Lyocell Grainline Adler Dress

Lyocell Alder Dress

Lyocell Grainline Alder Dress

Although I’ve taught the Grainline Alder Dress in a class setting a few times, this is only the second version I’ve sewn for myself! Which is surprising because I absolutely love this pattern.

Alder Line Drawing

This dress ticks off one of my summer sewing goals (I’ve finished another top, just need to take pics, so that makes 4 completed).

Summer 2018 Wardrobe Mood Board

I bought this slinky lyocell (which is a type of rayon) from Joann fabrics. I’ve been impressed with some of their fabrics lately. Every once in a while you find a gem like this. Unfortunately, everyone else loved it too and they didn’t have enough on one bolt to make this dress. Luckily, they had about a yard left on another bolt – but the color was slightly darker.


You can barely tell, but I used the darker fabric on the collar, button plackets, and pockets. For the pockets, I turned the top part to the outside, exposing the lighter wrong side of the fabric as a contrast.

At first, I wanted to sew the straight, non-gathered version of the dress but when I realized how slippery this lyocell would be, I determined it would be too difficult to keep the grain straight on such long pattern pieces.


I knew better than to try to cut and sew lyocell without some kind of stabilizer (like spray starch) but I was feeling daring. I paid the price by having to re-sew the collar pieces because they were off kilter.

The only other problem I had with this dress was a mishap involving the serger. But I easily fixed that by trimming the front body pieces and extending the gathered section toward the center front by about half an inch. Dress saved!


The buttons came from a friend (thanks Roseanna!). I asked for advice on Instagram to choose between three types of fasteners. I think the snaps won but when I tested one on a scrap, the pressure of the snap points caused the threads in the fabric to pull, making nasty runs. I went with clear buttons instead and I think they’re a good size and work well with the blue fabric.

I topstitched as many of the seams as possible.

This fabric is very drapey and soft but it also slides around on my shoulders and it wrinkles easily. And it tends to pull against the more structured, interfaced button band. So while this fabric is quite nice, it may not have been the best choice for this pattern. But that doesn’t really matter because I love this dress and I’m going to keep wearing it all summer!


McCall’s 7431

McCalls 7431

McCalls 7431

I had such high hopes for this dress because I LOVED this border print black and white fabric, but after completing the project, the dress feels too bold for my taste.

McCalls 7431

Maybe it’s the bell sleeves or the front lacing or the piping or dizzying stripe? Maybe it’s all of it combined. Some aspect of this design pushed it over the edge into crazyville and now I’m having second thoughts.

Let’s back up…

McCalls 7431

This incredible geometric border print is a semi-sheer poly-blend from Lockstitch & Lustre here in Austin.

Mccalls 7431

I had McCall’s 7431 in my stash and I thought the skirt, sleeves, and lacing band in front offered a good opportunity to highlight the border on the fabric.

McCalls 7431

The pattern itself was fine and the dress came together without any real problems, although the sleeves are a tad tight. I enjoyed adding eyelets/grommets to a modern garment rather than a historical costume.

McCalls 7431

The only change I made was to line the skirt with beige Bemberg rayon.

McCalls 7431

I spent so much time fussy cutting the pieces, sewing perfect piping and hammering eyelets that it seems a shame to waste this dress.

McCalls 7431

Perhaps I’ll try the pattern again in a tamer print. Or with a different sleeve option. As cool as the bell sleeves look, they tend to get in the way whenever I try to use my hands to do normal things like eating food or picking stuff up.

McCalls 7431

My plan now is to lop off the sleeves. I can only hope that losing the bells will help ground this design. But I’ve yet to take the plunge… What do you think I should do? Is the dress fine as is? Am I being overly critical? Should I just embrace the crazy? Or is there some other change I haven’t thought to do?
McCalls 7431

Tropical Print Grainline Hadley Top

Grainline Hadley

Grainline Hadley TopHere’s finished garment #2 from my ongoing Summer 2018 Wardrobe Series.
This is Grainline Studio’s new Hadley Top pattern. I made the sleeveless View B with the v-neck.Grainline Hadley TopThis beautiful tropical print is a silk/cotton blend from Blackbird Fabrics (sadly no longer available). It’s softer than a cotton lawn but less slippery than a charmeuse.Grainline Hadley TopAs soon as this fabric arrived, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do the neck and armhole facings as included in the pattern. This fabric is simply too sheer and any interfaced facings would obviously show through the top layer.
Grainline Hadley TopInstead, I opted for bias tape facings sewn from the same fabric. It works as an alternative however, I sewed smaller seam allowances along the neck and armholes – only 1/4″. Had I sewn the facings, the seam allowances would have been 1/2″. What a difference a quarter of an inch makes! The armholes with the bias facings are a tad snug. I notice it occasionally but it’s not so much of a problem that I would bother fixing it. But I imagine had I used the appropriate seam allowance, the fit would be just right.
Grainline Hadley TopFor the seaming of the shirt, I did French seams on the sides and what I can only describe as open-flat-felled seams on the center front and back. The seam allowances are pressed open, then folded under and topstitched along either side of the seamline.
Grainline Hadley TopThe shirt came together fairly easily otherwise, as Grainline always drafts a good pattern. I assumed that with such a strong a-line shape, I wouldn’t need to grade out at the hips like I normally do (I’m very pear shaped), but looking at the back view, I might need to do a sway back adjustment next time. Maybe I’m just being nit-picky.
Grainline Hadley TopIn any case, this is another winning pattern for me from Grainline. I hope to make more in the future, including a sleeved version for winter time. If winter ever arrives… Winter who?? Never heard of her…
Grainline Hadley Top

Black Denim Lander Shorts

Black Denim Lander Shorts

True Bias Lander Shorts
I feel I should preface this post with a disclaimer – I did a lot of photoshop trickery in these pics in order to make black denim visible without washing everything else out. But I wanted to be sure that you could see the details on these shorts.

True Bias Lander Shorts


But first, let me back up. Back in June, I got in the mood to make a handmade summer wardrobe. I was inspired by fabric textures like linen and rayon and denim – and neutral colors mixed with blue and coral – and loose fitted dresses and tops…

So I whipped up a plan to make nine garments: 3 dresses, 3 tops, 2 bottoms, 1 jacket. Some patterns I already owned (the ones with a blue *) but I still needed to gather fabric and supplies. So far I’ve completed three projects, including these shorts (I’ll share the other two soon). I have the patterns bought or printed for 3 more as well as fabric for 5 of them.

I’m already off to a good start and considering summer in Texas lasts through October I figure I’m on track to finish.

Meanwhile, here’s one of my completed projects:

True Bias Lander Shorts

These are the True Bias Lander Shorts. The Lander pattern has been out for awhile but as per usual, I am behind on all the hot new patterns.

True Bias Lander Shorts

I used a 100% cotton denim from Blackbird Fabrics. The silver buttons are from Joann. They’re like jeans buttons except you can snap them together by hand. Which was a plus because when I tried using the kind you have to hammer together, I kept bending the buttons. On the other hand, two of these buttons kept coming loose. I was able to glue one down but the other I had to replace.

True Bias Lander Shorts

The pattern and instructions were well designed. Everything made sense and came together easily. I loved that the pattern includes one-inch wide side seam allowances for fitting. But I must have sewn these when I was having a puffy day because they fit great when I made them. Now, though, they’re a bit big in the waist and back. If I can tuck a shirt in without having to unbutton the fly – the shorts are too big. I could unpick all the topstitching along the back crotch seam and sew it smaller but… I’m too lazy for that.

True Bias Lander Shorts

These are seriously my go-to shorts for this summer. They’re comfy with a long enough inseam that the legs don’t ride up but they also don’t feel dowdy. This 10oz denim was the perfect weight for this pattern.

True Bias Lander Shorts

The only thing I could have done differently was to interface the waistband more heavily. But then again, the waistband on my storebought jean shorts bend as well, and I never seem to think of that as a problem. Funny how we let issues like that slide with storebought clothes but not homemade clothes?