Made by Me!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The Elskan Jersey Dress - Finished!

I'm back! It has been a while ..... but I have very good excuses, promise! I got married and became a Mrs, had a lovely honeymoon and in the middle of all of that lost my sewing mojo with the sheer amount of logistical planning and stress inherent with planning your big day.... I didn't think it would create so much pressure!! Plus my camera broke but that just gave me an excuse to upgrade! But back to sewing...

After coming back from a hot, sunny Sri Lankan holiday I was immediately freezing cold as autumn had descended in my absence. I have a decided lack of winter clothes in my wardrobe and I seem to have put on weight since last year, though this could have been helpfully aided by the 3 weeks of constant curry eating..! I have been searching around for some cozy jersey makes to whip up and keep me warm in the cold season when I came across the beautiful Elskan dress from Charlotte Kan. Love at first sight!

The Elskan has a very eighties vibe to it which I am all over. I am loving the cowl neck and batwing sleeves (which I remember falling in love with when I was about 8 or 9). The way the top of the dress falls over the belly and comes down into a fitted skirt helps cover the extra curry podge but show off your better assets. It's basically super flattering, meaning its fast becoming a staple of my wardrobe because it makes me feel great. Until selling them on eBay recently (to buy more material) I owned a few jersey dresses from a few years ago that I will never wear again as the silhouette is straight up and down and I just feel pregnant in them. This has the opposite effect and I think it's a bit of a sexy minx of a dress!

I have actually been wearing my Elskan so much I didn't get round to photographing it until just now so its been in and out of the wash several times. I am happy to say that the Isabella wool jersey purchased from one of my fave fabric shops, Fabric Godmother, is brilliant for this dress and has lasted the test of time so far and still looks brand new. It hasn't pilled yet and I can wear the dress a few times between washes without it feeling like it has gone out of shape. Win, win. I hate making things up in what feels like gorgeous quality fabric only to take it out of the washing machine and find it looks old already. And I am not one to handwash...ever! I admit I am scared of buying jersey online as I rarely feel I know what I am buying and have often bought things that are not fit for the purpose of the garment I want to make up so it was a little bit of a gamble but it paid off. You need a single jersey with at least 50% stretch for this dress as there is a need for a lot of movement in the skirt and not all online companies mention the stretch for each fabric so hard to make confident buying decisions.

This dress requires a lot of fabric for what looks like such a small thing - about 2.5 metres. I made the long sleeved version but you can also omit the tighter sleeve section at the end of the batwing and finish the cuff at the elbow. I love both views. It can also be made into a top and I think I may make this next as I am pretty confident it would also be a flattering comfortable make. Although maybe I will make it in something a little brighter and more colourful next time. I went for black thinking it would be aid the illusion of a svelte silhouette!

The construction is very simple, it has a front and back and two sleeve sections (for the long sleeve version) which are easy to piece together and sew with the overlocker. The trickier bit is the back of the collar which requires sewing on a section of folded over jersey and finishing it with a twin needle topstitch. This is something that I have never done before so the chances of messing it up and having to live with it were high, but it turned out quite nice in the end. The only other elements of any nervousness for me was the hemming of the sleeves and skirt as I never been able to avoid wavy hem so I went into this part of the process with some trepidation. I found following a tip from another seamstress very helpful; lengthening the stitch and then pressing to set the stitches immediately after sewing helps avoid this problem. And it worked! I also made sure to baste all of my pattern pieces together before using my overlocker to avoid the use of loads of pins and to stop the fabric slipping apart in the machine (which it did in practice runs). I feel I may have turned a corner in sewing jersey with this dress and overcome a lot of fears. I feel raring to go on another jersey project now!

So what do you think? Will you be giving the Elskan a whirl?! I think she is a thing of beauty and hope to have many more of them in my life sometime soon!


  1. I love that fabric. And I put it in the cold wash setting of my machine. And while Fabric Godmother is a beautifully curated site, Sew Essentials sells the same fabric significantly cheaper and in more colours.

    1. Hi Miriana. Yes cold wash is the best, or the wool wash keeps the fabric in tip top condition. And yes I did see Sew Essentials sell it cheaper, but only last night when I was doing a trawl around for jerseys that I could afford to make the Elskan top. I could have kicked myself but somehow they arent the most expensive out there. I think I have it in my head that Fabric Godmother do fabrics that other companies don't so you are paying for exclusivity as well but it suddenly occured to me that John Kaldor fabrics are widely available so I did a search... that will teach me to be more savvy in the future! Thanks for highlighting though. Shopping around is always a good idea!! What did you make with your fabric?

  2. Hello

    First of all congratulations on getting married...and congratulations on the dress.. it looks amazaing. I have made some t-shirts and a dress out of the Isabella Wool (also from Fabric Godmother). I have always washed it at 40° which is possibly why it has matted together (especially the tops which go through the machine frequently). By the way, I love your blog.

    1. Hi Emma. Thank you so much! Always lovely to hear someone enjoys reading the blog, and thank you for your marriage congratulations :-) Glad you like the dress, its got me hooked as I didnt think I could wear something like that anymore. In reference to washing the fabric, I have experienced this before with other fabrics so I tend by default to wash everything at 30° now to avoid issues. I find the fabric agitation on long cycles in a 'normal' wash can cause issues (I just found this out on a pre-wash for a jersey I havent even cut out yet when I threw it in absent mindely with other things...) so the wool wash gets used a lot now! It's tough sometimes because not all websites are explanatory on how to care for fabrics, and as mentioned in my post the stretch often doesnt get mentioned either. It's often a case with me of hope for the best!!

    2. I'm ashamed to say that it is my fault as I am too lazy to sort out my washing properly (and with three teenage boys my machine would go on strike if I had to do any more - it is on at least once a day as it is).


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