Pauline Alice: the Eliana Dress

aka The Wistful Dress. Life is has been busy and TBH ‘worse than yuck’ I need something/anything to go right… my girls love this dress so I’m taking it as a ‘win’.

This was one of those projects that I wanted to be perfect but just isn’t quite. Nothing major, I’d like the straps to be topstitched (see below), I should have made the elastic slightly tighter and the armholes are a little low.

Nevertheless I’m not lying on the sewing room floor in a state of abject misery… in fact I’m planning on wearing it tomorrow!

Back view. Pauline Alice Eliana Dress

Back view.

This is the Pauline Alice Eliana Dress. I’d never purchased a Pauline Alice printed pattern before and I must say I am impressed! I purchased the Carme blouse PDF ages ago but it hasn’t made its way into ‘The Queue’ for stitching just let.

The packaging is glossy cardboard, the instructions are in a neat little black-and-white A5 booklet (in English, French and Spanish) and the pattern is printed on large sheets of bond paper. The packaging is generously sized and it all goes neatly back together with plenty of room for your traced pattern – if you are the tracing type. The paper patterns are not cheap but the production quality is excellent.

I purchased my pattern from Caitlan of Indie Stitches. Her service and packaging was outstanding, I found via Pauline Alice’s site which lists Indie Stitches as the only Australian distributor of the paper patterns. I don’t mind PDFs but I avoid them if there is no A0 option unless I’m so keen I can’t wait for a paper pattern to be delivered – The Perfect Nose blogged about this today – and I agree with many of her points.

I contacted Caitlan via email as it didn’t appear to be in stock. She replied that it was ‘on it’s way’ and would let me know when it arrived. I was equally delighted by the detail of her business packaging when the pattern arrived (ok, it was ‘patterns’ as I’m besotted with the Pauline Alice Quart Coat & decided to purchase it as well). I do love thoughtful packaging… and the Indie Stitches envelope was stitched shut, the protective packaging sealed with fabric tape and the business card is gorgeous. That sort of thing makes me go ‘squee’ at the mailbox. LOL.

Pauline Alice Eliana Dress

Front view: Pauline Alice Eliana Dress. I have a nice new scar on my leg that I’m hoping will fade. A child’s toy box leapt out and bit me a few weeks ago… or I could have been tired and bumped into it. Whatever… it was ouch and quite a bit of blood!


I added half an inch to the bodice as I am long waisted plus I wanted a ‘blousy’ top.  The length wasn’t an issue for me as it is drafted for a height of 165cm and I’m 164cm tall.

I graded out to 36 at the waist and skirt as I wanted generous gathering & a swinging skirt.

I decided not to put in the pockets as I was concerned they might look obvious with the knit jersey.


As confessed in my Japanese skirts post, I’m not a huge fan of elastic waists but I think I’m coming around… in some cases.

I decided to omit the buttonholes and forgo a waist tie. Sometimes it feels a bit like gym shorts to me. I added a line of stitching in the middle of the elastic casing channel and used two thin strips of elastic instead of one wide one. I just prefer the look of two gathered rows than one thick one.

A very simple way to soften a thick elastic waistband- just sew two channels and use thinner elastic. Eliana Dress by Pauline Alice

A very simple way to soften a thick elastic waistband- just sew two channels and use thinner elastic

I’m going to add some belt carriers at the waistline (I’ve already made them) as I hate how a belt sometimes slides above or below the elastic.

I do like the waistline casing on this pattern. You sew the bodice and skirt together, neaten the edges together and then fold the skirt up towards the bodice, sewing a 3cm seam to create a channel. This makes the waistline hug the dress against your body which I think is a nice finish.


Sewing those jersey strips in jersey was NOT FUN – yes Busy Lizzie warned us about that in her jersey Eliana dress post… but I had my heart set on a khaki jersey Eliana. If you are making this in jersey, I did some googling and you don’t need to cut jersey ‘bias’ strips on the bias. You can cut them on the grain with the greatest amount of stretch – well that’s what I read on this post by Made by Rae. Worked for me!

I machined the strips to the bodice and then turned them over and hand stitched them in place. I also slip stitched the edges of the long back ties and shoulder straps together. Yes. It turned a quick make into a long make, however I found it difficult to get a neat line of top stitching over the strips & gathered jersey. I knew wonky stitching would bug me so I opted to hand sew. I had a hideous week so the downtime taken stitching was much needed & appreciated!

I stitched a ‘boho gold’ chain along the neckline to add some interest. I also like ‘old gold’ tones with khaki. The chain meets with a necklace clasp at the centre back. I chose to wrap the chain around the shoulder straps and leave the tails hanging down my back. I left the jersey ties in tact – in case I decide to remove the chain in the future.

Simple 'boho gold' chain added to the neckline and twisted around the shoulder straps.

Simple ‘boho gold’ chain added to the neckline and twisted around the shoulder straps.


The armholes are low. My wardrobe ‘fix’ was to wear a black bandeau top over my strapless bra (which is ‘nude’ colour – not so attractive as a ‘peekaboo’ option). It cut in slightly as you can see in the pictures – which of course annoys me so I’ll have a think about that…

I don’t think it would matter as much with long sleeves but it’s something you might want to consider with the sleeveless version – plus it’s not bra-friendly.

Pauline Alice Eliana Dress

The underarms are LOW.


I used some Emma Seabrooke Knit stay tape from Stitch 56 (popped up in my facebook feed on night) and a double needle on my Bernina machine. I have no idea why but it had never occurred to me to baste the stay tape the wrong side of the hem and then turn it up and iron in place (recommended on the package). I know – I’m an idiot. So much quicker, easier and neater – this tape is very nice too.


It’s a simple make & easy to wear. Apart from all my hand stitching & attaching the chain, fiddling with pliers etc, this dress came together quickly.

I think it would make a lovely maxi dress in a woven rayon. It would make a gorgeous winter dress with long sleeves, tights & boots.

I’m wearing it tomorrow. Win.


Pattern: Eliana Dress by Pauline Alice, purchased from Indie Stitches– the only place in Australia to buy the Pauline Alice paper patterns.

Fabric: a rayon knit from Spotlight. From my ‘Fabric Library’, purchased for about $15 a metre.

Accessories: Shoes for Manning Valley Shoe Store – ages ago from the ‘bargain table’ for a ridiculously low sum… like $20 | bangle from my workplace shop (it’s a hazard walking in the office)

Also see: Busy Lizzie in Brissie | By Maggot | Top Notch | Couleurs et chiffons

These sunnies on-off pictures amuse me. It's like a tic!

These sunnies on-off pictures amuse me. It’s like a tic!


Note: Caitlan kindly offered me a little discount – however I was purchasing it anyway. I like to spread my self-indulgent expenditure around the sewing business world. A good thing too… I’ve never blogged the size of my pattern stash… it’s considerable!

33 thoughts on “Pauline Alice: the Eliana Dress

    • Really should have put this post to an Aussie pop song by Tina Arena… ‘I’m in Chains’!
      I was slightly bummed this morning to wake up to an overcast & rainy day!

  1. ooo, love the gold chain! But you are right, those armholes are very low. I think your fix with the bandeau works well, or maybe with a bikini top rather than a bra underneath, but it would still be nice to wear this without special underwear.
    The colour looks great on you! And I can’t believe the weather is still so nice where you are! Does it ever get cold? Oh wait, don’t answer that, I’ll only get jealous… (more jealous than I already am, that is… )

    • I’ve never worn ‘greens’ until recently – and it turns out I love them!
      This was taken yesterday on the first day of autumn, it was quite hot about 30 degrees Celsius. Our winters are about 18-23 degrees, although dropping to single figures at night. While it’s never ‘really’ cold, the sea breeze can make things feel damp which is chilly.

  2. Epic work on the hand stitching- it’s always worth it if you can’t get the finish you are after with the machine! The chain is a lovely touch- khaki and gold go so well together!

  3. You look stunning, as always. 🙂 I like the effect of the gold chain, very pretty! Those armholes though…yikes! I guess, you’ll know for next time.

    P.s. I always think it’s interesting how people of different regions call things by different names. I would call that color olive green. Khaki would be a light tan color. 🙂

  4. This is a great dress! I love the chain detail- I’m terrible at remembering to wear jewelry, so it’s nice to have some built in! I’m really excited to see your version of the Quart coat… the pattern is delicious! I nearly bought it after seeing it on Sunny Gal Studios, but Liz, I’m not kidding when I say that my coat wardrobe is BURSTING at the seams. I can barely close the door!!!

  5. Great review Lizzy, you’ve done a stunning job on this dress in my opinion! I particularly like the way you’ve sewn the waistline and that gold chain around the neck is a gorgeous detail to add! This style really suits you. Also, I’m incredibly jealous of that stunning weather surrounding you!

  6. This is fabulous in khaki and I loooove the chain detail. I didn’t have the same trouble with the armholes, but I used the beta version had longer neck straps which I omitted, that would have brought up the armholes. How annoying as I find this bra-friendly with a convertible bra.
    I’m still wanting to make a navy maxi version…one day….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.