Fall for Cotton Practice: Maxi Elisalex

After doing some research on late 1960s and 1970s maxi dress patterns (my last post) I was really inspired by a 1970s pattern: Butterick 6409A – which shows a princess seamed bodice, slightly high waisted, with an a-line skirt.

I also looked at few other maxi’s from that period with similar style lines: a fitted bodice, high waisted, flared skirt. 

I then found a nice drapey cotton voile from Spotlight, a plain black cotton from stash for the lining and I decided to try combining the Elisalex bodice, which I love and I know fits me well after previously adjusting it.

Elisalex maxi

The dress came together really easily and well and will be perfect for what is gearing up to be a really hot spring and summer here in Sydney.

Elisalex maxi

A slightly crumpled back view after wearing it all afternoon.

Elisalex maxi

Side view showing my side zipper – I only had a navy invisble one in stash but it turned out completely invisible so I am very happy with that.  Its also my first zipper that opens up completely at the the armhole and it looks great, if I do say so myself.

The inside lining worked out really well and gives a clean finish.  It only goes to the knee.  Im looking a bit blah in the photos as I haven’t been well of late (edit: so I went back in and removed my head in most of them so I didn’t have to look at myself being all “pale and wan” – thank you for the angst Sir John Sucking) but I must say this dress has given me a real lift today and cheered me up. Yay, sewing.

For future reference here is a verbal description of the adjustments I made to the bodice pattern to get it to fit my very not-hour-glass top half:

  1. Shaved a good inch, possible more off the shoulder seams plus angled them for a standard forward shoulder adjustment.  This fixes the wrinkling at the shoulders/from the armpit up and adjusts for having very small sloping shoulders.
  2. Lowered the armhole curve 1/2″ otherwise the armhole was too small after taking up so much at the shoulders.  I could probably do with making this a smidge bigger as they still feel slightly too small. (I have tiny shoulders but larger arms).
  3. Took a good 1/2″ of the front centre pattern curve, starting at the armhole and tapering to nothing at the second notch in (the one closest the the bust apex)- this fixes the massive gaping at the armcyce.  It means the front side piece is joined to a flatter/less curved front piece – adjusting for being smaller in this area.
  4. Shaved off a wedge from the centre back piece, so that it goes straight up rather than angling outward to be wider at the neckline than the waist.  This fixes the gaping back.
  • Margo Bergman

    Great maxi dress! Love it! Hope you are feeling better very soon.

    • Thank you Margo. I’ll be following your example and making some more this summer – I have been very inspired by your maxi’s!! I hope I feel better soon too. 🙂

  • Great maxi dress! Love it! Hope you are feeling better very soon.

  • Janelle, this looks awesome! I love this dress as a maxi. Great fabric, too. Feel better!

    • Oh thank you do much Susan. I was feeling a bit iffy about it after I posted it but its been great getting some good feedback on it.

  • Janelle, this looks awesome! I love this dress as a maxi. Great fabric, too. Feel better!

  • Sharon

    Lovely maxi and love the style. Take care of yourself!

  • Lovely maxi and love the style. Take care of yourself!

  • Very pretty!

  • Very pretty!

  • Thank you!

  • Thank you Sharon. I'm trying. 🙂

  • Oh thank you do much Susan. I was feeling a bit iffy about it after I posted it but its been great getting some good feedback on it.

  • Thank you Margo. I'll be following your example and making some more this summer – I have been very inspired by your maxi's!! I hope I feel better soon too. 🙂

  • Shar

    I love maxis and this one is gorgeous! You’ve totally mastered the Elisalex bodice too. I wish I could come take sewing lessons from you since we’re the same size and I need the same adjustments :). I’m sorry that you haven’t been feeling well and I hope you’ll be feeling better soon.

    • I could totally be up for being your sewing buddy Shar! That would be really cool. I’m going to take some photo’s of my Elisalex changes and document them so you’ll be able to see what I did. I’m feeling good this week thank you so much.

  • I love maxis and this one is gorgeous! You've totally mastered the Elisalex bodice too. I wish I could come take sewing lessons from you since we're the same size and I need the same adjustments :). I'm sorry that you haven't been feeling well and I hope you'll be feeling better soon.

  • Lizzy

    I love this – sorry you are out of sorts. Me too. I had some blood tests and figured out why, low red blood cells, iron and B12. Need injections. They do help a lot.

    • Thanks Lizzy. I had some blood tests too and found out it was early menopause!!!! I’m getting appropriate treatment now and slowly getting back to my old self (ha ha, emphasis on the word old currently). The last 12 months have been pure hell though, I thought I was going crazy. Sewing has been keeping me sane for sure. My mother needed B12 injections, they work miracles. I’m glad you found out your reasons for not being right too so you could address it. That is fantastic.

  • Thanks Lizzy. I had some blood tests too and found out it was early onset menopause!!!! I'm getting appropriate treatment now and slowly getting back to my old self (ha ha, emphasis on the word old currently). The last 12 months have been pure hell though, I thought I was going crazy. Sewing has been keeping me sane for sure. My mother needed B12 injections, they work miracles. I'm glad you found out your reasons for not being right too so you could address it. That is fantastic.

  • I could totally be up for being your sewing buddy Shar! That would be really cool. I'm going to take some photo's of my Elisalex changes and document them so you'll be able to see what I did. I'm feeling good this week thank you so much.