Disclaimer: this pattern was given to me free of charge to review, at my own request. All opinions are my own and I aim to be unbiased. If I’m gushy it’s because it deserves it!
Today I’m very pleased to be reviewing the newest pattern from Sewholic Patterns, the Granville Shirt. As you may know, Tasia and Caroline from Sewaholic draft with a pear shape in mind (smaller bust/shoulders and waist compared to bum/hips/thighs). As you may also be aware, I am a pear shape. An uber pear shape, with a whopping 15″ (38cm) difference between my waist and hip measurements – for reference, my measurements are 40-32-47″ (101 – 81 – 119cm. Does anyone else live in metric but use inches for sewing?).
Because of this, I’ve never really been able to find shirts that I can wear comfortably – if they fit my shoulders and waist they wont go over my hips resulting in bunching up (or needing bottom buttons undone), and if they fit my hips the rest of my body is swimming in fabric. I can imagine this is a common problem not only for pear shapes, but for bigger-busted ladies as well. So you can imagine my excitement when Sewaholic released the Granville shirt, a fitted button-down with waist and back shaping, and with all features you want to find on a tailored shirt. Trying to contain my giddiness, I contacted Tasia to suggest I do a review for the CSC (her new model is gorgeous, but makes it a bit harder to imagine the shirt on a curvier person) – thankfully, she said yes!
The pattern is described as “a button-front collared shirt with a great fit. It’s got a two-piece collar and stand, self-lined yoke, tailored plackets and cuffs, and front button band.” There are bust darts in the front, and princess seam shaping on the back below a self-faced yoke. I would call it semi-fitted, so it’s loose without being boxy .
The princess seams mean that it can skim in at the waist while still fitting over the bum and hips, without any pooling at the lower back or pulling at the side seams. Most of the shaping is, however, at the side seams so if your bum is where you keep the extra inches rather than your hips, you may need to fiddle with the seams a bit to get the perfect fit.
You can see the “dart” between the back pieces, 3 and 4, which can be manipulated to give more shaping over the lower back and bum if needed
Other than the shaping, it’s created like a traditional dress shirt – the left front has a folding placket and the right front has a separate button band. There’s a separate piece for front interfacing which is nice (or you can just cut a strip of 1″ wide interfacing). It has a two-piece collar and collar stand which is excellent, but note that there’s only one pattern piece for each: I recommend trimming the under collar ~2mm so it rolls under nicely.
Long sleeves are included and have a tower placket that buttons up. There is no short sleeved version so you would have to alter the pattern if you wanted one (I can do a tutorial on this if anyone wants).
Like the other Sewaholic PDF’s I’ve worked with (Yaletown and Rae), it went together smoothly. There’s a total of 36 pages (including the first page which is a test square) and the sizes are all nested together – the sizes are easy to tell apart. There’s numbers to join the pieces together and a grid to help line everything up. I did find that my button placket was about 1.5cm too short, but I have to check this wasn’t just a tracing issue (likely).
I do really like how she has the yoke, collar and collar stand as whole pieces rather than “cut on the fold” – makes it much easier when you have to cut two of each.
This is the first pattern released with Sewaholic’s new size range: they now go up a size 20 – yahoo! – which corresponds to a 45″ bust. I cut the size 14 and graded out to a size 16 in the hips. Things to keep in mind when choosing your size: there is a reasonable amount of ease in the pattern (4-5″ / 10-11cm of ease at the bust) so you will have plenty of wiggle room – see the finished measurements at the bottom. Also, the shirt doesn’t actually reach the widest part of your hips/waist, and the hem is curved to give the hips a bit more room, so you wont have to alter as much for wider hips
As mentioned above, the pattern is drafted for a pear shape so if you have smaller hips/bigger waist/other differences, you may need to fiddle with the shape. For those of you who are more generously endowed, Mary will be doing a tutorial on how to do a FBA on this sort of pattern.
The sleeves as drafted are rather long. I’m not sure if I have particularly long or short arms, but I am 5’10” (178cm) so it’s something I would check for on your muslin. The cuffs do fit snugly so it’s not too much of an issue, and to be honest I’ll almost never be wearing the sleeves down so I don’t mind (I hate clothing on my forearms). I’m also not sure if I need to narrow the shoulders a bit on mine, which would lift the sleeves up.
The instructions are good. They’re detailed and thorough without too much hand-holding. There were a couple of placed that made me go “huh?” but actually, were very clever additions – like pressing the collar raw edge at the seam allowance before sewing, to allow for the turn-of-cloth. I also appreciate the diagram’s in her patterns, which are thorough enough that when I re-make the pattern I can just glance at them to remind myself of the order.
The instructions just say to finish the seams and topstitch. I decided to go full hog and do flat felled seams – this was easy to do even on the curved seams. I even flat felled the sleeve seams which wasn’t too difficult (the sleeves are set in, because doing the placket while they’re attached to the shirt would be tricky). I finished the armhole seams with bias binding, and also finished the hem with bias binding rather than turning-and-topstitching.
And speaking of the sleeve – I didn’t bother doing the gathering stitches at the sleeve cap. Instead, I just sewed the sleeves in with the sleeve against the feed dogs and used them to ease in the fabric. This works well but it was a bit fiddly (definitely a technique that works better when you’re sewing them in the flat)
Novelty label, because why not?
The instructions for the collar were new to me, and I think it worked really well (usually I use Andrea/Four Square Wall’s tutorial). I will admit I need some more practice on my precision sewing! The yoke seams are all enclosed using the burrito method.
I will just say – this shirt was a dream to sew up. The pattern is drafted well, the instructions make sense and are in a logical order, and the whole thing felt great. I would class this as an intermediate pattern just because shirts can be tricky, but I think an advanced beginner could tackle it with the help of some online tutorials/sewalongs – there are a few places where I relied on my previous experience to know what to do.
- A semi-fitted shirt for curvy ladies! I love the Grainline Archer shirt on others but never end up wearing mine because I don’t like the boxy look on me and I can’t really wear it un-tucked.
- The increased size range is such good news. Even if you’re above the size 20 (which is possibly a lot – I know there’s at least a few readers who are size 26-30), at least it’ll be much easier to grade up from 20 than from size 16.
- Great instructions with good diagrams
- It should be relatively easy to alter to different shapes because of the back seaming and the bust dart. As mentioned above we’ll have a tutorial on how to do a FBA on this pattern.
- Seriously, it fits over my bum with no tugging!
- I think it will work in a variety of fabrics. You won’t want anything toooo stiff, but it’ll work in cotton shirting, linen (which mine is), and drapier fabrics like rayon/viscose
- Curved waistband not only looks nice, but gives extra room for the hips
- Would be nice if it included a shorter sleeve
- Will need altering for bigger busts
- The sleeves are a bit difficult to roll up because they’re close-ish fitting – but that means they STAY up
- While the bust dart is perfect on me, I have a low bust so watch out that you don’t have to raise it up
So what’s your thoughts on the pattern? I’ll also be reviewing the Oakridge blouse when I get the chance – that one is also so beautiful. And I must say I’m really pleased that Tasia explained why she released them as separate patterns – having looked at them both it was probably a good move as they both have different pattern pieces, and it would have seemed more “cramped” to have them as one (even though the silhouette looks similar).
You can find more information on the shirt on my blog, www.tworandomwordsblog.com