BHL Alix dress – pattern tested

I recently did a bit of pattern testing for By Hand London. You might have seen a few sneak peeks of their new design on Instagram. I’m happy to say that it is finally available.

The Alix dress is a very flattering, easy-to-wear, slipover dress, with the perfect smidgen of 70’s vibe. I made mine up in a very cool striped and spotted silk crepe de chine.

The particular version you see here was made up according to the test instructions, so there has been at least one small modification to the final version. My dress has under bust pleats which can be a bit pointy. I think the final version gives the option of gathers which will produce a much smoother result.

I should also list the other small fit modifications I made. Like many people, I’m not a standard size, so I graded from a US 8 (bust) to a US 6 (waist and hips). I lengthened the sleeves by 1 inch (long arms). I also found the underarms a bit tight initially, so I let out the underarm seams out by about 1/2 inch in total post construction. This is not a reflection on the design, just simply a post-construction fit for my broad shoulders. I would normally slash and spread either the CB or shoulder seams (design dependent) by about 5/8 inch in total to adjust for my broad back/shoulders. A US 8 (35 inch bust) is the perfect bust/chest fit for me but my shoulders expand above my bust so I need to accomodate for this increase in back width without adding volume to the chest area.

My only other change was to shorten the maxi length version by 4-6 inches, shaping the hem in a slight hi-low fashion. I basically just made myself a midi. Cutting lines for all the dress lengths are included on the maxi length version so it is very easy to cut whatever length you desire.

I love my new dress and I’ll be holding on to this pattern for future versions too. It would make a lovely Winter dress in a lightweight wool. But actually, my brain is already working overtime, thinking how I might possibly be able to modify this pattern to make a sleeveless version next Spring.

alix10

10 thoughts on “BHL Alix dress – pattern tested

  1. Sharon Collins

    Great look for you. I really like to hear about your changes to the pattern as you prepare to cut the fashion fabric. Of course I haven’t been as small as you in several years, but I do like to know about the sizing/fit issues others face. I have considered your pattern alterations only mine are similar to a triangle. I see KS is enjoying some nice weather right now. I miss this time of year there. Keep up the great work, Debbie. Can’t wait to see your next creation!

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    1. Debbie Iles Post author

      Thanks Sharon! Yes, truly beautiful weather in KC right now. I’m hoping it sticks beyond this week though. I know winter will be here soon enough! 🙂

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  2. Jessica

    Your dress looks fantastic! I love hearing your thoughts on this pattern. Can I ask why you went by the size chart instead of the finished measurements? I’d fall under a 10 on this pattern, but based on the finished measurements, I was going to cut a size 2 because I didn’t want the dress to be too big. I’m new to fitting so I’m really interested to hear your thoughts on that. Thank you! I hope that you’re planning to make the Sadie slip dress from Tessuti because I love the Camilla camisoles you’ve made!

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    1. Debbie Iles Post author

      Hi Jessica,
      Thank you. I always go by the size chart, not the finished measurements. Although I will look at the finished measurements just to check that they reflect the picture of the product and there aren’t any big surprises. This dress ties at the back so it does have a fair amount of ease through the waist which will suit some fabrics more than others. It sounds like you may be after a more fitted style of dress if you are wanting to go from a 10 to a 2 based on the finished measurements- I’d wonder if sizing down that much below your actual measurements would lead to problems with movement and fit.

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      1. Jess

        Thank you for your thoughts. I love sewing but I hate finishing something and it’s too big. I’m just finding myself between a couple sizes and unsure with new patterns where to start, so it really helps to hear thoughts from more experienced sewers like yourself. I appreciate your reply!

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  3. Jillian - SewUnravelled

    Debbie, you are impossibly chic. Clearly your life is far far different from mine, LOL! This is so lovely and I’m loving the length you decided on. Maxis look good but I nearly kill myself tripping over the skirt whenever I wear one. I’m thinking of chopping 1 or 2 maxis I have into midis. Somehow I’m feeling drawn to midis at the moment over my usual mini.

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    1. Debbie Iles Post author

      Thanks Jillian! Midis are just the best aren’t they. I’m so glad I’m falling back in love with them too. And I’m not sure my life really calls for this dress but I’ll wear it because I can. I do have to explain myself sometimes but I just shrug and say, I like clothes, I make clothes. I think the aussie accent helps ;-).

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