When I started sewing this dress a few weeks ago I could already feel our fall schedule getting away from me. I'm so relieved to have squeezed one more mommy make into the summer before my sewing time falls so low on the list of priorities that my only free hour is between 2 and 3 AM. Normally, after printing a pattern PDF I work straight through until the blog post is finished (I do that with books too, neither are very good my sleep habits). This project went in very frustrating fits and starts (as you'd know if you follow me on instagram, ahem), with lots of thinking about making it when there wasn't a sewing machine for miles.
PATTERN: The Alder Shirtdress pattern view B. It is typical Grainline Studio quality, and minimal instruction. If you're used to the hand holding, tutorial intensive kid's pattern makers, you will find the directions a bit brief. I sewed most of this dress last weekend before the Alder Sew Along was in full swing, so I used the Archer Sew Along to verify the process for making the button band and the collar. I've made a few button down shirts before, but there is always more than one way to skin a cat. The sew along instructions are VERY thorough, and easy to follow. There is even a video for Jen's preferred technique for attaching the collar stand. Worked like a charm.
FABRIC: When I first spread this fabric out on the old kitchen/cutting table, I promised myself to keep an open mind and consider it a muslin. Fretting about sizing and seam ripping creates insurmountable obstacles in my head. I like this fabric, but it's from Joann so its certainly nothing precious, and far from irreplaceable. It doesn't have a particularly smooth finish, but fit the bill for my first try at this dress. This is the learning curve fabric. I'm not going to over think it, I'm just going to sew something. I played fast and loose with the rules of test bodices and this time I won. I wish I had played around with the direction of the stripes a bit more. I was focused on completing the project on a tight schedule, next time I can be a bit more creative without compromising time.
FIT: As with the Grainline Tiny Pocket Tee, I cut a 6 at the bust and graded to an 8 at the waist based on my measurements. It's a pretty boxy fit, and I probably could get away with a straight 6. If I cut a 6 I might raise the waistline 1/2" to prevent the seam from actually sitting on my shelf like hips.
I was a little worried about the collar and the 90 degree seam at the waist before I started sewing. Both worked out far better than I expected, infact I don't think I ripped a single seam for this entire dress. I did rip a few button holes, my machine hates buttonholes. Grrr.
ALTERATIONS: I moved the bust dart up 1", an adjustment I always make with the Tiny Pocket Tank. I usually just eyeball it, but Jen has some dart moving wisdom on her blog. I'm going to chalk it up to incredibly perky boobs, there's no way it's my A cup! I'm toying with the idea of raising the waistline, and possibly lowering the highest part of the hem, but I suspect that Madame Grainline has carefully considered the proportions of her dress, and I hate to monkey with perfection.
|Okay, I probably should have ironed, but then how would you know it's linen?!?|
I have had the Archer Button Up Shirt pattern pieces taped to the wall in the sewing room since last winter. It was just tooooooo much to think about with all those parts, and pieces, and sizes, and fabrics - for the love off all things crafty! Since then I've made 3 tiny pocket tanks, and this Alder. All were great conditioning to overcome the Archer hurdles in my mind. My hesitation was silly Grainline is a sure thing every time. I guess that's the benefit of the indie desigher/sewist relationship. You can get to know the style of a designer and anticipate how a pattern will work for you before you even print the pdf. I will definitely make this dress again. I have been accumulating 2 yard chunks of various chambrays, just have to decide which will go to the Alder and which will go to the Archer.