Grainline Studio Alder: Classic, Comfortable, and Perfect!

Posted on | August 10, 2015 | 6 Comments

In true last minute fashion, I’ve been on a roll trying to squeeze in some last minute warm weather makes before my thoughts start to turn to sweaters, turning leaves, and Rhinebeck. It seems that I’m not the only one, I’ve seen quite a few Alder dresses popping up in my instagram feed lately!


I purchased Alder soon after it had been released, along with two prints, from Grey’s Fabric and Notions last year. I had intended to make a few new dresses before it got chilly, but here we are, one year later.

I was going to kick off the Alder festivities with version A, but after a year of pondering and looking at other sewists projects, I changed my mind. Apparently past me knew I would change my mind because I bought more yardage of the one print that would be perfect for view B. Way to go past self!


Coming off the major Liberty dress project, this dress is a bit more laid back. The insides are finished nicely, but the only hand stitching here was to close up the inside collar band and to sew on the buttons. I have to say, I’m a little sick of sewing on buttons right now. I think my next project will have a zipper, or better yet, no closure at all!


I cut a straight size 4 with only a few modifications to perfect the fit. I raised the bust dart about 1″, removed 1/2″ of length at the cross front and back and added 1/2″ back in around the hip to keep the length.  I also moved the forward shoulder seam back 3/8″. For my next version, I might put the shoulder seam back as drafted. That change might have been a bit hasty.

I pretty much followed the instructions as written up to the collar. For the collar, I followed the instructions from The Classic Tailored Shirt Craftsy class. I’ve used this class as a reference so much, it has paid for itself many times over. I also added a small piece of silk organza at the pivot point where the skirt connects to the front. I just wanted to stabilize the corner to prevent any disasters from occurring.


I even learned something new with this pattern. When I made the Liberty dress and the black version before it, I could not for the life of me figure out how to make the bias tape finish at the armhole lay flat. There is just a little bit of wrinkling at the lower armhole that bugged me so much. Well, Grainline to the rescue! There was a great tutorial on the blog showing how to get a bias tape neckline (or in this case armhole trim) to lay flat. Worked like a charm! If I was a total perfectionist, I would rip apart the bias tape finish on my previous dresses, but let’s just let sleeping dogs lie.


Once again (one day I’ll get around to posting about my Archer), Grainline Studio did not disappoint. The instructions were clear, the pattern was precisely drafted and the design is really cute. I can’t wait to make up version A with the other print I have stashed away. Well, maybe after the button fatigue has worn off.

So what are you guys working on, any last minute cute summer sweaters or dresses? Or have your minds begun to turn to cooler weather outfits and snuggling by the fire?


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  • Soposie

    That’s beautiful, nice work! Probably my favorite Alder that I’ve seen. What kind of fabric is that? Voile? Lawn?

  • Melissa Wehrle

    Thank you so much! The print and fabric were the perfect choice, I’m in love! The fabric is just a 100% cotton poplin/shirt weight fabric. I’m glad that it can read like something a little more lightweight from the photos!

  • Craft Sanctuary

    Those bindings look super pretty! Nice work!

  • Melissa Wehrle

    Thank you, it was quite a revelation!

  • Beth – Sew DIY

    This is super cute! I made an Alder dress a few months ago but I think I need to do a smaller size and FBA to get the fit really good.

  • Melissa Wehrle

    Thanks Beth! It is such a great pattern, you should definitely try it again!