I finished my Mad Men Challenge 2 dress last weekend but didn’t get around to taking photos until later in the week. Above is the inspiration picture and the finished dress. I used the Elisalex Dress pattern from By Hand London. I’m so happy with how it turned out. It fits like a glove and will be perfect for the wedding I made it for in the summer. The Mad Men Challenge 2 hosted by Julia Bobbin was supposed to finsih on the 19th but she has extended it to the 25th of April to give people the weekend to catch up. The parade will be on the 5th of May. I can’t wait to see what everyone else has made!


As you can tell in the photo below, I’m a happy camper in this dress. The fabric feels wonderfully soft against the body and it’s so floaty! I don’t want to take it off when I have it on. Even though the pattern calls for a heavy weight fabric there are ways to get around that which I talk about later.


The length of the dress is a little longer than I would normally go for. I usually favour a knee length dress or slightly above. However, for this dress I decided that it would be more appropriate to just turn it up about 2 inches. I’m tall but I found I didn’t have to add length to the skirt. I did have to make some alterations to the bodice. I lengthened it by about 2 inches to be sure I would be comfortable and that it would sit at my waist. The muslin I made finished so short that it looked ridiculous!


I changed the pattern so that it would have an invisible zipper instead of the large 30″ visible zipper down the whole back of the dress. I felt that with the light, thin fabric I used it would be a better match. To add the invisible zipper I added approximately an inch to the center back of the pattern. Then when the pattern called for inserting the zipper the whole way down the dress, I instead inserted my invisible zipper and then stitched the center back seam down to the end of the dress. I think it looks pretty good and wasn’t a difficult alteration. I also created a full lining for the dress since my fabric was sheer.


It’s definitely pretty bootylicious from the back! Initially I wasn’t sure whether the pouffy tulip skirt would suit my shape. I am larger in the hips and thought it might emphasize that too much. In reality it shows off my waist and gives me a nice shape. I really feel great in it! Thanks By Hand London girls!


While it wasn’t as much of an effort as my Sew Retro Bombshell Dress which had various couture elements, it was a little bit more effort than usual. Since my fabric was very sheer I had to add a full lining to it. The pattern called for a heavy weight fabric and mine was lightweight. I underlined my fashion fabric with silk organza to give it the required body and then created a full lining in white cotton. It turned out pretty great but it certainly was time consuming hand basting all that silk organza to the slippery fashion fabric!


I love having this fabulous dress hanging in my wardrobe now! Hopefully I can find places to wear it once the weather gets better. It’s a little too dressy for work 😉 Maybe Mike and I can go for a fancy dinner!

I love just looking at this dress in my wardrobe. Do any of you do that too? It just looks so lovely and I’m very proud of it!

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  • Roisin

    Oh my word, it’s so beautiful and well worth all the effort!

    • http://www.mabelmakes.com stephanie

      Thanks Roisin! I love your versions as well. I think I might have to steal your idea and make one with a gathered skirt :)

  • http://www.tresbienensemble.com Michelle

    FANTASTIC! I wouldn’t have even thought about using the Elisalex pattern to recreate that Betty dress, but it’s completely perfect! You did an outstanding job on the fit and construction. It’s gorgeous on you!

    • http://www.mabelmakes.com stephanie

      Ya I was originally going to go with a vintage pattern but the more I looked at it the more I realised the Elisalex was a much better match. So glad I went with it in the end. Your Betty Draper dress is fabulous btw!

  • http://Www.thimbleandcork.com Kacie

    Absolute perfection! You look so elegant in your Elisalex, and I love the floral print of your fabric. Gorgeous!!

    • http://www.mabelmakes.com stephanie

      Thanks Kacie! Looking forward to seeing yours after seeing the sneak peek :) From that little glimpse I bet it’s lovely!

  • http://byhandlondon.com Elisalex – By Hand London

    We are all literally DROOOOLING over you in this dress right now!! So pretty, so perfectly fitted and you’re one of few to keep the full length, and it looks so damn elegant. Absolutely divine. x

    • http://www.mabelmakes.com stephanie

      Thanks Elisalex. It’s a fabulous pattern and I’ll definitely be making more. This one is a little too dressy for every day. It’ll be perfect for the wedding but I think I’ll have to make a more casual one too :)

  • http://www.sleeksilhouette.com Katy

    Wow, this is so pretty! I love your fabric, and the insides looks gorgeous :)

    • http://www.mabelmakes.com stephanie

      Thanks Katy! I love your Mad Men shirt dress too :)

  • http://hamiltonchicklets.wordpress.com hamilton chicklets

    Hello! We’ve recently discovered your blog and have been thoroughly enjoying all of your posts… so much so that we are passing along to you the Liebster Award! You may have seen this on blogs you follow (you may even have been nominated already!) and we think this is great way for our fellow bloggers to showcase each other and to give a big shout-out to the blogs we love! Should you feel like playing along, we look forward to hearing all about you and your favourite blogs! http://hamiltonchicklets.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/an-exciting-week/

  • Pingback: Elisalex Dress Sewalongers: Sew us yours!! - By Hand London By Hand London()

  • http://gingermakes.wordpress.com gingermakes

    This is STUNNING! I absolutely love it! Well done, girl!

  • http://www.bimbleandpimble.blogspot.com Amanda

    What a gorgeous make! That fabric is simply divine!

  • http://Theknittingprincessandthepea.blogspot.co.uk Alice

    What a beautiful dress!

  • http://www.sew2pro.com sew2pro

    You make a great Betty and you’ve picked one of my favourite dresses from the show. I hope you get to wear it lots. I’m sure there’ll be lots of flattering comments.

  • Dodosbeads

    You ‘ re looking totally gorgeous in this dress ! All the work you spent was worth it . I fell in love with this pattern , too 😉

  • http://sallysewssometing.blogspot.co.uk/ Sally

    Lovely dress – sort of retro but with a modern twist. I love it!

  • Julianne Dodds

    I really like your dress. I love seeing everyone’s entries, how they’ve taken vintage inspiration and made it a little more modern and versatile. I feel like with the right styling, this dress could be totally 1950s, or you could make it 80s and look like Molly Ringwald. I think you made the right choice with the invisible zipper.

    My entry for the challenge is here: http://madebyjulianne.com/?p=5197

  • http://mancunianvintage.wordpress.com mancunianvintage

    That dress is absolutely stunning – great pattern and the cut is fabulous…. I want one now!


  • http://ferndalelane.blogspot.com/ Lorie ~ Ferndale Lane

    Wow! That dress looks great on you! I love the fabric, that flower pattern is just beautiful! I participated also, can’t wait to see what everyone has done!

  • http://www.sewingadicta.blogspot.com Rosy

    Wow! You look absolutely divine and original! This dress is perfection!

  • http://ooobop.wordpress.com ooobop!

    I’ve been searching for an Elisalex example that was full length just to see how it looks. I’m sold. Thank you for the inspiration! :-)

  • Kirsty Boys

    I love your dress ! So pretty :)
    I like to look at pretty things I have made again and again too, especially when the insides are as pretty as the outsides.
    Anyway excellent work, the fabric and the fit are use beautiful :))

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