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
  • This looks so cute on you!

  • In my books a liberty shirt dress equals heaven. Love the dancers and the style on you. Kicking goals!

  • Well it's going to be a winner with Tiny Dancers and Grainline. Looks fantastic and this dress is perfectly styled with black (well that's how I do it anyway :))

  • It's fantastic! I have fallen hard for this pattern but I haven't hit the purchase button yet. Might have to now. And I might have to buy some Liberty, too. Ah, this blog post is no good for my wallet!

  • Do it!! You won't regret it!!

  • So much black to choose from! I actually had one of the kids at school the other day ask why my favourite colour is black!

  • Ah yes – kicking goals! lol!!

  • I love it! I'm going to cut mine out tonight. First up is a black chambray version. I think you should make a dozen – who can have enough cute shirtdresses?!

  • Love the tiny dancers and this dress. I really love Jen's patterns.
    And I love your dress.

  • Really love it! My heart just melts whenever I see a shirt dress!!

  • Looks fabulous.

  • This is a fantastic dress! I just bought some foe liberty and I couldn't decide whether it would work for an Alder Shirtdress so I cut an Emery instead. I'm kind of gutted now that I see yours. Not to worry there is always more fabric and more dresses 🙂 I'll stick with my Chambray versions for now but I see a liberty version in the very near future!

  • This looks so great on you! The tiny dancers print is so amazing that I'd be using every scrap of it too!

  • So excited to see this, it looks fabulous Christy! I fell in love as soon as Jen released this pattern and was thinking a lightweight denim might be a good idea for winter. I think I'm convinced now. You look great 🙂

  • I've been waiting to see one of these pop up! Love your fabric choice & it's always good to know you can eek out a pattern from less fabric than suggested 🙂 I think a chambray version is a must & I reckon you can never have too many if you know they're going to get worn 🙂 I have fabric lined up for both versions but have had the Alder wind knocked out of me momentarily after a mammoth PDF taping session the other day :p

  • Oh the taping is crappy. I cut as many pages as I can at one time to speed things up. The kids also 'help' as I often cut and tape while they are watching TV. I think a chambray version may come soon…

  • I think you should do it! I found some really lightweight denim/chambray at Pegs Pieces when I was there to buy buttons for this dress. I think it's the same light weight denim that I used for my other shirt dress.

  • Looking forward to seeing your versions!

  • Ooh thanks for the heads up, Pegs is just down the road from me! There goes my fabric diet again 😉

  • I love the fabric you chose! I can see heaps of possibilities with this pattern.

  • This is majorly cute! This pattern is on my cutting table at the moment- I have five fabrics reserved for it and have been mulling over which one to use first! Love the gathered version on you!

  • And another fab dress! I've had this fabric in my stash for a year now and it's gagging to become a dress. You Alder looks great – you should enter this in the Stitch 56 Alder competiton!

  • What a perfect combination of print and pattern. So cute! I've been leaning towards cutting the non-gathered version, but yours is making me rethink that decision.

  • Re: Taping. If it's a pattern I think I'll really use, sometimes I'll take it to Fedex/Kinkos and pay for a large format print. Yeah it's not cheap but I HAAAAATE sticky taping patterns 🙂

    I have this fabric too BTW – It might become a dress for me too. Buttons = nursing friendly, right?