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Elisalex + Emery

Pattern: By Hand London Elisalex + Christine Haynes Emery

Fabric: Liberty of London Tana Lawn

I generally try not to rush my sewing, and I find that when I give myself deadlines of any kind I have a lot of trouble getting through a project stress-free.

I made this dress in the midst of a very busy time – Passover cleaning. It was my first time cleaning our apartment for Passover (usually we go to family for the entire eight days), so it was extra stressful. Still, I was convinced that I had to finish sewing the Kelly Anorak I had been working on (more on that in the next post!) – and, miraculously, it was finished just within a week of starting it. And, of course, I cannot be without a project, so as soon as I finished my Kelly, I got started cutting out the next piece of fabric in my stash.

Of course, in order to avoid deadline stress, I told myself I was just trying to make progress, and not to expect to finish anything before the holiday (as you’re supposed to avoid doing any “handiwork” during Passover). I do hate starting things and leaving them unfinished for a long period of time, but I told myself that I would rather get something done rather than leave it.

And, well, by Friday (the first night of Passover), I had finished all of the dress except for the zipper, facing, and hem. At that point I had to finish it! So I spent the entire day sewing away (at a surprisingly calm pace), until I finished the dress a mere three hours before the start of the holiday. Isn’t it nice when things work out that way?

This Liberty Tana Lawn was actually not intended to be a dress. At Liberty’s, I wanted to buy two different fabrics, but it was too expensive to get 3 yards of each (3 yards is my standard yardage for sewing dresses) – so I bought two yards of one, thinking I would finally sew my first blouse out of it.

Well, once I laid the fabric out on my dining table and played around with my pattern pieces, I discovered that I could actually squeeze a dress out of it (will I ever make a top??). I combined the Elisalex bodice with the Emery skirt, since I know both those patterns work well for me and I wouldn’t have to deal with a muslin. I spent a long time toying with the idea of making the sleeves puffed, and in the end settled on easing the original sleeve pattern into a cuff (giving the sleeves just a slight puffiness). I shortened the sleeves considerably to fall just above the elbow, and then cut out two rectangles that were sewn into cuffs.

Since this Tana Lawn print is quite translucent, I underlined the bodice pieces with white cotton lawn. The skirt is lined with Bemberg rayon so it won’t cling to my legs too much (but also mainly because I didn’t have enough of the cotton lawn left). I serged all the seams because I wanted to keep things simple.

I also cut out fabric to make a matching sash, but I was really impatient to have a wearable dress ready, and so I may make and add the sash later. I am really pleased with the dress on its own though, and am still waiting for warmer days so I can wear my light and cotton-y dresses. Shouldn’t be long now, should it?

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Comments (2)

  • Julie Dean 9 months ago Reply

    The description of the fabric and its’ suitability for the finished project is intriguing. You have done a remarkable job of fitting and finishing. Both you and your dresses look gorgeous!
    Julie

    Rebecca 9 months ago Reply

    Hi Julie – Thank you so much! I’ve been doing it for so long but I still feel like there’s always something to perfect! Thank you for reading!

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