I am loving Grainline Studio’s patterns, they just fit and go together soooo beautifully. I’ve made a few of them now, all really successful, including three Scout Tees. I added a split back detail to two, one in Japanese crepe and the other in a cotton print. The third was made in a heavier fabric and all cut on the bias. There’s a couple of Tiny Pocket Tanks too, one in Liberty and the other in a left over piece of Cotton and Steel rayon. I’m adding a Talvikki/Linden mash-up in a gorgeous French Terry and an Archer popover variation in double gauze to the list too.
They are just really well drafted patterns with great online construction support via the sew-alongs. Much as I love my Alder Shirtdress mark 1 with sleeves- it isn’t the easiest garment to just throw on (mostly due to the slightly bonkers choice of fabric). I really love this pattern and wanted to have a go at view B with the gathered skirt but using an easier to wear fabric. After some online fabric pondering and perusing I ended up buying some rather wonderful Cotton and Steel double gauze in Spark-natural (part of the Bespoke collection) from the grotto of fabric loveliness that is the Village Haberdashery. It arrived in a beautiful spotty envelope with three fat quarters squirrelled away inside as an added bonus!
This fabric is some of the softest I’ve come across- seriously beautiful. I did decide the colour was a bit on the pale side for me so being that it is 100% cotton I stuck it in the washing machine with some Dylon machine dye in Jeans Blue and it worked amazingly well. It gave it the look of a really old, washed till they are butter soft, favourite jeans. I love how the little sparks turned blue too.
I didn’t make many changes to the pattern when I traced it off because I had already made view A….
- Graded from a 6 at the bust out to an eight at the waist and the hips
- Used the length for size 18 because I wanted a slightly longer dress this time
- Moved the bust darts to match my upper bust and apex measurements
I thought about adding shorter sleeves to this version because I’m not a big fan of sleeveless anything. I debated about using the sleeves from the Merchant and Mills Dress Shirt which I really like but in the end decided to go with the pattern and see how it came out- good decision as it turned out.
The fabric is really easy to work with because the 2 layers of gauze hold together well; it cuts, sews and presses beautifully. Although the first thing I did was sew the button band on wrong side up so quickly discovered that you wouldn’t want to unpick this too many times; I don’t think it would hold up that well.
I used some Liberty Tana Lawn, left over from my Miette skirt, for the inside yoke, under collar and collar stand. This gave the collar a bit more body which it wouldn’t have had with the double gauze alone I don’t think. I also used it for the front halves of the in-seam pockets I added and did all the topstitching in blue sew-all thread that matches the little pale blue sparks.
The only aspect of the fit I changed was to remove about an inch at the waist on either side. The fit of the dress is quite straight and I wanted it to be a bit more fitted around the waist. I didn’t remove any of the fabric width on the skirt, just adjusted the gathering. This is fine on a light weight fabric but might not be on a medium weight one.
I used French seams on the side seams and to join the skirt pieces (and pockets) then made bias binding to finish the seam where the skirt joins the dress.
I had a bit of a nightmare making binding from the Tana Lawn during Miette construction and got a very helpful tip from a fellow Instagrammer who suggested to try using spray starch on the fabric before you start; it worked brilliantly- perfect bias binding. I think there are probably lots of ways to use this when working with sheer and slippery fabrics so the can is now a permanent addition to my sewing kit.
I only added one of the two patch pockets. In part because I like the slightly asymmetrical look and, if I’m honest, also because I was a bit worried the pockets wouldn’t be completely identical (slight cop out on my part)! I’m quite happy with the one I have though.
Rather than use the suggested half inch hem I made 3/4″ single fold bias binding from the main fabric (spray starch doesn’t work quite as well on the double gauze) and finished it by hand. I love the way it looks and the length is perfect.
My best mistake of this entire project was not realising that I had sewed the right button band onto the left side until I had just finished all the button holes i.e. the second last step, right before sewing buttons on. So my Alder buttons up like a boy. My darts also ended being a little bit too low so I’ll need to check on that next time. BUT I really don’t care because I love the colour, I love the feel and I love the fit of this dress…even more than my first one and I love the imperfections because they are mine.
The dropped hemline is a beautiful touch on this version and although I’m not usually keen on sleeveless, it just works on this dress. I can already feel another version (or two) coming on. Something more drapey this time I think….maybe a silk or a rayon.