Soooo anyway, it took me a long time to buy the internet sensation that is the Elisalex dress pattern for a couple of reasons. Let's just dive into them, shall we.
- The company's design aesthetic does not really match mine.
The same can be said of several other companies, so no demerits there. Everyone's taste is different and there are plenty of people out there designing with different aesthetics. My personal style is kind of amorphous anyway, so I don't expect anyone to design specifically for it.
It's just that sometimes there's an element on a pattern that you dislike to the point that it distracts you from other features you might like. Such is the case with the Elisalex "lantern" skirt...... it's not my bag baby. Probably cause its similar to my natural shape and I have no desire emphasize my larger bottom half when I'm trying to balance it with the top.
So when I first saw this pattern I just though, "this one's for the skinny girls," and closed the tab. It took Dolly Clackett's various mash-ups of the pattern to make me give it a second look. Then I realized that the bodice portion of this design was beautiful and might be interested in purchasing it myself.
- Photos of the garments tend to be "arty" with washed out details or very busy prints.
Pattern companies have to the right to present themselves the way they want and By Hand London's photos aren't even as crazy as some of the shit Vogue puts out. Crouching in windows anyone? In fact my opinion has always been be as crazy as you want in photos, as long as you give me a technical sketch. Which leads us to my main problem.....
- No technical sketch for the garments before you buy.
Let be me clear that the pattern comes with a technical sketch on the inside of the sleeve. If you happen to be one of those lucky people with a brick and mortar store stocking these, then you could see it before buying. However those of us in internet land are up shit creek, because a photo shown of this sketch is never shown.
However this gives me the perfect opportunity to get up on a soap box and talk about a topic near and dear to my heart... the lowly technical sketch. I've noticed a trend across the internet concerning it lately that troubles me. More and more it's not included as picture in the on-line buying process or omitted entirely from the pattern. Yes, a technical sketch is not sexy like photos or fancy packaging, but it is essential information that should be included in EVERY design.
I will admit that this is BIG pet peeve of mine because the technical sketch how my brain processes a design. It allows me to see all the construction details in a format were I am not distracted by fabrication, accessories or even the model. I would also argue that no photograph can clearly show you all of the seams lines on a garment unless it is very simple one. (In this case some stylist has probably accessorized the garment to within an inch of it's life and you need the sketch anyway.)
I will take a technical sketch over fancy packaging or interesting card stock any day. Because to me the technical sketch is not "window dressing" but an essential source of information that allows me to decide if a pattern is worth my time and effort. The only thing more important to me* then the sketch, is decent drafting of the pattern.
*List of importance should be pattern drafting, instructions, then technical sketch but my priorities are skewed cause I never read directions. How else am I gonna sing "I did it my way?"
Soapbox rant over, now on to the good stuff
Elisalex and Simplicity 2444, original review on the Simplicty part here.
Now for the pros, I do think that there is quality pattern drafting on the Elisalex dress. Those of us on the upper end of the size range might find the arms too tight, but that's a common problem in grading up to the larger end. Both the front and back neckline are gorgeous and I was very pleased to find that I didn't need to move the princess line seams around to hit my bust apex.
Mid weight stretch cotton purchased from Gertie's Etsy store this summer. I had just enough bits of her siri lining laying around to line the bodice.
1. I generally like patterns with minimal ease but it can bite you in the ass if you have ...ahem "full" upper arms. (I wanted to say meaty here, but that just makes me think of dinner options) Both the armhole portion of the dress and the sleeve were very snug on my muslin. My fix was to drop the armhole 1/2" and add 1/4" to each side of the sleeve underarm seam for a total of 1/2" additional width. Since I was working with a stretch woven this seemed to be enough additional ease.
2. Normal 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment. I also did the forward sleeve adjustment on the cap as discussed in the last blog post.
3. My bust fullness is low set so I took in the top of the front princess line seams 3/8".
5. I added 5/8" length to the entire bodice and then an additional 3/8" to just the CF part of the bodice. I don't have a waist there (thanks post baby gut) so visually it looked better to have that area a tad longer.
1. I edge-stitched the neckline and then graded and notched the seam allowance to get the curves to sit nicely.
2. I did not line the skirt portion since I didn't think it needed it and there wasn't enough siri left over anyway. The lining is slip stitched at the waist and overlocked at the armholes.
"Hey that's pretty and it has pockets. Nice."
My Final Thoughts
I really like this dress! There was a bit of concern about this fabric being a little too thick for something that was not pants or a jacket. Thankfully the simple lines of the two patterns worked just fine with the weight. Now all I have to do is decide what pair of red heels to wear with it!