Sewaholic | Granville Shirt

Back when Tasia released the Granville Shirt, I snatched it up immediately. It is so rare to find a women’s shirt pattern with all the proper shirt details that I had to put my money where my mouth is, and buy it. It has a proper two piece collar, back yoke, and tower placket for the cuff. Basically everything you’d expect from a RTW shirt. I really loved the version Tasia did in Liberty lawn (I need that print in my life!!), so it inspired me to finally dig out my own Liberty fabric I bought a year ago.

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I picked up this fabric last year when fabric.com had a sale on their Liberty fabrics. That brought it down to under $30/yd… still pretty rich for my budget, but I needed to see what the fuss was about. Thankfully I was not disappointed—this fabric is definitely worth the splurge. It presses perfectly, sews easily, heck it even cut easily. Once I had it in my hands, I just couldn’t figure out what to do with it. It’s far more sheer that I had anticipated, which meant it would have to be underlined for a dress. Buuuut I didn’t want to make anything fancy; I wanted something I could wear just whenever. I didn’t spend $60 on fabric for it to hang out in my closet, ya know? So when the Granville came along, I knew it was a perfect match. I love button ups, and the fabric weight and crispness is ideal.

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Since I was using expensive fabric, I made up a muslin to check the fit. Thank goodness I did, because it took quite a bit of work to get it right. Now, almost all the shaping for the pear figure is at the side seams. Even though I would classify myself as a pear shape, I’m more “junk in the trunk” than full hipped, and my “nipped waist” is long gone. To accommodate all that, I graded out at the side seam, but nipped in at the back princess seams. Then I brought the hip in at the side seam, and let out the same amount on the back seams. Basically I needed to transfer much of the side seam shaping to the back. I was still getting a little pooling in the lower back, so I straightened out the curve at the top of the back piece where it meets the yoke. That reduced the CB length slightly and helped everything to lay nicer. I also did a petite adjustment above the bust to hike up the bust dart and shorten the armhole depth.

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Things were starting to shape up once I got my personal fit adjustments taken care of. However, I ran into a lot of trouble with the sleeve and shoulder. I don’t really think I have narrow shoulders, but the shoulder seam was completely falling off, so I brought it in by 1/2″.

Now the sleeve. I have to say, I was not pleased with the shape of the sleeve. The sleeve cap is nearly symmetrical, which leads to a very restrictive fit (unless you have super erect posture, perhaps), and the sleeves are very narrow. I did a quick comparison to the Grainline Archer sleeve to see where I needed to go with it. I ended up bringing the curve of the sleeve cap out by about 3/8″ on the back side, and blended it into the bottom of the armhole, and up at the top of the sleeve cap (basically like Sunni did here, except that I didn’t add anything to the back armhole). Then I widened the sleeves by 1″ (1/2″ on each side) and pleated out the excess at the cuff.

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A couple other notes… The sleeves are very long on this pattern! The only sleeve length I removed was 3/8″ when I did the petite adjustment, but keep in mind I’m always adding at least 1″ to most patterns, and RTW is ALWAYS too short in the sleeves. I made my tower placket 1/2″ longer in case I had to shorten the sleeves, but I was happy with the length. Then on the collar, I’ve seen a few people comment that the collar stand didn’t fit the neck opening. I had no issues here, though I would say that having a 5/8″ SA at the neckline does no one favors.

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Overall, I am super pleased with the pattern. It’s clear that Tasia put a lot of thought into having excellent shirtmaking instructions—you won’t find directions better than these in any pattern out there. However, I feel like I have to put a disclaimer to watch out for the sleeves. I know a lot of people go weak in the knees when it comes to making armhole/sleeve cap adjustments—it certainly isn’t intuitive how to adjust this area. I actually put my original muslin aside for a solid month or more before going back in to figure it out. Admittedly, the petite adjustment I did (to shorten the armhole depth and raise the bust dart) went a long way in improving the fit, but that was only part of the issue. Having so little ease in the sleeves, and having a near-symmetrical sleeve cap is just problematic in my opinion.

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Okay, last thing… I’ve been asked a few times on IG about how the Granville compares to the Grainline Archer, but really we’re talking apples and oranges here. The Granville is fitted and shaped, whereas the Archer is loose and oversized. Personally, I have use for both patterns in my life; no need to choose one over the other. But, if the Archer just doesn’t have the shaping you want, the Granville is an excellent choice. I love that it is shaped without being tight or uncomfortable, so it will still work as an every day shirt. Anyways, I’ll be using both patterns for sure!

Whew! Guess I had a lot to say about this one. Hope you’re all having an excellent spring! We seem to have gone straight from the deep freeze of winter to the hot days of summer… 80F+ degree days this week… whut?! Not gonna complain though. 🙂

—lisa g.

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grainline studio | alder dress

i’m sure it’s no surprise that i pounced on the Alder Shirtdress about the second it was released. i love the ease, the button up style, and the knowledge that i’m getting some top notch drafting. and thank goodness Jen put this one in print, because the pdf would have been pretty cumbersome to assemble! not that that would have stopped me though.

note: if my dress looks a little wrinkly, or seams puckery, it’s because i washed it right after i finished sewing, but didn’t bother pressing 🙂

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i went with the shift version because i really like the swingy hemline and lack of frills. so many times in the past month i’ve stood in my closet deciding what to wear thinking man, an alder dress would be perfect for today… so if that’s not a good omen, i don’t know what is. fabric hunting was a little tricky, and i had a hard time finding something that would be opaque enough to not require a slip. (note to self: make a slip damnit!) i checked out the Robert Kaufman denim for some quality chambray and fell in love with the chambray dot in black.

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since i have that pear shape going on, i muslined the dress first. i went with a 6 on top, grading to an 8 at the waist, then a 10 at the hip. the size 6 was still 1″ bigger than my bust measurement, so i did a 1″ SBA. the dart is pretty small to begin with, so i may have been able to get away without fussing with it. however, i’m always annoyed when i end up with excess fabric in front. i also raised the bust dart by 3/4″, and raised the armhole by the same amount. these fall in my normal list of pattern alterations, so no surprise there.

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as anticipated, i had excess fabric in the back so i added some fisheye darts. each dart only took out 1/2″ (1″ total) because i wanted to stay in keeping with the original design. this isn’t a fitted dress, and i wasn’t about to change that! the darts worked great, but i would also be interested in trying out princess seams in the back. i think it could be a nice design feature and allow for more controlled shaping. plus it’s another seam that could be topstitched. ya know, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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the last thing i did was lengthen the dress by 1/2″. i was pretty happy with the unhemmed length of my muslin, and given that i’m 5’8″ (and especially long from waist to knee) i decided a tiny bit of length would be a good thing. it’s still pretty short, but i think it would start to look frumpy on me if lengthened any more.

this guy decided to join me

this guy decided to join me…

after mostly constructing the dress, it occurred to me that snaps would look really great instead of buttons. i sent out a little plea on IG about whether i should go with the berry color i had on hand or order some white snaps. IG overwhelmingly voted berry… being the contrarian i am, i went with white. i have a hunch that white will be my long-term preference, even if it meant another $10 and waiting three days. ultimately i want to be able to layer this dress with sweaters and tights, and white snaps would give me the most options.

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…and then offered to take my picture. not too bad for a 5-yr old

so yeah. i really, really, really love how this dress came out, and i can imagine several versions of it in my wardrobe. a silk ruffled version is definitely calling my name. wouldn’t that be heavenly to swish around in? hopefully that happens sooner rather than later!

—lisa g.

calli faye | wednesday dress

here is the calli faye wednesday dress made up as intended. since i was bummed about not having enough fabric to make this dress for my daughter’s birthday, i picked up more fabric right after finishing her blouse version. this is a cotton batik with a fine weave and soft hand. perfect for summer dresses!

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as i mentioned before, i was a little thrown by the sizing chart because it put my 50th percentile 10 yr old in a size 6. i ended up tracing the size 7 width, but extending the side seam all the way out to a size 10 length. then i used the bodice length of the size 8 to mark the waistband casing. i probably could have gone with the 8 in length as well, but i really like the modest hemline. in a sea of super short kid dress and skirt options, it’s kind of nice to have something a little more covered.

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plus it nicely balances the generous cutout on the back. i used the size 7 cutout, but i would probably reshape it a little smaller next time. it’s very open, and i’m not sure i’d send her to school in it. however it’s great for the casual summer dress it is. the only thing i altered other than sizing was to lower the neckline by 1″.

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sneaky appearance of oliver in a pair of unblogged pants…

this pattern has you partially line the dress. there aren’t separate pattern pieces for the skirt portion, so the liner is  just on the bodice and it very neatly finishes all the openings and creates the casing for the drawstring. since i had some metal eyelets on hand in exactly the right color (they came with my snap/eyelet tool) i used those instead of making buttonholes. the drawstring is simply self-bias tape made into spaghetti straps. then i attached the straps to a 10″ piece of 1/4″ elastic, which ends up at the back of the dress. that way the bow can be tied with a pretty drawstring, but the waist still stretches in the back. i hope that makes sense! basically, the middle third of the drawstring is elastic, while the ends are made from the bias tape.

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final thoughts:

i think this is a really nice pattern. i appreciate the simple shape to showcase great fabrics, plus it’s perfectly casual for everyday wear.  it is quick to sew up and, in this size, took less than two yards of a rather narrow fabric. the pdf itself felt a little clunky to put together. there was a lot of paper waste where a pattern piece just crossed over to a new page. part of this is because instead of tiling the entire pattern, certain pages are used for each pattern piece. i see this in a lot of the kid pdf patterns, and sometimes it works out great. it’s just that here (probably because i was using the larger end of the size spectrum) it felt like i wasted a several sheets of paper.

the armholes with the lining were a little tricky to navigate. i had to sew the arm opening, starting and stoping exactly where the side seam starts. then, i folded the armhole opening out of the way to sew the lining and outer side seams. i couldn’t do it in one continuous seam without major puckering under the arm, so i sewed the lining side seam, then stopped, repositioned, and sewed the shell side seam… not a big deal, but this could have been handled better in the directions. lastly, i may have mis-measured, but double check the opening placement for the drawstring before making holes. the spot i had marked would have been too low… again, that could have been my error!

all in all i’m pleased with how this came out. i’m happy i made the sizing choices i did (following the measurements, not RTW size) otherwise there would have been tons of excess fabric in the bodice. and naturally, her sisters are begging for their own. this pattern comes in 12mo-girls size 10 US, so it’s a great buy.

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all my monkeys bid you a happy summer!

—lisa g.

lane raglan v.3

spring weather around these parts is a bit of a mixed bag. eighty-five one day, 50ºF the next. i made this light sweatshirt-type shirt for those days when i need a warmer layer, but still want to look like spring. again, this is the lane raglan by hey june (clearly, i endorse this pattern!), and the fabric is a cotton interlock from girl charlee. this fabric is crazy soft and comfy, i love it so much!

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i was a little over confident in how much i could fit onto one yard of fabric and nearly didn’t get to make this top! i had to abandon print matching the sleeves to the main body pieces, and i was still short about 1″ in width. i briefly threw in the towel, then got it back out to try again. i arranged it so that only a small part at the underarm of one sleeve was hanging off the fabric. i cut it out, then went back and pieced a scrap on and finished cutting the sleeve.

i always win at fabric cutting.

i used rib knit from joann fabrics as the neck and sleeve/hem bands since interlock doesn’t have the recovery needed for the job. plus the ribbing gives it a more “authentic” sweatshirt vibe. i probably could have stretched the neck band tighter since it’s slightly wavy, but it doesn’t particularly bother me.

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for this version i shortened the hemline by 2″. it works a little better for layering with the shorter length, and, as it turns out, i wouldn’t have had enough fabric anyways. in case you were wondering, these are my jalie jeans that i made a few months ago. i honestly didn’t anticipate them becoming my go to jeans, but they are! my GAP jeans just feel so wrong now, i never reach for them. it’s definitely time for a second pair, but i suspect that won’t happen until fall. or sooner… who knows!

—lisa g.