Monday, 7 December 2015


Happy summertime fellow Australians! And those in the northern hemisphere - I hope your white Christmas preparations are coming along nicely!

Last week I presented a winter cape, so this week I have done a full 360 and made a summer frock! The Alder by Grainline Studio's to be precise. Another cult pattern release from Jen about 18 months ago. I purchased it at the time of release, but never got a chance to sew it up last summer. I did however, feel it was definitely a summer dress so waited until this summer to sew it up!

This dress has been tried and tested very well over the blogosphere, and for a very good reason! What a brilliant pattern! It came together easily and reasonably quickly for a pattern with so many little details. I began the project using French seams, which would have been fine. However, I chose to make view B. Which includes the glorious aforementioned bum ruffle. Now, this means a right angled seam... which even with the help of Jen's lovely tutorial, I couldn't figure out how to master. I did end up inserting it quite well, with a fairly sharp right angle turn but I just couldn't get that same effect when I was trying to use French seams. So the right angle French seam was abandoned (as was my seam ripper), and I whipped this one seam through the overlocker. It still looks very neatly finished on the inside. And I figured sharp professional outside vs. sharp professional inside should win, when I could only muster one or the other.

The fabric is a lovely cotton, lawn like texture I picked up in Vietnam in May. I found it at the Ben Thanh Market (where I picked up quite a bit of fabric), which came to about $5- per meter. On returning home, I saw it pop up a few other places, and it appears to be a rip off liberty print! Whoops - I'm not sure if this would have impacted my buying, but I still love the print, and it is such a perfect pattern for summery clothes! The quality definitely informs me it is not a real liberty, it had some scratchy pulls when I laid it out to cut, but I was able to cut around those.

It was such a busy print, I didn't attempt to pattern match on the pockets. A feature of the Alder pattern that I love, is all the precision sewing - think top stitching! Very similar to making some menswear. I followed the sew-along directions, including all the extra steps to add a line of top stitching to keep the bum ruffle in place.

I initially added 2 inches to the dress, thinking it would be too short. (I added two inches to my scout tee's as I found them a bit short). However, on hemming, that was lopped off - and the original paper pattern amended to not include this for next time! I also sized out on the bum ruffle, cutting a 14 for the ruffle section. Again, I will probably just cut the straight ten all over, as with the extra fullness in the ruffle it can catch fairly easily in the wind!

I finished my arm holes and hem with bias binding. White for the bottom, which enabled me to keep the lovely curved shape as drafted. I knew I would find it difficult to do a turned hem, so utilised bias tape instead. I had a small amount of my yellow vintage liberty bias binding (scored from etsy several months ago) left which went really nicely with the fabric print, so I decided to use this on the arm holes instead of the bindings drafted my Jen - I figured I had better use some genuine liberty in this make somewhere!

I also used a contrast inner yoke piece, choosing to use chambray instead of self fabric. I love little contrasts like this on my me mades. It took me a little bit of time to work out the button placket and the collar, but I am glad I took the time to do this step properly, as this is what makes the Adler a bit special!

I definitely see more Alders in my future! Woo - team bum ruffle!

The deets:
Fabric: 2m of cotton from Vietnam.
Notions: 9 buttons (10c each from Eliza's), bias tape - vintage liberty and plain white.
Total cost: Pattern (19) + buttons and fabric and notions (25)
= $44-

Other bits: shoes - wittner.

Alder in the wild... amidst my garden..

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