a very loud alder shirtdress

Hey guys! June was a major whirlwind around these parts, with school finishing up and the accompanying busyness that ensues. Then we took off for our family vacation as soon as school was out and were gone for almost two weeks. We drove cross country, from (west of) Boston all the way to my home town in the middle of Kansas. It’s about a 24 hour drive, but with kids who have bladders the size of a walnut, it ends up being much, much longer. Oy. Not my favorite trek, but flights to KS (for a family of six) are just crazy expensive. We managed to visit some friends and family both coming and going in order to convince ourselves that it was worth the effort!

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Anyway, we’re back now, so here is a Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress I furiously sewed up before our trip. I jumped on this pattern the second it came out, but have only sewed it up once. THE SHAME! But I’ve had a hard time finding the right fabric since I needed it to be opaque, but not so stiff that it would be difficult to gather or not hang nicely. My dive of a fabric shop, Sewfisticated, stepped up to the plate and delivered this super awesome fabric. It’s a cotton sateen, but light weight enough to be a shirting fabric. It has the right drape and it’s perfectly opaque and the pattern is a large scale paisley. I could hardly believe my luck! Man I love that shop. Hardly anything is priced above $4/yd, unless it’s silk or wool.

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As I cut the dress out, I began to doubt my choice of admittedly very loud fabric. However, giant paisley=awesome so I kept at it. I’m very glad I did, because I think it’s a super fun dress. It wasn’t super fun finding buttons though. Purple is a pretty difficult color to match, and JoAnn’s yielded nothing. Shocking. Eventually I found something passable at Fabric Basement. Is it too picky to say that I prefer a four hole button when it comes to button ups? I suppose it can be forgiven since it’s a women’s dress and not a men’s shirt, but whatever. Random note: The pattern and website says you need 9 buttons, but you actually need 10. I had to leave off the last buttonhole because my buttons came in a pack of 3, and thus I only bought 9 buttons!

Fitting tweaks:

I’ve made view A before, so I had a good idea of the fitting tweaks I would need. I cut a 6 in the bodice with a teeny tiny SBA. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t even need to bother because the dart is fairly small to begin with. On the front, I graded the side seam out to the 8 (per my measurements) but left the back at a 6. My lower back is narrow and I would have been tempted to add darts for shaping, so I figured keeping the smaller size would have similar effect. Last time I raised the bust darts and armholes, but really what I needed was a petite adjustment, which is easier anyway. I shortened the bodice above the bust by 1/2″ and now everything is in place. I think I still added 1/4″ or so the the armholes, because I detest low armholes. Also, I feel as though I should raise the pockets by another 1/2″ or so, because the current placement kinda flattens my chest a bit, visually.

For the skirt portion, I cut a 10 (per my hip measurement). Then I sliced and lengthened the skirt by 1″ at the L/S line. I do wish I had another 1/2″ to 1″ in length, because I feel a bit exposed as is. The side curves up and feels really short, but I love the swoop of the back hemline. I carry my width in my thighs, so I feel mildly porky with my small upper body, skinny ankles, but thick thighs. Oh well… I will continue to wear this dress and hopefully make a few more in time!

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So that’s that. Great pattern, fit, style… everything. I’ll be sewing this up every time I find Alder-appropriate fabric!

—lisa g.

MORRIS BLAZER| Grainline Studio

Full disclosure: I am a Grainline Studio fangurl.

I ordered the Morris Blazer pattern the second it was released.  Jen had been teasing us about releasing it for what… years? Ha! It seemed like the perfect casual blazer—I knew there would be no hesitation. Fortunately, it was totally worth the wait, as I’m completely in love with it! No weird fit issues or tweaks, just pure love.

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Side note: I also made this t-shirt. Appropriately, it’s a Grainline Studio sleeveless Hemlock Tee with a slightly curved hemline and narrow bound neckline. I love this tee, and wear it all the time!

I made a size 4 and graded out to a 6 at the side seams (for reference, my measurements are 34-29-40). I usually make a forward shoulder adjustment, but I skipped it here since the shoulder seam sits a little bit forward anyways. And… that’s it for fit. Nice!

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I feel like I ran into problems with my fabric choice though. I used a really nice ponte from fabric.com and while I adore the fabric itself, I feel like it has too much drape for this blazer. You can see that the front of the blazer wants to bag out and not hang quite right. I made sure to block fuse my facings, since I find that knit fusible tends to shrink slightly under the heat and steam. However, if I make this blazer in ponte fabric again, I’ll throw in some fusible on the outer piece where it would be hidden by the facing. I don’t think you’ll run into this problem if you go with a stretch woven, but I’d be tempted to play it safe and use a lightweight fusible anyway.

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So that’s my only quibble with the pattern, and really the issue is specific to knit fabrics. Otherwise, the construction and directions are fantastic! Despite the fact that this blazer is unlined, the interior finish is very neat and tidy. Plus, holy cow, is this a quick project. I’m pretty sure the cutting and fusing took longer than the actual construction. I cut and finished it over a very-busy-with-other-things two days.

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I so badly want to sew up another right away, but I’m trying to move on to my summer wardrobe. I’m in need of new shorts, tanks, and t-shirts. We’re heading back to our hometown for our summer vacation right after school is out, and I’m pretty sure the Kansas summer will be in full force upon our arrival. Until then… mad sewing to make all the stuff I want and need for me and the family!

—lisa g.

the pepruffle top

way back in July during our summer trip to Texas i picked up a rayon crepe from the Common Thread whilst fabric shopping with Susan and Dixie. i wanted to use a pattern with a simple shape because, frankly, this fabric was kind of difficult to work with. despite the nice crepe texture, it was still pretty shifty! i had never used a rayon crepe before, so this fabric was new to me.

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i decided to use see kate sew’s zippy top pattern for it’s simplicity and layer-ability. but, i thought it would be fun to give the top a little interest, so i added a slightly drop waisted ruffle/peplum. the whole peplum trend has kinda passed me by—i like the peplum, but i don’t like the idea of a fitted waist for an everyday, running errands, kinda top. this hits below my waist and is nice and loose, so i get both a cute top and a comfortable one. double win! i got the idea of the loose pepruffle (we’re just gonna call it that since it doesn’t totally square into either the peplum or ruffle category, mmm’k?) from mccalls 6793 which i have used twice before (bow neck blouse and silk blouse). i haven’t made the pepruffle variation yet, but i always liked it. it was an easy change—i just snagged the pepruffle pattern piece and used the pattern as a guide for where to make the waist seam. it totally worked out and i just love how swingy this top is!

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as you can see, i left out the zip and went with a long teardrop-shaped opening, closed with a button and loop. also, when i first wore the top, i was getting some drag lines at the neckline from the facing. my facing may be a little too stiff, so it wasn’t playing nice with the shell. to fix this i went back and topstitched at about 3/4″ from the neckline so they would hold together better. thanks to the texture of the fabric, the topstitching is barely noticeable.

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this top ends up being so much fun to wear because it’s swingy and a little different. it works with jeans, but would also pair well with leggings or skinny trousers. and yeah, i really, really like it with my blazer. sorry for sticking that blazer in every single post lately, but it really gets a workout in the fall!

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—lisa g.