alder shirtdress review

Posted on 11 August 2014


I first learned how to sew using the Scout Tee pattern from Grainline Studio. Jen's patterns are just simple enough for a beginning seamstress to follow, but allow for customization for more experienced sewers. I have been eagerly waiting for a new dress pattern from Grainline and couldn't wait to try out the new Alder Shirtdress! I am beyond excited to be collaborating with her later this year on some exciting new sewing projects for La Mercerie, but more on that next month...

The Alder Shirtdess pattern was a little bit more technical than what I usually end up sewing. However, it seemed like the perfect pattern to try out collars and button plackets. It initially seemed kind of intimidating, but Jen's instructions go step-by-step and made the entire process completely manageable, even for someone who's never sewn them before. Now that I've figured it out, I can't wait to bring these techniques to some of my other Grainline patterns (henley version of the Scout Tee anyone?).


Inevitably, I always end up cutting one size too big when I sew Grainline patterns. Even when I follow the measurements, I always end up taking it in my garment at least an inch when all is said and done. If it helps, I usually wear a size 6, cut a size 6 from the pattern, and took it in about half an inch on either side. It still feels a little bit like a tent, but I think that it would be much for flattering if I had gone down a size. I would definitely recommend making a muslin for this pattern before cutting into your real fabric choice, just to make sure you've got the sizing figured out. If you just can't wait for a muslin like me, sew a size up so that you can take it in if needed.

The one aspect about this pattern that I'm still not sure about is the collar. The collar stand and upper collar piece both feel tall on their own and when they're sewn together, it ends bigger than I would like. For a girl that doesn't particularly like turtlenecks either, I'd rather have something a little smaller. But not to worry! Jen is starting a sew-along today over at Grainline Studio and will be demonstrating how to sew multiple variations of the Alder Shirtdress, including one with a Mandarin collar. This might be just my thing.


Overall, I love this pattern (maybe more than the Scout Tee?!) and can't wait to try out some of the different variations. Pair some sleeves with this amazing mustard lawn, and I think I've found my new Fall staple...this is going to be the perfect layering piece for when the weather starts to get a bit cooler.

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