Finished - Denim Alder shirtdress

It's quite outrageous that this is my first Grainline pattern ever! I've ogled and lurked the Grainline blog and pattern store for a couple of years now, admiring Jen's modern, simple aesthetic, and now I can finally join the legion of fans! It's beautifully drafted, and I'm very pleased with my first attempt.




As mentioned briefly last week I made Version A of the pattern for the Stitch 56 blog and I'm really pleased with it. I did make a very quick basic muslin as a shorter shirt in a lightweight cotton and based on the fit of that I traced off a 4 in the shoulders, 6 in the bust and grade up to an 8 at the waistline. This denim is a little heavier though, and I'm wishing now that I'd gone 6 in the shoulders and 8 in the bust as you can just see some draglines and pulling. I suspect the turn of cloth in the french seams used up a little bit of fabric.


 I'm not sure about the loose silhouette on me. On a hot day I imagine it will be lovely and cool but as I tend to prefer my waist more defined I'll probably be wearing a belt with it a lot of the time.


For crazy reason I decided that white top stitching would be the perfect combination with this bright, 70's-style denim. My machine was quite well behaved, and apart from a few dicey spots on the collar I think it's not bad.


Construction-wise I changed the order slightly, only to make top stitching more efficient. I used the burrito method to enclose the yoke shoulder seams, which has just been covered by Jen over at the sew along over the weekend. I had used this method making my recent Sewloft Caroline shirt, and it's so tidy. I also used Andrea's fab collar tutorial, which makes so much more sense to me than standard collar construction.


My parents have recently been in France, and my mum brought this cute binding back as part of my gift cache (yes - even in my mid thirties I expect a gift when my parents go travelling, I'm a very mature person).

Do you think I need to add another button and buttonhole at the neck opening? I'm not sure. I'll never button it up to the neck but it kind of looks naked there. The buttons were a great (but random) find from junk store Dimmeys. They look like pearl snaps but are sew on buttons. I used this method for sewing on the buttons - I'm not shy to admit my previous button sewing technique did not result in buttons of longevity - this method is fantastic and those bad-boys will not be going anywhere!



The only fitting issue I have is in the lower back. I do have a fairly dramatic sway back, and I have a lot of excess fabric pooling there. I thought I'd be tricky and I added fish-eye darts from my Laurel-New Look 6808 mashup, but it didn't look good - they did the job of removing some excess fabric but there was some weird poofiness at the top of the darts at the point of my mid-back that did not look good. So my options for future makes are to continue to experiment with dart placement, or just add a centre back seam in the back piece and do a sway back adjustment there. I think this is probably the easiest option, and in a busy fabric the seam wouldn't be visible. In a plain fabric I'd probably just make a feature of it and top stitch it down. Thoughts? It might be sacrilegious but I'd also consider adding some elastic to this version, just in the back, to evenly gather the fabric under a belt......





It's still a little fresh to be wearing a sleeveless dress here in Melbourne, so this little pretty has gone into the wardrobe waiting for some sunny days. I'm really excited now to make this up again in my gorgeous apple fabric in another month or two! And I've a decent amount of leftover denim that will make the most perfect Beignet skirt. Win win!

Thanks to Helene, of Stitch 56, for gifting me this pattern - it's already a favourite!


Comments

  1. Oooh, I like it! The excess fabric in the back is noticeable for someone like us who is used to diagnose stuff like that, but I’m not sure the average person would even see it, let alone consider it a problem in a casual dress like this. If I were you, I would also want to fix it on the next version, but I would try not to beat myself up over it on this one.
    I also agree that you might want to add another button at the top—not to button up, but just because it looks kind of odd that it isn’t there. I was going to skip the collar stand button on the sleeveless Archer I just finished recently, but then I thought it would look odd to leave it off—even though I will never use that button.
    Could everyone please stop tempting me with all the Alders?! I really want one, but the weather has pretty much turned already over here and I would most probably not be able to wear a sleeveless dress for the next about nine months or more, so it isn’t really reasonable to make one anytime soon. Unless I somehow make it autumn-proof. If only I had a few decent cardigans!…

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    1. Thanks Jana - it's so hard to not see those little fitting flaws that once wouldn't have been recognisable, pre-sewing....and thanks for the button feedback - I'd better add another before I forget which thread I used! ;)

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  2. This looks great! I agree with Jana that the average person would simply see the dress as a loose fit (which it kinda is) and no issue at all with the back and the excess fabric you perceive, but if it bugs you I'd understand wanting to fix it. The topstitching looks really neat, go you! I am plodding along with the sewalong, but am having some unforeseen fitting issues that are completely my own fault. I'm soldiering on though as I see it as a wearable muslin. You can totally make this seasonally appropriate by adding a cardigan, tights and a boots!

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    1. Thanks so much - I'm sorry you are having some fitting issues, I know you were so excited to make yours. You know I tried a cardi with this and the bright blue made it look totally like a checkout chick dress from the 80's! Maybe I'll try again with something else.....

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  3. Oh wow, that's gorgeous! And kudos to you for posing a la summer in this weather... Those buttons - what a find! (Seriously, Dimmeys??) I agree - an extra button would look just right. And it looks fabulous with the belt - which also eliminates all the very minor issues you pointed out. The Alder's definitely on my to-sew list now, although it may have to patiently wait its turn behind my other summer dress plans. We'll see!

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    1. Crikey it was a cold day when I did it! I'll definitely add another button. And yes, Dimmeys! They used to sell haberdashery but recently got rid of it all at my local, which was so disappointing. I think you'd look amazing in an Alder!

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  4. Love it! Very brave to use contrasting stitching, it really adds some detail to a simple dress. Hippy girl that I am, I went with view B. I imagine I would have the same fabric bunching if I made view A. I think making the back two pieces would work well, I'll be curious to see what you do.

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    1. Thanks Kristi - yours is amazing. There's something about a summers dress in grey linen....

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  5. It’s so nice … love the white topstitching! When you spend so much time with a garment you tend to see every little “issue” that you wuldn’t see or be bothered by when buying off the rack. besides if it really bothers you I think the belt does the job just fine ;)

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    1. Thanks Sasha! You're right, sometimes one needs to turn off ones critical eye!

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