The Alder My Friends, Is Blowing in the Wind...

Get it? Cause it's an Alder Shirtdress...Alder sounds like answer... What can I say? I'm a nerd. (Another nerdy fact: an Alder is a tree, and it indeed blows in the wind - okay I'm done.) DSC_5634Anyway, here is my first ruffle butt Alder Shirtdress. I made this one before my Pug one, and while this one is actually a full size smaller, I feel like it fits a bit better.  Weird right? I didn't think that when I made it (obvs because I made my second one a size bigger) but now that I've worn it a few times, I'm liking the fit better. I'm not sure if it's the weight of the fabric (both are cottons but this one is a little lighter) or if I made an error somewhere. Either way, it's hard for me to believe that this one is a size smaller.

DSC_5642It was an absolutely gorgeous day today, but it was pretty windy (as you will see in the pictures). Maui is known for its tradewinds, and while they made getting these photos a bit of a pain, they keep the air from getting too hot, so you stay cool and comfortable. John and I were out for a walk so I thought we might be able to find a better spot for pictures than our lanai. Might as well get some scenery in there, we are in Maui after all.  John is so good to me, taking all these pictures - talk about patience! We were walking along South Kihei Road which is the main drag here in Kihei. Our condo complex is on one side of this street, and the ocean is on the other.

DSC_5640Anyway, onto more details about the dress. This is a size 6 with an 1.25" FBA. I chose a size 6 based on my upper bust or chest size, just like I did for my Archer shirt. The Alder has a bit closer fit than Archer, so I'm still fiddling with it a little. When I did my first try on of this one, I found it a bit tight across the bust so I took the seam allowances down to 1/4" which helped. It still gapes enough that I added a safety pin today to keep it from gaping wide open, but I'm also wondering if maybe that has a bit to do with my snap placement. I think the snap should be right in line with or just slightly above my bust point, and it's not.  I changed that on my Pug version. I also shortened this by 2 inches at the lengthen and shorten line.

DSC_5655This lovely floral cotton print came from Goldhawk Road in London. It's super soft and perfect for a summer dress. I actually made a Washi dress out of the same fabric in a different colour way. It's beautiful to work with, and I love the colours. I used my favourite pearl snaps from Snap Source. The purple snap matches perfectly. I was tempted to go with an orange snap, but I didn't have any in my stash, and I am way too impatient to wait.

DSC_5650It's hard to see it in these photos because of the wind, but I love the high-low hem this dress has. It's pretty short by design, so longer hem at the back gives a little more coverage if you have to bend down to pick something up.

DSC_5648This windy shot was just too good not to share. How does Beyoncé do it?

I am so happy with how this dress turned out, and I love the colour even though it brings out my paleness. It's been perfect for Maui: light, breezy and comfy.

DSC_5646I am really loving sewing my own clothes all the time, but it was really fun doing it for this trip. I don't have a ton of warm weather apparel because I have a hard time finding what I want (and getting it to fit), so it was nice to sew exactly what I wanted this time. In the past, I would always want to shop right before a trip, but it's hard to find shorts and tees in the middle of winter in Canada.  It was so nice to just reach into my fabric and pattern stash, and make exactly what I wanted (or pretty close anyway). Plus I know I'll wear all of these things come summer. So win win! I ended up sewing this dress and my pug dress, my Marianne dresses, my Carolyn PJs, and a few more things I'll share with you as soon as I get them photographed.

Do you sew or buy specific clothes for trips? Do you feel like you need something new to wear when you travel?

The Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge

Hey everybody! What's up? You've been waiting to see what kind of crazy dog lady garment I would come up with haven't you? (Or maybe you follow me on Instagram and you already know. Either way, fear not, the wait is over.) Get ready for a pug and picture heavy post. If you have heard about the Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge (or spied the little badge in my sidebar), then this post will not come as a surprise. I think it is pretty clear that I am a crazy pug lady and an obsessive garment sewer, so of course I would join a Crazy Dog Lady Sewing challenge!! When I first learned about this fabulous challenge on Instagram, I was thrilled! I've been hoarding some super cute pug fabric since the summer (I found it when I bought my cat fabric). I was leaning towards making anothet Archer shirt, but I did that for the Crazy Cat Lady Sewing challenge, so it seemed repetitive. I decided to go for an Alder Shirtdress. I have wanted to make the ruffle butt version (thanks Meg for the nickname) for quite some time, so I decided why not go for some seasonally inappropriate sewing? It's time for a change right?

IMG_6308This is View B in a size 8 with a 1.25" FBA. I think the fit is pretty close, but it's not perfect. It still pulls a little tiny bit across my chest (and you can see a little tightness in the back because of it) so next time I think I will go with a size 10 for the bodice with a size 8 skirt and adjust from there. I'm finding fitting Alder a little more difficult than Archer.

IMG_6341The fabric is a Michael Miller quilting cotton from It's absolutely adorable with little fawn and black pugs and the rare silver pug . When I saw it, I knew I had to have it. It's called Pugs and Kisses, and I actually bought the other pug print called Pugs on Holiday, but I'll save that for something else. At the time I wasn't sure what I would make out of it, but come on, it has pugs, how can you go wrong? I love sewing with quilting cotton. It cuts and presses so well, and it's just really easy to sew with.

IMG_6346The only drawback to sewing garments with quilting cotton is that it's a bit stiff, but I'm hoping with some more washes and wears it will soften up and drape a little bit better.

IMG_6313I decided to add side seam pockets because who doesn't love pockets? I used the pattern piece from Deer & Doe's Chardon skirt as it was nearby (and I'm too lazy to draft my own). They worked out perfectly, and I think they go well with the style. Although now I see that none of these pictures really show you what they look like. Oh well! My hands are actually in the pockets in the first picture, but it's a little hard to tell because the dress flares a lot in this fabric.

IMG_6338While I was working on this dress, I posted a couple of pictures of it on Instagram and Gillian suggested I find a matching brooch to go with it a la Heather B (who has the coolest brooch collection btw). Then Amber suggested Erstwilder because they make a lot of cute dog brooches. Gotta love the sewing community! I ended up ordering from Aubijou Boutique (an Erstwilder stockist). They have a huge selection of brooches but they also carry earrings, so of course I had to order pug earrings too!

Broach & earringsSo yeah, I've gone full crazy pug lady! And....guess what? I love it!! I know this dress is a bit of a novelty dress, but I love it, and I plan to wear it lots no matter how twee it is. I'm not sure mint is the best colour for me, but it has pugs!! PUGS! And speaking of pugs, it wouldn't be right to finish this post without some pug cameos, would it?

Me-&-the-Pugs-Collage2So from left to right: Quincie (she's 12), Jackie Boy (he's 10) and Shanny (she's 11).

Aren't they cute?  All three of them are rescues that we adopted about 3 years ago. They were all breeding dogs, which has led to some health issues, but we are loving spoiling them rotten and helping them to live out their last years in the lap of luxury. Quincie came to us first, and a couple of months later we got Jackie Boy and Shanny who are a bonded pair. We absolutely adore all 3 of them, and they all the cutest little personalities. Pugs make fabulous, comical, and extremely loyal companions. They seem to get along with everyone, and they live to love (and eat, can you tell?). Aside from their constant shedding, they are an extremely adaptable and low maintenance breed. Pugs are the perfect little package if you ask me, and I am so happy that we decided to adopt these three. Also, did you know that a pack of pugs is called a grumble? The more you know....Lol.

I would have loved a shot with me and all three of them together, but it was pretty difficult to wrangle them all together and get them to stay put, plus they are way too heavy and awkward for me to hold all at the same time. Here's me trying to convince Jackie Boy and Shanny to pose. Pug butts are the cutest!

IMG_6348 And here I am trying to lift them both:

IMG_6350Don't they look thrilled? I love all these shots!

IMG_6354So there you have it. I had a lot of fun sewing up this dress and participating in this challenge. Tanya, Carlee, and Sophie-Lee have put together some amazing prizes and entry is open until March 15th. So if you want to play along, there's still plenty of time. You can also check out (and join) the Flickr group to see some other Crazy Dog Ladies too!

Are you crazy about your pet? Do you or have you ever sewn up and worn a garment in novelty fabric? 

Alder the First

IMG_4962 So here it is, my Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress! I loved this design the minute I saw it on Jen's instagram feed,  and I bought it pretty much the second it went on sale. Then it sat and it sat and it sat, and I couldn't drudge up enough courage to make it. I had so many fears: how would it look on a curvier shape like mine? I've never made a collar with a stand - how would that work? What fabric would I use? What if I put in a bunch of time and it looks awful on me?? It seemed easier to just dream about it and let it sit on the shelf, rather than try it out and possibly be disappointed (or thrilled). Silly, huh?

I finally just bit the bullet and decided to try it out late last week. I went with View A first, but I do have plans to make the ruffle butt (View B) version too.

IMG_4965Oh my goodness, do I ever need a haircut!! I took these photos last night as I wanted to get them done, but I'm looking a little rough and perhaps taking photos after a big steak dinner is not the best idea in the world.


I used a super soft purple chambray I bought months ago out of the clearance section at Fabricland. I had planned to make a practice Archer out of it, but I decided it would probably work really well for an Alder wearable muslin. I'm not sure I am crazy about the colour on me, especially as a solid dress, but it's okay.


The construction of this baby went well. The collar is far from perfect, but it's not awful for my first try,  and I had a bit of trouble with positioning the pockets (note to self -be sure to make pocket markings when cutting out, not when it's already sewn). I also feel like I may have screwed up the button band. It seems like the sides of this shirt are not symmetrical, but it might just be me. My husband couldn't see what I was talking about, and he's pretty picky about those things.  Jen's instructions are very good, and if you've made a button down shirt before, I am sure they would be enough, but because I haven't, I feel like I needed a little extra hand holding. I'm pretty confident that once all the sew along posts are up, they will clear up any issues I had. So I am very much looking forward to that.

I didn't make any adjustments, except to hem it up an extra 2 inches. I didn't shorten the pattern because I wanted to see the original length on me, but it was of course too long, and I actually think it's meant to be even shorter. I think the fit is pretty good, but next time I might grade down a size in the hips as I feel like there is a bit too much fabric there. I debated adding side seam pockets, but I decided against it as I like how streamlined this version is. I think on the ruffle butt version side seam pockets would work really well.


I can definitely see myself make a ton of cute shirts from this pattern, or even shortening it to a tunic length to wear with leggings. John said it just looks like a really long shirt and would be much better if I just chopped it off at the waist. So needless to say he's not a big fan. I'm not sure what I think. It's cute and comfy, but does it flatter, or just make me look like a big blob? I love how it looks from the front, but when I turn to the side, I'm not so sure. Perhaps it's because I'm not in love with the fabric. I think maybe in a patterned fabric I might feel differently. I have loved all the ones I've seen around the interwebs - they are all so cute.

What do you think? Can you help me decide? Is it a keeper?