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Testing a new silhouette: Grainline's Alder Shirtdress

alder shirtdress front 34 A while ago Grainline Studio released the Alder shirtdress. Even though I'm all about emphasizing my waist, I wanted to try this silhouette. We have a special blog post, since my boyfriend was kind enough to take pictures (It was late and I didn't want to get the tripod out...) He insisted on my posing in between the tomatoes and peppers on the famous terrace. So I did :-) Pictures are taken after wearing this dress all day, and it's still fairly wrinkle free, which is pretty awesome in my book! 13001ViewB01FrontPDF This is Alder as made by Grainline Studio. I opted for view B, since the gathered skirt part provides more room around the hips and I need that extra room!


  • fabric: denim, 3% lycra, bought at Pauli, Leuven
  • notions: buttons from stash
  • thread: Amann Mettler
  • pattern: Grainline Studio - Alder, view B
  • size: 10 with adjustments
alder shirtdress front 1

Measurements & Size

My bust is 38", so I knew that the finished version in size 10 would normally fit me. My waist is 28" which put me in a size 6. My hips are 44", so they would need a size 16. However, since this dress is intended to fit at the bust and hang loose at waist and hips, I knew that a size 10 would be perfect. To be sure, I made a muslin for the top part of the dress. alder shirtdress side 2


  • a 4 cm wedge out of the length from the bodice back narrowing to 0 at the sideseam
  • an 8 cm wedge from the bodice back, going from 8 at the waist to 0 at the yoke
  • added pockets to the sideseam
alder shirtdress side


When I sew up a pattern for the first time I usually follow the instructions from the pattern company. Since I added pockets to the dress, I changed up a couple steps. Whenever I sew pockets in a sideseam, I finish the sideseams and pocket pieces first. You need to be careful doing this, and make sure you don't shave off too much fabric, but I feel like the finish is much cleaner on the inside! For the yoke I used the burrito method, which is also very clearly described in the Alder Sewalong. The first time you put together a yoke this way it comes acros as advanced origami, but it's really easy! This time I followed the pattern's instructions for the collar and collar stand, but I feel that I have much more accurate results with my normal construction process that I use for men's shirts. (Very well described here) I used the button placement as indicated on the pattern pieces and made the buttonholes using used my automatic buttonhole foot (3A) on my Bernina. That buttonhole foot is magic and I love it more everytime I use it. Since the button placement didn't cover the point of biggest strain (POBS) on my bust, I also added a buttonhole to the buttonplacket at that point and sewed a button onto the inside of the upper button band. Since the bodice fits properly, I don't really need the extra button on the inside, but I'm quite obsessed about preventing gaping at the bust! All buttons except for that one were stitched on with my sewing machine using the regular sewing foot and a wide zigzag stitch. If you want to do this, test your zigzag width by cranking the handwheel yourself and setting the stitch length to 0 and/or lowering the feed dogs on your sewing machine. The last thing I did differently during construction was the binding at the armhole. I found it to fiddly to fold the bias cut strip under after attaching it, so I overlocked the remaining edge and topstitched it down. Next time I'd transform the strip into folded bias tape and attach it that way. I think that's easier and faster! alder shirtdress back So, I'm quite happy with my new dress. If I make another version I will hack the neckline into a V-neckline, since I will wear this dress unbuttoned at the top anyway! I'm out, enjoying summer & holidays! See you soon!