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Allison's Linen Alder

Sometimes Tiger alumni come back to visit and we all get very excited. We get even more excited when they make beautiful garments out of incredible indigo linen! Allison came back from grad school this winter break and sewed up angelic Alder Shirtdress from Grainline Studio and she is here to tell you all about it.

Pattern: Alder Shirtdress by Grainline Studio
Materials: 2.25 yards Dark Indigo Linen Délavé (colorway sold out, but we have several other color options to pick from)
Size Made: 6
Modifications: none were intentional, but I made it work! There is a box pleat in the back that I needed to make the collar fit.

I love to sew, but sometimes sewing your own clothes is a humbling experience of trial and error. I have had my eye on Grainline's Alder Shirt Dress for years, but felt intimidated by the polished menswear inspired details like the button band and collar stand.  After making two successful Melilot Shirts (an adorable and surprisingly easy pattern by Deer and Doe), I felt ready to tackle this coveted pattern.

This burst of sewing confidence deeply hindered my progress in sewing this Alder because I thought I could make a successful dress with casual attention to the instructions. ALWAYS READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY!  Learn from my mistake! Grainline patterns have really well written and helpful instructions and if I had read them I would have saved myself hours of ripping out seams and re-sewing! I discovered my mistake when the dress was “done” I had completed the last buttonhole and rushed to try on my new dress.  Much to my dismay the right side of the collar was in the middle of my neck and the whole dress hung completely crooked.  After I put the dress in time out for a day or so, I was able to look at it with fresh eyes and realized that I had missed a step way back in the cutting process and needed to cut off some of the button band.  After two attempts, I finally fixed my dress.  This all could have been avoided if I was more careful and attentive in the cutting process…. SIGH!

I’m really glad I was able to salvage my Alder because I am absolutely in love with this gorgeous cobalt linen. This perfect, saturated, blue reminds me of Frida Kahlo’s house and will brighten up any dreary winter day. I paired it with these nifty copper buttons because I was wearing copper nail polish while I was sewing and I was crazy about the color combination.

One of the most important things I learned when pressing linen is to use a super hot iron and lots of steam.  Linen naturally wants to wrinkle and wiggle, but the steam and heat tells it who’s boss.

I think my new Alder Shirt Dress will be a versatile edition to my wardrobe.  I am excited to pair it with sweaters and cardigans in the winter and sunglasses and sandals in the summer.

Happy sewing! And remember to read the Instructions!!

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