Ginger Made: Alder Shirtdress, v. 3!

Oh my… I think at this point we can classify my love for the Alder Shirtdress pattern as an addiction. I tried to move on to fall sewing, but I just couldn’t help myself and decided to try out view B before summer was over! Just one more summer dress can’t hurt, right?

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

The fabric you’re seeing here is a rayon blend, perhaps even rayon/linen. It’s lightweight, breathable, and has a very fluid drape. It works really well for this! The drape keeps the gathers looking good, but it wasn’t slippery or annoying to sew with.

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

The fabric came from Fabrics for Less in the Garment District. It’s a small storefront that’s jam-packed with fabric bolts, so it takes some careful navigation, but I almost always find something fun in there for very little cash ($5/yd for this stuff!). It was an impulse purchase (palm trees!!! seagulls! sunsets!), and while I love the print, it’s not a good color scheme for me. I like how it looks up close, but it washes out farther away and I feel like I look even paler than usual. But- palm trees! Seagulls! Sunsets! It’s like I ripped the curtains out of a Miami hotel in 1987 and gave them the Scarlett O’Hara treatment! Who cares if I look like I’ve never actually seen a ray of sun, let alone a palm tree?!

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

I didn’t make any fit alterations to this version, although, if I’m being honest, I probably should have lengthened it a bit. It’s definitely riding the line between “acceptably short” and “are you leaving the house in that???” Even just another inch might be enough. Since I’d made this pattern twice before, it sewed up quickly… EXCEPT for the fact that I didn’t really look at the instructions and totally forgot that you need to trim back the right front bodice (the side that you stitch the button band onto), and I didn’t notice that it was way longer than the left side until I’d already topstitched the button band down, noooooooo! I find that I often make silly mistakes when I’m making something I’ve made before, but it all worked out in the end.

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

I’m surprised how much I like this version. I wasn’t initially attracted to the gathered skirt- sometimes looser dresses with gathered waists are just too ’90’s for me- but I like that it gives me volume through the hips without adding to my waist at the front. I am sort of a reverse pear, with a thicker middle and narrower hips, but this silhouette kind of fakes an hourglass shape. Another benefit of the gathered skirt is that I could sneak side-seam pockets into this version. What I don’t like- actually sewing gathers! I’m the worst at it… no matter how carefully I distribute and pin them, they always end up getting smashed into ugly little tucks… yuck!!! This fabric couldn’t really handle much seamripping, so I just left it, and it’s not a dealbreaker, but I definitely need to work on perfecting my gathering technique.

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

OK, before we go, here are the winners of the Malu coat pattern giveaway! #176, #24, and #2… that’s Jules, Kirsten, and Sarah! Congratulations! I’ve sent you all emails. :)

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

Now, what are you sewing right now? Any exciting projects? What’s the pattern you’ve sewn the most times?

Ginger Made: Alder Shirtdress, v. 2!

Guys, I’m addicted to this pattern! As soon as I finished my first version of the Alder Shirtdress, I cut out a second one, this time in a treasured print! This is a Vlisco cotton that’s been in my stash for nearly a year, just waiting for the perfect project! Sadly, this particular print is sold out, but there are tons of gorgeous ones just waiting for you (look at this beauty!!! LOOK AT IT!!! Just don’t look at the price… I’d have to sell an organ to pay for this fabric, but WOW, it’s lovely!)

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

Part of the reason this fabric has been in my stash so long is that it’s such a large-scale print. It really looks cool when it isn’t broken up, but it’s a little challenging to use in a garment. I thought this pattern would be a nice one for it, but now that I’m looking at the photos, the effect in the front of the dress is kind of dizzying. There’s just a little too much going on! If I’d thought of it in time, I would’ve changed this up to make it a popover (instead of buttoning all the way down) to dial back the chaos. Since I didn’t do that, I may go back and remove the pockets. I like the pocket detail, but the dress looks so busy!

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

I really like the back, though! Seriously, look at the size of that starburst pattern! Crazy! I love it so much!

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

OK, here’s another nitpicky thing- I didn’t notice in my first version, but I’m getting some bubbling in the front high bust area. I probably need to adjust the pattern to fix that, but I felt like the shoulders fit well, so I’m not 100% sure what to do there. It’s not a huge problem, but I should probably work it out before I cut #3 out.

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

I decided to try a different method of finishing the armholes, but it didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. I shouldn’t have strayed from the instructions! Other than that, I didn’t change anything in my construction. I forgot to mention last time, but I followed Andrea’s collar construction order- that’s become my default process for collars!

Pug belly!!!!!

I’m forcing myself to set this pattern aside (long enough to make a shirt for Man Friend, at least), but I’m really tempted to go straight into version #3! It’s true love!

Peggy says hi!

What are you guys sewing? Anything fun?

 

 

Ginger Made: Alder Shirtdress!!

It’s official. This is my new summer uniform!

Guys, I’ve been looking forward to the release of this pattern since I heard rumors that it was coming (in fact, I crushed hardcore on the original version of this dress in Jen’s rtw line, Hound). It’s the Alder Shirtdress from Grainline Studio, and it’s just the perfect summer dress! There’s even a lovely print version for the PDF-averse! When I heard the launch date was in July, I picked out fabric for my July Mood Sewing Network project, then waited semi-patiently for the pattern to be released! I’m not even kidding when I say that knowing this pattern would be waiting for me on my return helped me to avoid post-vacation depression (that and seeing the pugs again, of course).

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

I’ve really been going crazy with prints lately, so I decided on a nice navy instead for my first go at the pattern. Navy is my go-to neutral color- it’s not as harsh on my pale skin as black, but it’s still pretty chic, in my opinion- and when I found this shade in a crisp cotton pique, I was over the moon! (This Japanese cotton pique looks exactly like the one that I used, although I picked mine up in-store at Mood Fabrics NYC).

Look at that great texture! It reads a little sporty in person, in a courtside-seats-at-a-tennis-match kind of way.  The fabric has lots of body and not much drape, so it really gives you a crisp a-line shape in this dress. It’s really, really breathable, a must for a summer dress! It’s a medium weight and it’s nice and opaque, so it doesn’t need a lining- perfect!

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

OK, back to the pattern. This is view A, and it’s a really fun sew! It’s like making a buttondown shirt, but without having to set in sleeves or worse, sew the sleeve plackets! It’s a simple silhouette, but it’s got nice lines, and the drafting is great. Not to geek out too much, but the armscyes are just the perfect depth! Not too low, not too high- just right!

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

I sewed a straight size 4 without any alterations (my bust is a 4 and my hips are a 0, so there’s a bit more ease there than there would be if I graded between sizes, but I decided just to sew it up and see how I felt about it). I don’t mind the additional fulness at all. You get a nice clean finish if you follow the pattern instructions. There’s an inner yoke to clean finish that seam and the armholes are finished with bias binding. The side seams are the only exposed seams, so I serged them, but I would use French seams on thinner fabric for a completely immaculate finish.

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

There’s a subtle difference between the right side and the wrong side of this fabric, so I was careful to mark all the wrong sides with chalk. Isn’t it annoying when you forget to do that and you end up with one part of your garment that’s just a little different than the rest? Ugh! Other than that, I didn’t use any special techniques! This was a really straightforward project. :)

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

Overall, I’m really happy with my new dress! Quite a few of my other dresses are just a little too flashy for wearing around the neighborhood or even to work (ummmmmmmmm PIRANHAS, I’m looking at you!), but this is just right. It’s nice to have a basic dress in my closet.

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

But don’t worry- I haven’t completely reformed! In fact, I’ve already cut out a second Alder in a gaudy large-scale print. Mwahahahahahaha!

This was the exact moment when an SUV full of beach-going ladies pulled up next to me and one of them shouted, “Work it, girl!” A second later they turned up their dance music and Man Friend laughed so hard he almost fell over.

What’s on your sewing table right now???

Ginger Made (Finally): Grainline Studio Archer Button Up Shirt

Oh, wow… this is kind of embarrassing.  I started this shirt wayyyyyyy back in March during the Archer Sew Along, annnnnnnnd… I just finished it now.  Let’s back this truck up for a minute, though, before I explain why it took me so long.

This is the Grainline Studio Archer Button Up Shirt, and if you haven’t already made this pattern, I HIGHLY recommend it.  When Jen released the pattern, I went crazy– this is exactly the style of shirt that I like to wear every day!  I couldn’t wait to try it out!

Sewing this was actually really fun.  I was nervous to deal with all the fiddly bits like the placket and collar, but everything went together really smoothly.  The photos and videos Jen posted for the sewalong were really helpful.  I had a little trouble keeping my topstitching neat, and since you could see the thread very clearly on the portions of the plaid that weren’t blue, it was extra necessary to keep things straight.  I did LOTS of seam ripping and worked really slowly.  Even so, it’s still not perfectly even.

Unfortunately, things really went sour when I decided to use pearl snaps instead of buttons.  I bought pearl snaps from Cowgirl Snaps on Etsy, and a pair of Dritz snap pliers to set them with.  Sadly, the pliers never lined up the two parts of the snaps correctly, so the prongs kept tearing little holes in my button placket.  After a couple of VERY frustrating evenings trying to fix this, I finally lost my cool and tossed the shirt to the side in a fit of rage… whoops!  It sat unfinished in my sewing area until a couple of nights ago– I just couldn’t stand looking at it any longer and had to finish it!  This time, I just set the snaps with a hammer.  It’s tough to hammer hard enough to get the snaps on firmly without cracking the pearl or flattening the other half.  Ugh!  So I’m not sure how long this shirt will last– there are little punctures in the button placket all over the place, and the snaps will probably rip out eventually as they just don’t feel very secure.  Oh, well. [EDIT: Lou and Liz suggested that, with the loose fit and stretch fabric, I could get it over my head without unsnapping it, saving lots of stress on the snaps!  I can!  Win!]

I used a cotton shirting that I bought for $5/yd in the Garment District (from It’s A Material World, I think) during my epic shopping expedition with Lauren and Oona.  I was so excited and over-caffeinated that I didn’t even notice the stretch content of the fabric at the time!  It’s not really noticeable in a shirt this slouchy, though.

Since the fabric was inexpensive and the fit seemed pretty forgiving, I didn’t bother making a muslin.  I thought the pattern pieces looked a little short, so I lengthened the shirt by 2″.  Other than that, I didn’t make any changes and I’m happy with the fit.  I might narrow the shoulders on the next go-round so they sit in the proper place.  I think the shoulders are supposed to be slightly dropped, but I prefer a more fitted shoulder.  I did spend a fair amount of time matching the plaid, which was a bit of a brain boggle and not 100% successful, but I’m OK with how it turned out.

Overall, I’m really happy with this shirt, and hopefully I will make the time to sew a few more versions!  I’ll be sure to use extreme caution when I snap and unsnap this to extend its shelf life as much as possible!  It’s a little bright (and possible even circus-y), but I love it anyway.  I’m so glad I finally finished this shirt!

Alright, now it’s confession time– what’s the oldest UFO in your collection?  Have you ever finished up a long-term UFO and immediately been sorry you didn’t finish it sooner?  Anything in your to-be-finished pile that’s just begging to be worn?

Ginger Made: Grainline Studio Moss Mini Skirt!

GUYS.  Someone please check my vitals because I think I’m ill… I’m having fun sewing wardrobe basics!  What?!  I realized during Me-Made-May that I didn’t have a single skirt that I wanted to wear– not one!  I downloaded this pattern the day it was released, but kept setting it aside in favor of shinier projects.  I’m so glad I finally made it!

It’s a well-known fact that I have a red-hot girl crush on Jen from Grainline Studio (EEEEEK, have you SEEN her new Lakeside Pajamas pattern?), and this pattern, the Moss Mini Skirt, just adds fuel to the fire!  I love, love, LOVE this skirt!  It’s semi-fitted, casual, and ultra wearable– everything I need and want in a skirt!

I used organic twill from Mood Fabrics, the same type (but a different colorway) that I used for my sister’s Kelly skirt.  I love this twill– it’s just the right weight for skirts.  I bought this fabric months ago, planning to make a jacket, but you’ve gotta live in the moment, right?  CARPE DIEM AND CLEAR OUT THOSE STASHES, SEWISTS!

This was my first time putting in a zipper fly, so I was a little nervous, but Jen’s photo tutorial is really helpful if you’re a scaredy-cat (or you’re super brave, but you just want more visuals).  To close the skirt, I used a jeans button from Taylor Tailor and I LOVE how it looks.  It’s just so professional-looking!  Taylor’s tutorial for inserting rivets (same process as jeans buttons) is great, too.  I followed his advice and added two extra layers of twill between my button halves, so it’s nice and stable.  I should have finished the edges of the center front seam before installing the fly, but since I didn’t, I ended up with a portion of the raw edges visible.  I ironed a little square of very lightweight interfacing on top of the raw edges to seal them in.

I made a muslin, but the skirt fit quite well without any alterations.  The yoke in the back makes for a really nice fit and looks very RTW.  The only change I made was to shorten the hem band, and thus, the skirt, by 2″.

And look!  I finished it off with a pug!  My sister had these labels printed for me… aren’t they cute?

I’m really excited to have a new skirt in my wardrobe!  I can see myself wearing this basically ’round the clock.

What is your favorite skirt or skirt pattern?  And what are you working on right now?

What is happening with my face here?

Scout Tee, Once Again

Hi, guys!  Hope you all had a lovely Canada Day and/or 4th of July, if you celebrate!  I spent the long weekend at home, hunched over the sewing machine (OK, OK, maybe I took some breaks for pug snuggles and movie watching).

Here’s one of the products of my weekend sewing.  It’s another Grainline Studio Scout Woven Tee, photographed just in time for the Kollabora Scout Woven Tee Sew-Along deadline!  This wasn’t at the top of my to-sew list, but I love Kollabora (even though they’re basically evil because they bombard me with so much awesome inspiration each day that my to-make list is absurdly long!), I love Wanett (the head honcho of the sew-along), and I’m basically a Grainline addict, so I couldn’t help but join in on the sew-along fun!

I used a length of chambray that was left over from my first sewing project– a super stash-bust!  My plan was to use the sweet birdie fabric that Sew Busy Lizzy sent me for the Sew Very Merry Christmas Swap, but I wanted to try out some modifications on less precious fabric first.  I rounded the hem line a little bit and tried to give it a hi-lo hem, but it’s so slight that you can’t really tell (whoops!).  I also added a pocket (from Jen’s Tiny Pocket Tank pattern) since the chambray is pretty boring on its own.

This isn’t the most exciting top I’ve ever made, but it’s super wearable and will hopefully last a long time (since I French seamed the entire thing so it’s nice and tidy inside).  I’m hoping to make a few more versions of this top in the near future!

What are you guys sewing these days?  Anything exciting?  Who’s made the Scout Tee?  Wanna be my friend on Kollabora?

Ginger Made: Scout Tee

Hi, guys!  Happy 4th of July, Americans (and a belated Happy Canada Day to my neighbors up north)!  You may notice that I’m posting on the LAST POSSIBLE DAY for the Summer Spark Sew-along (unsurprising).  I made it (but just barely)!

You may remember that my grand plan was to sort out the Iris Shorts pattern for this sewalong, buuuuuut… I’m telling ya, they licked me!  I just don’t have the chops to figure out why they don’t fit.  I even had a private lesson at the Sewing Studio, after which I transferred all the changes to my pattern, cut a new muslin, and they looked worse than before!  I was so frustrated that I couldn’t even stand to look at them!  So.  I decided to try out a different kind of summer staple and made Grainline’s Scout Tee.

I used a lightweight cotton from Paron’s that I really like.  It’s a sort of irregular, geometric print, but it’s fairly subtle and interesting.  It makes for a breezy, cool tee, which is awesome.  The style, however, is probably not the best for me.  I really like that it’s an easygoing, casual fit,  but it doesn’t really do any favors for my kinda rectangular shape.  My poor choice, not the pattern’s fault. The combination of the boxy shape and a fairly crisp fabric makes it stick out a bit.  Not my favorite, but not awful.

I thought this pattern was drafted nicely and the sleeves went in easily, which is a huge bonus!  The neck binding is nice and neat (a first for me!), but it sticks out a bit (every time I bind a neckline, it always sticks out!  What gives?!?!).  Overall, it was super quick and easy to put together– yay!

Even though I don’t think this top is super flattering on me, I’m sure I’ll wear it a lot.  It’s hot and sticky today, and the loose fit is really comfortable for this kind of weather.  I may try this one again in cotton jersey and size it down one step, or maybe I’ll try it with a drapier fabric, perhaps a silk.

This was the BEST photo of the back view… eek! Maybe I just made it a size too big?

Big thanks to Ali, Alessa, and Sarah for hosting the sewalong!  I really liked the idea– one month to make one pattern that will be a nice summer basic!  Did anyone else participate in this one?

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