Alix Dress, By Hand London (the tester version)

This is the ‘tester’ version of the Alix Dress from By Hand London. I haven’t made up the newly released version.

Alix Dress - the tester version from By Hand London

Alix Dress – the tester version from By Hand London

It is described as: “ A high-waisted prairie dress with a V-neck yoke, inset waistband, tie back belt and a full skirt, pleated at centre front and back. And best of all, no zipper! With long, billowing raglan sleeves secured at the wrist with a delicate elasticated cuff and three skirt length options (& everything in between!)”. It’s got a 70s vibe which is one of my favourite eras. I made the tester UK 6 / US 2 size.

When I went to sew this dress up, the feedback from the earlier testers was the pleats were a little ‘pointy’ on smaller bust sizes and perhaps using gathers instead of the pleats might be worth trying.

I did this. However I think the gathers need to be spread over a larger distance than the pleat space as I ended up with a ‘puff’ of fabric directly under my bust with nowhere for it to go. You can see this below on the left hand side of the image.

The released pattern has been changed to have an option to change the pleat into a gather and from the purple sample on the By Hand London website, the gather has been eased across a greater distance on the inset waistband than I did here. That should remove the ‘puff’ of fabric issue.

It’s a shame as the general bust fit is OK on me and the neckline is lovely. Low but it is OK on my build.

Alix Dress, By Hand London

Alix Dress, By Hand London

I thought there was a considerable amount of easing to get the front bodice piece to fit into the arm. I think it is why there is bubbling above the bust along the armhole line. It’s not terrible but I would prefer a smoother fit. And I dare say I’ve put up with worse in RTW before I started sewing.

The fit does change depending on my bra choice as you would expect but that bubbling the upper bust remains. I have had a lot of compliments when I have worn it (from the non-sewing non-fit people in my life). Perhaps those people don’t zoom in on my bust zone!

I had to reduce the pleats in order to get the skirt piece to fit onto the inset waistband. I’m going to have to cut out the pattern again to see if this was some sort of idiot pattern cutting accident as apparently I was alone in this issue.


I don’t believe there have been many changes to the pattern I tested (other than the pleat to a gather option) and apparently my issues with the bust and upper bust fit were limited to me, the feedback on fit was generally very happy. Maybe I’m just becoming too fussy, I sewed it up too fast or my bust/upper bust is weird!

Despite all my issues, the print of the fabric hides many sins, I had to zoom in with the camera to capture the issues as once you step back the fabric puffs and bubbles seem to disappear. I have worn this dress a few times in the last few weeks as the rayon is cool to wear and I quite like long sleeve for a change. I’m not a massive fan of elastic in my wrist cuffs but it’s not a huge issue.

I made the mini dress version and while it is short, it is not self-consciously so – you should note I am 5 foot 4 or 164cm tall.

This dress has no buttons, zips etc. It simply slips over your head and ties pull the dress in for a neater fit.

The perfect accessory - an old happy greyhound

The perfect accessory – an old happy greyhound. Banjo was beetling around off-the-leash at his usual furious pace!

I’ve got lots of dresses I would like to make this summer but right now I need some sleeveless ones sooner rather than later!

Dress: Alix Dress, By Hand London (tester version), size sewn UK 6 / US 2.
Fabric: Woven rayon from Fantazia Fabricland, Tweed Heads QLD
Also See: Adventures of a Young Seamstress | Lily Sage & Co | Sewn by Ashley | Sweet Shard | Sew 2 Pro |

And this is what the first splash of cold water feels like some days…

Alix Dress, By Hand London

Alix Dress, By Hand London

Thank you all so much on your feedback on my last few posts. My work life has been exceptionally busy and I’ve been ‘on the road’ a few times in the last few weeks – however I have read them all and will respond as soon as I can!

15 thoughts on “Alix Dress, By Hand London (the tester version)

  1. Thanks for the detailed review. I like the look of the dress– very pretty. Also loved the dance costumes and all the details re tutu sewing. Thanks for sharing. Abbey

  2. Super dress, the fabric choice was perfect and it looks great on even with the couple issues. We’re heading into winter now a lovely floaty dress will have to wait six months or so (I’m not a cold loving girl!)

  3. It’s frustrating when a pattern doesn’t work quite right–even in the testing phase–but it really does look lovely on you. Ignore the little baubles and enjoy it!

  4. I saw this pattern when it was released, and it did not appeal to me at all. But now your version has me reconsidering. I think your choice of fabric and length is perfect. And it looks great on you! The extra bit of fabric near the armhole is not even noticeable, especially since it is so beautifully sewn!

  5. Ooo, I’m going to have to get my hands on that pattern! I love your version and the fabric you chose is perfect. Even though it was frustrating to make it, it does looks wonderful. Funny how that goes….

  6. Your dress looks pretty I agree but it definitely wouldn’t be something I would make myself – it’s a little low (and I’ve tried fixing this issue on other patterns without much success I must say) and that fit looks challenging to get really right (which it looks like you did!). By Hand London was daring to take this pattern on – there are many places where it could go terribly wrong on different body types 🙂

  7. This suits you so beautifully, and is one of the nicest versions of this dress I’ve seen. Although I can see the slight puffing at the bustline, I wouldn’t have noticed until you pointed it out, so I don’t think you should be too bothered by it.

  8. I love the rayon you picked. This dress is very similar to one of my favourite RTW (from a market in Thailand), but I have already bought 2 other similar patterns to try out – I’ll have to see how they go!

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 )

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.