Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress


After finishing my second Deer and Doe Pavot Jacket, I felt like I needed some projects that would be quick.  I sewed some knits, and a few things that haven’t made it to the blog yet.  These projects were just the break I needed before starting another project that I knew would take longer than a day.

Alder 2

I was excited to take part in the Alder Shirtdress Sew-a-long that is going on over at the Grainline Studio blog.  I wasn’t able to get started until about a week into it but once I started sewing I couldn’t seem to make myself stop.  This was a really fun dress to sew.  It had been ages since I’d sewn a button down, collared shirt.  I was a little nervous about the collar/collar stand, but I followed this tutorial from Four Square Walls.  It was recommended by a few different bloggers who had used it while making Archers and Alders.  I found it to be very easy to follow and I’m really happy with how my collar turned out.

Alder 1

I made a muslin before I cut into my actual fabric.  I made up a size 8 graded to a 12 and it was perfect, other than the bust darts being too low.  The only change I made to my muslin was to move up the bust darts by an inch.  I did make two silly mistakes while cutting out this dress.  I attempted to lengthen it by an inch and a half, but somehow I only lengthened the front pieces and not the back skirt.  I had to cut off the additional length from the front and ended up using bias tape for the hem so that I only lost 1/4″ in length.  The hem length in the pattern is only 1/2″ but I wanted to keep it as long as possible.

Alder 3

My other mistake was that I didn’t pay attention to which side was which when cutting the front bodice/placket pieces.  My button band ended up being on the wrong side so it buttons like a men’s shirt. It’s not the end of the world but next time I will pay more attention to which piece is the left and which is the right.


The fabric I used is the Triangle Tokens quilting weight cotton from April Rhodes’ Arizona Line.  I love the feel of the Art Gallery quilting cottons.  They are so crisp and light.  I used some white voile for the inner back yoke.  I thought it would be fun to have a little contrast on the inside.  I used French seams for the side seams, but had to use my serger to finish the seams where the skirt attaches to the dress.  It was hard enough for me to get the front pivots right while sewing a regular seam– there was no way trying a French seam there was going to be a good idea.  I did just get a new serger/coverhem combo machine and I used it for the first time on this dress, which was super exciting!

I have some Liberty of London Tana Lawn fabric set aside for another version of this dress but I think I may hold off until next Spring.  I am really excited to try to make my first Archer Button Up since I had so much fun making this dress!



19 thoughts on “Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress

  1. I love it. Your Alder looks so good on you. I was wondering how it would look on someone with hips. I really appreciate that you always share which size(s) you have made. Thanks for sharing.


  2. this turned out great! i love your fabric! and i always forget which side the buttons go on. i frequently skip the sew-on placket and do both as the cut on and fold over type… makes cutting easier anyways!


    1. Thanks! Your Archer blog post was the most recent link I’d seen to that tutorial so it was fresh in my mind when I was making the dress. You should get the Alder pattern at some point– I know you’d make something lovely from it!


  3. This is really cute, Teri. 🙂 And congrats on that collar – it looks beautiful! I always use Andrea’s tutorial as well, with great results every time. I love seeing all the Alders popping up on blogs lately. Yours looks so light and summery.


    1. Thanks, Carolyn! Just in time for Fall, haha! I actually have some of the olive polka dot chambray (like the maroon-ish color you’re using for your newest Archer) in my stash. I was thinking about making this dress from that fabric, but I think I want to use it for an Archer. I love how yours is looking!


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