A series of Alders

When I fall in love, I fall hard. Such has been the case in my relationship with Grainline Studio's Alder Shirtdress pattern. I made my first Alder last summer shortly after the pattern was released, and I've been making it rain shirtdresses ever since.


What I love about this pattern is that it's the perfect trifecta of fashion forward, fancy, and comfortable. I've worn it traipsing around the sweaty streets of New York City, and I've worn it to job interviews. I can rock it with jeans; I can rock it with a pencil skirt; I can rock it with leggings. (Note: Some combination of the curved hem and my very long legs makes this not that suitable as a standalone dress. I really tried.) I've stopped keeping track, but I feel confident that I've received a compliment on my outfit almost every time I've worn an Alder out in the world.  

Without further ado.... 


I made my first Alder out of Robert Kaufman Essex in Olive. I could write an entire blog post on the many great things I've done and want to do with Essex, so I'll just say that I really like the look of this top in chambray. A small challenge I've had with this one is that the stiffness of this fabric isn't great for an interfaced collar. If you're making an Alder from Essex, I might suggest skipping the interfacing on the collar and placket. 


My second Alder is extra special, because I made it from fabric that I dyed myself. I was lucky enough to get access to an indigo vat at the workroom, which has resulted in this great shirt, and also about a hundred pairs of indigo underwear.  I found the very perfect buttons from the workroom's button dept., which I thank the vintage gods for every time I put this thing on.  

This is one of my favourite pieces of clothing.

Photo taken on National Matching Dress and Water Bottle Day, with the loveliest Lizzy House. Clearly, no irons were used in the making of this photo. 

Photo taken on National Matching Dress and Water Bottle Day, with the loveliest Lizzy House. Clearly, no irons were used in the making of this photo. 

My Alder fever doesn't stop there. I also made one from nani IRO painter's check. I put a lot of thought into the cutting with this one, to make the most of the ombre effect of the fabric. I love how this print has random bits of blue check scattered about, and I used as many of those bits--on the yoke, on the skirt--as I could. 

This one also has the benefit of being the coziest, because it's made out of double gauze. The nature of the fabric also means that this one fits a bit differently than the others, and I'm okay with that. I'm not sure why this is the one I have the least photos of, because I think I wear it once a week.

Most recently, I decided to make the Alder as a shirt. I wanted a simple sleeveless top in a chambray that would be really easy to wear. Since I already knew how the Alder would fit, and it is one of exactly three sewing patterns I brought with me to New Zealand, it seemed like an obvious choice. I can already tell that this garment is gonna be one of those, "will anyone notice if I wear it two days in a row?" situations. 

To make this into a shirt, I retraced the pattern from View A. I got a bit creative with where the hem should fall, and how curved it should be. I'm really happy with how it turned out, but I might make it a bit more A lined, and with a more dramatic curve if I made another shirt version. I debated over whether to include the pockets (how nice it is to have flatmates who are available for second opinions on my sewing projects now!), but in the end I (we) decided that they are a design detail that I really like, so they got to stay!

Modifications: after all these versions and a wardrobe malfunction or two, I've finally learned my lesson and added a bit to the bust. If I was going to try and wear this as a standalone dress, I might try a straight hem, but after much consideration, I've decided that modification messes too much with the original pattern, and is not for me!