April 15, 2014

Sew Dolly Clackett

 I finally sewed up the By Hand London Elisalex dress.  Obviously without the tulip skirt.  I spent 2 weekends of sewing time working on the fit of the bodice.  While the bodice fit straight out of the envelope - there were some problems.  The main one being that the princess seams did not go over my bust where they should.  They were off to the side by quite a bit and there was pulling across the center front. 

The first thing I did was an 'unauthorized' alteration.  I took the side front bodice piece and I drew a line from the pivot at the underarm to the waist and sliced that open, then I spread it about half an inch right across the fullest part of the bust.  I moved the center front off the center by 1/4 of an inch and reshaped the neckline.  Muslin #2 still had pulling across the front.  Next set of alterations was a proper full bust adjustment adding 3/8 of an inch. 

I ended up making one more set of alterations before cutting into my fabric - but at this point, I honestly don't remember what they were.  I know I slashed and overlapped the back bodice from the armhole to the neckline edge.  I did that in 3 different places and removed about an inch and half.  I did this because the back gaped around my shoulder blades.  Again - not sure if this was authorized - but it worked.  I could still raise my arms and the back didn't gape.

 After 2 weeks and 4 muslins, I finally traced and muslined the tulip skirt.  The back fit great - but the front wasn't fabulous.  Might be because on my body that tulip skirt isn't really exaggerated - I'm that shape. 

I used the skirt from McCalls 6503.  It's a full A-line with 2 pleats.  Rather than use the pleats from the McCalls skirt - I used the box pleats from Elisalex and the shape of the McCalls skirt.  Unfortunately, I didn't do a great job blending the two - need to smooth that out for the next version. 

The fabric is a cotton print that has been in the stash cupboard for a long time.  The background is light pink, there is some dark pink, green and white in the print.  I think the white cardigan is a little bit bright with the print. 

The bodice is fully lined.  This dress is comfortable and easy to wear.  I think for my next version I will lower the front neckline just a bit.  I do want to try this bodice with a pencil skirt. 

Hopefully - I can do a bit more sewing in a the upcoming weeks.  I need some cute, loose dresses for an upcoming vacation in Maui.  Hopefully I'll have some desire to sew after work in the next couple of days. 

Thanks to Dolly Clackett and Sarah at Rhinestones & Telephones for the inspiration and prodding to finally sew up Elisalex.   I can see many many skirts added to the comfortable and flattering bodice - Anna, Flora, circle - just to name a few. 


  1. Yes princess seams need to fit properly over the breast points. Usually it is just a matter of adjusting the front piece to the proper width and then adjusting under the arm. The same with the back princess seam. I wish I was there to help you, 4 muslins is too much you poor thing, but I like the dress!

    1. I do have one pattern that has the princess seams off set, but then there is a tiny bust dart in the center piece. Interesting detail. Would have been fun to have someone around for fitting help! It's so hard to see what's going on or what will change if you pin this or pull that. I try really hard to remember LDC - length, depth, circumference. But then I can never remember if D or C comes after L. Apparently it makes a difference!


  2. What a lovely Spring/Summer dress! Nice job

  3. Getting that bodice to fit was a huge accomplishment *clap clap* and like you said now you can make quite a few different skirt bottoms to add to the bodice. You will end up with an amazing wardrobe of dresses now that fit you the way you want them to! Great job!

  4. So glad you got all the fitting issues sorted, it looks really good on you!
    Have a great time on your upcoming holiday!! You could always save some of your reveal photo shoots for some glamorous holiday shots!

  5. Such a beautiful dress, you look fabulous. Have a wonderful time in Maui, you lucky lady!

  6. Such a pretty dress, all your hard work has paid off! As for alterations - doesn't matter if they're 'authrorised' or not, as long as you're happy with the end result! There are no sewing police!

  7. I agree that the white cardigan is a little bright, but ecru or pale pink would be perfect. I love the green belt with that dress. It came out really well. I hope you can get a couple more made for Maui (what a glamorous vacation)!

  8. Your dress is gorgeous!!! I don't think there is really any such thing as an "unauthorized" adjustment. We are all so uniquely different that even the "standard" adjustments aren't always the right solution. I think your finished product looks great!

  9. You did a great job , correcting the fitting problems..This is so not fun...But your dress is gorgeous.. and I look forward to seeing what you will make next..

  10. Oh my gosh G...I love that dress on you! You did an amazing job! Just gorgeous!
    The garden looks lovely, too. Remember when J and I walked thru your garden and took photos of every square inch? You guys have the best yard ever :o)

  11. So very pretty! I love the alterations that you did!

  12. Do you write down the alterations you make? I'm so impressed. When I alter something I can't tell you what I did, I just moved something.

  13. I enjoy your blog! Therefore, I have nominated you for the Sunshine and Shine Award. Please visit my blog for more information.

  14. Love your hair, the dress - everything! You're beautiful... and maybe I'll take a sewing class or ten this summer so I can at least understand what you're saying even if I can't learn to make anything I can wear.

  15. It is so cute! I wish you posted a pic of the form fitting front without a cardi layered, but I like the belt style. Very chic mama!


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