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Mar 232015

The dress I’m showing you today is a child of Instagram.  It started like this:  Last weekend, I posted a photo of some absurdly gorgeous Liberty fabric I have and asked it if it would be crazy if I made an Alder out of it, seeing as how I already have one in linen and had just cut out another in silk.  All three would be view B because I wasn’t sure how view A would look on me, and I didn’t want to waste my Liberty on something I wouldn’t absolutely love.  The always-smart Charlotte suggested I muslin view A.  So I did.  And, in a rare moment of expediency in the garment conception to blog pipeline, here it is.


My assumption was correct; I do not love this enough to use my Liberty on it.  But I’m glad I gave it a try, because now I know, plus I have a new silhouette in my wardrobe.  Even if I don’t love it, I don’t hate it and I’ll certainly wear it.  Since I knew my first Alder fit well enough, I decided to make this “muslin” out of real fabric.  In fact, my first Alder was a bit too big, but I’ve also gained a bit of weight, so I figured it would even out.  The fabric is quilting cotton from the lovely Needle Shop in Chicago, which will forever be one of my favorite places because they taught me how to sew.  I’d had my eye on this Rashida Coleman Hale print in voile for a while, but it was sold out everywhere.  When I saw it in The Needle Shop, I jumped on it without pausing to realize that it still wasn’t the voile I longed for; it was quilting cotton.  I try not to buy quilting cotton anymore because it’s a bit stiff and I hate how sticky the backside of it is.  I absolutely have to line or wear a slip if I want to wear it in winter with tights, which is a real pain with a dress like this one because of the uneven hem line.  But I do really love the print, so I’m glad I bought the fabric.


Don’t mind my messy sewing area.  I have like nineteen different projects going on right now.  That number probably even even much of an exaggeration.

I thought about putting in some fisheye darts on the back to help with the back wrinkling you see below.  I may still, but I’ve thus far been too lazy to be bothered.  Looking at the picture below, can you believe that I’ve only recently realized that I’m pear-shaped?


A lot of things about my shape are confusing.  I was always self-conscious about my belly, so I thought I must be an apple.  I always felt like I was too busty, so maybe I was an inverted triangle?  But I do have hips to balance my top half, so perhaps I was actually dealing with an hourglass?  No:  I’m a pear.  My measurements slot right into the Sewaholic sizes, and I always have to grade up at size or two below the waist with other pattern lines.  Unless!  If I’m sewing a gathered or flared skirt, which I often do, the grading up isn’t necessary, thus the confusion.  Anyway, I am now a card-carrying member of the pear club, whereas before I was a very confused fruit.  Which provides a nice occasion to post one of my favorite cartoons:

body shapesI may yet decide I’m a broken slinky, but for now I’m sticking with pear.

So, I wondered, if I don’t like this dress because it’s too shapeless, will I like it with a belt?  Turns out, not really.  I can tell that it’s giving me more waist definition, which I like, but I also don’t like how the fabric is wrinkling up around the belt.  I’m impossible to please, I know.

grainline-alder-front-beltI think I might like the side view better with the belt, but I’m not sure.  grainline-alder-side-beltI definitely like the back view better.  grainline-alder-back-beltSo I feel like this shape on me results in a resounding meh.  I suspected that might end up being the case going in, and I figured if nothing else, I could always throw a cardigan over it.  In the end, that option is problematic because cardigan weather means tights weather, and tights mean major issues with my quilting cotton sticking to my legs.  So unless I make a better slip that won’t show at the sides where the hem is higher, this look is a no go.  grainline-alder-sweaterI was talking to the cat in this picture.  We converse quite constantly and seriously.  I think I look a little skeptical of whatever she’s saying here.  The problem with cats is that they talk big but can never back it up.  And by back it up, I mean say it in English so I can understand.  She may have been heckling me because my black tight-clad legs weren’t showing up in my pictures, unbeknownst to me.  “You look like a floating ghost,” she screams.  “You’re very cute but you need to learn to talk sense,” I reply.  And we pass like ships in the night.  grainline-alder-buttonsI found some aqua buttons in my stash that match some of the plus signs pretty well.  I wanted pink buttons, but I had no car the weekend I was making this and I didn’t want its creation to drag on forever.  I have recently come to the conclusion that I need to hand sew on most of my buttons.  When I got my first nice sewing machine, I researched all the feet and learned that there was such a thing as a button sew-on foot.  I was so excited that I ran out and got one immediately because I HATE sewing on buttons.  But I feel like they look sloppy whenever I sew them on with the sewing machine.  If it’s something like the button on a skirt waistband that no one’s ever going to see, I use that button sew-on foot and don’t think twice.  But for shirts and jackets and things where the buttons are more visible, I’m going to stick with hand sewing for now.  I’m so much happier with the results when I do even though it takes like five times longer.

So, the picture below is here to show you how ridiculous my camera is, because this is the amount of light in that room while I was taking the above pictures.  I had no additional lights on.  My camera picks up ridiculous amounts of light from I don’t even know where – you can’t tell in those earlier pictures that it’s dusk at all!  You can also see the sewing mess creep that happened while Ben was out of town last weekend.  That pile of fabric and bin of patterns in the foreground is his desk.  I had it all cleaned up by the time he got home and he usually doesn’t read the blog, so he’ll never know!

dark-roomWhile Ben was gone, I cut out two dresses, three skirts, two cardigans, one pair of jeans, and one top.  The top, a Maria Denmark Edith was a bust – didn’t even come close to fitting.  I must have measured wrong.  One cardigan is finished (the Muse Jenna cardigan) and the other (that McCall’s one that’s been going around town lately) is almost finished.  One skirt is finished the other two are well on their way.  This dress got finished, and I’m currently trying to finished my silk Alder before we leave for Florida on Thursday morning because I’d like to wear it on vacation.  It’s the orange and cream spotted fabric in the photo above and I feel like it looks vacation-y.  The main construction is done and all I have left is the collar, armholes, buttonholes, buttons, and hem.  Those things always end up taking me so much longer than I think they should.  I’m always like, “Am I still making this same dress?!”  But I hope I’m still on track to have it done by Wednesday so I can wear it in Florida and hopefully get pictures there too.


  One Response to “Grainline Alder View A”

  1. Well, I don’t want to hang around you while your looking all stylish with beautiful clothes while I’m wearing your hand me down dress from 1996. And furthermore, you need to make me a dress because I don’t have any and its not like I wouldn’t pay top dollar for your expertise, that, I might add, may have come from me because we had a sewing machine in your youth.

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