Red Elisalex skater dress from By Hand London

Everyone needs a new dress for Christmas, right? This was mine.

red ponte knit dress front

It’s inspired by the skater dresses you can see all over the high street. In fact it’s almost identical to this ASOS one.

When did full skirts start being called ‘skater’, by the way? I think it must be an ice-skating ref instead of a skateboarding thing. A bit more ‘Winter Olympics’ than ‘Vans Warped Tour’. Anyone want to shed light on this important issue?

Anyway my skater dress is made from ponte knit from Tissu Fabrics (£5 a metre!) and the Elisalex dress bodice from By Hand London. Here’s my verdict on both:

  • The fabric is easy to sew, and forgiving to wear. But blimey, it’s a bit crackly and static-y. Wearing tights underneath makes the skirt unbelievably clingy.
  • The Elisalex bodice is a beaut. I cut a size 10 to account for stretch, and I love it. So easy to fit. I used a half-circle skirt (the tutorial was also from the By Hand London website, so thanks ladies!)

red dress back

I like the deep V on the back on this dress, but next time will widen the shoulders a bit.

This dress was worn for my work do, a friend’s  annual Christmas dinner, and the big day itself. Not bad for a tenner’s worth of fabric and an invisible zip.

I put clear elastic in the neckline and the waistband, and actually CHANGED THE THREAD in my overlocker to match the fabric, for the first time since I got the thing. Which was, er, more than a year ago. Shameful.

Okay, can I ask for some help from any fitting experts out there? I quite often get these pesky folds in the back shoulder. Here’s an illustrative photo with some giant red arrows.


I think it’s something to do with my prominent shoulderblades and general posture. I looked in Fit for Real People and they called it the ‘hunchback’ fitting problem, which made me want to just give up. I’m open to advice though, don’t hesitate if you think I need the well-known ‘Quasimodo alteration’ or similar.

I’m happy with the dress though. Nothing more cheerful than red in the winter.

red ponte dress

I’d use this knit again, despite the static. I fancy trying to replicate this Topshop dress in a few colours, maybe a blue and a marled grey.

You can buy the Elisalex dress pattern here, and the fabric I used here.


30 thoughts on “Red Elisalex skater dress from By Hand London

  1. me November 7, 2013 / 2:15 PM

    It really isn’t your colour or style,at all,but it’s a lovely dress and has inspired me to start again.

    • yesilikethat November 7, 2013 / 2:20 PM

      Harsh but probably fair. I promise it looks better in real life than in these (not very good) photos! 🙂 Glad it’s inspired you to start again.

  2. ooobop! April 25, 2013 / 9:16 AM

    Just looking at all the Elisalex dresses online and how did I miss this one?! Am I the last person to get hold of it?! Thanks for the gorgeous inspiration, lovely x

    • yesilikethat April 25, 2013 / 9:21 AM

      Aw thanks! I need to make another one, there are so many amazing variations out there now. x

  3. Rosie @ Haberdashery Blues January 21, 2013 / 6:57 PM

    I was thinking about pairing this pattern with a circle skirt for that extra swirl factor, I don’t think I can resist now! Really lovely.

    • yesilikethat January 21, 2013 / 9:11 PM

      Makes it a lot quicker to sew too!

  4. stitchywitch January 9, 2013 / 12:26 AM

    I think we have a similar build, and I get those wrinkles sometimes. I do an alteration for erect posture (basically, patterns assume you slump over, and I don’t) and it fixes it. I have the book “fast fit” by Sandra Betzina, and she describes this alteration. I don’t think “fit for real people” mentions it.

  5. theperfectnose January 8, 2013 / 12:43 AM

    Niice. That colour and style look great on you. Skater is a ref. to figure skating-wear ie. fitted in the torso and flared (+short-ish) in the skirt.. Also, re: your back-fitting question-check your email. Cheers.

  6. Stevie January 7, 2013 / 11:18 PM

    Super cute, They are supposed to be based on ice skating dresses I think,
    I’m doing a blogger meetup in Walthamstow on 2nd of feb if your up for it. Would be fab to see you, drop me an email at 🙂

  7. Kerry January 7, 2013 / 10:08 PM

    Very nice, it really suits you.

  8. IngeMaakt January 7, 2013 / 9:39 PM

    Pretty!! It looks so festive and very well made too. I can’t help with the fitting issue but it doesn’t look that bad, so I would say the answer is not to look at your back in the mirror 🙂

    • yesilikethat January 7, 2013 / 9:45 PM

      ha ha, good point! I don’t spend much time looking at my back 🙂

  9. zoe January 7, 2013 / 8:24 PM

    It looks fab honey! I’m sorry, I can’t shed any light on the fitting issues, aside from prescribing another glass of mulled wine so you forget all about it! It looks fine to me though. I can’t wait to see your recreation of those topshop dresses if you got for it xxx

    • yesilikethat January 7, 2013 / 9:07 PM

      Ah thanks Zoe! Mulled wine season is nearly over, definitely need to take advantage. x

  10. craftylittlebugger January 7, 2013 / 7:40 PM

    Nice dress! I’ve been eyeing up tissu’s ponte for a while, it’s good to hear a review.

    Did you find the Elisalex bodice was long enough in the waist without alterations?

    • yesilikethat January 7, 2013 / 9:08 PM

      Actually I did have to add two inches – pretty much do this with every pattern though (I’m 5ft 9 if that helps). I liked the ponte, would like to compare it with the Truro Fabrics stuff too…

  11. Vicki Kate January 7, 2013 / 5:21 PM

    You look beautiful, what a gorgeous dress!

  12. gingermakes January 7, 2013 / 4:12 PM

    I LOVE this! It’s so cute! You look amazing!

    • yesilikethat January 7, 2013 / 9:09 PM

      Thanks! It was so quick to sew, perfect pattern.

  13. CGCouture January 7, 2013 / 2:23 PM

    Oooooooh, pretty!! I love that color! I have no idea re your fitting problem, but I get it once in a while too, so I’ll be curious to see what others say.

    • yesilikethat January 7, 2013 / 9:10 PM

      I did wonder if it’s caused by wide necklines falling off the shoulders, I have another deep V back dress that does the same thing…

  14. Charlotte January 7, 2013 / 11:53 AM

    Gah it looks great! I actually haven’t tried a knit version with skater skirt, but have some black left over (less festive). Am gonna try it!

    • yesilikethat January 7, 2013 / 9:12 PM

      I love the pattern! Black would probably be a lot more versatile than this red. Hope you try it!

  15. Tamsin W-P January 7, 2013 / 11:53 AM

    fabulous colour for a lovely looking dress. Can’t help with fitting though, sorry! is it possible to line at least the skirt for a less stactic-y wearing experience?

  16. January 7, 2013 / 11:50 AM


  17. sewbusylizzy January 7, 2013 / 10:11 AM

    Oh dear I want that Elisalex pattern…

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