Elisalex V9000 superhack dress

Hello everyone! I’m keeping up my run of weekly blog posts and it feels so good! Today I’m sharing a dress that I cooked up by mashing a few things together. It’s the perfect 50s style swishy midi dress that makes me feel like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. I could easily swish around on a Greek island too if needed. Anyone offering a mini break?

almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

So are you curious about my superhack? I started with the Elisalex dress bodice which I’ve made twice before but skipped the sleeves this time. I’m wearing the size 10 with a little bit of excess taken out of the shoulders. Then used Vogue 9000 which I’ve made here, and merged the skirt panels into a front and back rather than seven piece skirt. I’m wearing the size 14 waist and hip. I then adjusted the side seams and centre back edges slightly to make sure they’d match up and chopped an inch off the length.

almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

I’m so happy with the result as it’s modest with the neckline and length, but a little cheeky with the dipped back, AND the skirt has fantastic swish! Seriously good swish. Which is mostly down to the fabric I chose but important to say that being flared rather than circle, there’s limited chance of the skirt blowing up and flashing everyone on a windy day. Result! My invisible zipper went in like a dream (I love my invisible zipper foot to death – if you don’t have one, go get one) and the waist matches nicely! I handsewed the lining to the inside for a change as I normally stitch in the ditch but had some telly to watch while I did it.

almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

I really like wearing dark colours in hot weather as I am always cold and this is a guaranteed way to warm up, but also I think black looks great with a tan. This is of course one of Lisa Comfort’s gorgeous fabric prints. I was very tempted by the first collection which features pastel colours and soft florals. I love Elderflower and the pink colourway would have been perfect for me but I resisted as I hate hate hate ironing and need to limit the amount of cotton dresses I make before I go insane over the wrinkles.

almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

When the crepe collection was released I snapped up the Wild Flower print in black. At 150cm-wide it’s perfectly designed to fit a flared skirt like this without needing to cut on the cross grain but at midi length the pieces are fabric hungry. However the princess seam bodice of the Elisalex dress is a great space saver on a fabric layout. I lined the bodice in black habotai to help as well. In the end I got this dress out of just 1.5m of fabric! SO EFFICIENT!

almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

The poly crepe barely wrinkles, floats like a dream and is totally opaque. Big points for my lifestyle! I’m only slightly bummed that there is a permanent crease in the centre front of the skirt from where the fabric was folded in half before being put on the bolt. I don’t know if this is just my piece, or just the bolt. It could be how the fabric was pressed during transit after printing. I don’t know… but every time I look down I try not to look at the crease line. BUT to end on a more positive note, I can totally recommend the fabric quality, the Elisalex pattern for how well drafted it is and Vogue 9000 as the perfect half shirtdress (eyes peeled for my newest version of this dress in one of the prettiest viscose prints I’ve ever found).

almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

*Just to let you know this post contains affiliate links but products I link are from trusted sellers like The McCall Pattern Co selling through Amazon or Minerva Crafts. There’s no obligation to buy through the link of course. I don’t advertise on my blog so this is a little way to fund the running of the site!

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Carline chambray Elisalex

Have you ever owned a fabric you’ve been too terrified to cut into? I think a lot of us have been there. It can be because it’s so beautiful or so rare or it cost you so much or it represents something much bigger about your sewing status.

I put fabrics up on a pedestal all the time, it can be a £40 silk or a £2 polyester. Its a real problem!

For me this Liberty print ticked so many of those fear boxes; it’s rare because I’ve never found Liberty chambray anywhere other than one Japanese etsy seller. It cost me a bit to buy it and ship it over as you might imagine. And it’s utterly beautiful so I wanted it in my Carline dress family.

 Almond rock liberty carline elisalex by hand london

I decided a safe bet would be to sew a pattern I’d made before but with a few tweaks. I’d loved making the Elisalex because of the great fitting princess seams and wanted to try adding sleeves to make the dress more versatile. I skipped the instructions for the sleeve insertion and used the clean insertion method which I’ve used a few times – video close up here. I really should post my own version of this tutorial as I think the original post photos are a little hard to see.

With this technique the sleeve is fully enclosed in the bodice lining for a very professional finish. The draft of the sleeves is excellent by the way!

I also swapped out the skirt pleats for gathers as I think the pleats fell a little funny on my lower half.

Almond rock liberty carline elisalex by hand london

Seeing photos of the back still makes me smile with it’s gorgeous swooped neckline… makes me sad I can’t see my back when I wear it! Thought I’d need some kind of flamingo or giraffe neck for that to be possible. For the zipper I’m not over the moon with my invisible zipper. Even after installing what feels like a thousand, there are just some that don’t want to stay hidden at the intersections of the seams, even when everything has been graded and stitched properly. This is why my heart belongs to lapped zippers. I might unpick and redo.

Almond rock liberty carline elisalex by hand london

As you saw at the start I thought I’d copy Gertie and make a sailor inspired number but changed my mind as I lay the binding on. Maybe it’s plain but I love it. And if down the line I want to fancy it up I can hand-stitch trim on top!

What do think? Add some trim or leave it plain?

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BOND, ANNA BOND… By Hand London Anna

Hello everyone. I’m writing this from a corner of my sewing room, slightly frazzled from car issues and too tired to sew. I’m really keen to start wedding related sewing but have had a few silly setbacks.

One of my bridal fabrics has arrived cut into two lengths instead of being kept whole and I’ve lost the pattern number I noted down for my bridesmaids’ dresses. All fixable of course but frustratingly will slow me down. Chewie isn’t impressed.

Almond rock rifle paper co cotton steel by hand London Anna

So to perk myself up I’m sharing a recently finished make. It’s not my first and not my last Anna dress but possibly my most noticeable. When I wear this dress people love to find out if it’s really Rifle Paper Co, ask to stroke the rayon to feel the quality and tell me the colours are wonderful. I happily answer all the comments because I think the quality is fantastic; the shades of blue and coral, the weight and sheen of the weave, and the scale of the design make this a perfect fabric. Go buy some while you can.

If you’ve made something from Rifle Paper Co fabric please link me in the comments!!

Almond rock rifle paper co cotton steel by hand London Anna

In case you’ve been off the grid, the last couple of years have yielded some fabulous fabrics from the collaboration of Rifle Paper Co and Cotton + Steel.

Anna Bond is the creative force behind Rifle Paper Co, a stationery business famed (primarily) for its painterly florals designed by Anna herself.

Almond rock rifle paper co cotton steel by hand London Anna

Cotton + Steel is comprised of the design power houses Melody Miller, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Alexia Abegg, Kim Kight and Sarah Watts who collaborate on fun and unique prints that still coordinate across each range. The bulk of the offering is quilting cotton but lawn, rayon and canvas substrates are also available for certain designs.

Almond rock rifle paper co cotton steel by hand London Anna

The Birch Floral I used is from the Les Fleurs collection which I picked up from Miss Matatabi. Also in my stash is the Painterly Roses rayon from the Wonderland collection. I have 1m to play with which I picked up from Village Haberdashery using my birthday stash points!

Almond rock rifle paper co cotton steel by hand London Anna

Ok so dress nitty gritty time. This is the Anna v-neck bodice and the Emery gathered skirt with 3cm added to the length. I used a 70 needle to avoid snags and the fabric was robust enough not to shift as I worked or get sucked into the feed dogs.

Almond rock rifle paper co cotton steel by hand London Anna

My armholes are finished with blue bias and I used the facings provided. My invisible zip is pretty invisible considering its navy and I took the dress in a little from previous versions as I’ve lost some weight. I try and save this dress for nice occasions as it does noticeably wrinkle after a few hours of wear.

Almond rock rifle paper co cotton steel by hand London Anna

The big thing this dress taught me is that I love wearing primary colours. My red Sumo dress, started that off. So I’ve bought some emerald green tana lawn which I’m excited to sew up. But that better wait until after I get my bridal sewing back on track…

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Happy hula girls Flora dress By Hand London

Hopefully the name of this post has you intrigued! I have a a fun new dress to share in the most awesome print fabric you’ll see today!!

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

I am super excited to pair up with Spoonflower for their British Blog Hop. I’m in fab company as well:

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

Blog Tour Schedule
Saturday, May 27 | Kate | The Fold Line

Monday, May 29 | Sarah | A Million Dresses

Tuesday, May 30 | Manu | Sew Manju

Wednesday, May 31 | Amy | Almond Rock
Thursday, June 1 | Rachel | House of Pinheiro

Friday, June 2 | Marie | A Stitching Odyssey

Monday, June 5 | Zoe | Sozoblog

Tuesday, June 6 | Kerry| Kestrelmakes

Wow I’ve actually shopped, ate cake, danced and gossiped with everyone on this list. And their blogs are really inspiring and diverse in aesthetic. It’s the best possible virtual party!

So have you ever tried Spoonflower? First set up in the US, they’ve expanded into Europe about a year and a half ago. Having operations in Berlin is a real benefit for all of us here in the UK because with a much closer factory than the US you get a faster turn-around on orders, and you know exactly what you’re paying because it’s all nicely there in GBP at the checkout with VAT included! That last point is pretty important to me as I’m TERRIBLE at maths.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

This was a really fun chance for me to get a print from one of my favourite designers…Taisya Kordiukova aka Tasiania. I know, I know, I could have designed something unique but having loved Tasiania’s mid-century modern inspired scenes of life for a long time I couldn’t resist choosing this hula girls design.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

Brief disclaimer: Please excuse the pictures. They were taken on the HOTTEST day the studio had so far this year so I’m a little pink in the face heehee.

My dress is the Flora from By Hand London. It’s view 2 but with a gathered skirt so my hula ladies wouldn’t be placed sideways on the circle skirt. On all my versions of this dress I have adjusted the bodice to be single darted. This was done through a Small Bust Adjustment where I rotated the fullness into the waist. I don’t need a lot of room and one dart covers it! Finally as an act of insanity I made the tiniest rouleaux straps I could manage. They were excruciating to turn through. I didn’t have any cord or string thin enough to sew into the top when I tried the same with an overlocker chain it got caught in the side seam. In the end it was my loop turner that had to take on the task.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

Construction was a breeze. The fabric washed really well with no colour fading and it kept it’s gorgeous sheen. I have actually washed the dress three times after an unfortunate curry incident this weekend and it’s holding up amazingly well (the curry stain is almost out too). There’s a nice stretch recovery and the fabric is thick enough not to show the darts and seam allowance through which I was worried about. I lined the bodice in mint sateen suiting from Minerva Crafts, and the skirt in peach anti-static lining. Then I added a nice deep single-fold hem and a lapped zipper. It looks a little misaligned in this photo for some reason.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

I already owned a swatch pack and colour printing guide which I highly recommend before buying as the descriptions are not enough to know what the handle of your fabric will be. From the fabric pack my recommendations for dressmaking are definitely the Kona cotton, crepe de chine and sateen ultra. My cotton sateen was £25.30 a yard which is 53″ wide, plenty for a nice full skirted dress WITH POCKETS. Top tip, it would be a lot easier if you picked a multi-directional print rather than a one-way design as I did.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

Ooh pockets I love you.

In my book £25 per metre is worth it for the Spoonflower sateen if you’re getting a custom printed design. Although this fabric was provided free in exchange for a review, it’s a high quality fabric that I would definitely order again. No one is saying you need to be a technical whizzkid to make your own prints; Spoonflower have an awesome book that guides you through the whole process in fact and there’s a lot of info on the blog. If you’re still unsure, check out the epic print gallery for a pre-made design.

I hope you liked my dress and continue to follow the blog hop as it continues! Keep an eye on the hashtag #Spoonflowerbritishbloghop on IG and Twitter for more inspiration and if you have any questions about the quality, print or order process please let me know.

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A Marimekko-inspired Elisalex

Hi everyone! Fingers crossed you’ve had a chilled week with a good splash of sewing time. After the horrific incident in town on Monday night our office was quite a heavy place Tuesday. Thankfully no one I work with was personally affected but it’s hit us all hard. To lift my spirits I made a dress, ordered some new fabric and a horse shape handbag plus I watched A LOT of Parks and Recreation. It was a fabulous dose of medicine. I also found out I won a prize in the Dress Like Your Grandma challenge – I’m totally amazed and grateful so I’ll share more on that soon.

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

I wanted to talk about finally joining the Elisalex dress bandwagon. When Elisalex the real life lady sent me the updated pattern files for the By Hand London dress I was intrigued. I even tried the new 44″ printer at work to test the copy shop version. 

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

The dress did not disappoint. The bodice is really nicely drafted with the proportions and seam placement bang on and everything goes together perfectly… as you would expect from a By Hand London pattern!

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

I used a cotton poplin from John Lewis that was picked up on a trip to Birmingham with Roisin, Marie, Kat, Sabs and Helen. Chewie was a big fan as you can see. I had to wrestle it from under her butt several times. I used navy lining, yellow bias tape at the hem and did some ropey invisible zipper sewing if I say so myself. I’m going to have another pass to try and get closer to the teeth. My invisible zipper foot failed me somehow. I pressed the teeth open, moved my needle closer, everything like normal! Hmmmm.

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

To reduce the bell shape of the skirt I graded out to an A-line below the hip. I like the curve at the waist and the shape the pleats make. The bodice princess seams fit me nicely and only required minimal tweaking from the size 10 toile.

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

Notice these pics are PP? “Pre-Perm” heehee. I love pairing the dress with these navy wedges and a mustard cardigan. The print reminds me of the Finnish design house Marimekko, which makes me super happy. And I got to wear it when Elisalex visited the studio a couple of weeks ago. She came to review the culottes you get with issue 40 and have a giggle with us. How freaking gorgeous does she look here??

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

My plans to conquer more princess seam dresses are off to a flying start! Stay tuned for my gown from The Dressmaker’s Ball very soon…

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