Friday, 28 October 2016

Meet Alix, the 70's Dress of my Dreams

Happy fall, everyone! There are so many things that I love about this time of year, but I've been busy busy busy so this will be the sparknotes version of a blog post so I can get back to studying/finishing sewing my Halloween costume.

Pattern: the newly released Alix Dress by By Hand London. They asked me to test and I absolutely fell in love with the design!! I made the mini version with the pleats, in a size 2/6.

Fabric: Cheapo poly satin that I bought at a local clothing store that was selling off their surplus. I normally hate poly (and still do), but I needed something on short notice and it was inexpensive. The right side is super shiny (as satin tends to be...) but I used the wrong side and I'm obsessed with the rich purple colour. (It also happens to be almost the exact same colour as one of their samples. Great minds think alike?)

Muslin: I got about halfway through a muslin then realized that I cut the wrong size for the neck yoke, but didn't have time for a new one. The only thing I changed was to raise the neckline a fair bit (I think 1 3/4"), although in retrospect I didn't need to - it was only because I cut the larger size of yoke that it was so low! Next time, I might lower it back down (or at least 1") because I think that might be a little more flattering (but still totally modest).

Sewing: Sooo I may have delayed starting this until very very close to the deadline in favour of studying for my biochemistry midterm, and by the time I started, everywhere that I could buy thread was closed. I had purple thread, but it was very cheap and nasty thread that my machine really doesn't like, so I used black thread for almost the whole dress. The next morning, I ran out and bought some purple thread to hem the skirt and sew the elastic casings at the wrist.

I contemplated French seams, but I was short on time so I just serged everything. Once I got partway through, I realized that French seams would have been way too bulky anyways, so I guess that was for the best - it probably saved me a lot of frustration! If I make another one when I have a little more time (like, maybe when I graduate???), I might experiment with bias bound seams. Some of the seams end up enclosed in the yoke and the waist panel, but a lot of them are still exposed.

I haven't had a chance to compare the tester instructions to the revised ones yet, so I won't comment on the construction at all. It was pretty straightforward, although I definitely had to follow the instructions more closely that I usually would!

I finished it up with a blind hem with my beautiful blind hem foot - I'm so in love with this thing. As much as I love hand sewing, sometimes I just don't have the time or the patience for it, so it's great to have a machine that does nice blind hems.

Verdict: Guys, this is the dress of my dreams!! The fit maybe isn't 100% perfect (I need to tweak the area right above the bust), but I absolutely love wearing it and it's perfect for fall. For class/everyday life (so class + the library), I wear it with tights, boots and a jean jacket (plus a scarf and sweater underneath because it's already cold...), but you could definitely dress it up with heels and some nice jewelry. The sleeves are roomy, but in a lightweight fabric, they're not so bulky that you can't wear a sweater, which is nice.

I've also been obsessed with this scarf this fall - it's Liberty and belonged to my grandma. We found it in its original package in her house, so we think it was probably a gift that she never wore. It's beautiful wool and despite not owning (or liking) much pink, it seems to go with a lot of my clothes!

I also just realized that I'm wearing my great-grandmother's gloves in these last few photos where I was too cold to take off my jacket! We also found them at my grandma's house, but my mom doesn't fit them so she doesn't think my grandma would have either. I have no idea how old they are, but they were found with a few other pairs that I would say are at least from the 50's, possibly older. They're made in Italy and lined in silk knit and oh my gosh they are amazing to wear.

So, I think that's it for this dress! I'm completely in love with it and want to make many many more (if I only I had just a little more time...). Thank you to the lovely ladies at BHL for inviting me to test, and thanks to my friend James for taking these pictures for me, in spite of the fact that I always seem to choose rainy days for photoshoots!

Thanks also to this beautiful city for being my backdrop. In spite of the rain when we took these photos, Montreal is gorgeous this time of year!

And with that, I'm heading back to the library. At least I'm wearing a killer dress!