Easy-to-Wear Cotton Dress

Mood Fabrics Abstract Cotton | Grainline Alder Dress

Hey everyone! Well, the humidity has arrived, and so have the mosquitoes.  I think it’s safe to say that we are in the throes of summer here in the Gulf Coast.  Which can really only mean one thing for a gal like me – dresses. And also that my electricity bill is about to skyrocket, but we’ll save that sad tale for another day.

I pretty much live in dresses from mid-April to November.  Sure, shorts might be the staple of summer for some people, but I’ll take a frock that allows for a little breeze to pass through any day – bonus points if it lacks a restricting waist seam!

Mood Fabrics Abstract Cotton | Grainline Alder Dress

While I will always worship at the altar of All Things Silk, this season I’ve really been looking to expand my dress wardrobe into some easy-to-wear fabrics, namely ones that I can throw in the dryer (real estate on my drying rack is pretty slim… it’s a seller’s market) and ideally don’t require an iron before throwing it on for work – because I’m always late for work.

So this month for my Mood Sewing Network make I was looking for ease of wearing in both my pattern and fabric.  This Gray Multicolored Abstract Cotton Poplin Print from Mood Fabrics online perfectly fit the bill. I snagged this fabric earlier this year, and it’s no surprise that it, along with it’s other colorways, is now sold out. But Mood has a seriously good selection of poplin prints right now  –  like this one, or ooh birds, or birds AND fruit!!

Mood Fabrics Abstract Cotton | Grainline Alder Dress

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 Dress
Mood 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

What’s your favorite fabric and styles to wear during the warmer months? And has anyone else made some style choices lately that surprised you?



  • Debbie
    June 23, 2015

    Very pretty. Perfect fabric for that dress. You make me think I need a nice floaty cotton dress in my summer wardrobe. You know I’m a big silk fan too. I also love linen in summer.

  • Kate
    June 23, 2015

    I love this fabric and this dress. I want to make one, too!

  • Peter
    June 23, 2015

    I adore that fabric (the color combination!) and it’s perfect for the dress you made. Great job!

  • ooobop
    June 23, 2015

    Absolutely beautiful! 🙂

  • Mary Danielson Perry
    June 23, 2015

    Absolutely beautiful, Sallie! I love this fabric, with those frenetic, abstract colors, and it works brilliantly as an Alder dress. Also, high five for dresses in the summer! They’re my go-to, as well. Lovely work!

  • Amy
    June 23, 2015

    Sallie! This is my favorite Alder ever!

  • Sarah Gunn
    June 23, 2015

    Love your dress and photo, Sallie! Cotton poplin is the BEST summer fabric 🙂

  • Such a fabulous pairing of fabric and pattern! Love it. Alder is a winner to me too. So breezy and easy.

  • oonaballoona
    June 24, 2015

    i saw your doppleganger on the subway yesterday and almost bolted over to hug her. then i realized she wasn’t wearing anything close to the beautiful garments you drape yourself in and my dream turned sadly back into reality! BEAUTIFUL dress!

  • Lori
    June 24, 2015

    Fabulous dress, love the style and the fabric. Yes, the summer calls for cool and breezy dresses.

  • Deb Bee
    June 26, 2015

    Love it! I’m going to make one, too!

  • Stewart
    June 26, 2015

    I know I’ve been stalking the Mood website too much when I know EXACTLY which fabric to which you were referring when you said only “ooh, birds.”
    Inspiring make – I think I’ll cut the Alder pattern I had printed at the print shop ages ago. Thank you!

  • Maartje
    June 27, 2015

    Love, love love the dress. I too live on the Gulf coast. I too love dresses in the summer. What is the pattern number?

  • Fiona
    June 28, 2015

    This is beautiful Sallie! The colours are great on you and I really like it buttoned all the way up too, I would never have considered wearing my Alder like that but I might have to try!

  • Chris
    June 29, 2015

    Thank you for sharing the all the details. Knowing that the poplin doesn’t require ironing makes me want to shop for some for myself.

  • Ginger
    July 3, 2015

    That print!!! It’s so gorgeous! I’m sorry I missed it! Also, well, looks like I’ll be cutting out another Alder this weekend… you’ve inspired me!