Tag Archives: By Hand London

Happy New Year Holly!!



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And here, my friends, is my TRUE holiday outfit – the By Hand London Holly jumpsuit. Continuing the tradition from last year with my Anna dress, the moment I laid eyes on this pattern, I was in LOOOOOVE!! I immediately purchased a good length of sumptuous navy blue silk duchesse which for once went right into use rather than lingering in my stash LOL. Holly did not let me down – like my beloved Anna, she was a joy to sew as well as to wear. I was suspicious of her wily ways at first, knowing full well I would have to make alterations to the pants bit, but she surprised me by fitting perfectly with just the slightest waist adjustment – beauty!!

I also did an FBA as per usual, and because I have to do a fairly big one, instead of rotating the extra bits into the cowl, as suggested, I chose to keep the bust dart. Super glad I did this, as it works well for me, and I would prefer not too much extra fabric draping around the girls.

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The only little thing I would do differently next time is to finish the whole bodice top the same as the front cowl – with a turn, press, turn and catch stitch. The pattern calls for a bias finish where the bias turns into the straps but a) I found this far too fiddly for my taste, and b) sorry, but a bias strip isn’t nearly wide enough a strap for my chest LOL. I would prefer it to be just a little wider, so I would draft and sew separate, slightly wider straps next time I make this.

Which there WILL be another time, in fact, I love the fit of the pants so much that I am going to be making a pair out of a lovely lightweight grey wool suiting. I am going to try and drop the waist and draft a new waistband though, as I prefer my trousers to sit below the waist. Will let you know how it goes.

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Speaking of trousers, I finished up my first real pair of wool trousers today and I absolutely LOOOOVE them – will get to posting those in the new year – in the mean time, Happy New Year’s everyone, and hope you all have a wonderful, safe evening!! (and pancakes for breakfast tomorrow of course! ^__^)


Elisalex – No Such Thing as “Overdressed”


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When we were shooting this dress in front of the apartment building, one of our neighbours came out and asked what we were all dressed up for, and we answered “Just cause we feel like it!”. He either thought we were cool or very very weird – either way, I thought it was appropriate – after all, Elisalex doesn’t believe in the concept of being overdressed, right? 🙂 We followed by having dinner together in a local (fairly divey) Chinese restaurant, whereby everyone there in their jeans and ratty clothes stared at us while their dinner got cold and we discussed finances and video games LOL.

This was my first time sewing a princess seamed bodice – weird right? What took me so long? I initially did an FBA following the standard method for just extending the princess seam at the bust point, but I had made the muslin from a fabric with a slight stretch because my initial fabric was going to be a stretch sateen. When I decided to use this fantastic Radiance silk cotton from Hart’s Fabric, I knew I needed to revisit my FBA and ensure it was going to fit perfectly. I wasn’t sure how to do a fairly big FBA (4″!!!) but found this great tutorial by Mary from Idle Stitch & it worked like a charm! 🙂

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I’m really proud of the fit on this one – I worked really hard to get it just right; even Maz commented how well it fit! 🙂 Of course I did another muslin after the second FBA (as always) which confirmed the bust was a great fit, but I then had some pretty major back gaping so I took out a 1″ wedge from back bodice to correct this. Three bodice muslins in all. Then I made a muslin of the top part of the skirt, and forged ahead!

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I only had 2yds (preshrunk) of the fabric to work with so I took 9″ off the hem, which actually worked out perfectly because I prefer my dresses either above-knee or maxi length, so this was ideal. The fabric was a bit lighter weight than called for, and if it was 100% silk, it probably wouldn’t have worked because it would be too soft and drapey, but the silk cotton was PERFECT as it added just enough crispness to hold those box pleats and the unique tulip shape of the skirt 🙂

As for the pattern; it is drafted really well, and the instructions are very clear. I thought the method for lining bodice was explained particularly well; I like the easy finish on the side seams – clever! I did need to look up the BHL sewalong to see how to finish the lining, as there were no instructions for v1 in the pattern instructions.

I’m particularly proud of the zipper installation – I’ve had some major issues with invisible zips lately, and it looks like we might be able to be friends again. I got a perfect seam matching at waist, and painted the zipper pull to match the dress fabric, as I had to use a light grey zipper.

I also spent a fair bit of time and care adjusting the pleat placement to match the princess seams in front and back, and I’m happy with how it turned out.

And here’s my brave and wonderful photographer, also looking very sharp!

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