"" the girl who makes things: June 2015

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!