Archer + Alder Shirtdress

alder archer dress

I pretty much live in Grainline Studio patterns these days.  Linden sweatshirt one day, Lark tee the next, I wore my Cascade duffle coat to death this winter, and I just finished sewing two other Grainline patterns (more to come on those soon).  I had a red Morris blazer almost done at the beginning of March but I put it away until the fall so I could start focusing on spring sewing.  Oh man, if there was a pants pattern in the line, I would be all set and never really need to sew from another pattern company again!

With all of that said, I present to you my newest creation: an Archer + Alder mashup shirtdress, my first garment of the spring season.


alder archer dress

To make this, I followed Jen’s second tutorial for hacking the Alder shirtdress by combining the top of the Archer shirt pattern with the skirt of the Alder dress pattern.  I agree with her that the bodice of the Archer shirt lends itself better to this kind of silhouette instead of adding on sleeves to the the Alder bodice, the Alder is too fitted up top and the proportions don’t balance out, in my opinion.  Her tutorial is spot-on-crystal-clear and the only change I made was grading the waist of the dress out from a 4 to a 6 since that’s how I fit in her skirt and short patterns.


alder archer dress

My personal preference is to wear this dress belted to give myself and the dress a little more definition at the waist (I need it!).  To make the belt, I cut two extra buttonhole band pieces and stitched them together.  It ended up being just the right length.


alder archer dress

(I have the worst resting-bitch-face in these photos, I was getting pissed off trying to get the lighting right so my camera would work!  Also, wish I could have taken pics with the camera further away so you could see the length of the dress better but my living room is too small to do that, boo.)

Here’s how it looks without a belt.  It’s okkkk….not my fave, I definitely like how it looks belted better.  Maybe it would look different if it was sleevless, like the original Alder pattern?


alder archer dress

Here’s a comparison of how it looks in the back, un-belted and belted.  There’s a good amount of ease in this dress (it’s really an A-line shape from the waist) and I like how it blouses out with the belt.


alder archer dress

The fabric is what made this project a little more challenging than I expected; I made the Archer pattern a bunch of times before and adding on a skirt wouldn’t make it a harder project.  I used a beautiful rayon denim from Indiesew that’s a dream to wear, but I had a booger of a time getting this fabric to cooperate.  It was super shifty, which made it tough to cut out on my cutting table, aka the cutting mat I put on top of my bed (oh how I miss the days of having an actual table to cut on!).  Cutting accuracy was not my forte in this project and my front button band is actually slightly longer on one side than the other at the hem – oops.  Something else happened with the sleeve that I can’t explain and I ended up not needing to ease in the sleeve cap to the armscye, but they seem to hang alright.  The pockets probably should have been stabilized as well to get a nicer result, but ehhhhh they’re fine.  The end result was worth it with this fabric (I think it looks like something from Madewell!), but it was a bit of a nail-biter to see if it was going to turn out nicely!


alder archer dress

Pattern: Archer and Alder patterns by Grainline Studio via Indiesew
Fabric: rayon denim shirting from Indiesew (sold-out but similar here)


This post is part of the Indiesew Blogger Network – pattern or fabric may have been provided by Indiesew, however all thoughts and opinions are my own



  1. April 12, 2017 / 4:24 pm

    Great dress! I like the fabric… I have a similar one that I’m itching to sew up into a dress soon too.

  2. Chris Griffin
    April 12, 2017 / 9:41 pm

    Very pretty!

  3. April 13, 2017 / 11:25 am

    This is perfection and I want it in my closet!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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