Alder Sew Along Part 1: Fabric & Supplies

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along | Day 1 Fabric & Supplies

I want to talk a little bit about the tools and supplies you’ll need to complete your Alder. I get a lot of questions about what kind of _fill in the blank_ I’m using a lot so I thought I’d share exactly what tools & supplies I’ll be using for the Alder Sew Along.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along | Day 1 Fabric & Supplies

I like to keep a set of super sharp embroidery scissors handy no matter what I’m making. I use them specifically for grading seams –  I find their tiny blades get in where I need them easier than with a dressmakers shears.

You’ll need dressmakers shears, or an equivalent sharp scissors, to do the bulk of your cutting. I use the Gingher 6″ shears. Sidenote: I used to use an 8″ as we were required to buy in school, but due to the fact I have the hands and wrists of a small child a physical therapist suggested I buy a smaller blade and I’ve never looked back. Apparently the motion of opening a larger scissor blade was too much for the size of my hand, haha! Wrist problems not solved but much improved after the switch.

I use the super basic Dritz tailors ham for pressing darts as well as positioning the pockets over the darts as you’ll see later this week. You’ll get much nicer dart points and better pocket placement over the rounded bust point this way.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along | Day 1 Fabric & Supplies

You’ll need pins, the type will for the most part depend on your fabric. I actually love to use silk pins for most things, they glide in and out of the fabric so nicely and rarely leave behind a hole. I’ll be using them on 6.5oz denim, rayon, and silk in the sew along.

I love myself a buttonhole chisel which I’m sure you guys know by now. I’ve never insert a buttonhole that was too small to be opened by this guy and it saves you the stress of seam ripping through the end of the button hole. Just a quick press on the chisel into the fabric and you’re good to go.

A seam gauge will come in handy while we place construct the front button bands and pockets. Any ruler will do really but I like that I can place the marker at the measurement point and then not worry about reading things incorrectly. A must have if you’re listening to podcasts or singing along to music while sewing.

The bone folder might be a little weird, but it’s what I use to turn points. It’s nice because you never run the risk of poking through the corner of your fabric and since it’s bone, you’re going to have it for life.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along | Day 1 Fabric & Supplies

Onto my feet. Basically these are the only three feet I ever use, except in the case that I’m zigzag stitching, which I rarely ever am.

The quarter inch foot is on my machine at least 95% of the time. I use it for straight stitching, roll hemming, regular hemming, topstitching, etc. I actually don’t have any fancy specialty feet besides what you see here so if it’s a straight stitch, I used my BFF quarter inch foot for it.


I use the button foot to sew on buttons by machine. My Bernina has a setting for this foot that automatically sets the stitch width to attach the button. I hate hand sewing because it’s so painful for my hands and wrists so this foot is pure love.

You’ll need a buttonhole foot if you plan on putting in the buttonholes by machine. If you’re doing it by hand let me know cause you deserve a special shoutout for commitment to the art of buttonholes! This is a 1 step buttonhole foot and I love it!

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along | Day 1 Fabric & Supplies

Oh yeah, and you’ll need a tape measure. This will help you when you determine what size to make. Did the tape measure need it’s own photo? Probably not, but I liked the photo!

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along | Day 1 Fabric & Supplies

Now a bit about the supplies you’ll need to complete your Alder dress. It doesn’t require too many things, which is nice!

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along | Day 1 Fabric & Supplies

First off you’ll need fabric, between 2 and 3 1/4 yards of it depending on the width of the fabric and the size you’re making. Make sure you pre-wash your yardage using the same method you intend to care for your garment so that you don’t finish up and get a sad surprise post-first wash! For the first two Alders of the sew along I’ll be using 6.5 oz denim, the same denim I used for my original samples. The subsequent versions will be made in an assortment of rayon, silk and cotton. For more information on appropriate fabrics check the back of your pattern booklet.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along | Day 1 Fabric & Supplies

You’re also going to need 1 1/4 yards of 22-24″ wide fusible interfacing. I’ll be using this medium weight tricot fusible. You do not need to pre-treat most modern fusible interfacings as they’ve been pre-treated already. Make sure your fusible is relatively new because the glue does dry out with time making it hard to attach and stay attached to the fabric. If you’re worried about yours you can always do a test before placing it in your garment.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along | Day 1 Fabric & Supplies

Finally you’ll need coordinating thread and buttons! I like 1/2″ buttons with the Alder but you can go a bit smaller or larger based on what you like and what you can find.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along | Day 1 Fabric & Supplies

Other than that the only thing you’ll need is the pattern which you can find here.

That’s all for today! Gather up your supplies & tools and get ready for choosing your size tomorrow. See you then!

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8 Responses to Alder Sew Along Part 1: Fabric & Supplies

  1. Deb Cameron says:

    Love all the photos – think I may have time to sew along – woohoo!

  2. Julie says:

    Love love your sew-a-longs… just like being in class at Lillstreet 🙂
    I don’t think I have time to sew along in August, but this is on my list for an early fall project 🙂

  3. Megan says:

    Just wondering if anyone in Australia has managed to print the AO size pdf at a copy shop? I’m having issues having mine printed, not sure what’s going wrong??

  4. emily marie says:

    Your visuals are so good here! Totally agree, that Bernina button foot is life-changing! I’ve always meant to get a buttonhole chisel but can never find one… not sure what the deal is there but grrrr.

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