Mood Fabrics Abstract Cotton | Grainline Alder Dress

Whew! Where does the time go, amirite? This dress was finished back in May for my Mood Sewing Network make, but due to one thing or another it didn't get posted until June.  Then I went on vacation and shut myself off from all things internet-related, so now we're almost in mid-July and I'm just getting around to posting it here on my home turf! I suppose I could have just skipped it and moved on to the next project, but it's just too darn pretty of a dress not to get it's proper dues!

Mood Fabrics Abstract Cotton | Grainline Alder Dress

One great thing about waiting so long to post a make is that you can really give an honest opinion about it as part of your wardrobe.  So you can believe me when I say, with no reservations, that this dress has become one of my favorite warm weather outfits! I reach for it at least once a week - if not more - and it's taken me from a regular old day at work, to fancier gallery openings, to picnics. Really, I'm beginning to think that there is no occasion that this dress wouldn't work for!

Mood Fabrics Abstract Cotton | Grainline Alder Dress

This dress came about because I was looking to make some summer dresses that were both easy to wear, and easy to care for.  I'll always worship at the altar of All Things Silk, but there's something to be said for a dress that you can wash, throw in the dryer, shake out, and it's ready to walk out the door with you! I think my poor overloaded drying rack will agree...

So the first place I started to look for some easy, carefree fabrics was the cotton selection from Mood online.  I grabbed this Gray Multicolored Abstract Cotton Poplin Print (joy of joys! It appears to be back in stock!! If you're at all intrigued by this fabric I encourage you to grab some! You won't regret it!!) earlier this year with the intention of turning it into a summer dress.  I just can't resist a good abstract, painterly print! This cotton poplin has a smooth, soft hand, a nice soft cotton-y drape, and best of all, when I removed it from the dryer post pre-wash, no wrinkles!  Consider me sold! And you really can’t get a fabric more well-behaved than cotton.  It’s just so precise to cut, sew and press. A true joy to work with.

Mood Fabrics Abstract Cotton | Grainline Alder Dress

I always planned on turning this lovely cotton with it’s abstract, painterly print into a Grainline Alder. I bought this pattern last year and somehow never got around to making it up last summer.  I wasn’t about to make the same mistake this summer! I actually really surprised myself with this pattern by going for View B which features a gathered skirt inset across the back and sides.  I’ve always thought of myself as someone who, when given the option, usually gravitates to the more streamlined look – but maybe that’s changing! Good to know our personal styles aren’t set in stone.

Mood Fabrics Abstract Cotton | Grainline Alder Dress

I cut a straight size 4 based on my measurements, and I think the fit is pretty good right out of the envelope, however I did add 2″ to the length.  I’m getting a little bit of pulling across the chest, but not enough to make my buttons span.  And speaking of buttons, I used little black buttons in the hope that they would stand out from the print.  I also just love the petite little collar on this dress.  Styling wise, I surprised myself again by really liking the way this dress looks all buttoned up to the top.

Mood Fabrics Abstract Cotton | Grainline Alder DressMood Fabrics Abstract Cotton | Grainline Alder Dress

It’s hard to see, but there is actually a cute little pocket on there.  The print is so busy it gets totally lost (especially in photographs) which is a shame, because it might be some of the prettiest edgestitching I’ve ever done! I also think this might be the nicest my gathers have ever looked.  I think the trick might be to put a line of basting below the stitching line that prevents the gathers from shifting during sewing.


I kept the insides simple. A lot of the raw edges got enclosed in the yoke, button band, collar or bias facing for the armholes, but for the side and waist seam I simply serged.  I didn’t even bother to match my thread!

Mood Fabrics Abstract Cotton | Grainline Alder Dress

Now that I'm getting all settled after my little summer travels I'm looking forward to getting back in the sewing room. I have so many things I want to make that I'm having a difficult time figuring out where to start! Time for me to take stock of my fabric and look through my patterns and see what calls to me first.  This is always the most overwhelming part of making something for me - just making the decisions you need to make to get started - but it's also the most creative. So many options!!

What are you guys sewing this summer? Any go-to summer looks you've been favoring??