Garden Party Elisalex Dress

This is my By Hand London Elisalex dress and WOW am I in love. It has a fitted bodice with princess seams, and a full, pleated tulip skirt, which gives it a bit of a dressier vibe than your everyday dress. 

I made it for the wedding shower of a good friend who's getting married in June. Nothing motivates me to sew like a special occasion and a deadline! 

The pattern suggests upholstery fabric, so after visiting a few places, I got this gorgeous floral print from Designer Fabrics. Like most upholstery fabric, it has no stretch whatsoever and is quite stiff - this is necessary to give the tulip skirt some shape and body, but decidedly less so for party-essential behaviours like eating too much food and, you know, breathing. So I cut between an 8 and a 10, just to add a bit more wiggle room from my typical BHL size of 8, and that worked out perfectly. 

Despite making a muslin, I didn't quite fix the one fitting issue I had with this pattern: a gaping back. (Mainly because I wasn't sure how, and figured I could live with it). I'm only now realizing that this is an issue I'm having with a lot of patterns... the bodice back fits fine when I'm a little hunched over, but when I stand straight, there's some gaping of excess fabric.  I'm not sure what this alteration is typically called, but it's something I'll need to figure out a fix for.

The only other thing I wish I'd thought of was to line up the zipper on both sides... right now the bodice on the right hand side is slightly higher than on the left. The way to fix this is just mark the zipper with a pin or some chalk at the middle point, and make sure the other side lines up. But it's not that noticeable so I decided to just leave it as is. ;)

The only modification I made was to make the skirt much much shorter. I love the midi tulip skirt in theory, but thought it made the dress way too formal for me. Maybe I'd like the midi skirt version better with a sleeveless bodice. In any case, I love this dress, and the bridal shower was a huge success, but I've gotta admit, I am not sure I have many more occasions to wear this dress. So, I'm now accepting invitations to your summer garden parties, k thanks!

Project Details: 
Pattern: Elisalex Dress by By Hand London
Size: between 8 and 10 US
Fabric: Upholstery cotton from Designer Fabrics (100% cotton, heavy weight, with some texture)