I was a bit unsure about this pattern when I first got my hands on it.
Elisalex had asked if I wanted to test the pattern (which of course I said yes to!) but I hadn’t actually seen what the pattern was like before agreeing! And whilst I generally love By Hand London pattern, there’s always a worry that it’s going to be a style that’s just not me.
And to be honest it’s probably not a style I would’ve picked out myself.
Eloise is a midi/ maxi length dress with lots of different options. It has a dropped waist with optional full circle gathered frill, you can go sleeved or sleeveless and for full frill effect, you can even add on a ruffle on.
I went for the midi length ruffled everything for my tester version. I had planned on going maxi but it takes up A LOT of fabric and I didn’t have the time to go and buy anything new.
I used a floral poly crepe that I picked up from Walthamstow market this spring. I hadn’t earmarked it for anything and luckily I’d bought 3 metres of it – perfect for this make!
I say perfect. This was definitely less than the recommended quantity of fabric and I did not have enough for the belt and had to cut the sleeve frill in two pieces…
Top tip for getting away with less fabric – cut on a single layer! It’s more time consuming to cut out especially with curved pieces like this (think ruffles/ frills) but it can save a lot of fabric! Just always remember to flip your pattern pieces!
The cutting is definitely the hard part of this make. That skirt frill just seems to go on forever! But once that bit is done, it’s a lovely easy sew.
The dress pulls on overhead so there’s no fussy closures. It has a small keyhole in the back neck which closes with a button. I cheated and didn’t make the self fabric rouleau loop and used an elastic hair band instead. It’s a trick I use a lot for these kind of button loops!
The neckline seems wide enough to put on without me needing to undo the button so it may suit have no button at all and sewing this bit right up. (Disclaimer – I haven’t tried it myself so don’t blame me if it doesn’t work out!). 🤣
I made mine with elbow length sleeves instead of the full length – it makes more sense to me as I’m way too clumsy to be having that much fabric so close to my wrists! (Just imagine how much food it’s going to sweep into… 🤣).
Letting the hem drop is an important step if you’re making the the skirt ruffle! Mine ended up with over an inch difference between the shortest and longest bits which all needed to be trimmed level.
For the finished result I’ve chosen just to wear a leather belt with it. I don’t mind that I don’t have the matching fabric belt since it would have probably been a bit overkill with the print.
I think this dress looks much better in person than in a photo. When you see the moving of the skirt and fabric – ah, just gives me so much joy!
I don’t normally wear a drop waist with any measure of success but I really think this one works for me!
I’m so glad I was pushed into trying this style out because I really really love it. I’m planning another one which will potentially be my birthday dress this year!