Saturday, August 23, 2014

Grainline Studio - the Alder Shirtdress!

Alert, Grainline Studio fans - a dress! And it comes in two beautiful sleeveless versions - one with unadorned shirt styling, and one (which caught my eye) with a partially gathered skirt.

Both have classic shirtdress styling: a button-band front, yoked upper back with a dropped front shoulder, front bodice pockets, and shirt-tail hemlines. And yes, bust darts.

I love the gathered skirt. It just adds so much comfort and ease to the dress. 

And it's so good-looking!

You might notice that my dress does not have a collar...I just don't do collars :-) So here are the changes and adjustments I made to the pattern:

  • I drafted from a size 14.
  • Once the shoulder seams were sewn, I reshaped the front to a V-Neck and dropped the center back neckline about 1/2".  And drafted a facing for the neckline.
Fabric: Cotton calico from Holly Lobby

  • The right bodice front has an attached button band, while the left front is has a cut-on facing. I used the left front pattern for both sides, eliminating the attached band. Topstitching gives the appearance of a banded edge.
  • I used broadcloth interlining in both front facings, instead of fusible interfacing. Often I find that fusible interfacing locks and stiffens a facing too much - I wanted to be sure that the front bands were fluid given their length.
  • I added side seam pockets 3.5" below the waistline.
  • I also redrafted the front skirt to be same length and shape as the back skirt. And flattened and lengthened the curve at the side seam so it would be a bit more forgiving to hem! My reasoning for changing the front length - well, I'm 66 and just don't wear mini's anymore! 

  • The pattern calls for faced armholes. I trimmed the armholes instead and used self-fabric bias binding to finish them. This is a comfort thing for me.
  • The bust dart is placed as expected with a Big 5 pattern - I moved it down 1.5".
  • Another adjustment I typically make, I narrowed the side seam at the armhole by 5/8" and cured it down to the waist.
  • The bodice length was spot on! And I'm 5'7". 
  • I added 5/8" to the hem allowance, just so I could be more generous in my hem turn. 
Seems like a lot! But it really wasn't. I generally spend a lot of time with a pattern before I draft my tissue, it's part of what I enjoy most about sewing.

A few more views on Emile...

About the pattern: Beautifully drafted and includes 1/2" seam allowances, my favorite since I like to cut/serge my seam allowances. The instruction booklet is so well done, it should make this dress approachable for many levels of sewists. I've seen a couple versions of this dress on Kollabora and in the blogosphere. I'm smitten.

Ciao! Coco


  1. Another great summer dress! It looks lovely on you:)

  2. Love the fabric, and the dress is really perfect for this hot and humid weather. No minis for me, either!

  3. Beautiful airy summer dress, and I love the length!

  4. Lovely dress. So bright and cheerful.

  5. It's lovely - I like the flat front with gathers starting further back. The hi-li hem looks fun to wear as well. Good idea not to do collars, especially in a hot climate.

  6. You can't bet a good shirt dress and the gathered skirt makes this one a bit different.

  7. That is such a fun dress! And I like the fabric you used. I like the way you did the neckline better than a collar.

  8. Very nice. You have managed to make it look floaty as well. I've already got this pattern in my queue for when the weather here warms up.

  9. I've seen several versions of this dress, but yours is the first that makes me think I might like one for myself! I really love the way you handled the neckline. Wonderful and inspiring.

  10. Nice dress. Looks very comfy for warm/hot summer days!

  11. Another cool, summer dress--you always pick the fun patterns and make them so you!

  12. Love it! This is on my cutting table now, and I was thinking I shouldn't do the gathered skirt...but now I may need one of each! It looks really great on you.

  13. I love the polka dot fabric! Over the years...years as in eons...I've seen a lot of patterns that I liked except for the neck...usually a collar of some I would pass them by, the Alder dress being one. Just maybe it would be fun to make (minor) changes to a pattern...spend time with it like you do. Thanks!!! .

  14. This is a winner! The fabric, color, print, style lines...all of it is so cute. I like the simplicity of the neckline without a fussy collar.

  15. This looks REALLY comfortable so this is a winner. I love the polka dot fabric, just to cute!

  16. Definitely a cute and unusual sundress pattern. It looks great on you and the fabric is a fun color and print.

  17. What a lovely version, the V neckline is a great idea! I'm in love with your fabric too.


I love it that you came by...and thank you for your comments! Coco