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The Elisalex Dress is baaaaack!!!

Excellent news friends - one of our bestselling patterns, the Elisalex Dress, is back in stock, new and improved, and ready to sew!! And even better, to celebrate her re-release, to thank you for your patience while she was unavailable, and to wish you all a very merry Christmas, we've taken 20% off! Simply enter the code ILLBEBACK at checkout. Discount is valid until midnight on Christmas Eve GMT. 

For all you need to know regarding what changes were made and how to get the update if you have previously purchased the Elisalex Dress pattern, keep reading...

I bought the Elisalex Dress before the improvements... Will I have to buy it again?

Hell no! If you bought the Elisalex Dress in PDF format, you will automatically be emailed the updated file. Please check your spam/promotions folders if you haven't received your update yet, and if you still haven't received anything, please don't hesitate to get in touch!

If you bought the paper pattern directly from our website, it will take a teensy bit longer for you to receive the update, but we will be going through all Elisalex Dress paper pattern orders from way back when and emailing the updated file to you. If you are using a different email address now to that which you placed your order with, please get in touch to let us know.

If you bought from one of our stockists, please email us with some kind of proof of purchase and we will reply to you with the updated files.

Variation 1 features the same sleeveless bodice you know and love with that sexy scoop back neckline and perfectly contoured princess seams. This sample was made from a jacquard fabric and fully lined in cotton lawn.

What changes have been made to the pattern and why?

Firstly, let me take this moment to say how seriously we take your feedback. We do our very best to release patterns that are as perfect as can be humanly possible, however, it is only once we have sent that pattern out into the loving and constructively critical arms of our customers that we get a better idea as to how well the pattern fits right out of the box (so to speak), how straightforward it is to alter, and whether or not there are actual flaws in the drafting itself.

The Elisalex Dress was one of the first two patterns we ever released, and boy have we come a long way since then! With the Elisalex, we desperately wanted to create the perfect bodice - fitted and flattering, sexy scoopy back neckline, with both sleeveless and sleeved options. For the most part, I think we achieved that, however, and in spite of warnings from our senior pattern cutter, our insistence on the sleeved and sleeveless options is what bit us on the butt! It's simply impossible to draft an armhole that works beautifully for both. As a result, the sleeved bodice variations have suffered, and that is the most significant correction we've made.

The sleeveless Elisalex bodice remains exactly the same, but we have included an entirely new bodice especially for the sleeved variations, plus two newly drafted sleeves to go with it. This new bodice also features a higher back neckline as we were unhappy with the way the low scoop of the original bodice back neckline made the shoulders more inclined to slip off. 

Variation 2 has short sleeves that are finished with a facing at the cuff and a higher neckline at the back to prevent the shoulders from slipping off. This sample was made from quilting cotton.

We have also made some changes to the skirt, namely to the volume and length. The new length is a standard 24" long finished, and we have learnt our lesson about adding extra length for the supermodels, "just in case"...! We've also reduced the volume at the hips for a slightly more subtle tulip shape - in all honesty, we were quite digging the exaggerated volume at the hips, but it definitely was more of a bubble than a tulip, and the resounding feedback from you guys seemed to be that it was indeed a little too much... The new skirt is more elegant and wearable, but still retains the essence of the Elisalex Dress.

Variation 3 has long, wrist length sleeves and a higher neckline at the back to prevent the shoulders from slipping off. Our sample was made in a wool crepe, and the skirt underlined in cotton organdy to emphasise and hold the structure of the skirt.

If we don't say it enough, THANK YOU ALL, from the bottom of our hearts for all your support over the last four years (!!), and many more to come! You make our world go round. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and wishing you all the best to come in 2017!

Team BHL xxx

***Click here to get your Elisalex Dress pattern, and remember to enter the code ILLBEBACK before midnight GMT on Christmas Eve for your 20% discount!***

Comments on this post (18)

  • Feb 17, 2017

    Hello Genevieve and Colleen,

    If you have previously purchased the Elisalex Dress but don’t have any proof of purchase, please email us at and we’ll see what we can do ;)

    Also Colleen – the dark pink wool crepe fabric is from Unique Fabrics on Goldhawk rd :)


    — Elisalex - By Hand London

  • Feb 17, 2017

    Hello Diane,

    I’m so sorry but we don’t have any paper patterns left, and haven’t produced any of this new update. And I’m afraid that we can’t get an individual pattern printed and sent out to you, as we would then of course be obliged to do the same for everyone else!

    Are you able to ask a friend to help? You would need to be able to download the pattern onto a laptop or desktop computer and then either send the files to be printed at a professional copyshop, or print out the pattern on multiple pieces of paper from a home printer.

    If it helps, we do have a guide to help you with the downloading, printing and assembling process here –

    I hope this helps!


    — Elisalex - By Hand London

  • Feb 17, 2017

    Hi Julee,

    Actually, the new sleeves are a little slimmer than the original ones, and it is simple to shave them down more if you’d like them to fit more snugly. But I’m afraid that seeing as we changed the armhole and sleeve head completely to get a better fit, the old sleeves will not fit onto the new bodice.

    Hope this helps!


    — Elisalex - By Hand London

  • Feb 03, 2017

    Hello lovely ladies! It looks like the long sleeves on this revision are a little looser fitting than the previous version. Can I use the “old” sleeves with this updated bodice? Thanks!

    — Julee

  • Jan 26, 2017

    A message for Ruth – If you go to a copy shop that offers a special rate for architectural plans (rather than poster prints) you may get a better price! Here in Australia it’s about $4-$8 for an architectural plan, which after all is just thin black lines much like the dress pattern. I suspect they are charging you the full colour poster rate!

    Also I haven’t yet bought the pattern but I loved the exaggerated skirt! I’m a bit sad it’s been slimmed down, but you can’t please them all ;)

    — Melanie

  • Jan 04, 2017

    I am desperate to make the Elisalex dress is it at all possible to buy from you a paper pattern, I am not computer literate at all, can you not print one for me and let me know the cost. I am probably asking too much, but it is worth a try. Here’s hoping you can help me in some way PRETTY PLEASE.

    — Diane Hirst

  • Dec 29, 2016

    I purchased the Elisalex paper pattern a long time ago – I really can’t remember where :(.
    I would love to get the new upgrades on the pattern. Would a picture of the paper pattern be sufficient proof that I did purchase it?
    Thank you so much.

    — Geneviève

  • Dec 20, 2016

    p.s. Wherever did you get that beautiful fuchsia fabric?

    — colleen

  • Dec 20, 2016

    I’ve yet to make mine but all of the changes you’ve made are exactly the ones I would have ordered!!!! I’m so glad. But, how do I know whether I bought it at your shop? Actually, I’m 98 percent certain I bought it with a second pattern of the Victoria Blazer, but do you still have records of that?

    Thanks so much!

    — Colleen

  • Dec 20, 2016

    Just wanted to say that the Elisalex is one of my favourite patterns – I actually drafted my own higher back neckline so I would wear the dress more often. It’s lovely to get a new version by email and it’s exciting to see the new short sleeve option!

    Thanks By Hand London, keep doing what you’re doing : )

    — Hannah

  • Dec 20, 2016

    Well done guys, this is really excellent and I’m really looking forward to receiving the new version. Im just about to send you an email with my proof of purchase as I purchased mine from an Australian supplier. Copy shop printing is reasonably priced here in Australia, I think around $4/sheet and I can handle the pdf pain for instant access, the ability to reprint and the delivery of a higher quality product. The changes you’ve made were exactly what was needed and I’m really looking forward to making up the new version.

    — Janelle

  • Dec 19, 2016

    Hello Ruth! Firstly, I’m so sorry your comment got accidentally deleted instead of approved, and I wanted to make sure you got your reply.

    You mentioned in your comment that you’re unhappy with the process of putting together PDF patterns, and equally unhappy with the extra cost involved when printing at a copyshop. We understand that for those who prefer paper patterns, this is not ideal. £24 for a single A0 print out is also very expensive – we get our copyshop files printed at the London Printing Company on Notting Hill Gate and each A0 print out costs around £10, and as far as I know, that’s pretty pricey too compared to others (but it’s the closest one to us since our regular copyshop closed down, and they were more like £7 per sheet).

    Making the decision to stop producing paper patterns was extremely difficult (and painful!) but we were simply not prepared to down-grade the quality of our product in order to make it cheaper to produce. The fact that we were able to move to PDF patterns has meant the survival of our business. This way we have been able to keep designing and producing patterns without the crazy and constrictive overheads we had before. Deep down, I hope that one day we will be able to resurrect our paper patterns, but for the time being, PDFs are our only option. Our PDF patterns and how they can be printed is no different to other companies selling PDF patterns, so I’m afraid I’m not sure that there’s any way we can make that easier or cheaper for you.

    I hope this helps a little, and I do hope you can get on board with PDFs if the pattern in question is worth it for you.

    ~ Elisalex

    — Elisalex - By Hand London

  • Dec 18, 2016

    It’s wonderful you edited Elisalex! I love it so much, I cannot wait to receive my update and sew all three variations (I hope, being a paper buyer, that it won’t take too, too long…)

    — Olivia

  • Dec 18, 2016

    Merci, merci !
    J’ai acheté le patron pochette il y a longtemps et je suis très contente de bientôt recevoir la version nouvelle, bravo pour votre travail et votre très agréable geste pour les acheteuses,

    — Marité

  • Dec 18, 2016

    Thank you so much for the pattern. NOW I think I’ll make it.

    — Marjo

  • Dec 18, 2016

    I loved the exaggerated longer skirt, despite being five foot and a fag paper, but I love these variations too. So gorgeously stylish. You look so beautiful! The Elisalex dress always be one of my faves.

    — ooobop

  • Dec 18, 2016

    It’s beautiful! Especially the changes to the skirt.

    — Felicia

  • Dec 18, 2016

    It is good to know that you consider the feedback you receive and act upon it. Congratulations on being good listeners.
    Just one thing, you mention that you have raised the back neckline of the sleeved dress so it would have been nice to see a photo or line drawing of the back of the sleeved dress.

    — barbarags

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