I fell in love with this pattern the first time I saw it and got it for Christmas. My dad lovingly taped all the PDF pages together and took great delight in complaining about it after he had given it to me 😉
It stayed, unmade, in my stash for varies reasons, mainly because I just couldn’t find a fabric that I liked and that I though matched the dress. In around March I spent around £30 buying 3m of biscuity coloured crepe from Fabric Godmother only to find that I didn’t like how the colour looked against my skin! (I’d ordered it online). I guess, the fact that I’m still living on site at a renovation project and spend my days sprawled on the floor playing PJ Masks or wiping up paint and food doesn’t really help motivate me to sew pretty dresses. Its all jersey, leggings and sweatshirts round here!
However, I was invited to an old school friend’s wedding and the thought of traipsing round the shops with a pre-schooler looking for a dress that would cost me £60 and having to spend an extra £40 on snacks/toys/parking AND THEN probably having to alter the dress I bought was finally motivation enough to sit down and make the dress.
I spent probably 3 days online looking for a fabric that I thought would go with the dress and finally found a blue flowery viscose at Croft Mill that I thought (prayed!) would work. I ordered 3m because this was a serious project that I didn’t want looking home made so I decided to use the pattern placement as recommended in the instructions and which I normally ignore in order to use as little fabric as possible. I think 2.4m was the recommended fabric length for the mini dress version and I had enough left one to make two gathered mini rectangle skirts for my daughter and her best friend.
I made up a toile (I was doing it ALL by the book this time!) using a similar weight fabric I had bought for £2 a metre from Walthamstow market and was so impressed at how straight forward the pattern was. I had put it off for so long thinking it would be a really difficult make but it came together so quickly and so easily, I had almost finished the toile and hadn’t even used the seam ripper once! The trickiest part was inserting the waist panel as it required sandwiching the top part between two panels and sewing it blind and as it has a curve to it I kept getting a pucker. I therefore decided to sew one panel at a time which meant I didn’t get the clean finish I would have gotten had I sewed it as instructed. As you can see in the picture there is a 4mm line between the outer piece and the lining but this saved me sanity and meant I got the dress finished in time.
It was my first time sewing up a BHL pattern. I had lusted after the Elisalex dress for ages and when I finally had an occasion to make it up last year, when I went to buy it, it was no longer being sold whilst modifications were being made to the pattern. I was so gutted! So this was me losing my BHL virginity and let me tell you if the fit is as good on all their patterns, they may be the only ones I’ll be buying from now on. I made us a straight size 8 and only had to make the tiniest modification by taking in the sleeve shoulder seam by 0.5cm on each side. I have really narrow shoulders and quite big boobies so to find a dress that doesn’t need major modifications in the bust/ shoulder area was so refreshing. The finished dress fitted me perfectly and even the toile fits so well, that I need to finish it and dye it because it seems such a shame to throw it away.
If you are umm-ing and arr-ing over this pattern, I’d say get it, you won’t be disappointed! The tie backs are genius because they give a lovely fitted shape to the dress whilst keeping the shape simple enough to make it a pretty speedy sew. Depending on the fabric and colour you use it can be dressed up with heels or down with sandals which I think gives it a really cool 70s vibe. In any case I loved it and can’t wait for another excuse to make up another one!