I have had comments about the quality and frequency of the op shop fabrics that I pick up. I actually only visit one shop and maybe once every couple of months . This does involve a bit of fomo (fear of missing out), but the shop in question is not handy to either home or work and those that are, I have never had any success at. All of the pieces in this shop are priced at $2 regardless of length which makes the inconvenience worth it. Sometimes all I arrive home with are a couple of pieces of lining but other times can be very lucrative. The lining however, is also a handy steal because we all know that the cost of notions can quickly mount up when sewing.
This particular piece of cotton shirting weight op shop fabric was ear marked for a sun dress, because of the hibiscus print but something was holding me back and had been for a couple of summers. This is usually a red flag for me and a stop and don't proceed action is usually the best course. Every time I have proceeded usually I am less than enamored with the results.
When Grainlines Alder pattern was released, I was underwhelmed. I am usually somewhat underwhelmed anyway because summer patterns are generally released in our winter. This does however have the added bonus of tons of reviews by the time our summer rolls around. The popularity of this pattern didn't escape me and it was then on my radar. The only issue though was the simplicity and similarity to the ever popular Archer.
I work five days a week so I am full of great ideas but in equal proportions, time poor. The creative me would have just worked with what I have on this dress but drafting is time consuming so the time poor me, just hit the buy now button and taped together the unending pieces of paper that my printer then spat out at me. As I write this and weigh up my decisions, I could probably have drafted up something in the time it took to tape this puppy!
Once my pattern was duly taped and then cut to a size 4 as per my measurements, I whipped the dress up. The sewing of this dress was super quick. After making numerous Archers, event he collar didn't present any challenges. I added 2cm to the length which was the only change I made. I tried the dress on before finishing the armholes and was subsequently disappointed. Have you ever tried pinning a button down dress on yourself and getting the hem and collar to line up? It was also 9pm and the barefooted, tire me did not like what I saw. At this time of night it is very easy to see only the flaws in my work. My criticisms centered around the collar being too stiff and not hugging my neck tightly and the shoulders needing a wedge added at the armhole due to my obviously straighter shoulders. I am still on the fence though over the major criticism and that is the lack of shaping in the back. I may yet add back darts to conform at least slightly to my sway back.
On finishing the dress, I have done a complete u turn. Yes, I do need to tweek it slightly but what I love about this pattern, is it is suitable for all ages. My 18 year old daughter would be completely comfortable going off to Uni in this, shortened and in chambray with a pair of converse, as I am in heels going to work. The beauty in the dress is that when I get home from work and put on my Mum hat, I can switch out the heels for flats and look equally appropriate at my sons after school sports.