The By Hook or By Crook Elisalex dress

Right, ever since I became aware of the Elisalex dress pattern, I knew I had to have it. I am one of those people whose body proportions are, quite frankly, annoying. At my most annoying, I was a 34 bust, 30 waist, and a 44 at the hips. Try buying a RTW dress with those proportions, and you will understand why I started sewing. In RTW parlance, I am currently a 14 at the top, and an 18 at the bottom, for fitted garments. No kidding!

Unfortunately for me, the pattern was launched when I was very low in sewing funk, so I bought the pattern, and forgot about it. Then Rachel made hers, and suddenly, completed projects started popping round the blogosphere.  It was not until Rachel’s epic meet-up, and after having a nice chat with Charlotte of By Hand London, that I decided to really make the dress. For inspiration, and moral support, I went to Roisin’s blog. She makes sewing the Elisalex dress look really easy. The pictures are abit dodgy because Mr.Dibs was having a really grumpy moment as we were running late for work. What is a little bit of lateness when I had to take pictures of my new dress I ask you? Plenty apparently, because Mr.Dibs was not impressed when I whipped out my camera. We did get to the station on time though, so alls well that ends well.

I did a muslin, which many of you thought deserved its own share of sunshine, so I shall be finishing that one soonest. Post muslin, I decided to use a stretch cotton I bought from Goldhawk road 2 years ago. I have loved this fabric for a long time, and my mom even went on her knees for it. I refused of course. Has your mother ever coveted your fabric so much that she had to beg you for it on her knees? My reply was an emphatic “NO”, and I did not even feel guilty.

My dress was well and truly on its way, BUT, as fate would have it, my machine broke down. Yes, my faithful Pfaff, went crazy. I don’t know if it is something I did, or something I have not been doing, but she, Faffi, would not work. Her bobbin thread kept tangling, and she would not feed fabric through. So I cleaned her, and dusted her, and begged her, but no, she thought I had neglected her for too long, and she wanted to see other people. Fair enough, I plan on taking her to my local sewing machine repair man this weekend. In the meantime though, I had a dress to finish, and a bridesmaid dress to make for my cousin’s impending wedding, 2 weeks from now.

So I did what any self-respecting woman would do. I went looking for a new machine. That in its self, is a whole new story, which I shall write about in the next post, but know that I now have 3 machines in my house, with two having bought between Monday and Tuesday. Crazy times people, crazy times, and desperate times call for desperate measures. I was determined tohave that Elisalex dress by hook or by crook.

I finally finished the dress last night. Somehow, while trying it on, I got the front at the back, and decided I like the look. What do you think? Wearing it back to front? Oh yeah baby! Even Mr.Dibs likes it, so there.

I also decided to put some lace trimming at the neckline. You like?

I really like this dress. I have lost some weight since I last made the muslin, because this version feels a bit big on me, especially around the waist and the bust. So yay! to 1 hour dancing sessions.

Charlotte, if you and your crew at By Hand London are reading this, THANK YOU for a lovely pattern. It was beautifully drafted. I might have to try the Charlotte skirt next.



  1. May 15, 2013 / 8:31 am

    That's so creative… Fabric choice it's awesome too darling.. 3 machines? Do tell us more

  2. May 15, 2013 / 10:14 am

    Dibs! This is GORGEOUS! It looks so great on you! I absolutely love it back to front, with the metal zip, the lace around the neckline and that beautiful fabric?! Perfect!

  3. May 15, 2013 / 10:17 am

    Such a pretty dress and looks great backwards too!

  4. May 15, 2013 / 10:44 am

    I love that you got your dress backwards 🙂 I thought that was creative design!! Looks fabulous.

  5. May 15, 2013 / 11:13 am

    I didn't realise it was backwards either. Looks great, I'd have begged for that fabric too!

  6. May 15, 2013 / 11:17 am

    Dibs, this is frigging gorgeous – I love how it looks back-to-front! What a great, accidental discovery! I also remember that fabric well, you bought it on my first ever blogger meet up…such fun it was too!

  7. May 15, 2013 / 12:20 pm

    Beautiful! That is definitely a fabric worth begging for.

  8. Nnene
    May 15, 2013 / 12:46 pm

    its beautiful Dibs. , Great job

  9. May 15, 2013 / 1:03 pm

    that's a great dress! if you hadn't said it was on backwards, I would never have known!

  10. May 15, 2013 / 3:57 pm

    I love it Dibs and I didn't even notice it was being worn backwards, well done you!!

  11. May 15, 2013 / 6:07 pm

    I have very similar body proportions and have comparable issues with RTW. I'm new to your space, and I've been looking at all the gorgeous things you've sewn for yourself. Amazing!

  12. May 15, 2013 / 7:52 pm

    Your dress is gorgeous!! I LOVE the fabric! And I shall look forward to reading about your two new machines!

  13. May 15, 2013 / 9:15 pm

    Nice dress ! Love the zip in the front option 🙂 really looking forward to read your adventures on sewing machine hunt (and how you harvested 2 machines instead of 1….).

  14. May 15, 2013 / 9:30 pm

    What a fantastic dress! The colours are amazing and I love that you are wearing it back to front. You can't tell, it looks like you intended the zip to be at the front. The lace trim is amazing too.

  15. May 16, 2013 / 5:37 am

    I did't realise it was back to front at first either, I think I prefer it that way. You look fantastic. 3 Machines?

  16. May 16, 2013 / 5:47 pm

    Looking beautiful! Love the zip front!

  17. May 16, 2013 / 10:40 pm

    I love your additions to it. And the bodice backwards? Heck yeah. Looks awesome!

  18. May 17, 2013 / 9:26 am

    That fabric is delish- well done staying strong when your mother begged- I would have given in 😉

  19. May 18, 2013 / 7:27 pm

    I LOVE this! It looks super cool with the zipper and scoopy neckline in the front! Well done!!

  20. May 20, 2013 / 4:41 am

    Your Elisalex looks fantastic. Love the zipper on the front.

  21. May 23, 2013 / 9:40 am

    Oh that looks so cute. The exposed zip against the print is an edgy contrast.

  22. July 30, 2013 / 7:19 pm

    Oh I love and adore your version! It's a stunner! Just discovered your blog and deffobobs putting you straight into my Feedly! :0)

  23. August 11, 2013 / 10:15 am

    The zip detail looks brilliant and the black lace trim gives your flowery patterned fabric more of a rock edge. Nice work there Dibs!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *