Warning: yet another floral print By Hand London dress coming up. You would think that I’d get tired of them, but hey, they make me happy so why not eh? Also, prepare for lots of photos! The last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to get some summer dresses sewn for my upcoming holiday to Italy. We leave on Friday and we plan to spend a few days in Rome, a few days in Sorrento (where we’ll visit Capri and Pompeii) and then back to Rome again before flying home.
(click each image for the source)
I can’t wait! While I do have some summery clothes hanging in my wardrobe, I wanted something new and I was left completely uninspired and frustrated by my recent attempt at clothes shopping. Everything I like is ridiculously expensive!
Anyway, I decided to make a couple of Floras (you’ve already seen my minty floral one and I’ve still got another one to write about). As I’ve already said, I honestly didn’t expect to love the pattern as much as I do. I think it’s the skirt that does it for me. It’s just so floaty and full and it makes me feel really feminine. With that in mind, I decided, for my most recent make, to combine it with the Elisalex bodice, which I love for its lower back and princess seams.
And here it is in all its glory: The Elisora? Elisalexora? Floralex? Flowery prettiness?
The fabric is just amazing! It’s the same as my minty floral one but with a white background. It’s a cotton with a slight stretch and it cost £11.99 a metre from The Cloth Shop in Edinburgh (although I got it on sale for £9.50 a metre). Not too bad at all!
I decided to lengthen the bodice a little (by about 1.5”) and when I closed the shoulder seams I took off 1.5” there too. This actually solved a lot of problems I normally have with the Elisalex bodice, especially the gaping at the back.
No gaping! Although this is before I sewed down the pesky zip tab, which have now been safely tucked away.
I think the next time I make an Elisalex, I’ll retrace the pattern and lengthen by 2″ and chop the extra off the shoulders to save doing this alteration each time.
The skirt is so easy to put together and I think it only took me about half an hour to pin, iron and sew the pleats in place.
I’m really happy with the way they turned out.
I inserted an invisible zipper, which is my favourite type of zip. A lot of people seem to have trouble with these but I’ve always found these to be the easiest type of zip to install.
Pinned with zip facing towards the good side of the fabric
Stitch in place
Use a pin to mark the waist line and then match the pin up to the waist line on the opposite side
Although I’m pleased with the dress as a whole, I’m particularly chuffed with the lining. I bought it from Hulu Crafts while back (in the same haul as the fabric for my Beach Emery Dress). On their website, Hulu Crafts describe themselves as:
“A family-run business based in South Devon in the South West of England that started trading at the beginning of 2009. We love all types of crafting but have a particular passion for knitting and sewing, which is why we decided to set up this shop.”
I have to say that this was most definitely my experience. They were a little short of one of the fabrics I ordered and got in touch immediately with a range of solutions. In the end, they refunded me the price of the shortage and were very apologetic. As well as this, postage was free and my fabric arrived very promptly and well packaged. I’ll definitely use them again. Anyway, the fabric I used for my lining was a Moda Bella cotton in ‘Baby Blue’. It cost £7 a metre and, to be honest, this is more than I would normally spend. I actually intended to use it as the main fabric for a dress but couldn’t decide which style to make to avoid it looking pyjama-esque. It feels lovely to the touch and I think it goes perfectly with the pinks of the floral fabric, so I decided to use it for the lining. It was a dream to sew with.
I topstitched around the neckline at the front and back to ensure that the lining didn’t peak out.
I’m also particularly chuffed because I think the lining looks so neat. I’m really making a more concerted effort to make the innards of my clothes neater, simply because it makes me smile and it makes me want to wear them more! So, I pinked the seams inside as always, I secured the lining of the Elisalex bodice using the method suggested with the Flora dress and then I blind-stitched it down to give a flawless finish. It’s so pretty!
I used a beautiful thread to sew the lining. I don’t know too much about it other than my friend’s granny, who used to be a seamstress, gave it to me along with a pile of other half-used, vintage threads.
It is a 100% cotton thread made by a company called Molnlycke. From what I’ve read, it seems like it dates back to the 1970s or 1980s but I could be wrong. Regardless, it was lovely to sew with and it matched the lining perfectly!
My only regret of the project is that I didn’t pay more attention to matching up the pattern. I had the exact amount of fabric I needed and so couldn’t be too choosy, but next time I’ll make more of an effort with this!
And that’s it for my lovely floral Elisalex-Flora mash up. I really love it and can’t wait to wear it to sip wine and eat pizza in Rome and Sorrento. Perhaps it would look good aboard a wonderful (terrifying? no way would ours look like this) boat en route to Capri…
Before I go I must apologise for this post being so long but Fiona at Diary of a Chainstitcher is technically to blame. I came across a super helpful post by her in which she details 5 things she wishes she’d known when she first started sewing. She suggested that new sewists keep a sewing journal to keep tabs on their projects and the things they did throughout and that’s exactly what I’ve started to do. I’ve even included swatches of the fabric I used. So that’s why this post is so detailed! It’s really been so helpful and I think it will come in handy the next time I sew these patterns!
Oh and I hope this wasn’t too photo heavy for you all! Until next time…