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 aΒ courtside-seats-at-a-tennis-match kind of way.Β  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. πŸ™‚

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???

120 responses

  1. You are adorable adorableness! And the dress too! I have a couple of summer uniform dresses too, and they’re similar in that they’re not crazy prints and fit loosely. A definite must have!

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  2. so so cute! and i love your shoes! it’s really hard for me to make something solid color but i’m always so glad when I do because then I can wear it all the time.

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    • Thanks Devon! I’m always drawn to prints or to weird bright colors, but they’re harder to match (and way more memorable so everyone will notice if you wear the same thing multiple times in a week)!

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  3. This is really nice on so! Looks effortless, and like it allows a nice breeze up the hem on a hot day! I’ve been wondering why this pattern hasn’t been taking the world by storm – everyone seemed so excited about it on IG! Glad you made one (two!) and you are loving it!

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  4. Very, very cute! Love the navy pique. This pattern is on my to-sew list, but I’m not sure I’ll be getting to it before the weather gets cooler. Speaking of, is this the coolest summer to date in NYC, or am I just imagining it? Not that I’m complaining or anything!

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  5. So based on your experience, do you think this would work well with a quilting cotton? I have 3 yards of an obnoxiously colored geometric quilting cotton and I have no idea what to do with it!

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    • I’ve never really sewn with quilting cotton (oddly enough, it’s hard to find here) but it seems like it would work! You don’t need it to be very drapey, so it would probably be just fine!

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  6. This is just so wonderful – totally perfect summer staple. It’s so stylish on you!

    I’m just cutting out some hudson pants – I absolutely can’t wait to be wearing them!

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  7. this dress looks so awesome! ahh i’m chomping at the bit to make this. have the pattern, need the right fabric! can’t wait to see version 2, but i totally agree that having a few classic dresses are a good thing! and bwahahaha to your photo-taking anecdote… work it!

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  8. Again, I love this dress, and fabric! I think I just need to get myself this fabric, and make myself a similar dress! I completely understand you! I love this pattern, but I don’t think it looks good on me. I love Clare’s version of the McCall’s pattern. I do love a fitted bodice and a full skirt, too.

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  9. Fabulous! I have been waiting for your post on this and you didn’t disappoint. I just bought my pattern and have a bright version in my mind. Coming soon!

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  10. I love this dress! I wouldn’t have thought to use pique, but hello, it looks great and it must be nice and breezy for summer. I am waiting with bated breath for the printed version!

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  11. Love it on you in navy – you should enter it in the Stitch 56 Alder competition! I’m in the midst of a button down shirt too, by Sewloft. Sadly I was sick when I traced it off and misjudged my size – too small! So now I’m being creative with the placket and hoping it all doesn’t go to hell…..

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  12. I LOVE your plain jane navy version. I am super tempted to go a solid here too, I think all the details are enough that it doesn’t look boring in a solid. Navy is my neutral too! Black makes me look ill. Also, sooo funny about the car full of ladies..

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  13. Welcome home! πŸ™‚ This is fab, it looks both chic and comfortable – talk about a win! I’m a big fan of navy for classic clothing too and am more than a little jealous of your gorgeous fabric for this. I keep promising I won’t buy any more patterns, but I’m being seriously tempted by this one!!

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  14. Omigosh I love it so much!! It looks totally cute on you and I think the fit is perfect! I am freaking out wanting to make like 10 of these but I am stuck sewing TWO Elsa dresses…it’s a small slice of sewing hell, haha. But they are a birthday present for my littlest who is turning 4, so that she and her sister can dress up like Elsa every day πŸ™‚ It will be worth it when I see how happy it makes them and as soon as I am done the Alder is next.

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  15. This looks darling on you! I’m currently sewing up both views of the Alder and they are coming together like a dream (I also added pockets). I’m finally back to selfish sewing after finishing up a wedding dress for a friend!

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  16. Ooh, now you made me want to make another sleeveless shirt dress! Since I re-fashioned one of my old shirt dresses I too have been living in it all summer πŸ™‚ I’m currently between projects…wait whaaat – that never happens! It’s been less than 24 hours since I finished my jeans shorts though, but I really need to get my sewing on again asap! πŸ˜€

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  17. Just bought this pattern too! Love your navy one, so chic! I’m still mulling fabric options over for mine but I can’t wait to see yours in a print.

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    • It’s nice that this pattern really works with lots of kinds of fabric. I have a few large-scale prints that would get broken up too much by something with a waist seam, so it’s nice to finally have a way to use them!

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  18. Ooh, love it. Very simple and I bet you will wear it nearly every day! I really want to make a light chambray for everyday easy wear….bit scared of button holes though…am quite new to all this sewing malarkey! And I totes think you should rock the piranhas to work!

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  19. Welp. As if I needed more convincing to buy this pattern- there it goes into my cart and checked-out! You did fantastic! Great fabric choice. I don’t know if stockings and boots work with cooler NY weather, but it could definitely be done with this dress as well! I looooove transitional pieces!!

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  20. I finished my Alder shirtdress on Friday – isn’t it awesome? I made view A out of quilting cotton as as a wearable muslin and it worked out really well. I have a Robert Kaufman dotted chambray for a view B. Are you planning on making a gathered skirt version? I think you could rock it.

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  21. Oh this is just perfect for you! You look so happy and comfortable in this style, like the pattern was designed especially for you. Can’t wait to see your gaudy print one too πŸ™‚

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  22. I love it in the plainish navy fabric – so claasic! (Even though I love big prints and brights, I definitely appreciate something you can re-wear every week!) I’m still on the fence on this pattern, but I think I could pull it off with a self-belt for a little waist definition maybe… it certainly looks breezy and perfect for the weather! I’m not surprised you got an impromptu dance number, bc you’re rocking it!

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