A drunk Candy Cane draped t-shirt… and goodbye 2014…

I decided to make a draped garment for Christmas Day… I know. Not surprised?

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Back/side view.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Back/side view.

I had planned a ‘drunk candy’ draped tank dress (plenty of room of Christmas lunch). I loved the idea of messing with the ubiquitous candy canes at this time of year. However the only red striped knit I could find was a much finer stripe than I wanted to get the right look. So I decided to make a t-shirt instead – and settled on Drape Drape 2, Number 4 – previously blogged here.

Note: I didn’t get drunk on Christmas Day. In fact I very rarely get drunk, tipsy is about as exciting as I get.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Front view

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Front view

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Back View

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Back View

This is such a simple t-shirt to make, one piece for the body & one piece for the neck. It took less than an hour to sew up – with sleeves & the hem finished on my coverstitch machine (a beast I am slowly taming & learning to love).

Construction tips: The neckline on this is huge – this is a Japanese S/M size and I tend to pull it backwards so it’s not indecently low. I’d also say if you are stripe-matching junkie – this is not for you. You just have to surrender to the crazy for this one.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Draped sleeve stripes - 'not' matching.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Draped sleeve stripes – ‘not’ matching.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. 'Straight' sleeve stripes - 'not' matching.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. ‘Straight’ sleeve stripes – ‘not’ matching.

We took the above photos post-Christmas in the first break in the rain (it’s been stinking hot and sunny ever since of course). On Christmas Day I looked so exhausted and I was – I slept for four hours during Christmas Day. I’m so glad that the offices are closed and I have 11 days to rest.

I can't ever remember being this tired on Christmas Day

Christmas Day – I can’t ever remember being this tired on Christmas Day 😦

So ends 2014…

I’m not a New Year type. I think I will wake up tomorrow and be the same person, in the same life. I guess that sounds cynical – but it’s also reality.

The last 12 months weren’t what I expected this time last year. Everything changes over time, that’s how life is – for the better and worse. People come into your life, some people leave. People may add to your life – others might just subtract. There are challenges and triumphs. Joys and sadness. You have memories to treasure and those memories you wish you didn’t have. Today I remembered a poem my mother once wrote in a book for me…

Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.
from Ye Wearie Wayfarer by Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 – 1870)

That all sounds glummer than it should. It’s not meant to. I’m generally a positive person. I like to laugh. I like happiness. It’s a good way to live.

May your days be filled happiness – and on the not-so-good days – with kindness and courage.

Pattern: Drape Drape 2, Number 4.
Fabric: Cotton/polyester knit from The Fabric Store, Brisbane

Simplicity 1589 – a polka dot peekaboo top!

I’ve been churning out tops recently. I had a lack of ‘summer separates’ so I decided to take action – amazing! Practical sewing by me!

To start off the sewing binge, I made Simplicity 1589 – a ‘learn to sew’ pattern.

Simplicity 1589, view A

Simplicity 1589, view A. Our Christmas weather has been rubbish – so much rain!

I had always been drawn to the peekaboo and lapped backs of this pattern – so when a pattern sale came along, I decided to buy it. I don’t particularly mind whether a pattern is advanced or easy – if it works, it works. I also love that this pattern is a fabric miser.

Simplicity 1589

Simplicity 1589

I made this with less than a metre of fabric – left over from my first Grainline Alder (Jillian of Sew Unravelled… you were so right about not making a belt for the Alder – the fabric was perfect for a top). It’s a woven rayon – I love rayon, it straddles the divide of man-made and natural fibres. It’s perfect for my climate.

View A, which I have made here, takes just 90cm of 150cm wide fabric (or 1 yard at 60 inches wide) so it’s an absolute stash buster. View B takes slightly more 1.3m of 150cm wide fabric (or 1 3/8 yard at 60 inches wide).

These are easy, easy tops to make. If you are looking for a nice woven top pattern with a difference – then this might be an option. I also suspect it is a great option for fabric busting all those smaller pieces from bigger projects.

The armholes and neckline are finished with bias binding. I confess I do struggle to get my bias binding as neat as I would like – but it’s a challenge I’ll continue to embrace.

Simplicity 1589 - front view

Simplicity 1589 – front view

There are no bust darts. I suspect some may find the fabric in this top falls like a waterfall… I wouldn’t know and I don’t speak for FBA department of the sewing community – but if you have knowledge/advice to share, please comment below for others. What I can say is that it works for me. The side panels and back also cover up most bra straps which is a nice feature.

Due to the lack of bust darts I personally think a fabric with some drape will work best – otherwise it may be a little tentlike.

I made a size 4 – this top has A LOT of ease. About 5 inches of ease at the bust – which I just think is too much, even for a loose fitting top. If I had made this according to the sizing chart, I would have made size 8 – which would have been two more inches of ease than this one on me. I like the fit of this. The armholes are comfortable and the back sits nicely.

Simplicity 1589 - back view

Simplicity 1589 – back view

If you get stuck with what size to make, check the finished bust measurements at the bottom of the envelope back – put a tape measure around you and figure out how much ease seems reasonable. I do this with almost every make. This top isn’t meant to be tight or close fitting but I don’t think you need to swim in fabric either.

I also think this would be a nice pattern for teenagers. It is loose but has cute details that I think would appeal to many young girls I know. My daughters are too slight for this pattern at the moment although I think many of their friends would love it.

I absolutely struggled with my stitching with this make… the tension was all over the place and I could not for the life of me figure out why. It was funny that it happened on this make as it was supposed to be ‘easy’! As it turned out, a drunk monkey (or a small daughter) had fiddled with my machine tension at some point – it didn’t occur to me to check the tension dial because I hadn’t touched it. I thought it was a bobbin case screw issue which has happened once before. Oh well. At least I know not to make the assumption that no one else touches my machines 🙂

Once I found the source of my stitching woes, I unpicked the topstitching at the armholes and neckline then restitched the topstitching. It was too late for the back neck and side panels… thankfully the tension issues only shows on the inside – and it’s not that bad (suck it up Princess Lizzy).

Simplicity 1589 - side view

Simplicity 1589 – side view

I briefly considered throwing this out or not blogging it for a bunch of reasons… but it’s escaped the charity bag and made it to the blog.

To hell with imperfection.

Pattern: Simplicity 1589
Fabric: Rayon from Spotlight. I picked some more up at the 40% sale the other day to make a little dress for my youngest daughter.
Skirt: Target – I found this in the kids sale section for $10. It’s a bit ‘out there’ but I love it – I have a weakness for anything denim, especially skirts. It looks fab dressed up with a white shirt and heels. Plus I think it would be fun to copy the spray paint concept on a future make.

Sewaholic Hollyburn – nice but not ‘me’

The Sewaholic Hollyburn was of those patterns I had always been curious to see what all the fuss was about. So when I received a copy from Stitch 56 it seemed the perfect choice for a navy linen midi skirt I had in my head.

Sewaholic Hollyburn

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a red striped Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee (free pattern, unblogged) and a blue glass beads from Arthouse Industries (mine)

Then I lost the pattern in my sewing room for months… when it eventually resurfaced I made it up.

The pattern is lovely, easy to sew and you get a nice result. It’s got pockets – which some people seem to go barmy about. I’m a bit weird about a few things… and one is that I don’t put things in pockets if it distorts the line of the garment – that’s what a handbag is for. These sorts of pockets are just for hands in my life.

I decided to line the skirt as linen is notorious for creasing and lining does help alleviate that to a degree. I would share a picture of the immaculate insides… however I just can’t find the skirt. It’s as if the Hollyburn doesn’t want to be part of my life!

I cut a size 0 with the longest possible length.

It’s a well made skirt and I’m pleased with the finish.

Unfortunately I don’t think the midi length is for me. The skirt is lovely but like a few other 2014 makes just don’t feel like me. As you can see I tried a number of tops and accessories – and still struggle with how to wear it and feel like myself. I guess the upside of sewing things that don’t feel quite right is that you learn now about what you do like!

The photos were taken late in the afternoon so the light was bad – with the exception of the first one below, which was taken several weeks earlier – then I spent a while trying to figure out how I might wear it. I think most simply it’s just not me, I feel like I should be drinking cups of tea and eating scones, I’m convinced my mother would love it. It doesn’t fit into my work or casual wardrobe.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a floral shirt

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a floral shirt

Sewaholic Hollyburn

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a red striped Tessuti Mandy Boat tee and an Arthouse Industries necklace. Probably prefer this look the most. It’s timeless.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a white tank and a scarf

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a RTW white tank and a scarf (Just Jeans). The ill-fitting RTW tank top has been ditched. Quite like this combo – the scarf works well.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with Maria Denmark day-to-night tank

Sewaholic Hollyburn with Maria Denmark day-to-night tank

Sewaholic Holllyburn with RTW white shirt.

Sewaholic Holllyburn with RTW white shirt.

I made this months ago – all the way back in September. I just didn’t feel particularly inspired about it. So other makes overtook it in the blogging queue. My workload in the final months of the year is always excessive and ‘life’ stuff has been less than great, so the urge to write all but disappears some days. Anyway all things, good and bad, come to an end eventually.

If I seem quiet here, you can usually find me on instagram – where I’m posting WIPs, project ideas, what I’m wearing some days and other ‘stuff’.

This pattern has been very popular – you only need to google it to see just how many times it has been made. It has had rave reviews. It reminds me of my McCalls shirtdress experience. It’s a perfectly nice pattern, it’s been made over and over again, all over the internet. It’s just not my style. I think I prefer pencil skirts or long floaty maxi skirts – I also like yokes over waistbands. However just because it’s not for me – doesn’t mean it’s not for you.

I really struggle with skirts and dresses that are flared and have a centre seam. Is it just me or does that make the skirt move awkwardly when you walk? I find it’s more inclined to tangle between your legs – and I hate fiddling with my clothes when I’m wearing them.

Pattern: Sewaholic Hollyburn, provided by Stitch 56
Fabric: Metro linen shell, lawn lining from Spotlight.

I’ve made five tops recently. Four knit tshirts and one woven top. The weather has been horrid lately so there has been little or no opportunity to get outside and take some pictures. Hopefully the rain eases soon.

I got some lovely Christmas presents this year, including tickets to see Lior, an independent Australian musician… enjoy…

Misses, reflections, goals (not) & thank you…

Once again – if you aren’t into these posts… that’s OK, I just find them interesting to think about… so I blog them for me.

MISSES

I think these two are the most obvious misses, I was not pleased when I blogged them – and time has not improved them.

McCalls 6696 - no amount of naval gazing will save this one with me.

McCalls 6696 – no amount of naval gazing will save this one with me. Just not me.

 

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Checking out my own legs...

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Just can’t like these at all.

Some things I’ve worn more than others but I don’t rate my clothes as misses if I’ve learnt something from them. Sewing for me isn’t always about ‘the wearing’, a significant part is about purely creativity, experimentation and escapism.

You can see all my makes on the Made-by-me 2014 page which I’ve just created.

REFLECTIONS/HIGHLIGHTS

Professionally, I’ve worked relentlessly this year and I’m exhausted. I’d love to say in 2015 I’ll find a better ‘life-work balance’ but I believe there is no such thing.

I’ve actually edited the heck out of this post and decided not to say much ‘personal’ at all. It’s not for here.

GOALS

I’ve decided I’m not really a sewing goal type. I prefer to listen to my squirrels as that’s where the inspiration lies.

There are some things I’d like to sew but if I don’t, I don’t. That’s ok.

I’d like to sew a proper tutu for my daughter. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.

I’d like to try swimwear. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.

I’d like to find the time to exercise again – I started out the year fit & strong… and along the way work and life consumed me. I want to be back there again, I miss my figure, my strength and my legs (vain but true – I’m ok with that too). Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.

I’m not going to chain myself to any goals or beat myself up about them if other stuff comes along. It doesn’t matter. That’s life. I don’t think the future of humanity depends on it. That’s ok.

Merry Christmas & a happy and safe New Year to you and yours.

Thank you to the amazing people in my life and the fabulous people that have come into my life via this blog.

GRAINLINE ALDER and a WHIPPET…

More obsessive sewing.

I did mentioned I had made another Grainline Alder and here it is. I’ve worn my first Alder so much that a second one seemed sensible. If it works for you – sew it I say! I’ve worn by McCalls 6696 just once, it’s lovely but I feel at home in my Alders.

I’ve sewn View A again, this time in a border print (or more like dip-dyed, marbled) rayon woven fabric.

Another Alder, more beach and whippet photos... a typical Lizzy weekend.

Another Alder, more beach and whippet photos… a typical Lizzy weekend. I love this beach, it’s not too busy. Lots of space of a whippet to run,

The sewing

As the graduation in colour ran from selvedge to selvedge, I cut the Alder on the crossgrain. I also didn’t have quite enough so I shaved about 1 inch off the side seams. It was frugal cutting at it’s very best and I had the tiniest pile of scraps you can imagine when I finished… and I was very conscious not to make a mistake as there was nothing left to cut another piece – not even a pocket piece!

Grainline Alder, view A. Side view

Grainline Alder, view A. Side view

Pockets: I moved the pockets up about 1/2 inch. I think they could move up more next time.

Hem: I hemmed it. I wasn’t pleased with my finish. So I hemmed it again. Then I took some photos and thought it was slightly too long. So I cut off the hem, slightly increased the curve at the side and re-hemmed it.

Grainline Alder, view A - wide view. The hem is even - it's just windy (as usual) and I like to leave the bottom button undone as the dress moves better as you walk.

Grainline Alder, view A – wide view. The hem is even – it’s just windy (as usual) and I like to leave the bottom button undone as the dress moves better as you walk.

Buttons: I got some lovely buttons that were a perfect match. I made the buttonholes… started sewing on my buttons… decided the buttons were slightly too large. Fortunately I had not cut the buttonholes! I found more buttons, unpicked the buttonholes and re-did the buttonholes. I want to unpick the buttonhole on the collar (which I haven’t cut fortunately) as it is slightly too low.

Grainline Alder, view A. Back view

Grainline Alder, view A. Back view

The Fabric: this is a marbled, graduated rayon fabric from The Fabric Shop in Robina. It’s just a hop, skip & a jump off the freeway on the way to Brisbane. It’s got parking out the front, a refreshing change from Brisbane which can be a parking nightmare, especially around The Fabric Store in Fortitude Valley!

Despite vowing not to add to my fabric ‘library’ on this trip, I succumbed to some blue fabrics – which seemed to be in plentiful supply in this shop! There were lovely piques, sateens, embroidered cottons, Japanese fabrics and a range of fabrics that Maria (the owner) imports from Madrid. I loved the white cotton broderies – which I’m still wondering why I didn’t buy as they would make gorgeous summer tops… then I look at the size of my fabric ‘library’ and remember why that’s a good thing!

This fabric was the end of the bolt (I think it was about 1.5m) and Maria slipped it into my bag when I bought the two fabrics below… clearly I have a thing for blues – thank you Maria. The Fabric Shop does have similar fabrics to this one – I just got the last sliver of this one – sorry!

A cotton pique and an imported embroider cotton eyelet

A cotton pique and an imported embroider cotton eyelet

Pattern: Grainline Alder, view A. Purchased by me.
Fabric: An ‘end of the bolt’ piece, woven rayon from The Fabric Shop.

I’m on a Grainline binge at the moment. I’ve also just made the Hemlock tee (the free Grainline pattern) with some striped cotton knit from The Fabric Store, Brisbane.

WATER-LOVING WHIPPET

The following photos are for those who love to see Banjo on the blog.

There are quite a few whippets in Port Macquarie now. None of them seem to love the water quite like Banjo does. He will spend more time swimming than running if the family are in the water and he attracts a lot of attention as whippets are not famed for their love of swimming… although no one has told Banjo that…

Yes, my whippet even enjoys body surfing!

Yes, my whippet even enjoys body surfing!

I love this shot, he's such a happy handsome hound

I love this shot, he’s such a happy handsome hound.

Banjo - my favourite water rat.

Banjo – my favourite water rat.

Top 5 Hits – 2014 (or perhaps 4)

Before we even start this Top 5 blogging journey, I’d just like to say that I might not always blog ‘five’ things. It’s not that I can’t count, it’s just that I’d rather pick one thing, four things or maybe eight things or more… it’s just what feels right.

I enjoy these posts – for me. So skip over it or read on if you like. I find it interesting to sit back and think about the year just gone. Whether it’s sewing or life in general, it’s good to think about what worked, what didn’t and ‘where to next’.

TOP 5 HITS

Today I’m blogging my Top 5 Hits. The makes I’ve worn the most and feel most ‘like me’. It’s easy to get caught up in a trend but more and more I simply sew the things that appeal to me and my sense of style (or perhaps lack thereof!).

Drape Drape

My mother-in-law gave me Drape Drape book last Christmas – and I immediately ordered Drape Drape 2 & 3. These books really changed my sewing approach and ricocheted me off into a completely different style zone – where I’ve never felt more comfortable. They finally provided me with some options that were really what I wanted to create and wear. Some of the makes were perhaps a little crazy but I’ve found these patterns fascinating. Drape Drape posts are here…

As recently blogged, the draped singlet dress from Drape Drape 2 has been the runaway winner in this year’s sewing. This little make is simply a misshapen singlet/tank dress. It’s incredibly easy to make and takes just 1.1m of fabric. When I’ve worn them people want to know ‘who the designer is’ – that gives me particular delight with my red/white/blue one which cost me just $6 in fabric.  

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Without the drapes in view, it is a very simple singlet dress.

Excuse the stupid pose. blowing a gale and the camera went flat. No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Without the drapes in view, it is a very simple singlet dress. This is perhaps my favourite. I love the lyocell DKNY fabric and the vibrant colours.

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Side view - with the drapes.

Side view – with the drapes.

Vogue 8780 – the Ugly Duckling

Despite the incredibly uninspiring pattern artwork or even more ‘blah’ Vogue photography, this cardigan is one of my most loved & versatile pieces. It’s made from a very fine merino knit from The Fabric Store in Sydney – plucked from the remanent bin for just $19.

It’s lovely with dresses & jeans. I wear it at work as much as I wear it casually. It’s got lovely drape at the front, a flared hem and it’s fitted across the back. I will make a size smaller next time (this is a small) as the sleeves are quite roomy – but I don’t mind, I love wearing it as it is. To me, this is the perfect cardigan (or whatever you call this!).

All I can say is, you need this in your pattern stash, buy it before it becomes OOP.

Vogue 8780

Sorry can’t see much of the ‘make’ but I love all the natural tones in this shot.

Vogue 8780 - so versatile

Vogue 8780 – so versatile. That’s in the work lift… it has rather a lot of mirrors. Helpful for selfies! I didn’t make the pink dress, it’s an old Metallicus which I had bagged for the op shop – then I thought would lovely it would look with this cardigan. So glad I saved it!

Vogue 1250 & Maria Denmark Day-Night Dress

I’ve made five of these dresses, my most beloved is the Sew Dolly Clackett dress which I’ve worn to work many times. It’s a versatile, comfortable, fun & flattering dress. I’ve been surprised by how much people admire this given the somewhat ‘unusual’ print – it’s not for the faint-hearted! I love the quirkiness and the fact it’s a different colour palette to what I would usually wear.

I love this picture - not because it's a great one of me - but that 'window' in the print looks like a peephole into my soul... or belly button LOL

I love this picture – not because it’s a great one of me – but that ‘window’ in the print looks like a peephole into my soul… or belly button LOL

Grainline Alder Shirtdress

A very recent sewing hit. I’ve worn this a lot!. It’s easy to wear & I’m quite proud of my collar, placket & overall finish. I think I’m also emotionally attached to it as it was sewn on a happy, stress-free day – something I relished after some long, tough months.

I’ve got another Alder to share in the next few days!

Alder, view A - back view. I sense this will be worn A LOT this summer.

Alder, view A – back view. I sense this will be worn A LOT this summer.

CONCLUSION

There you have it. One indie (Grainline). One Vogue. One Vogue & indie (Maria Denmark) hybrid. One Japanese pattern book.

I love slightly fitted, draped clothes. I adore casual wear and love nothing more than an outfit that I can wear barefoot or with heels. It suits my lifestyle. I work fulltime (so corporate office wear five days a week) and when I’m not at work I like to relax – mentally and physically. We really do go to a quiet beach almost every weekend with the dog and spend plenty of time outside the house.

I’ve loved plenty of other things I’ve made, including my By Hand London Hollys or the dress Holly hack which were fun to make & joyous to wear (and I love that bodice). However for my everyday wear, these four makes/patterns are the ones I reach for the most often – clothes that feel most like ‘me’.

I often sew simply to experiment and challenge myself. I’ve always said I’m not always a practical blogger. I make things that are buzzing around in my head or make me happy (or I try to). My sewing room has many resident squirrels to distract me and one drunk monkey who wrecks havoc on my hems, buttonholes and topstitching when I’m too tired to fight him off.  However on my favourite sewing days, I’m making something I have envisaged and desperately want to wear – and it comes off the sewing machine like magic. Those are the great days.

Top 5 of 2014

Top 5 of 2014

The Grainline Alder Shirtdress, it’s more ‘me’

I like the fit across my back and shoulders. Grainlien Alder Dress

The latest shirtdress…

This year I’ve suffered from bouts of obsessional sewing. I’ve made three Hollys, three drop-waist dress (one still to be blogged), three draped singlet dresses and now three shirtdresses (sewing buttons on the third). I’ve really enjoyed taking a pattern, idea or something/anything and exploring it. That’s my favourite part of sewing, blogging and reading blogs – exploring variations. I also love sewing some patterns more than once if it triggers a burst of inspiration together – perhaps there is a miser hiding somewhere inside me (just not when it comes to fabric LOL).

While I love the idea of McCalls 6696 and I do like the shape on me… it just doesn’t feel like ‘me’. However I couldn’t give up the idea of a shirtdress.

I’m the first to confess I didn’t leap out of my skin when the Grainline Alder came out. However I just kept coming back to it after I finished the McCalls dress. Then I saw Cut Cut Sew’s version which I loved and I decided to take the plunge.

I had considered McCalls 6885 as made by Lori of Girls in the Garden, however there were no pattern sales locally, making the McCalls option quite expensive. I got out my Archer, tried it on and that sold me.

Why not just amend the Archer pattern if I had it? Excellent question and I wondered that myself when Alder was released. However the Archer has been drafted differently, as a sleeved shirt with the shoulders slightly oversized – there is a variation in the Alder sewalong if that’s what you want to do.

Anyway enough navel gazing and onto my make…

I spent last Friday sewing, at home by myself. It was heaven – decadent but work has been so overwhelming I needed a mental break. I sewed from about 9 to 4 – with a button-buying break around 2pm – thanks Lizzie for putting up with all my texted photos during the ‘audition process’ – and totally enabling the Alder sewing process!

Alder Dress Variations

Grainline Alder Dress – I made View A – the plain version on the right-hand side

The gathered skirt version appears to have been quite popular but the simplicity of the plainer version appealed to me.

Most of these pictures were taken by my husband while we were at the beach on Sunday morning with the kids, surfboards and Banjo. I didn’t even know he had taken most of them. The surf was rough, our favourite beach is unpatrolled (but it’s one of only two the dog can go to) meaning intense supervision is required when the kids go into the water.

Alder, view A - back view. I sense this will be worn A LOT this summer.

Alder, view A – back view. I sense this will be worn A LOT this summer. A very windy morning and rough surf – I was watching the kids like a hawk.

I confess I am not a massive fan of polka dots… I know I am not a very cool blogger. However they seemed just right for this dress and it’s such a gorgeous shade of blue.

Front view, this is very 'my lifestyle', simple, loosely fitted and casual.

Front view, this is very ‘my lifestyle’, simple, loosely fitted and casual.

Ok, my McCalls 6696 has a great shape… but I really do love the Alder. I like the fit across my shoulders and upper chest. There are also bust darts to add some shape. I like the curved hem that gives it that ‘boyfriend’ shirt look and that it’s not oversized. I like the back – without any gathers, pleats or added fullness. I love that it’s so simple and waist-less. It’s really very ‘me’ and my lifestyle.

CONSTRUCTION NOTES

After my contrast disaster shirtdress I opted for streamlined simplicity with this make, white top-stitching & white buttons.

Yoke: sewn using the Burrito method – not outlined in the instructions but you can watch the online video from the Archer sewalong.

I like the fit across my back and shoulders. Grainlien Alder Dress

I like the fit across my back and shoulders.

Collar: attached using the Four Square Walls method, read about it here. I’m really starting to enjoy sewing shirts and want to prove my skills.

I did have trouble with my top stitching with this fabric, I ended up using my heavy duty Singer for most of the collar band - it's a plodder of a machine but great for some jobs.

I did have trouble with my top stitching with this fabric, I ended up using my heavy duty Singer for most of the collar band – it’s a plodder of a machine but great for some jobs.

Armholes: I folded my binding in half (wrong sides together), placed the raw edges to the raw edges of the armhole, stitched and understitched, then turned it over to the inside, then top stitched it in place. I really hate folding the second raw edge of self-made bias binding under after I’ve sewn one edge to the armhole, it’s so fiddly and I have little patience – especially when it comes to ironing on a hot day! This fabric is rayon so this technique worked for me, perhaps on a heavier fabric it would add too much bulk.
Pockets: I’d move them up about 1/4 inch or so on my next version
Buttons: I am so glad I went with something that just ‘disappears’, it gives me the freedom to wear this dress plain or dress it up with whatever accessories and shoes I like. I wish I hadn’t added the last button near the hem. Oh well, I know for next time. Is there a next time? Oh yes… I’ve nearly finished it!
Length: I’m 5 foot 4, I did not alter the length at all.

Verdict? I do like this pattern and I’d recommend it. I found that it went together beautifully (not seamlessly – as there is a lot of seams LOL). I like it on me – it’s not as ‘shapely’ as the McCalls but that doesn’t mean it’s shapeless. I’ve really enjoyed wearing this.

Pattern: Grainline Alder Shirtdress, purchased by me. There is an Alder Sewalong on the Grainline blog with lots of tips and variations if you are interested.
Fabric: Printed Rayon from Spotlight, Australia (sold out in my local store). Purchased by me at a 30% fabric sale, usually about $12 a metre. I used about 2m. I’m tossing up whether to make a self-fabric belt for this as I like Cut Cut Sew’s one… but it’s so tempting to squeeze a little summer top out of the scraps instead. This is lovely fabric to wear and doesnlt seem to crush as badly as other rayons.

Also see: Little Betty Sews | Tiff Toffee | Ginger Made | Pincushion Treats | Sew Unravelled | Holly Anna Bella | Justina Sews | just google image Grainline Alder Shirtdress there are quite a few out there!