Finished projects

A Grainline Alder Shirt Dress

There are countless shirt dress patterns out there, but I have to say that Grainline Studio’s Alder Shirt Dress beats them all. Sorry to all who are currently obsessed with Closet Case’s Kalle Shirt Dress!


This is my second rendition of this pattern (the first can be seen as part of my Day and Night Dress Challenge here) and I am not stopping there. I want a closet full of these in every color and fabric… but I probably shouldn’t as I need to Kon Mari the heck out of my belongings.


I made this for my Las Vegas trip with keeping cool yet stylish in mind. I needed protection from the blazing sun and the collared neck line really helps cover up my tender flesh. The loose silhouette is perfect for bingeing at the buffets and keeping it breezy.


The fabric is a cotton lawn I scavenged from my sewing friend, Dana. She was cleaning out her epic stash and brought some fabric to our Sit and Sew group so we can get our hands on it before she donated. Thank you, Dana!


I sewed a straight size 8, left the boob pockets off, and made two adjustments. I raised the armholes by 1/2 inch. I found my bra kept wanting to peek out of the armhole in my first Alder. Problem fixed here! It’s snug (but not too snug) in there, so I might only raise the armhole by 1/4 or 3/8 inch next time.


The other adjustment I made was to add pockets! This is the only thing missing from the original pattern that would make this the most ultimate perfect dress ever. I wonder why Grainline decided to go sans pockets? Anyway, I took the pockets from my Winslow Culottes and shaved 1/2 inch off all around since they’re ginormous to begin with. I then placed the top of the pocket 4 inches below the top of the gathered skirt seam line. This worked out perfectly and I now have pockets that are large enough to keep me purse-free if I wanted!


Some other details I like are the red top stitching and red buttons. I find red isn’t really my color, but I like how it’s broken up with gray, black, and white in this print. I also like that the big flower print is summery yet the colors can translate well into the fall. Yay for versatility!


How do you keep cool in the summer? What are your favorite patterns for beating the heat? Share in the comments!


19 thoughts on “A Grainline Alder Shirt Dress

  1. Flog me for impertinence, but I cracked up when you said that red isn’t really your color, given the name of this here blog and all. XD I really like the scale of the floral with the Alder silhouette, and using red topstitching and buttons is one those subtle but smart choices that really pulls everything together. Also, pockets are always the right answer. Congrats on a winner!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha it seems to not make sense, right? RED are my initials, so there’s the fun double meaning there 😉 Maybe I should give the color red another shot…

      Thanks for the compliment! Huge florals aren’t usually my thing, but I agree they work well with the Alder. 🙂


  2. Oooh that fabric!!! Gorgeous dress. And as for beating the heat: cotton, high necklines (although i usually avoid collars in summer), sleeveless…all boxes you ticked here. I WANT THIS DRESS!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I wore it in Vegas this past week and was walking outside in 116 degree heat – I was dying but the dress worked pretty well considering I didn’t get sunburned and the dress wasn’t sticking to me!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Can I tell you a secret? *checks that the coast is clear* I don’t like the Kalle pattern. There, I said it. 😀 This dress, on the other hand? Love! The colors are really pretty together and I adore your use of red topstitching and buttons. Cotton lawn sounds dreamy for a summer dress, and flowy and loose-fitting is definitely the way to go for keeping cool. And short. Short is always good for ventilation! 😉 The side pockets are a great addition; I find breast pockets to be utterly useless in practice, even when they look cool on a garment. (Do real people actually put stuff in those?? My t*ts are not load-bearing structures, thankyouverymuch. O_o )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha you’re brave for letting your secret out! The Kalle has grown on me a little but I don’t think that silhouette would work with my body.

      I cracked up at your breast pocket comment! I agree, especially since the Alder pockets are so tiny. I do use my Granville pocket at work when I need to hide my badge when I go outside (nobody need to know my name, LOL). But other than that, boob pockets are too awkward to really carry anything in.

      Thanks for the kind comments!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am in agreement regarding breast pockets. I might need them if I were an engineer with a plastic pocket protector. But I’m not. Does ANY woman use shirt pockets? I tried with my cell phone once, but I leaned over and it fell on the floor. Oops!

    On to the Alder. LOVE it!!! PERFECT. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!!

      I’ve done the cell phone breast pocket thing – it never ends well! I guess they’re mostly for visual interest in women’s clothing? Like “Hey, if you’re gonna check out my boobs anyway, take a look at my nice pocket top-stitching!” :-p


  5. I love this fabric! It’s like a tiki print! You wear this style well, and the pockets are a great add. That is strange that there’s no pockets in the original pattern! Who wants to lug around a big old handbag in summer heat? I hoard linen in the summer. Our summers don’t approach being as hot as where you are but those few weeks where we’re well into the 90s and close to 100, that “dry heat” is just plain hot. Linen is possibly the only thing that makes it bearable since it’s so breathable that sweat evaporates very quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! I believe all dress patterns should come with pockets for sure. I still have to show off my pockets whenever I get compliments on my dresses. “Thanks, I made it… AND IT HAS POCKETS!!”

      I have a couple of yards of linen that I’ve held onto for a while… I need to get crackin’ on some linen clothes! This summer has just been so darn hot… I am ready for the monsoons to come and cool things down!

      Liked by 1 person

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