Before Christmas I made a bit of a special purchase for myself. I had always wanted to use Spoonflower to make a shirt for myself because it seemed like a great way to simplify the time consuming cutting out part of the process. With Spoonflower about to shut down the pre-printed pattern part of their business, it gave me the nudge that I needed to commit, and I went for the Alder Shirtdress by Grainline. I’ve already made their Archer Shirt about 5 times before, so I felt fairly confident that I could order the Alder in a size 4 and it would probably fit pretty well.
It did take me a long time to decide on the fabric print. In the end I went for these mountains. I really liked the muted colours, but I didn’t want anything too pale in case it was a bit see through in bright sunlight! Its printed cotton lawn, and while you can still get fabric printed with spoonflower in this pattern (called ‘call of the mountains’ by
nouveau_bohemian), they don’t seem to use the cotton lawn as a substrate option anymore. It’s a nice weight for this dress though, it is crisp and pressed beautifully, but not so heavy that it doesn’t drape at all.
The season for wearing a sleeveless summer dress, even with a cardigan is pretty short in the UK, so I wanted to be able to wear this more like a tunic to extend it’s useful and wearable season. It was about perfect with a t-shirt and my Virginia leggings underneath on a slightly breezy April morning.
The completely loose silhouette is a slightly new one for me, though I actually quite liked it. It’s nice that I can change it up a bit with a belt too though if I want a bit more of a waist.
Construction wise, it went together very easily. I didn’t really need the instructions because it is much the same as the Archer. Like the Archer, I enclosed the yoke seams using the burrito method which has a video tutorial on the grainline website. I did have a bit of a battle getting the collar on without any little tucks, and its still not perfect, but after about 3 attempts I decided it was good enough!
Because the Alder is sleeveless, there is a bias facing to finish of the sleeve edge. I’m not the biggest fan of bias binding, so I opted to machine sew the first pass, and the under stitching, then hand stitched the binding to the inside. I like that it has given a really clean finish to the armhole, and my hand stitches are almost invisible which is satisfying!
The one disadvantage of using spoonflower is that the notches are already transferred and it is a bit trickier to make fitting alterations. I did pin out the darts and hold the front panels up to me, but the darts have actually ended up a little low. Next time I make an Alder I’m going to need to raise them slightly. The fit is still pretty good though, so it’s nothing that will stop me from wearing this version.