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!


49 thoughts on “Alder Shirtdress for All the Seasons

  1. Love the dress and I like the jeans and sweater look. I took a pause from sewing after the WDW sewing push. Now that I’m preparing for Halloween sewing, maybe I’ll sneak in a little something for me!

    • Thanks! You definitely should sew something for yourself! What’s on your list? You have some patterns that you need to get to, right? I probably won’t get back to sewing for me until after Halloween, but I have a pretty lengthy list myself . . .

  2. Eeek! it’s so so cute on you!! love the plaid… well done! (and nice friend, Kristin!). I recognize the fabric on Yuki’s adorable dress- I made a flashback tee with it a long time ago for KCW, but I’m so sad that it got so pilly after a few washes! My kid still wears it all the time, but still. annoying!

    • Erin, I totally bought that fabric after you posted your FBST. And then I hoarded it forever. The dress has gone through the wash a couple times and is a bit pilly. I think it’s ok for Yuki’s dress (she doesn’t care), but yeah, it is annoying.

  3. Great dress and you’ve inspired me to consider the alder too. I had the same reservations about the style on my body. After seeing how great you look in it, I may have to make one too !

  4. Pingback: selfish sewing week: featured stitchers - imagine gnats

  5. It turned out so well, Cherie! You’re such a photogenic gal, so pretty. Love the dress, and you beat me to the punch in using the fabric! Gah! Glad it ended up working out for you though. (the cardi and leggings look is my favorite, FWIW) 🙂

  6. Pingback: Favorites from 2014 | you and mie

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