Tag Archives: By Hand London Elisalex

My ‘Pull Yourself Together’ dress …


It’s amazing what you can create with an old pair of curtains! I like to imagine these once hung in the window of a 1950s library or perhaps the private rooms of an Oxford don, cheered by the huge sunflowers as she worked through her latest paper (though let’s face it, they are probably 1970s school curtains). Romanticism aside, this is my By Hand London Elisalex crossed with a Simplicity 2444 skirt (thanks to Roisin and her many Elisalex posts for the inspiration!).

IMG_3947It felt quite special putting this frock together. I did feel that the bodice might be a bit short as I sewed it up, so I added a waistband to give me a bit more length (it also gave me an excuse to add a bow!). I used the same dark green lining for the skirt and bodice that I used in my Late Christmas Dress, which makes it feel quite luxurious to wear.

IMG_3931I’m really happy with this dress and enjoyed taking my time to put it together, for once it’s very tidy on the inside too. The By Hand London girls are very clever, I found the online support really useful and the princess seams are a satisfying change from darts for me. I love the way you are encouraged to try your own thing, using the pattern as a starting point but given the creative freedom to make it your own style. I did try to put in a lapped zip rather than the suggested exposed one but in the end, the lure of an invisible one was too tempting!

IMG_3935I’m not completely convinced by my choice of sleeve length, in fact I might just, almost certainly, possibly, be taking them up to short sleeves. The neck is also pretty wide for me (bra strap alert), I’ll alter that next time too. I’m not sure I want to show you a back view … not pleasant at this time of year, which sadly makes me think I’ll be wearing a cardi with this dress. Way too much white, winter skin on show, I’m sure you don’t mind!

IMG_3939This curtain fabric was an absolute dream to sew and behaves very well as a full-ish skirt. I do love to swish about in it. I only used one of the pair, so could in theory make this dress again but with all the little perfecting tweaks (am I taking this all a bit too seriously?).

IMG_3948Oh and look how nicely it goes with my new Toast necklace (£12 in the sale)! Now I just need a party to go to and it can have its first outing. I could get ridiculously tipsy, do some ‘mum’ dancing, wobble in my heels and tell everyone I love them just so Jimmy can take me in my curtain dress to one side and tell me to pull myself together!


Filed under makes

Time for a change …

If I’m honest, I’ve been feeling a little disappointed with my recent makes (and a little bored). It’s ok, don’t worry, I still love to sew, but I  think I need to escape from my comfort zone. Let’s face it, I have quite a few Simplicity 2444‘s, I could dress an entire office with my collection of Sorbettos and if there weren’t enough of those to go round, well I could throw in a few Laurels too. Yep, it’s time to take the leap and make something different, different for me anyway …

I have a feeling that the Simplicity 2451 will change my life (I know, I know, I’m the last to try this), dull looking maybe but there are some corkers out there and it looks so very useful (see here and here for a start)! For the fabric I have a charity shop find in mind …


Goodness, that’s bright! It’s not really that bright, honest. I found this wool for £5 along with the matching lining, in a plastic bag in a charity shop in Summertown. All washed and ready to go, it is sitting on my desk just waiting for me to have a day off.

Then like someone who’s overslept and missed the train to the pattern party, I’m the last to try Elisalex from By Hand London. I loved making my Anna and have had this on my to do list for ages. The fabric? Another charity shop find …

IMG_3440It’s in the bag and it’s a pair of crazy curtains. I’m actually at the train station here and so excited at my 1970s school curtains find (and bored while I waited for my delayed train) that I took a photo. It’s just a sneaky peak, more soon.

What else, ooh yes I have a yearning to make a blackwatch tartan dress, though I haven’t decided which pattern to use yet. Like the 2444 addict that I am, it’s calling me and I’m finding it hard to resist. But, what I’m thinking is, I could line it! That would be good, yes? A challenge, a stretch. Yes, that’s what I’ll do! Or should I do something new? Yes? No? Yes? No? Oh blooming Nora, let’s just put it back in the drawer and think about that another day!

These aren’t terribly taxing patterns I know, but they are new to me and learning to sew is a life time experience, not one to rush. I do know that I’d like to improve on my  skills and if I’m not careful, I’ll be wearing 2444s when I’m collecting my pension. Actually that would be nice! No, I need to keep pushing myself and hopefully, in time I’ll gain the confidence to push myself all the way and make something like a coat!

I’m now ready to swim without armbands, cycle without stabilisers, fly without wings! Watch this space …

Don’t tell anyone but I might just make one more Laurel first … in denim.


Filed under makes