Grainline Alder Shirtdress in Liberty

Like many others, I jumped when Jen first posted her latest pattern, the Alder Shirtdress and whipped one up straight away.

I adore this new dress! I love shirtdresses (always) and was instantly attracted to the gathered skirt. During construction however, I doubted my choice and I worried about ruining this Liberty. Now that it’s finished, I can’t believe how much I love it!! (If only I’d have ironed it better before taking these photos!)

I managed to finish most of this dress before our renovations began. I now have some access to my sewing room, so managed to finish the rest on the weekend.

As you would expect from Grainline, this pattern is drafted impeccably. If you’ve made an Archer, you’ll have no trouble with the Alder. I made a straight size 6 and it fits really well. As this is a more fitted style, I sized up from my preferred Archer shirt size. The Archer is a loose fitting shirt that I’ve sized down from my measurements to achieve the fit that I like.

Surprisingly, the waist seam sits exactly where it should. The only changes I will make for future versions, would be to raise the bust darts and pockets and play a little with the button placement to accommodate the raised bust dart.


I purchased 1.6 meters of  Liberty Tiny Dancer and used almost every scrap. I was thoughtful when cutting to align the rows of dancers, but wasn’t too obsessed with pattern matching. I’m not even sure you can pattern match with this fabric. I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the under collar or bias binding, so used black rayon cotton scraps from my stash.

I’m seriously excited about this dress. It’s a little too cool to wear it at the moment, but with thick tights and a warm cardigan or jacket it’s OK. I have this Liberty that may become another version for Summer and some lovely dark chambray, but I guess I need to think about how many shirt dresses I really need….

Fabric: 1.6m Liberty from Shaukat inc part postage: $49
Pattern: $14
Buttons: $6
Total: $69

The last New Look 6145

This will be my last New Look 6145 for a while. I think this is the fifth time I’ve used this pattern. Gosh I love the simplicity of this shape. It is a little boring, but it is so wearable.

For this version I used a stable charcoal and black spot double knit that I picked up for a steal from Pitt Trading during their recent sale. Only $5 for a odd shaped piece just over a  meter long.

The pattern came together easily. I tried not to get too hung up on pattern placement, choosing to try to keep things even and on grain, but not centered.

To maintain shaping without distorting the spots, I added to darts along the back.
I really like this dress. It’s perfect for work, even though I haven’t worn it yet. I’m still locked out of my sewing room, so am almost exclusively wearing knit garments while I don’t have an iron.
Pattern: New Look 6145, used before = Free
Fabric: 1m double knit from Pitt Trading = $5
Thread from stash
Total: $5!! About time I made a truly cost effective garment!

Denim Shirt Dress: Simplicity 2246

My love for shirt dresses continues. I have wanted a Winter denim shirt dress for a while, and now I have one!

For this, I used a very popular Simplicity Lisette pattern, the Traveller Dress – Simplicity 2246. Oliver & S patterns are known for their wonderful instructions, so I did expect something different from this pattern which is drafted by the same designer, but the instructions are stock standard Simplicity type. That’s OK for me, but I thought they might be different to cater to beginner sewers.

I wasn’t a fan of the mock collar and stand on the dress, so drafted my own true collar and stand as I prefer how they sit. I used a cotton/rayon, black spot remnant for the stand and button band facing for a little interest.

I omitted the pockets as they didn’t look as clean and crisp as I’d have liked. I added proper cuffs to the dress, as full sleeves make it easier to wear a cardigan or jacket over a dress in Winter. I also added sleeve tabs for rolling sleeves, and belt loops so I don’t need to wear my belt tight.

I made a straight size 10, my standard size (though my measurements always put me between a 12 -14) and it fits perfectly, surprisingly perfectly, though I wouldn’t want the hips any smaller. The fabric is a light-weight, 4oz denim from Kelani Fabric and was just delightfully soft to work with, though I may not have washed it enough before wearing this dress as my hands were a little ‘smurf-like’ toward the evening yesterday.

When I read Carolyn’s post a little while ago about paying attention to the finishing on our home sewn garments, I could help but connect to her words for the wrong reasons. I only own 4 serger thread colours and don’t often pay the best attention to the inner finishing of the garments I make. I know! Tut tut! 🙂 So thinking of her words, I took my time with this dress to make it special. In total this dress took one and a half weeks to complete, slow and steady and not at all rushed. I flat felled all the seams (a first!) and really took my time to ensure the whole finish of the dress is very neat and crisp.When I look at this dress now, it makes me happy and I’m surprised by how smooth flat felled seams are to wear. There will be more of them in the future.

My only complaint with this frock is that the hem is probably half an inch too short, and although I thought dipping the hem at the back would be a good idea, I don’t like it, so I will be re-hemming this frock.

I’m very satisfied with this make and very proud of the finish. I also have another shirt dress cut and ready to sew tonight, because I just couldn’t help myself and bought the Alder dress pattern and whipped out some new Liberty – yum!!!

Pattern: Simplicity 2246, purchased on sale $3
Fabric: 1.8m lightweight 4oz denim from Kelani Fabric: $34.20
Buttons: Many!! from Tessuti only 20c each!! What a miracle! $2
Buttons: two from the stash for the cuffs, as I didn’t have enough matching ones: free??
Thread: 2 spools!! $6
Total: $47.20

New Look 6145 again

I’m not sure I’ve ever made a pattern as often as I have made New Look 6145.

This time I’ve used a deep plum ponte purchased at The Fabric Store in Melbourne to make another simple, boxy, but nicely shaped top. I purchased this fabric intending to make a dress, but a top like this will get worn so much more.

I adore this colour. I wish there were more of it in my wardrobe.

To add a little interest I split the hem, dipping the length at the back. I think I look a little pregnant in this photo as I’m touching my tummy, but I assure you I am definitely not! It was only to show you the hem. I didn’t know where to put my hands!

I’ve modified this pattern a little over time, raising the armpit, slimming the sleeves and slightly extending the front darts. I have another version of this pattern to show soon.

Pattern: New Look 6145, used before here and here and here = Free
Fabric: 1.2m ponte from The Fabric Store  $26
Thread: $3
Total: $29