Saturday, 16 July 2016

New Hair + My Linen Granville Shirt

You know that feeling when you make something, and it actually turns out exactly how you pictured it and then you're convinced that you have the perfect piece of clothing that you would wear every single day if you could get away with it??

Well, meet my Granville Shirt! I made this a couple weeks ago and I'm so incredibly happy with it that I want to make hundreds more of these and completely would if I had the time.

Also, you might have noticed that I dyed my hair! If you follow me on Instagram or if you saw my Me-Made-May round-up, you probably know that I've actually had red hair for a few months now. When I first dyed it I used a kit (and a friend!), and it was right after my exams when I felt like I really needed a big change.

It was a little impulsive (not really like me!) and I was happy with how it turned out, but I realized that I maybe had a little too much hair to dye with a drugstore kit. Just last weekend, I had it done by a hairstyling student for a great price (less than I spent on drugstore dye!) and I'm SO happy with it. I love my natural colour but I'm ready to have fun with some different colours!

Anyways, back to the shirt!

It seems like a classic shirt has been on my sewing bucket list foreeever, and when Sewaholic released their Granville Shirt pattern last year, it seemed like it really was the perfect shirt! It has the perfect amount of ease and all the right details. Sewaholic patterns usually fit me pretty well, too, so it seemed like a great starting point.

When I made the muslin, though, it really needed some work. I don't have pictures, but the dart was completely in the wrong place for me, and the armholes were gaping like crazy, even after making the same alterations that Tasia made to make it sleeveless! It was also way too long, almost a tunic length, and big at the hips (although I expected that based on the sizing). I shortened it 4", but I ignored the shorten/lengthen lines because I needed the shaping at the waist to be higher. I cut two separate lines, one above the waist and one below, and shortened it 2" at each of them. To take it in at the hips, I just marked 1" in and drew a smooth curve to that point from the waist.

To make it sleeveless, you have to shave a little off the armholes and the shirt back where it attaches to the yoke - this tutorial explains it well. Tasia says she took the armholes in 1" and took 3/8" out of the back, but this wasn't nearly enough for me. I haven't made the shirt with sleeves, so I think I probably would have had to take in the shoulder and the back anyways - that's a pretty standard adjustment for me. In the end I took 1 3/4" out of the shoulder and 7/8" out of the back pieces.

For the dart, I started by raising it 1", but I needed to do something to fix the armhole gape. One of these days, I should probably learn to do a proper FBA, but I don't like how every tutorial I've seen ends up making the rest of the top wider at the bottom. Instead, I followed this tutorial on how to stop armhole gape - you basically pin a dart in the armhole where you would need it, and then transfer it to the bust dart. It basically doubled the size of the dart, and it worked really well to fix the gaping!

I made a second muslin with all these adjustments, and it was a lot closer, but there was still a little gaping in the back of the armhole. I considered doing the same thing with pinning a dart and somehow transferring it to the princess seams in the back, but this article said to just take a little out of the side seam for the back piece only so I did that for my final version. This also worked really well, although it made it just a tiny bit too small at the bust so I might try to add that back in somewhere for my next version. I didn't notice it at first, but after a little wear, the button band pulls ever so slightly at the bust.

Other than that, though, can we just admire the fit? I think I pretty much nailed it! There's a couple small things I'll change next time, but it's probably the best fitting shirt I've ever owned. It's a little wrinkled in these photos because I'd been wearing it all day, but that's just the nature of linen.

The fabric is a linen blend herringbone chambray that I bought on St. Hubert at the beginning of the summer. It was only $10 a metre and I got the whole top out of only a metre! Now I just need to figure out what to do with the metre I have left...

I've never made a classic shirt before, but it wasn't as difficult as I was expecting. I was mostly nervous for the collar stand but I followed Andrea's famous tutorial for sewing one and it went quite well! The only problem was that something must have stretched (or I just didn't cut it accurately enough in the first place), because I found the collar to be a little too long for the collar stand. I noticed it early on but somehow thought it would work itself out, so I didn't trim it down. It's mostly fine, but if I ever want to button it up all the way (which I never do), the collar overlaps slightly.

I also made a mistake and interfaced both the upper and lower collar by accident, because I wrote "Cut 2 interfacing" on the collar piece when I traced it. I keep meaning to check if this was my mistake or something on the pattern itself. It's not a big deal because the interfacing I used was pretty lightweight, but it would probably sit a little more nicely with slightly less.

As for the rest of the construction, I used flat-felled seams for everything so the insides are nice and neat.

To finish the armholes, I used store-bought bias binding because I was lazy and just sewed it with a 1/4" seam allowance, folded it over the raw edge, pressed it to the inside, and edgestitched. Easy peasy! I think the bias binding I used was maybe a little too stiff for the fabric (I think it's mostly poly), because it didn't stretch to the curve as nicely as a softer one would, and the edges don't quite lay flat. I don't think it's that noticeable, but next time I'll make my own. In fact I think I may just buy some black and white cotton and make a bunch of my own so I have a stock for times like this! The homemade stuff is so much nicer, even if it's not in matching fabric.

I used my machine's automatic buttonhole foot to make the buttonholes, and I can't get over how beautiful they are. This is probably one of my favorite features of this machine, because I've always struggled with making nice buttonholes. The only one that was a little wonky was the one at the very top because I don't think I trimmed down the seam allowance enough when I attached the collar, so there was a little too much bulk to make a smooth buttonhole. In the end, I just didn't cut it open because I'm never going to button up that button anyways!

I'm so, so happy with how this shirt turned out. It's a great summer style for throwing on over jeans or these rayon Value Village pants that I've been living in. It's so cool and comfortable for the Montreal heat, too! I've already worn it so much and I want to make more. In the fall I might try a version with sleeves, although sleeveless versions are almost more practical for layering cardigans over!

Next up, I'd love to make a shirtdress version! Stay tuned...


  1. I love your shirt -- and the hair is great too, though I don't think I could go that bold !

    1. Thank you! You'd be surprised, because I didn't think I wanted to go this bold at first either, but I'm glad I did! I've always said that red is *almost* a neutral anyways :)

  2. Very cute shirt. And I love your new hair colour, it adds the peps!

  3. What a stunning shirt! So classic- I bet it will be a favorite piece for years. Great combo of the grey fabric and black buttons. They compliment each other well.
    I dyed my hair blonde (normally it's brown) for a while in high school and college, and it was so much fun. I'm back to my regular color now, but I have fond memories of having blond hair. Glad to see you're enjoying your red hair!

    1. Thank you - the fabric is actually a black and white chambray, so that's why I chose the black buttons. In the photos it does look completely grey though!

  4. I love that fabric! I like how the black buttons work with it too. Your new hair is so fun! I've always wanted red hair but I'm scared to do anything permanent to it... maybe I should try something that washes out after a while.

    1. Thanks! I should have taken a closer photo because the herringbone is really nice up close. You could always try a semi-permanent dye or a glaze, but be warned that red fades (or washes out) faster than any other colour! I was considering a semi-permanent dye, but I read that they often won't even last two weeks when they're red. Even a permanent dye fades pretty quickly - it's been two weeks and the colour definitely isn't as vibrant anymore!