So what do you do on a day where it is -5ºC outside and trying to snow…why, post about a sleeveless shirt of course. Brrrr! I took the photos last October when it was a bit warmer so at least I haven’t had to brave standing outside today to take the photos. This is the Grainline Alder Shirt. Because the fabric is so light in colour it isn’t coming up too well in the photos but hopefully they illustrate the shape of the shirt.
Pattern and size
The Alder from Grainline Studio is actually a shirtdress pattern with two options – version A has a sleek a-line sillouette, and version B with a fun gathered skirt (business in the front and party at the back :)).
To test the fit of the pattern I decided to make Version A and shorten it to shirt length. Since this pattern is really only fitted through the shoulders and chest I selected my size based on these measurements. My measurements put me as a 12 at the bust and waist, and a 10 at the hips. I cut a 12 all over just to be easy.
To shorten the pattern for a shirt I decided what length I wanted the front to be and then drew a new hemline at this length. To do this, I measured up perpendicularly from the existing hemline on the front and back pattern pieces to retain the curve of the hem.
I used a cotton lawn that I’ve had in my stash since I started sewing. It really worked well for this pattern – the fabric presses well and the drape works well with the shape of the shirt. The printed pattern on the fabric is so busy that I didn’t need to worry about pattern matching.
The pattern is marked as Intermediate (3 out of 5 for difficulty) and I found the instructions supplied to be fairly brief. You’d want a few projects under your belt before starting this one, although there is a very comprehensive sewalong on the Grainline website to guide you through. In particular I had to follow my instinct a bit on where to topstitch. I guess a lot of it comes down to personal preference in the end.
What I found the hardest was attaching the collar stand to the shirt. There are several methods out there for attaching a collar and I want to investigate these to try and see if I can find the method that works best for me. One of my goals for this year is to work on my shirtmaking skills. It was partially instigated from making this shirt.
To make all of the insides have a nice clean finished I flat-felled the side seams (to the inside). The armholes and hem were finished with self-made 1” bias tape from the same fabric.
I didn’t use the button placement given in the pattern, instead I tried on the finished shirt and pinned the button bands together at the fullest point across my bust to mitigate any gapege. I then placed the other buttons 3.5” apart – this measurement was just done based on what I thought looked right, and based on the number of buttons I had available.
Would I make it again? This shirt is in frequent rotation and yes, I’ve already made a dress version with more in planning!
Total cost: £39
Fabric: 2.0m of cotton lawn @ £25? (bit of a guess as I forgot to measure it and I’ve long forgotten how much I paid for it!)
Pattern: Grainline Alder @ £14
Notions: Thread & interfacing from stash; buttons taken from an old shirt