Alder Shirtdress for All the Seasons

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

Happy Saturday!  This past week has been Selfish Sewing Week, a week to focus your sewing energy on things for yourself!  I love this idea, because though I have a huge list of things I’d love to sew for myself, those things usually get pushed aside to make things for the kids.  This year Rachael of Imagine Gnats invited me to be a Featured Stitcher for Selfish Sewing Week which was great because, honestly, if she hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have sewn anything for me!  I had also just bought the latest Grainline Studio pattern, the Alder Shirtdress and needed the push to actually make it instead of joining the epic “to do” pile.

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

This is my first time sewing a Grainline Studio pattern!  I’ve heard such great things about them and own a few, but just haven’t gotten around to sewing them yet (did I mention my huge to-sew list?).  What I’ve heard is that they are excellently drafted patterns with great style and fit, but that the directions are a bit lacking.  From my experience with the Alder pattern, I’d say that description is pretty spot on, though I didn’t use the directions from the pattern at all, so I can’t say too much about them.  I started reading the directions, but was a little confused right off the bat.  Then I remembered that Jen had just done an incredible sew along breaking down each step of the pattern, so I just used that to construct the entire dress.  And it’s GREAT.  Really clear photos and directions – I think it probably saved me.

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

The dress has two views.  View A is a simple A-line sleeveless shirt dress and View B has a gathered skirt.  When I first saw the pattern, I wasn’t really drawn to it.  I didn’t think it would be flattering on me and I really didn’t like the gathered version – I thought it was a bit weird.  But then it grew on me.  And I thought maybe the gathered skirt would help my shape by making me look like I had a waist.  Then I couldn’t get it out of my head and immediately bought the pattern determined to make one.  And now I love it!!  Funny how that happened huh?

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

According to my measurements, I should have made size 14.  But I wanted it to be fitted and I think I’m a bit in denial about my size and really wanted to be a 12.  So I cut that size for my muslin and it fit!  My guess is that this dress is supposed to fit slightly loose, so depending on your preference, you may want to go a size down – but definitely make a muslin first!  I didn’t make ANY FIT ADJUSTMENTS.  Ahhh, what an amazing feeling.

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

The pattern isn’t necessarily hard to sew, but there are a lot of different pieces.  And it takes time, if you want it to look good.  The hardest part for me was attaching the collar to the dress.  I kind of freaked out because my collar/collar stand seemed WAY longer than the neckline and I thought I had done something wrong.  My buddy Kristin (skirt as top) suggested clipping the neckline (within the seam allowance) to help line up the seam lines and that worked like a charm.  I even emailed Jen to ask her about it and she was so awesome and emailed me back right away with her thoughts.

My only complaint about this pattern is NO SKIRT POCKETS.  An easy fix for sure and I can’t believe that I didn’t think about it when I was constructing it, but pockets are a deal breaker for me!  I’m totally considering ripping my serged seams to add some, because I don’t carry a purse and pockets are essential for phone and wallet.  It would look fine on the gathered skirt version of this dress.  The A-line version, I’m not so sure . . .

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

On to the fabric!  Do you love this plaid or what!??  The fabric is from Bolt Fabric Boutique in Portland and I first saw it during my last visit in July.  It caught my eye, but I passed it up for some knit fabrics instead.  Kristin bought some though and after we left the store and I left Portland, I couldn’t get the fabric out of my head.  So she went back to Bolt and bought up the rest and shipped it to me.  TRUE FRIEND.  I had already envisioned this fabric as an Alder Shirtdress and had my heart set on it.  The pattern called for slightly more fabric than what I had, but those estimates are pretty generous and the fabric was so wide (58″) that I had plenty.  I don’t know too much about the fabric except that it’s cotton and pretty lightweight – like a shirting.  And I love it.  Of that, I am certain.

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

The trickiest part was plaid matching!!  I didn’t have a ton of extra fabric to work with, so I had to be very careful.  I matched up the plaid on the front and back bodice, as a priority, but then when it came time to sew – I realized that after sewing the bust dart, the plaids weren’t going to line up anyways!!  I did make sure to cut the bodice/center skirt pieces, the button band and the gathered skirt pieces with stripes lined up and so the front looks good.  But then I didn’t have the right pieces of the fabric to match the plaid on the side seams.  Oops, don’t look at my profile ;)

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

Overall, this dress turned out exactly how I imagined it and I love it!  When I pictured the dress, I also started imagining how I could take this dress from our warm summery fall, into the colder months and played around with some different ways of layering and styling the dress.

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

I’m not entirely sure about the last outfit, with the sweater and jeans, but I do think it’s a really versatile dress and I can’t wear it year round!!

It really does feel good to take the time to sew something nice for yourself.  A couple of years ago I made myself a Darling Ranges dress for my birthday and I am considering this dress a birthday present for myself this year since it’s coming up.  I’m thinking of making this a tradition!  Birthday dress for me!

Plaid Alder Shirtdress by you & mie

My brother took these photos of me – thanks Mike!  And I love this pic that he snapped of me and the girls who were so patient through (most of) the photo shoot!

Thanks Rachael for hosting Selfish Sewing Week and inviting me to be a part of it!  I love sewing for me!  I hope you take the time to do it too!  And be sure to click over to check out all the amazing projects and add your own!  Happy Selfish Sewing!

 

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Sew Geeky: Jiji the Cat

Jiji Sweatshirt by you & mie

So so so much sewing going on over here!  I wish there were more hours in the day so I could sew more!  But who doesn’t right?  I’m here with a post for Sew Geeky, a fantastically nerdy series hosted by Sew Chibi and Max California.  Each month, they pick a theme and invite some people to sew along with them!  In fact, everyone can sew along!  Everyone is encouraged to celebrate their inner geekiness!

This month’s theme is Studio Ghibli.  I jumped on this opportunity, because I’m a HUGE Ghibli fan.  If you’re not familiar with Studio Ghibli movies, I urge you to go and look some up and watch them immediately.  The director/writer/producer that is most strongly associated with Studio Ghibli is Hayao Miyazaki and he has created some of my favorite movies.  He is the genius behind My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle and many others.  And Studio Ghibli has produced other amazing movies as well, like Grave of the Fireflies, Arrietty and Whisper of the Heart.  Seriously, go watch them all now. Continue reading

i-know-where-it-goes drawer stickers

I-know-where-it-goes drawer stickers // you &mie

I have a fun review today of a product that I think is awesome!  Around the time that Yuki turned 3, she started dressing herself.  That year, she also started being in charge of putting away her own clean laundry.  Crafterhours makes these awesome drawer stickers that help label your child’s dresser drawers to help them remember where things go.  They are fun and practical! Continue reading

Strawberry Skaters

Strawberry Skater Dresses by you & mie

 A month ago, I talked about a bunch of clothes I had made a month before that, and well . . . I still haven’t blogged half of it.  So two months later, but here are some dresses I made. :P

The fabric may be familiar to you . . . it’s from Heather Ross’ Briar Rose Jersey Knits line.  It came out about a year ago and it was all over the place at the time – I feel like everyone was making cute things with them!  Strawberries!  Knit fabric!  Cute!  But since I’m not one to follow the crowd (*cough* I’m actually just super lame), I decided to sew with this fabric when it’s not so popular and no longer available.  Haha. Continue reading

Watermelon Pouches {Tutorial and Free Pattern}

Watermelon Pouch Tutorial and Free Pattern by you & mie

Woohoo – finishing up with the last watermelon project today!  Last week I shared a couple of projects from Yuki’s Watermelon Party: the watercolor invitations and a hand stamped dress.  I was hoping to share this last one last week as well, but you know, tutorials take time.  And I’m guessing that no one was sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for this last watermelon post, but if you were, I apologize!  :P

My last watermelon project was a stack of felt pouches to pack up the party favors.

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Watermelon Dress

Watermelon Week!  All watermelon!  All the time!

So yesterday I shared the watercolor watermelon invites that Yuki and I made for her party.  But what would a watermelon party be without a special watermelon dress?  I was having a hard time deciding between a color blocked dress that mimicked a watermelon slice like this one, or a solid fabric with watermelon printed all over like this one.  I was leaning toward the color blocked dress since that seemed easier, but finally I just asked Yuki and she said, without hesitation, the all over print dress.

Watermelon Dress // you & mie

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Watermelon Party Invites

For Yuki’s 4th birthday, we decided to throw a small party with a couple of her friends.  We were talking about a theme (though the theme was definitely more for me, than for her), and I was really hoping that she wouldn’t say “Frozen.”  Not that there is anything wrong with a Frozen party, but I just didn’t have it in me to do anything else Frozen related.  So I googled “summer party themes” and as we were scrolling through, Yuki yelled out “watermelon!”  It’s one of her favorite fruits.  She probably called out a few other ideas, but I was pretty psyched about a watermelon theme, so I steered her in that direction (I love that we can still do that with her and yet she totally thinks it was all her idea) and off to Pinterest I went!

I started a Watermelon Party Pinterest board to collect my ideas, but the project we started with first was the invites, of course!  I think I was inspired by these party favor holders, but I basically thought it would be fun to get Yuki involved by painting some watermelon invites!

Watermelon Party Invites // you & mie

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Interview with a 4 year old

Phew – I say it every year, but this time of the year is crazy busy!  It kicks my butt every time.  I’m back at work (I run an after-school program at a TK-8 school) and the last month has been tons of prep and yesterday was our first day of school.  Hideko is also an educator so work has been super busy for her as well, and smack in the middle of it all is Yuki’s birthday.  I seriously wish I could change her birthday – maybe June?  July?  Even early August would be fine – she’s too young to notice, right!?

Interview with a 4 year old // you & mie

Well, somehow we have a 4 year old now.  It’s pretty unbelievable.  I had this idea last year to do an interview with Yuki when she turned 3 and then we’d do it every year and we could look back and see little snapshots of what she was into or some of her thoughts at the time and how she changed over time.  I never actually got around to doing it last year, but I was pretty determined to do it this year.  So I came up with some general questions to ask her and then I wrote up her responses exactly how she answered.  I’m really excited to do this with her every year!  And eventually with Kaya too.  

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Cosi Swimsuits For Two!

Besides the summery “Elsa” dress, I made 6 other garments for the girls before our trip to Florida and they are all MATCHING outfits (3 things for each girl)!  Haha.  Didn’t really think that I was the type to go all crazy with matching sibling outfits, but I can’t help it – it’s just too cute!  I hadn’t made anything matching since their panda shirts, but Yuki really gets a kick out of it, and whenever she’s wearing her outfit, she usually wants Kaya to put on hers too.

Cosi Swimsuits for Two by you & mie

Anyways, these projects are also exciting to me because they are SWIMSUITS.  I don’t know about you, but sewing swimsuits has been on a different level of sewing in my head.  Something a little more intimidating than regular kids clothes, it just seemed complicated and tricky.  The fabric, the elastic, the fit . . . I was nervous to try it, but since I love learning new skills, I was also really excited to try it.

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Another Elsa Dress

I know, I know, the last thing the world needs is another Elsa dress!!  But here’s one for ya anyways :P

So a month ago, my family and I traveled across the country to Florida for a reunion.  We stayed in Fort Lauderdale for the first part of the trip, but we figured we might as well hit up Disneyworld while we were all the way out there!  I knew there was a good chance that we wouldn’t be going back out to Florida any time soon and we also knew that Yuki would have an absolute blast.

But I kept hearing horror stories about the Florida’s heat and humidity.  So between the unavoidable heat and all the fun activities we were going to be doing, I came up with a sewing list that was ridiculously long.  Then I had my very own Kids Clothes Week and though I didn’t even get through half my original list, I did make 7 pieces of clothing in about a week or so!  I’ll be sharing them throughout the next couple of weeks.  First up, Elsa’s summer dress.

Elsa's Summer Dress by you & mie

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