Amanda vs Elisalex Dress

Some days I like to imagine my life as if I were someone else. Professional interpretive dancer, ninja assassin, archaeologist. These have all been ways for me to pass the time merrily in a dream land whilst staring slack jawed out the window on public transport. Pardon the drool, fellow travellers, I am pretending to be a flame on stage in my head right now… So imagine my happy surprise when I finished my Elisalex pattern, looked in the mirror and started to see myself as some kind of cool undercover spy on the way to somewhere fancy where I got to sneak off to hack into a  computer but then end up kung fu chopping someone to get away. Oh yeah. That is the sign of a rad dress in Amandaland. So here she be, my take on Elisalex…

BAM! (that was the sound of my kung fu chop)

I bought this pattern an aaaaaage ago when it was first released, however, had not found the perfect fabric for it. But this Japanese cotton? Perfection! Imagine my horror when I finally got it to the counter (after dragging the bolt around the shop for 30 minutes because I was paranoid someone else would find it) and there was only 2 metres left. GAH! This fabric was destined to become an Elisalex, dang it! It would be wrong to turn it into anything else! So I grabbed the two metres of the print, and some black drill, and headed home determined to make it work. After establishing pretty quickly the tulip skirt was out I grabbed my most epic Simplicity 2154 pencil skirt pattern and very carefully placed all the pieces. And even managed to pattern match some of the seams pretty well…

Like. A. Boss.

The bodice went together easily and I have to admit that I am now a mite bit obsessed with princess seams. Such a lovely silhouette and easy to do. Pretty + lazy = happy Amanda. I added an inch of length to the bodice after my muslin so it would end on my natural waistline. I also modified the width of the top of the shoulder. When I made the muslin I found the seam line was sitting past my shoulder bone and looked quite odd so I took this in 8mm on both sides and used a French curve to smooth this out into the existing pattern piece.

This frock was also my first attempt at using my invisible hem foot. Probably not the best choice due to the two tone fabric. But, whatevs. This lady lives on the edge. This turned out pretty well though I must admit I will be handstitching my next version of Elisalex.

Another new skill I tried with this sassy number was to have an exposed zipper. Yup. I’m living in 2010 and I’m loving it! I was the very happy recipient of a gifted Riri zipper by the always hilarious and lovely Charlotte over at Seam Ripped. These zippers are like nothing else. Seriously. It is like a group of unicorns got together with some highly skilled metal smithing kittens and forged a zip of extreme wonder and loveliness. I’ve been waiting for the perfect project to showcase this loveliness since January and I love the finished effect. Yay for zippers!

And then there was the majesty of the kick pleat. The more I do these the more I love them. All hail kick pleat!

What I loved about this pattern:

  • How well laid out the pattern and booklet is. I’m a lady who likes straight forward and clearly illustrated instructions. And that is what I got. It felt like the BHL team was there with me sewing. Which is nice. Normally it feels like me, a glass of red and some off key singing so the imagined company was a lovely change!
  • The princess seams on the bodice. This is my first time in princess seam land and am loving it. I am totes a princess now with the seams to prove it! bwah ha ha!


What I would change about next time:

  • Take a chunk out of the armsyce at the front. As I wear this I’ve noticed a bit of roominess there I will take out.
  • Try a pleated skirt. I am seriously crushing on this bodice so hard- I want to make a bunch of these with pleated skirts in some fun prints for work dresses.
  • Master the exposed zip. It is too sassy not to show off properly!


Overall, I love this dress and it is totally on the make again list! I have so very many plans for additional versions though the urge to make a black Victoria Blazer to go with it is growing. Curse you, By Hand London, and your well designed patterns!
Now if you will excuse me, it’s time to rock out in my lady frock like a boss…



  1. Best Elisalex I’ve seen. I love it! That fabric is fantastic. And I want a zipper made by unicorns -we have such crappy options available to us in Oz.

  2. Fabulous! I really love it and the black drill on the sides is really flattering and works great. I really want to make another Elisalex – it’s a gorgeous pattern.

  3. Awesome fabric. Love the v-neck at the back… perfect princess seams (seriously, how fabulous ARE they???!!) and totally Amanda-style. I’m actually dying to try an exposed zipper… are they tricky? Any tips? This seriously looks amazing on you! 🙂

  4. It’s taken all of my willpower to get this far without buying this pattern but I think your version may have just tipped me over the edge! It’s gorgeous! And the kick pleat makes it all that much easier to karate kick in it too 🙂

  5. What a super make – can’t believe you got it done with such a small amount of fabric! love the black – an inspired choice – so flattering. That zipper is incredible. I’ve been living in the zipper wasteland. Clearly!.

  6. This dress is gorgeous! I agree that this bodice is awesome and a pleated skirt would be great!

  7. Love this version of the Elisalex! I’ve been a princess seam convert for a while because, let’s face it, they’re just better.
    I have to say that there are very few Elisalex’s in blogland with the original skirt kept which is the only reason I wouldn’t buy this pattern but I’m glad you’ve got a bunch of variations lined up!

  8. Haha, I love reading your posts, they never fail to put a smile on my face! Awesome dress. The print kinda reminds me of arrowheads. Very cool 🙂

  9. Whoa. I am flabbergasted. The crazy graphic print. The print actually MATCHING. The cut. The princess seams. It looks so cool!

  10. Welcome to princess seam land. We have rainbows, unicorns and cake!!! Ok that’s a lie but you don’t have to worry about moving dart apexes and whatnot. Very pretty Elisalex, the print is divine. You had to color block due to necessity but it really works well. Rock on with your bad self.

  11. This looks awesome! Color blocking rocks, and it is especially flattering from the back 😉

  12. Duuuude. I’m in awe of this. That print is so super ninja mod I love it. Congrats on a bitching dress!!

  13. Your post was delightful, it made me smile! 🙂 And, I’m just loving your elisalex dress. The fabric combo is inspired and it looks to fit so well. I’m so dying to see somebody sew up the tulip skirt version. Dare ya!

  14. wow this dress has it all. I look forward to seeing your Victoria blazer too. 😉 It reminds me of cruella d’ville. Maybe a fake fur bolero? too much? Have not met invisible hems now very intrigued.

  15. Totally awesome!! Am SO in love with your B&W and I WANT a unicorn and kitten forged zip!! Damn you for pushing the wonders of the BHL patterns into my WANT list again 😉

  16. What a fantastic dress! Love the fabric and what you’ve done with the side panels – Rockin’!

  17. Dude, this is absolute PERFECTION! I LOVE your fabric and LOVE the black side panels and LOVE the exposed zip and DUDE….I LOVE the skirt you used. (Feelin’ the love???) This might be my new favorite version of the Elisalex dress!!!

  18. Aren’t princess seams the best? I love that you emphasized that aspect with the black fabric, even if it was because there wasn’t enough of that fantastic print. Also, I need to tell shame Walnut into becoming one of those metal-smithing kittens.

  19. Omg that last photo is the best! Love the fabric. The contrast side panels look awesome. I can totally see you kungfuing someone in this dress!!!

  20. Holy shizzle this is one hell of a dress!!!! I LOVE the different skirt style you were forced into opting for, I think is shows both the print and bodice amazing-ness off way better than the tulip skirt would have. Damn you got some skillz xxx

  21. Well some things are just meant to be – thank goodness there were only 2 yards left on the bolt, you’ve created a masterpiece 🙂

  22. Major Win!! The pattern and the fabric suit you sooooo much. Totally international spy hacker-chic.

  23. This is a total WIN!!! I love how the pattern comes together at the back of the skirt!! And feeling like a ninja, archeologist, princess spy (in a bad ass dress!!) is ALWAYS a good time!!

  24. I think that should be our new requirement for sewing- ninja spy feeling? Yes? Successful dress!

  25. I am now obsessed with princess seams- hand this lady a tiara! And I feel it is time to send both Walnut and Muppet to metal smithing school. Cutest zip making blacksmiths ever.

  26. Thank ye! I am loving the happy accident that is the black panels. So glad I was short on fabric!

  27. Thank ye, lovely lady! I have made another three Elisalex variations this week. I have a problem… O.o

  28. Ohh, I need me a faux fur bolero! And invisible hem feet are my ticket to lazy town… GIve in to it!

  29. Gah! That would be a braver soul than I to make the tulip version! I have done a pleated skirt one though this week- it’s rad!

  30. The exciting world of Spotlight still has a bunch, Bec. Let me know if you want me to hook you up next time I’m there 🙂

  31. Thank you so much! I have made three versions with the pleated skirt (a week off work) and I am loving them!

  32. Thank ye, lovely lady! And yes, I think we should demand Riri zippers over here- seriously delicious!

  33. OK so as always I am at this party after the carriages have all gone home, but just how awesome your version is hits way above higher than the moon. I love the way you combined the bodice with the pencil skirt – genius. And your pattern matching? To die for. I am now going to check out your even earlier posts on catch up 🙂

  34. All the cool kids wait it out! 😉 And thank ye- tried super hard to get the pattern matching going so am rather happy with how it all turned out 😀

  35. This is the best thing you’ve ever made. I am giving it the ninja bow of respect as we speak, and then I’m promptly adding the Elisalex to my to-buy list! 🙂

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