Monday, October 13, 2014

Alder Shirtdress.

I have a finished object to share! I know y'all were getting worried that I had fallen down a hexagon/crochet rabbit hole, and I'll admit, I was a little worried too! You guys, I love crochet! It's so fun! I'm officially obsessed. But don't worry, I can't keep away from my sewing machine for long.

Grainline Alder Shirtdress



Pattern: Alder Shirtdress by Grainline Patterns. This is a loose (almost "baby doll" style) shirtdress with optional gathered skirt.


Grainline Alder Shirtdress


Fabric: An inexpensive "washer" linen/cotton blend from Fabric.com in a pastel minty/sage green. To be honest, I was disappointed when I saw this fabric in person and it has sat in my stash for many months. The color was lighter than I had expected/hoped, and as far as quality, I got what I paid for - it's a bit rough and coarsely woven. That said, it sewed up well and has just the right weight/drape for this dress. I am glad that I found a use for this piece! Since the linen seemed a bit washed out and boring on its own, I used scraps of Liberty cotton for the facings, and I am so glad I did. The peek of Liberty at the collar really adds something to the dress.


Grainline Alder Shirtdress


First time? Yes! This was my first time sewing a Grainline pattern. I loved the clean, spartan illustrations and instructions and the pattern was well-drafted. I did have to consult the Alder sew-along for more guidance when it came time to sew on the collar, though. I think that's what you get with "spartan" instructions. It's so hard to find the perfect balance! I really love the Grainline aesthetic - all of the patterns are so wearable and simple. I am excited to try the Archer shirt and Moss skirt, which I also purchased in a fit of selfish buying.


Grainline Alder Shirtdress


Size: 10. My bust and waist measurements were pretty much spot on for this size, and when I first sewed up the bodice, the bust dart seemed to fall in exactly the right place with no adjustment. But in the end, it is a tad large, the pockets are a bit lower than they should be (weighed down by the skirt - even when you sew a muslin, things can turn out differently!), and my bra peeks out from the armholes. If I were to make this again, I think I would try a size 8. I am somewhat small-boned, so my rib cage and shoulders are smaller than my measurements would indicate, and this is a loose and roomy dress. However, it was very refreshing to not have to do a full bust adjustment or have to move darts around! As it is, this is a breezy, comfortable, wearable dress, but I'm not sure it's the most flattering thing on. But it is the perfect garment for a hot sticky Indian Summer.

Grainline Alder Shirtdress

 Modifications: Contrast facings. Otherwise, no mods. I flat felled all of the seams except along the skirt, which I serged and topstitched down. So the inside is nice and clean.

The good: Modern, wearable shape, clean finishings, simple instructions that get the job done without killing too many trees. (I so much prefer line drawings to photographs in patterns, although I understand why so many indie pattern designers use photographs.) I love the menswear-style shirt details like the two piece collar, plackets, and breast pockets. I love the use of bias facing on the armholes (I hate big bulky facings on shirts). The inside of this dress looks great and I think it will hold up to washing really well.


Grainline Alder Shirtdress

And hey! It looks good with a cardigan! But doesn't everything? I only put this on for a minute - it's too hot for a sweater today!
  
The not-so-good: I would prefer real "notches" on the patterns, something easier to see when you're cutting. Tiling this PDF pattern took FOREVER. So tedious. I know some people find Liesl's tiling style to be confusing (it confused me at first), but I prefer not having to tape 500 pages together before I can even start cutting, so I like the way she tiles her patterns one piece at a time. Also, the different versions of the Alder Shirtdress have their own pieces, which is great, except that there is no option to print out only one version because of the way they are tiled. So that's just a whole lot of paper. On the bright side, I've already cut out the version without a gathered skirt, so I wouldn't have to tile it all again if I wanted to try the other style.

Make again? Probably ... it's a pretty specific style, so I am not sure how many of these I need. I do think it would make an adorable blouse to wear over skinny jeans, though, and I'd like the opportunity to work out the minor bugs/fitting issues. It may not be the most flattering shape on me, but this is a great dress for chasing after children on the weekend - it's even nursing-friendly! Although it's a bit baggy, this dress definitely radiates "effortless cool" and I feel reasonably put together in it.



Yay for selfish sewing! Next up, a few pieces for Maggie. I am considering participating in KCW again - once again in a low key way considering that I have Planning Commission on the night of the 20th and I am, of course, working all week. But Maggie does need a pink fall wardrobe since she refuses to wear any other color right now! I figure the best way to kill her love of pink is to inundate her with handmade pink clothing that I will be sad if she doesn't wear ... haha, we'll see!

Are you going to be KCW'ing this autumn (spring for you Aussies)?

11 comments:

  1. I absolutely love that contrasting collar stand-- the Liberty looks so nice with your fabric! I think the dress looks great on you.

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  2. Great version of the Alder dress. I decided to postpone trying it until the spring because I was worried it would get too cold to wear - so silly of me! Of course this is the perfect time of hear to make summer dresses if you live in the bay area. I think it looks great and will remember to err on the side of a smaller size when I get around to making one.

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  3. 1--you are so adorbs, it makes my chest ache.
    2--you are so talented, it makes me jealous.
    3--I know pretty much 1 crochet stitch, and I make huge, boring blankets. That's it. I really want to make some cool squares and then do an afghan. Please come to SoCal and show me how to do it! And to use my sewing machine. And stuff. Kthx. :P

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  4. Yay for liberty collar stand! I love details like that! They make handmade garments so special!
    And kudos for actually making a muslin....my lazy butt could learn from you!

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  5. Wow, I love this on you Inder, both the colour and the style.
    I bought the paper version when it was released to avoid the cutting and taping process - wish you could buy a combo deal (I do like having the directions on my iPad)
    And thanks for the sizing info - I muslined the bodice a month ago, and was surprised to see it was a good fit without mods - but have been a bit scared to use my good stuff! I feel more confident now I hav seen yours :-)

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  6. Love this on you, especially with the cardi! And I think I will have to steal your Liberty collar facing idea when I make this pattern up, hope you don't mind :) Yes I think you could totally go down a size, and this makes me think I will probably go with my high bust measurement for this one and (urgh) if I have to, make an FBA. Ah, see this is why sewing blogs are so awesome - you can learn so much.
    Also, I am envious that you seem to be able to grow blackberries in your yard without them completely taking over!

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  7. I really love this dress on you! I think the liberty collar facings is juts the right bit of detail to make this dress very fabulous! I really want to buy this dress pattern for myself and you did such a splendid job sewing it. (I love this with the cardi too!)

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  8. I think it looks awesome on you. Effortlessly cool, like you said. I love these photos of you. There's something that feels kind of vintage about them. To me, also, this is one of those dresses where I would totally exclaim, "You MADE that!" It looks really hard and yet so professional. I love it!

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  9. It looks fabulous on you. I really love the style and the collar. I'm not doing KCW this season. My son's birthday is November 6th and I want to make him some presents and make stuff for his party.

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  10. I am so amazed by all the fabulous things you sew for yourself! My big goal for this winter is to knit myself a hat and mittens. Then maybe in the spring I'll try sewing for myself again. My one attempt so far was pretty much a failure. Which I don't really mind except that sewing big people clothes takes up so many fabric!

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  11. LOVE IT! I just made one a week ago and feel the same way, so easy wearing. I just wish I could wear it without a cardigan and tights! It'll be so comfy next summer! And I yeah I totally move my pockets after it was mostly assembled as I hated where they ended up!

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