"" The girl who makes things: An Alder shirtdress

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

An Alder shirtdress

Readers, I have a question. Do you write a sewing list? Or do you just sew whatever takes your fancy at the time? In the past I've been given to doing the latter but recently I've decided to actually plan my sewing. I've found that it's a good way to keep all my ideas in check, prioritise and stash bust. The Alder pattern from Grainline Studio has been waiting very patiently in my sewing queue ever since I received it as a PDF birthday present back in March. With summer in full swing (over 30c!) here in Lisbon, this weekend felt like a good time to bash out an Alder.


This dress is so light and breezey. It has a kind of 1920s vibe, with the loose fit and dropped waist. I'm totally channelling the Daisy Buchanan look right here, I'm even considering buying myself a straw cloche hat. I just need a cool glass of mint julep to finish the look! If only.

I wish, however, I could say that sewing the dress had been a breeze. From the start I had problems. My printer decided to pack up half way through printing. After many hours googling troubleshooting pages I managed to get the printer working again, but only printing three pages at a time. The Alder has a massive 50 pages so this felt like an age.


Once I'd finally assembled the PDF pattern my next challenge was to sort out the incredibly troublesome fabric I'd chosen to use. I think this is a viscose or viscose cotton mix, either way it has a beautiful drape (which I think the Alder needs) but is fiendishly difficult to handle. I tried using starch spray to stabilise it, but in the end I had to cross my fingers and just cut into the fabric with the vein hope that it would all turn out alright in the end.


Once I got sewing though, it all calmed down and turned into quite a pleasant experience. I followed the Alder sew-along which I found immensely useful. I hadn't realised before that the the pattern has a 1/2 inch seam allowance so I'm glad I checked out the blog.


Sizing wise everything was easy - I cut a straight size 2 and lengthened the hem. There's only a few changes I'd make to perfect the pattern. I'd take in the waist a bit more to add more shape, raise the arm holes and raise the bust darts. Otherwise everything else was ok.


I'm so in love with this Alder, it's the comfiest dress ever. I'd like to say that I'm going to make another, but I'll have to let my sewing queue go down a bit before I plan another one. Here's my list to prove I'm not making it up!


14 comments:

  1. Oh this is absolutely gorgeous, without a doubt one of my favourite Alders to date. That fabric really suits the style too. LOVE!

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  2. Very chic dress! I made a sewing googledoc in a fit of organisation at the beginning of the year. It's extremely nerdy, but it means I can check what fabric and notions I need when I'm on the go if a project isn't stashable (and I can change the priorities depending on my mood!).

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    1. Wow, that's incredibly organised of you, I guess that's the only way to be a super effecient sewist.

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  3. This is awesome! I just made an Alder this summer and it is definitely one of my favorite summer dresses! I'm pretty list-averse with my sewing, I keep a vague running queue in my head though, which always seems to be somewhat overwhelming!

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    1. Thanks, it's one of my summer dress hits too!

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  4. Very cool! And such awesome pics! Boy I miss Lisbon, one of my favourite cities in Europe!

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    1. Thanks, I love it too! Well, you can always go back sometime :)

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  5. This looks gorgeous on you for those hot days!

    I haven't got a list (although I did start one a few months ago) at the moment, but sew with whatever at the moment... I was going to start a Holly jumpsuit/romper but changed to make 3 year old trousers for my son ... so we'll see what I do when that gets finished tonight!

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  6. Really lovely. I got caught with the seam allowances a bit too late! And yes am a compulsive planner. Part of the pleasure of sewing!

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  7. I love the drape of your fabric! Sorry it was so troublesome to cut, but the result is pretty great. And yes, I keep a list, on my phone (and I'm not really a "phone person", but it's with me all the time, for when inspiration strikes!)

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  8. Beautiful dress! The drape is perfect. I've had this on my list since last summer, two versions actually. I even have the fabric washed and ready. I need to start sticking to my list better!

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  9. This looks gorgeous, and perfect for summer! Well done for persevering with difficult fabric. I need to make a sewing list as I know I work better with plans laid out.

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  10. Great fabric choice as always and you look pretty chic in your sunglasses. I need to come visit you and see all this gorgeous weather myself. I love crepe and viscose but they are pretty tricky to wrangle. Some people use gelatin to stiffen their fabric and then just wash it all out at the end, but I've never bothered with that. Something for you to try maybe? Beautiful dress.

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