the pattern because let’s face it, can you see me wearing a tulip skirt? Nope. I was going to go with my preferred gathered skirt but took a page from Roisin‘s book and used the skirt from Simplicity 2444, which is pleated. It’s fine… in the end, I don’t love it but don’t hate it. I think pleats are kind of more trouble to me than they’re worth. (As was lining up the pleats with the princess seams in the front… too busy, so you totally can’t tell.) I would have tried a half circle but didn’t have enough fabric.

This skirt definitely called for a petticoat underneath, something I don’t frequently do! But it really makes the skirt look its best.


And hey, I had fun with it, while Mel took photos of me being a jackass. You’re welcome.


They probably wouldn’t have let me into the Moulin Rouge, huh?

Oh by the way, someone asked me in a previous post about my lipstick, and I forgot to answer! Lately I’ve been wearing Besame Cosmetics (a great vintage-inspired brand if you’re not already familiar) lipstick in Carmine nearly exclusively. It’s a very orangey red which appears a bit more red in most photos, but I think you can see the truer shade in this somewhat bitchyface photo below. I bought this color ages ago and I was meh about it until I dyed my hair red. Now I love it!

Besame lipstick in Carmine

Anyway, I really like this dress, and was actually in the middle of a second Elisalex when my sewing machine started having issues. So expect another one at some point soon in a lovely organic cotton I picked up by Birch Fabrics. In the meantime, I’ll be knitting! (And laying in the grass, apparently.)


outfit details

dress – made by me
petticoat – Dawn’s Attelier
necklace – Luxulite
Bakelite earrings and bangles – misc.
shoes – courtesy of Sven Clogs

Filed: Sewing, Vintage Wardrobe

Tagged: , , ,

Golly, 44 Comments!

  • Gads, it’s fantastic! Seems to fit you really well, and that blue color goes delightfully with your hair! Love the addition of the petticoat. Keep on keepin’ on, girl! You rock!!!


  • I have this fabric in my stash! I forgot how lovely I think this palette will work for late summer/fall. Thanks always for the inspiration..


  • Oh my goodness, it looks so fantastic! I love that blue on you. I hope your machine gets fixed soon, but I can’t wait to see what fun knitting projects you create while you wait.


  • Ooh, what a sassy dress! This looks awesome on you!


  • All your dresses are just mind blowing amazing. I can’t believe how talented you are. Such a great inspiration. Especially for those of us who don’t sew more than the occasional hem and basic circle skirts. I’m sorry that your machine is on the fritz, but I’m totally looking forward to more of your knitting posts as I am an avid knitter. Thank you for your posts, you really are an inspiring woman.

    Knitting in Pearls


  • I’ve always held off on purchasing this dress since I can’t stand the skirt. I do like your pleated one, even if you’ don’t care for it. Sorry to hear about your machine. Mine is at the beginning of needing to go for a tune-up, I fear.

    Yes! I looove Besame lipstick. It stays on forever, even after eating (non greasy foods). I only have the one coral color at the moment, so I need to get more.


    • I love it too! I prefer matte lipsticks but my I’ve always found my two favorite MAC lipsticks to just be overly drying and they get all crumbly after several hours.


      • Yeah, my Mac bright red lipsticks seem to make my lips peel at the end of the day. The creme ones don’t do that for me for luckily – but they last for a much shorter period of time.


  • I *could* see the tulip skirt on you, and that’s the highlight of that pattern. Try! I want to see.


  • I love the colors in this print! I think you did a great thing substituting the skirt. I fully embrace and try to sew to flaunt my pear shape, but I cannot understand wanting to exaggerate the hip area… ever. It’s probably like people with straight hair who wish they had curls, and vice versa. At any rate, I prefer the pleats!


  • Loving your Elisalex, especially the fabric, and the underskirt. I have just attempted a wearable muslin of this pattern for the first time and am about ready to have a go at my final version. I am sticking with the tulip skirt for now, but I was considering trying it out with a gathered skirt,. I would have to agree with you about pleats – they are a pain in the bottom! πŸ˜€

    Love Hannah


  • Tasha, there are lovely colors in that fabric. The dress is divine! Box pleats are pretty flattering on you…m-m-m.. you might think about lovin’ them more. They show off your small waist and don’t make you look hippy either. What more can a gal want???


  • Great style on you, great colors, perfect length. That last picture needs to be a magazine cover! πŸ˜‰


  • Super cute!

    I made the same fitting adjustments as you! Went down a size, FBA, and narrow shoulder πŸ™‚


    • And I loooove your version! It inspired me to try sleeves on my second, except I set one in and didn’t like it. So sleeveless for me. πŸ˜‰


  • This is lovely! There must be something in the water – I just finished my first Elisalex! I like the changes that you have made to yours, and I am seriously impressed with that centered zip. It is the one zip I have yet to conquer!


    • Thanks, Lauren! I can never seem to get the top of a lapped zipper that opens at the center back to look as nice, but I’m mighty pleased about this centered one. Now, we’ll see if I can repeat it in the future! πŸ˜‰


  • I love that dress and your sewing skills rock. I have been making my own clothes for over 40 years and let me say you can sew circles around me! Do you have a dress makers form? it you do what brand is it?


    • I do have one, but quite frankly have come to find it not that helpful for me except for hemming skirts. If I had one that was even more adjustable I think I could get it to be closer shaped to my body, but in this case, I do all my fittings on myself.


  • This print is darling! and perfectly suited to the dress you chose! I feel my fingers itching to sew right now, but I JUST packed up all of my sewing goodies. I can’t wait to break them out again once we move.



    • Thanks, Janey! Your move must have you so excited! There will be plenty of time to sew when you settle down in California! πŸ˜€


  • Your Elisalex is gorgeous! I love the fabric (and lining), and I think the S2444 skirt looks great with it. Hope you can get your machine fixed soon.


  • Fabulously lovely dress! That colour palette is wonderful. It seems to have, much like Mother Nature at the moment, one foot in summer and one in fall, which is no doubt part of the reason it instantly speaks to me.

    β™₯ Jessica


  • Oh I love this! The colours in the print look great on you and obviously I love the pleated skirt! I think the bodice is so versatile, which is why I like the Elisalex pattern so much – I know the tulip skirt is not for you but I love that you’ve made the pattern work! x


    • Thanks, Roisin! I can totally see why you love this bodice and have sewn it so much, and I’m thrilled to have another one to slap different skirts onto into infinity. Plus it was my first lined sleeveless bodice and I’m definitely applying their technique to other patterns, too! πŸ™‚


  • Your zipper is PERFECT!!!! I mean WOW perfect. Nicely done! Love the fabric, love the dress, love the fit, (love the skirt, the pleats look totally fine!) AND I love Beseme Cosmetics! …did I cover everything? lol

    p.s. I love your face.


  • OMG, Tasha! This dress is just gorgeous and so are those clogs! Wowza!


  • LOVE the lining. The whole dress is fab!


  • Wonderful dress that looks great on you! I want one! :>))


  • I know this is super late but this dress is lovely πŸ™‚ I really want to make it but all necklines are too wide on me so I’d need a narrow shoulder adjustment. Can you explain in a bit more detail how you did it because I’ve never done it on princess seams before. Thanks!


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