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Grainline Alder Shirtdress

Debbie Christensen alder dress dress grainline shirtdress voile

Time to shovel the dust off the ol' blog... Good thing I wore a loose, extremely comfortable dress today. Here is my very first Grainline Alder Shirtdress!

grainline alder shirtdress

When this pattern came out a year ago, I was not into it at all. Especially the butt ruffle.  My boyfriend put it very succinctly when I showed him the pattern, saying that it looked like something his elementary school librarian would wear. Very 90's. Obviously I came around to it. And, yeah, maybe I'm dressing like a 50-year-old woman did 20 years ago, but I get it now.

grainline alder shirtdress

It's like, the older I get, and the more experience I have with sewing and with just wearing clothes, the more I am realizing that clothes can just be comfortable. I don't have to wear jeans that make weird popping sounds when I walk or dig into the backs of my knees when I crouch down (that's why I don't wear pants), I don't have to wear shirts that fit too close to my neck or too tight across my boobs, I don't have to wear dresses that I feel uncomfortable in after I eat.

grainline alder shirtdress

That's not to say that all my clothes are the most comfortable things in the world. I still change into the same loose knit dress every day after work because that is the epitome of comfortable for me.

Anyhoo, the fabric I used is a Japanese voile that I've been drooling over (I dried it out) ever since we got it in, I just couldn't figure out what I wanted to do with it. I think this fabric would have been perfect for the butt ruffle version, but I'm still warming up to that one.

grainline alder shirtdress

I finished this yesterday, and was going to wear it last night to a ceramics class, but it was cancelled because it was almost 100 degrees in the studio. And I was like, but I have the perfect dress for that!

So we got drinks instead to cheer me up.

grainline alder shirtdress

I asked my "photographer" to send me a better photo in which I don't look like a gaunt old man, but he hasn't gotten back to me as of press time. He may still be salty about having to work with such a difficult model, but he shouldn't feel bad because I can barely work with myself.

grainline alder shirtdress

I didn't make a muslin, I just basted the main pieces together and tried to hold the button band shut because I couldn't find my pins because we moved almost two months ago and are still not done unpacking. After accomplishing nothing that way, I decided to just make it, and I could change things on the next dress. This is the Alder Dress, size 4, straight out of the envelope. Except I added side pockets.

grainline alder dress

The sides are French seamed, including the pockets. I'm not really sure how to explain how to do that. I just... did it? Like I said before, I don't like to wear things too close around my neck, which is why I've stopped putting in the top buttonhole in button-down shirts. It's also the hardest buttonhole to put in, so there's no love lost there.

Here is a close-up of the top, ideally so you can see the pockets and buttons, but it's kind of difficult to make out any detail here.

grainline alder shirtdress

Next I want to make the Alder in this cotton ikat. I think I have to wait until it cools down, though, so I don't destroy it with my sweat. I don't know how people can wear white in the summer.

stripe cotton ikat fabric


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  • Lynn Patmore on

    Trying to find a heavy weight soft blue and cream large check gingham fabric. Any ideas?

  • Brooke Garratt on

    Loved reading the post! Pockets really help. I’ve put them in the straight versions and will put them in the next butt ruffle model I make. I can’t wait to get the details on the French seamed pockets.

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