Club Tropicana!

I picked up the Elisalex dress pattern from By Hand London for free (just had to pay p&p) from love sewing magazine a few months ago and have been trawling instagram and Pinterest for inspiration ever since. It’s a really versatile design so lots of versions in winter woollen fabric and bright summery cotton. Plus lots of a hacks with different skirts.

Trying to relax with a bit of sewing #elisalex #bhlelisalex #byhandlondon #summerdress

A post shared by Jenny Smith (@craftysewandsewindorset) on

I bought this floral cotton with slight stretch over a year ago with plans to make trousers but when I was sorting out my stash last week it seemed a perfect match to this dress.

I made the bodice and lined it in the same fabric as concerned that a cotton would not stretch in the same way. The pattern suggests sewing the bodice and lining in one go and then overlocking the seam but that seemed a bit messy to me. Instead I sewed the shell and lining on the sides, sleeve and neck but not the shoulder seams. I then fed the shoulder straps into each other right sides together so there are no seams showing on the bodice.

I sewed the bodice to the skirt lining up all the pleats to the princess darts and checked the fit on my body form. The fit was good but I didn’t like the finished length as it felt frumpy and not the sleek pencil skirt that I had in my mind.

Once the zip was in (really pleased with the finish on my invisible zip) I decided to shorten it to find a length that worked. I ended up removing 20cm off the bottom of the skirt so it ends on my knee now.

I used my new sewing machine to blindhem stitch the hem, which was really easy and has given a much better finish.

I love the finished dress and although it’s a little too tropical for Bournemouth it won’t stop me wearing it to work this summer!!

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