This post is long, long overdue. Seeing as I am due to embark upon an ‘Intermediate Dressmaking’ course in the next couple of weeks, I thought I really should finally do a review of the Eliza M Audrey dress. I completed this dress during my ‘Beginners Dressmaking’ course last year and it was the first commercial pattern I have ever used. Prior to this, my sewing experience entailed making skirts (gathered and circle) sans pattern and minor alterations to garments I already owned.
Eliza M’s patterns are aimed at beginners who have little to no experience of commercial patterns, so I thought it would be a good one for my first attempt. Their range is pretty varied and covers a selection of vintage styled dresses, skirts, trousers and blouses.
The photos of the dress on the website made me think that this would be a nice classic number to add to my wardrobe and I chose a pale blue polka dot cotton that I found in a (now sadly closed) haberdashery shop in my local area. I spent £12 on the fabric required and the pattern cost £13.50. Unfortunately, the pattern specifications did not include details of the notions required, such as a zip. I therefore had to wait until I had assembled the dress before I could gauge what length zip was required.
The instructions contained within the pattern looked to be far simpler than those included with other commercial patterns. Whilst I initially thought that this would be a good thing, I came to begrudge this as the process went on. It seemed to me that the instructions had been simplified at the cost of the explanations that may be required for a beginner to complete the dress easily. Lucky for me, I had a tutor on hand to help me work out what I needed to do. It soon became apparent from my tutors feedback, and other people’s reviews on various websites, that Eliza M’s patterns are known for their lack of detail. The line drawing on the packaging suggests that the skirt is gathered; however it is actually a circle skirt.
So, here’s the finished product. I’m a sucker for a fitted bodice and a full skirt, so this dress suits me to a tee. The low back is a really nice detail and I really like it style with a belt to nip in the waist and break up the pattern a bit. I’m not overly happy with my first attempt at bust darts, as they leave me looking somewhat pointy. I can’t tell if this is a fault of the pattern or my skills. My only other gripe with the dress is that the high neck leaves me feeling slightly strangled. If I were to make it again in a different material I’m sure that I would redraft the neckline to bring it down by a centimetre or two.
And here it is styled for a late summer wedding…
Would I use an Eliza M pattern again? Probably; partly because I still have a ‘Grace’ dress from their range that I am yet to make. I’d definitely be reluctant to purchase another pattern though, knowing how brief the instructions were. Perhaps this will change as my experience of dressmaking grows and I feel more confident in filling in the gaps.
PS I cant currently link you to the Eliza M website as it appears to be infected with malware.