An Alder for All Seasons

An Alder for All Seasons | Grainline Studio

Pattern: Alder Shirtdress
Fabric: Feral Childe Thieves Linen/Tencel
Mods: None, cut a straight size 4

It’s that time of year where fall is rapidly approaching but summer just hasn’t given up quite yet. Over the past week I’ve worn both sweaters and shorts so with this change of seasons in mind I thought I’d present my newest Alder in the form of a warm to cool weather transitional style post.

An Alder for All Seasons | Grainline Studio

First off let’s talk about about the fabric. It’s an amazing Feral Childe linen/tencel blend I picked up when I was in Denver at Fancy Tiger and has the most beautiful feel, drape and sheen. It’s so nice that I’m debating the purchase of the blue color way for a top. That’d just be crazy though right guys? I mean, I wouldn’t wear them at the same time but…(queue internal debate).

An Alder for All Seasons | Grainline Studio

Styling the Alder for summer is pretty easy. I usually just pop on a pair of clogs and roll! So easy you don’t even need to think about it!

An Alder for All Seasons | Grainline Studio

I know a lot of people tend to pack away their sleeveless dresses come cooler weather but being a huge fan of layering, I just pop on a cardigan. I really like the gathered skirt Alder with a longer cardigan that flows nicely over the gathers but still lets the fullness of the skirt move. Proportionally I like the length of this one as well. Too bad it’s many years old and has a hole in one elbow. Someday I’ll either fix the elbow or replace the cardigan.

An Alder for All Seasons | Grainline Studio

In addition to a cardigan, I also like pairing the Alder with opaque tights and ankle boots. The tights keep you warm and along with the boots, help to visually bring the overall look fully into the autumn season. Transitioning seasons will be a bit easier with an Alder made up in a print that doesn’t scream SUMMER! like this one, but with the right additions you can getย extend pretty much any print over into the next season.

Do you guys pack up your summer gear when the cooler weather hits or do you keep the same core garments and just layer it up like me?

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60 Responses to An Alder for All Seasons

  1. Elaine says:

    Living in Chicago makes me keep all seasons of clothes at the ready all the time!!
    Your Alder is great and I would definitely layer it with a sweater (no sleeveless for me!)
    Perhaps you can look at some of tomofholland’s exquisite mending for inspiration for the elbow of your cardigan (or anything else).

    • Jen says:

      Ooh another Chicago person! Hi from Sacramento & Lake! I agree, layering is a must in this city, especially since during spring and fall you can get so many different types of weather in one day! I’ll also be checking out the mending, I recently found Katrina Rodabaugh on Instagram and am loving her sashiko mending.

  2. SaSa says:

    Your linen/tencel Alder is beautiful! Such a nice colour and print! It suits you very well! I don’t dress sleeveless dresses in autumn but I can see why you would layer this one! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. sallie says:

    Great post! Love this Alder (I just love the Alder altogether) and it’s fun seeing it worked for a transitional wardrobe.

    • Jen says:

      Thanks & love back to your Alder, haha! Couldn’t tell if this was going to be a really boring post or not since I’m always layering ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. I love this Alder so much! Confession: I almost bought the last of that bolt at Fancy Tiger, but I realized I need to stop hoarding Feral Childe fabrics so I let it go… And then saw you posted it on Instagram a few weeks later! so glad I can live vicariously through your gorgeous garment. I love the layered look and am all about seasonal transitional dressing. I’ve also worn a slim long-sleeve shirt over my Alder for a casual work outfit… have a feeling I may be doing that with your next pattern ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Hรฉlรจne says:

    This Alder dress is exquisite for the coming Fall. You can even wear it to walk your ball of wool. ;)) BTW, I love this smart little canvas bag for wool.

  6. Samantha says:

    Living in a climate that also swings wildly this time of year, I am all about layering. However I find that with that first chill, I cannot do sleeveless with a layered sweater. Something about my sluggish Summer blood that recoils at the first chill. But that said, I do do the the shirt under the sleeveless, with a sweater on top, when the chill descends…. This is also why I am up to my eyeballs in figuring out the Archer so I can have one ready for that first chill! I realized just the other day that I have a couple of skirts in various yarn-dyed Essex linen colors that I do wear pretty much year round. Time to make another one, or two, or three….

    • Jen says:

      Essex linen skirts sound amazing, I mean basically anything in Essex linen sounds good to me – that fabric is so dreamy. Hope your Archer is going alright, they’re so great for the cooler months!

  7. Yessss! Love it with the nude clogs but also really love it with tights and boots! I’m right there with you on layering, that’s why they invented cardigans, thin base layers and tights/leggings. I can’t imagine having two full and entirely separate wardrobes. I try to transition as much as I can!

    • Jen says:

      Yes! Why have to wardrobes when you can mix and match for the seasons! Layering 4 Life…especially when full on Chicago winter hits and it’s time to layer every single garment in our closets ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Rose says:

    You look great for summer and fall! I love the Alder Dress and must move it up on my Fall sewing list. I live in Florida and always plan a layered look for Fall and Winter. Ya’ know, it could be in the 80s or the 40s from November through March. Summer clothes remain in my closet year round. I do tend to wear darker colors in the Fall and Winter – gonna have a bit of seasonal change!

    • Jen says:

      Thanks! Definitely seems like layering is the way to go with that range of temps. I didn’t realize it had such a span, I just always think of Florida as hot, haha!

  9. lisa g says:

    Gorgeous! I definitely love the Alder for all seasons. Stuffing sleeves down a cardigan is particularly irritating to me, so sleeveless really is practical! I love pairing one of my Alders with a wrap cardigan (I’ve used the Papercut Coppelia) and it’s really perfect. Oh, and definitely buy the other color of that fabric… it’s the right thing to do. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Jen says:

      Ooh I like the idea of the Coppelia + Alder, I’m going to need to give it a second look. I always liked that pattern but felt like it was a little too ballet inspired for me, but I can totally see this!

  10. Anna Rodriguez says:

    Lovely, fabric choice. I gotta say I keep those sleeveless dresses hanging in the closet until the first snowfall. Living in Wisconsin, it is hard to know when to put away summer clothes. Layering is key. I too enjoy long sweaters and dresses, you posted great examples!

    • Jen says:

      Thanks! Right there with you on the weather front – you never know. It could snow, then be 60 a few days later. Midwest weather can be so confusing!

  11. Vanesssa says:

    Eeeeeee I just bought that fabric at Fancy Tiger!!! Now I know what to do with it yayyyyyyyyy!

  12. Carrie says:

    I love layers with sleeveless tops/dresses and yours looks great! I’ve got to put this pattern on my priority sewing list for sure. Please share where you found those adorable ankle boots!

  13. Sarah says:

    Gorgeous!! That would also look fab with a black turtleneck underneath if you want to really bundle up. Give you a great 70s teacher vibe. I’m feeling very inspired!

    • Jen says:

      I agree, I wish I was someone who could wear turtlenecks but I’m one of those people who feels like they’re choking! I’m loving the idea of the 70s teacher vibe though!

  14. christine says:

    Adorable, as always!

  15. BMGM says:

    Beautiful dress.

    I live in both Boulder, CO and coastal LA. When summer ends in the rockies, I pack up my summer wardrobe and leave in in LA for the winter. Autumn brings the warmest days to the beach anyway. (Summer shrouds the beach in ‘marine layer’ clouds.

  16. Grace says:

    Layers! I’ve got a solid Alder cut out in my sewing queue that will be great for transitional weather.

  17. Nuala says:

    I live in Scotland so layers are the norm for me all year round. I love this version of Alder and styling it both ways is a great idea. I can really see its potential as an autumn/winter dress now.

    • Jen says:

      Scotland seems like a place where you’d definitely want to layer, and it’s on my list of places I really want to visit! Glad you found some inspiration in this post also!

  18. Deirdre says:

    This Alder is very cute. Do you think this pattern could be easily adapted for maternity?

    • Jen says:

      My sister actually wore hers pretty far into her pregnancy which I was surprised about. You should be able to adjust pretty easily depending on how far along you are etc. I would definitely make the front longer, and one thing we did with my sister’s dress is make the raised sides of the hem a bit lower. She also wore her Alders all the time while breast feeding after my nephew was born.

  19. smalltrade says:

    I’m so looking forward to the fall! Your new Alder is such a great transition piece. I love the tone on tone patterning of the fabric. You got the fringe field bag!!! Do you love it? Is it worth it or everything and more?

  20. Charlotte says:

    Love, love, love this Alder & these amazing photos. I wear my dresses all year around – I just pair them with increasingly wooly tights & cardigans:)

    • Jen says:

      Thanks! I’m glad so many of us are on the layering train – it’s especially nice with handmade garments b/c we get to show them off year round!

  21. Addie Marie says:

    This is downright gorgeous! I always mix up my clothes for pretty much every season — I’m in Milwaukee, so we get very similar weather. Always be prepared! And layering is so definitely the way to go, keeps me from making bad temperature choices. Investigating this fabric right now, it’s got such depth! So in love!

    • Jen says:

      It’s so easy to make bad temperature choices near the lake, I swear it could be raining, then humid and 90, then 65 by nightfall around here. All the weather all the time, we definitely need to layer!

  22. Melissa says:

    This is lovely! I’m about to start on a fall Alder, so it’s great to see yours paired with tights and a sweater.
    I think you need the blue fabric too – why not? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jen says:

      Thanks! I learned a valuable lesson with this post…always purchase the fabric you’re dreaming of *before* you post about how amazing it is on the internet. Otherwise by the end of the day when you go to purchase it both colorways will be sold out :/ Oh well

  23. Annie says:

    That is just freaking gorgeous. Love it!!!

    No, it’s not crazy to want more clothing in that fabric! Why is it okay to have 17 black tops but if you want two in the same print you have to be afraid people will think you are weird? And it’s a very subtle print anyway. I’ve been eyeing it in another color for months. I had no idea it was available in this stunning color. Beautiful!!

    • Jen says:

      Thanks! You make an excellent point, and to that I would add, I have a zillion striped shirts, dresses, sweaters, etc. yet I keep buying more not worrying about it. Having two garments in the same print, that you would never wear together anyway – I’m now totally on board. Thank you for talking some logic into me!

  24. pumpener says:

    This Dress is perfection, the colour with the alder lends such a cool grunge casual look, i want one and i defo want to get my hands on some linen/tencel ^=^

    • Jen says:

      Thanks! I wish blends like this were more readily available for purchase by home sewers, it’s always the garment companies who get the best stuff! Lucky for us, feral childe started selling to a few fabric stores.

  25. Melissa says:

    Love your linen Alder! I love a piece of clothing that can go from summer to fall effortlessly. Unless a piece of clothing has a print that screams summer, all of my clothes get layered and mixed together no matter the season. It’s funny because I hate sleeves on my dresses, so even during the fall/winter, it’s pretty much sleeveless all the time. Maybe it’s because a sleeveless garment layers better under my numerous sweaters!

    • Jen says:

      I totally agree and I think that’s also why I like sleeveless dresses a lot – so good with sweater layering! If I had your beautiful sweater collection I’d be trying to layer a sweater every day, even in the summer!

  26. Susan says:

    Hi Jen! Love your website and patterns! I have a request: could you do a tutorial on how to use commercial patterns? I have to admit, I find it confusing, especially when I have a lot of differences in sizing between say, bust and hip. When I look at the size for my bust, it’s 38″ so I’d be a size 10-12, but when I actually measure the bust across a pattern, it measures out at 44″?! Does it really need that much ease? I usually have to do a mock up but wish I didn’t, esp when I’m feeling lazy…

    Some tips on how to successfully alter/redraw a commercial pattern for your body would be SO great. Especially for those of us who are not any one standard size on the pattern notes!! Thank you!

    • Jen says:

      Are you looking at the Alder? On the back of our patterns you’ll see the body measurements and the finished garment measurements. It seems like, if this is the Alder you’re talking about, you’re including the seam allowances and front button bands in the finished measurements. The actual ease around the bust is only 1″ per size. I wouldn’t recommend going down to less than that or you’ll have a hard time keeping the buttons buttoned when you’re moving around. You’ll also want to go up a size, because having only 1/2″ wearing ease on this pattern will be cutting it close in allowing for movement.

      We’ll add this to our list of tutorial ideas though. Hope the above info helps!

  27. Li Ann says:

    I can’t believe I only just made my first Alder!!! must’ve been under a rock – thanks for the inspiration for a ‘going out at night’ Alder when you maybe don’t want to always be wearing chambray, right? what a great excuse to go buy some more fabric!!

  28. Gorgeous dress and outfit. I’d never think to make an alder in autumn but in the right colours and fabric it’d work. I think it’d look great in a needle cord or light denim.

  29. Rochelle New says:

    I super love this look!! I really want to make some Alders for fall/winter so I can wear them with an under armor style warm-y shirt underneath, a cardigan on top, and no woven sleeves bunched up in between! The pattern has been on my list since it came out but now I reeeaalllllyyyyy need it! …also Lark. I need that one too ๐Ÿ˜‰

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