I have always needed a creative outlet. I am not unique in this; I am sure many others also have reason to make this same claim. But I find that I need to be doing something tactile, whether it be knitting, painting, sewing, baking, etc., in order to keep me in what resembles a metaphoric balance, especially during some of life’s more trying times. I have always found myself to be in a minor state of trepidation when it comes to change, and when I find myself in states of change – I find myself getting increasingly crafty. Recently, with the change of term coming on, I avoided my blossoming anxiety by learning how to sew. You might remember my foray into project bags, and my Victory Pattern’s Madelaine. Well, I continued on the “skirt tails” of those projects by attempting Grainline Studio’s Alder Shirtdress. I had seen the pattern the last time I went to The Workroom, but hadn’t been completely confident in my “sewing prowess”, so I had chosen the Madeleine pattern I discussed in the last post. But once I was finished the skirt, finding it was easier than I remembered, I convinced myself that I was sewing “invincible” and returned to purchase the needed materials. The salesgirl smartly talked me out of attempting to do view B, the one with the gathered skirt attachment, and suggested that I would learn a lot from view A. I was convinced that I was going to do view B, up until the moment I started tracing out the pattern pieces. It was obvious to even over-confident little me, that the jump from a pattern consisting of 3 pieces, to one that had around 15 pieces, was going to be challenging enough without the additional skirt section. Jen from Grainline Studios has an amazing sew-along for the Alder Shirtdress pattern on her blog, which was invaluable. I didn’t actually read the instructions that were included in my pattern; I just followed along with the blog. I think, had I been left to my own devices, I would have screwed something up. The first thing I did was trace out the pattern. I had to make a full-bust-adjustment, which Jen explains in the sew along, because all of my body parts fall in the size 10 range, except for my bosom, which falls…well, a few sizes larger than that. So instead of settling for a dress that was mostly sizes too big everywhere else, I made the adjustments by tracing out the size 10, cutting my traced pattern to give the needed space in the bust, and then retracing it and narrowing out the body back to the correct size below. Once I drew everything out, I cut out all the pieces and followed the very detailed and well written instructions on the sew-along. I only had a slight issue when sewing the sides together, but that was due to my own indecision as I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to serge them or work french seams. I opted for french seams, after having stitched the sides together, so I had to seam rip them both and rework them. Luckily, I had added a bit of extra room when doing the adjustment to the bust, so despite losing a little bit on the sides for the french seams, it still fits perfectly! I am incredibly happy with how it turned out, but I am really glad I opted for view A, instead of B, because it was quite a lot of work. I have future plans to make it again, but for now, I’ll be putting all my crafty efforts on the knitting of the boyfriend’s sweater, so that it may have the potential of being the “belated Christmas/Birthday present, and on-time Valentine’s present”. Wish me luck with that one.