Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Completed: Sewaholic Granville Shirt

OMG I finally have a collared shirt that actually fits me!

Sewaholic Granville shirtThis is a big deal! Whenever I buy ready-to-wear clothes, I almost always end up choosing stretch garments, because I've got, uh, curves all over the place. Collared shirts have been my nemesis for a long time because they're usually non-stretch and never drafted for anything larger than a B cup. So if I fit my bust, the rest of the shirt hangs loose like a tent. If I fit my waist, it won't do up over my bust (or if it will, it pulls and gapes open). And, no matter the size, the sleeves are always too damn tight over my upper arms. So, for a long time, I just decided that I can't pull off the more professional look of a collared shirt.

Sewaholic Granville shirt

Enter: Sewaholic's Granville shirt. I'd had my eye on this pattern a while, and finally got around to giving it a shot. The actual construction of the garment is not too complicated--as long as you take things slow. It helped that I had already made Thread Theory's Fairfield shirt for my boyfriend, because they have a very detailed sewalong that goes into detail about finishing your shirt with flat-felled seams, which I did here as well. They also have some great info about buttonhole placement, and I definitely need to get my hands on an expanding gauge if I'm going to make a habit out of sewing button-down shirts!

Sewaholic Granville shirt

This shirt has gotten a lot of wear since I finished it. It may be my favourite thing I've ever sewn for myself. I really took my time with the pattern alteration--I made three bodice muslins and one wearable muslin out of flower power quilting cotton before using this "good" fabric (this fabric is just some cotton/poly blend with a slight two-way stretch from feels and looks lovely but it's not really that high quality).

Sewaholic Granville shirt

I did change the pattern an awful lot from the original--I've sort of resigned myself to the fact that nothing is ever really going to fit me right out of the box. Here are the changes I made:
  • Took in the side seams at the hip. Like a LOT. Sewaholic's block is for pear-shaped women, but it seems like the flare is especially prominent at the hips--my first muslin was all kinds of awful, with not enough room in the back for my booty and way too much fabric at the side, like I had hip wings. Not a good look.
  • Did a minimal full bust adjustment for some extra shaping in that area.
  • Played around with the armscye to make it quite a bit higher and smaller to conform to my proportions better--this ended up increasing my bust dart quite a bit since I rotated some of the armscye length into the dart to get rid of it. 
  • Did a full bicep adjustment to the sleeve because I have quite a large upper arm circumference. Finally, sleeves that fit!
  • For some reason, the size 12 collar was waaaaaay too big on me when I made my wearable muslin. I could fit a whole fist beside my neck when the shirt was done up. So for this version I used the size 6(!) collar and collar stand and hacked the front panels and yoke neckline to fit it, mostly by just bringing the yoke neckline up to make the total seamline smaller. 
  • I added a pleat to my sleeve near the cuff since the cuff piece was too small to match the sleeve hem. I like this little pleat, but I must be doing something wrong when sewing the placket, since the instructions don't mention a pleat here at all.
  • I took in the waist at the back princess seams a LOT and added quite a bit to the side back and centre back panels to flare out over my prominent derrière. Look at the difference in these two pattern pieces:
The original centre back pattern piece is on the left; my altered pattern is on the right. The side back piece was also taken in at the waist, and the flare at the hip was transferred to the backside.
Here is a close up of my cuffs, where you can see the pleat I added in. The plackets were a bit of a pain, but they turned out okay.
Sewaholic Granville shirt

I found some lovely coral buttons to go with this shirt, and even though they are larger than the pattern calls for, I bought them anyway because I think they're perfect for the job

These photos were taken at the Botanical Gardens in Montréal last weekend. It was something ridiculous like -17 plus wind chill outside, so this was a warm place to hang out that served as a lovely backdrop for some blog pics!

Sewaholic Granville shirt

Check out those back princess seams! No pooling fabric at my waist! This is another problem I have with RTW clothing, and also a problem I had with the Granville sewn up with no modifications. It really, really pays off to make a muslin and fit patterns to your body.  The more I make, the better I'm getting at this skill and it's very rewarding.

Sewaholic Granville shirt

Things I'll improve for next time:
  • I redrafted the collar and collar stand for my next Granville to be more curved, because I find the back of this collar stands up away from my neck, rather than conforming to it, and I don't like the gap. I'm in the middle of sewing another wearable muslin to incorporate these changes, and the ones below.
  • I think I made the sleeves a tad too large--they were trouble to ease in. I will scale them back a bit.
  • I would like the bottom of the yoke to hit me a bit lower on my back, so I will transfer some height from the back and side back pieces to the bottom of the yoke--maybe 3/4 inch.
  • I may shorten the hem by a teeny tiny bit, as I find the shirt a bit long right at the front. 
Other than that, I am more than happy with this pattern, and I've already bought some actual nice fabric--Kaufman London Calling cotton lawn!--for my next two Granvilles :) I have a feeling this will be a TNT pattern for me once I tweak it just a little bit more.

I don't know why, but I just love this twisted gnarly branch. Plants are so cool.


  1. Wow . . . you're amazing! The work you put into making it fit you correctly was well worth it and the shirt is beautiful (I love the buttons).

    1. Thanks so much! I'm really enjoying the process of learning to alter patterns for a good fit. And coral buttons are the best buttons :)