Tag Archives: Elisalex Dress

The Commencement Means Beginning Dress

Graduations are awfully strange affairs. After an intense education experience, a glorious glass bubble of learning and work and effort and delight (I…love school….) the bubble suddenly pops from a champagne cork right through the heart of the glass, covering you and people who apparently went to school with you although they are perfect strangers, with painful shards while relatives snap photos and you sweat in polyester robes. Or, more simply put, the experience of graduation never seems to have anything to do with the experience of education. They just don’t seem to relate in any way, normally. My undergraduate graduation was a three-day affair of strange traditions ripped from early Anglophilic American settlers who were too good for/not good enough for British universities. But, I got to meet this dog! 4711_572279200734_400281_n

So it was kind of the best day ever. God, I miss him. I MISS HIM SO MUCH! But honestly, as interesting as it all was, my graduation, it literally had nothing to do with my day-to-day college life. Which, maybe it shouldn’t. Maybe graduations are so different because they mark a new chapter of life. However, my most recent commencement, from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, was a disasterously disorganized affair. Which…actually is exactly reflective of my Art School experience. Wow! Look at that. Well, I mean, come on, do you really trust creative people to plan anything? Like an administration? Though you would think that given that this was basically a production, they would have figured it out more….but whatever. Martin Scorsese waved his little Italian hands at us and described his recent dreams. Undergraduates did a medley from Ragtime. I nearly strangled myself with my brown velvet masters hood. It was pretty special. No dogs, though….

But I made THIS dress, unlike last time! What a difference 5 years makes…

CMB4.jpgAnd obviously, I went on theme. NYU’s school color is a deep violet. I just HAPPENED to have this in my stash from my exchange with the lovely and talented Amity of Lolita Patterns, and I thought, well, let’s do this thing. What’s-his-face’s father asked me if I was still wearing my robes, so I like to think I succeeded!

CMB7.jpgThe pattern is By Hand London’s Elisalex pattern. After the last time I made it I was itching to try it again. I want to make more, but I think I need to adjust the bust and arms. It fits beautifully everywhere but in the bust, where I feel like I’m wearing a corset. And a breast binding. And armor. Breathing became a challenge. CMD2.jpgEh, what can you do. I still love this dress and will wear it again. And breathe lightly.

CMB5.jpgThe back is just so good. I love it.

CMB8.jpgFor the skirt, I just gathered two rectangles. I wanted it to be really full and I wasn’t disappointed. This pattern is really quite easy to put together, honestly, especially because I’ve done it before. I like princess seams, they are flattering and nice and I think they will be easy to adjust. 1500.jpg

The bodice came out a little short. It looked okay, and it looks fine here, but I would also lengthen the bodice pieces next time, because the empire look isn’t a good one on me.

CMB6.jpgThat lovely gold necklace was a gift. The pearl one came from pearls my friend Lisa got me in China. My neck was overflowing with love! I lined the bodice with white fabric but left the skirt unlined, which shocked my roommate Emily, who took the photos. I figured the gathering would take care of it, and hey, man, it totally did.

CMB9.jpgTake a look at the eyelet! Amity has splendid taste. So cute, right?

CMB10.jpgI used it for the skirt as well. Eyelet makes everything easier, I tell you, no hemming!

CMB1.jpgOne final full body shot. You can totally see the shadow of Emily haunting these photos. Thanks, Emily!

Massive massive congratulations to the NYU Class of 2014, and to all graduates! You guys better have themed your outfits, too. Come on, get into it! It’s fun!

Now that school is over, let’s see if my clothing production and blog output resumes its normal pace, shall we? Of course, I’m looking for a job in writing, so, you know, I might just be having daily nervous breakdowns instead. Who can say?

In other news, I’m selling vintage patterns in my Etsy shop! Check them out here:

StruggleSews

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The I left my heart in London Dress

Sometimes you just know you are going to love something long before you ever set eyes on it, long before it even exists, perhaps. Something in the air, something in the wind, it guides you, sweeps you into a feeling of love and contentment, gives you a sense that something is right. Am I talking about a person? A relationship? Oh, goodness, no, of course not. I’m talking about a dress. Duh. Obviously. People are whatever, dresses? Dresses are forever. I’m only half joking.

I know I might be alone in this, but I actively adore Valentine’s Day. I think it’s kind of great, actually, and I love red, and love chocolate, and I love flowers, and I love people taking the time to tell the people in their lives how much they mean to them. Should they do it every day without an excuse? Of course. But it’s nice, and besides, my dad always used to give me something when I was a kid, and I always used to give my parents something, it was kind of a group event in some way. I think it’s nice, and I love celebrating it, which might seem odd, as I wouldn’t say I’m a romantic person in any way. For example, I have never seen the end of Titanic. I saw the first half when I was 13, hated it, knew the boat sank, was out of there. Jack? Rose? Come on. That relationship was never going to work. But I’m also a big advocate of telling the people in your life what they mean to you, and if this is a day that can happen freely, then I love it. So I  went to The Lady Eve with my friend Victoria and enjoyed the hell out of all the hearts and flowers and sugar. And obviously I made some time for my Valentine…

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Oh! And I made a new dress. A dress I knew I would love long before I even started making it. A dress I knew could be mine. A dress a girl could lose her heart to, if she wasn’t careful…

LMHIL 2And I wasn’t careful at all, because I love this! Yes, folks, I finally made a By Hand London Elisalex dress! And we just couldn’t be happier together, really, I think we are both just so happy we’ve found each other after all this time. Sometimes it just takes a while to find the one, doesn’t it? And yet, wrapped up in this thing, I couldn’t feel safer, or more daring. This must be love, mustn’t it?

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This dress is awesome.  Having seen so very many incarnations of this all over the internets, I just had to finally buy it. But once I bought it I was a little afraid to make it. What if I couldn’t make this relationship work? What if I wasn’t good enough? What if all the anticipation wasn’t worth it? My doubts assailed me, my concerns swamped my hopes. I felt despair. What if love wasn’t enough? Well, spoiler alert, it was!

LMHIL 1Oy, a little bit of wrinkling there. Okay, it’s not the dress’s fault, don’t blame the dress! I do so love this creation. It’s fairly easy to put together, but I cut the sleeves two sizes two small accidentally, and just sort of went with it, but I would appreciate a bit more ease in the future, so I would enlarge those next time. I might also lengthen the bodice just an inch, I like it a lot but it hits just above where I like it to. That being said, little knit-picky things aside, this is awesome. I love the shape, I love the neckline, I love the back…

LMHIL 6Cute, right? You want a close up? I’m on it:

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Isn’t that nice! I realized all day that I felt a bit exposed, even though I don’t think it’s revealing, it’s just that the back and shoulder exposure is a little new for me. But I like it! What else, the princess seams were easy enough, as was the skirt. I lined the bodice with a white cotton-poly blend, which I understitched at the neckline so it doesn’t show. I hand-stitched the sleeve hems to the lining, and traded the exposed zipper for a hand-picked one, really only because I didn’t have a zipper that long. And I hand stitched the hem after shortening it quite a bit, because that original pattern is LONG, guys, and I am short. Such tragedies are a part of life.

LMHIL 4The shape of the skirt is, as all people have said, a bit exaggerated, but honestly, I think that’s kind of adorable. I like the box pleats, although this wool crepe fabric might be a touch too drapey for them. Wouldn’t this be great in a taffeta or a brocade? I have a few friends getting married this summer, maybe I could make it work…or even a double knit? I have so many thoughts, so many feelings, I’m overwhelmed and euphoric!

LMHIL 8See? A little drapey. But I got compliments on this all day, so it can’t be that bad.

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Seriously, this dress just works for me. I knew it would, on some level, and maybe that’s why I waited to make it, until I was ready for this addiction. Love comes when you aren’t looking, right?

LMHIL 10Ah, love. Complicated as it is, isn’t it worth it?

I hope you all had the best Valentine’s day! As a gift, here is one of my current favorite songs, appropriate for the occasion:

 

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