I bought the Granville shirt pattern by Sewaholic eons ago. I love the look of button-up shirts, but I am afraid of almost everything that goes into sewing one: collar, collar stand, buttonholes, buttons, sleeve plackets. Then, Punk Frockers podcast (if you don’t know them, give them a listen. This is the most fun sewing podcast out there!) had a fun October challenge called #pfScary. The challenge was created to push you to face your sewing fears. Afraid to try a technique? To use a precious fabric? To make a difficult garment?
I decided to be double scared: I selected the Granville as my pattern (remember the scary features I just mentioned?) and a gorgeous fabric that I have been hoarding for quite some time. I was either going to slay this monster, or I was going to end up crying over scraps of my favorite fabric. Scary enough?
The Granville Shirt by Sewaholic has been around for quite some time. It is a fitted button-front shirt with a two-piece collar, bust darts, and princess seams in the back. It has long sleeves featuring tailored plackets and cuffs, a self-lined yoke, and the option for front pockets.
Sewaholic patterns are drafted for a smaller chest and larger hips—or, in other words, the opposite of my body. Surprisingly enough, I was able to sew a size 18 with no need for an FBA. Funny (not so funny) thing, I gained some weight since I muslined this shirt. I am hoping I can still fit into it.
I am so in love with this fabric that I hoarded it for a while. This is Art Gallery Spooky’n Sweet Purranormal Activity Black/White. Just look at this fabric. Cats! Tombstones! A cemetery! It is all just too much.
f I must come clean, I have another four yards of it hiding in a bin under my bed. I cannot live without this fabric. It is very lightweight cotton described as black and white, but the black is more like a very dark gray.
I was quite surprised that I only had to make two adjustments. I raised the armscye by ½’ and added the same amount to the sleeve seam to allow for better arm mobility. Because that hip flare is seriously exaggerated, I took the side seams in by the hip. I took 1 ¼ inches from the hem tapering to nothing at the waist.
I will describe this project like I describe tasks to my students: This is not difficult; it just requires loads of patience and a willingness to persevere.
If I were to tell you that I spent a couple of hours pattern matching the two front pieces, would you believe me? Because I did–even though I was not very successful. I matched edge to edge (edge of the left front to edge of the right front) without considering that they would overlap. I’ll get it right the next time.
The bust darts worked well for my bust, and they were easy to sew. For me, the hardest part of putting the shirt front together was to get the markings on the buttonhole and button sections right. Take the time to transfer all markings; they will guide you through where to place your interfacing and where to iron the folds.
No mystery here. There are three parts, one center back and two sides. Princess seams are great opportunities for you to shape the garment to your body. Throughout this project, I did my best to pattern match across seams. Some places turned out better than others. Here, I think I did okay. I used French seams to give this section a really nice finish
Sew the yoke to the finished lower back piece, right sides together.
Now, sew the yoke facing, sandwiching the back piece between the yoke and the facing.
Trim seams, press both yokes away from the back, and topstitch.
Sewing the Body of the Shirt
You are going to sew the front pieces to the back piece at the shoulder seams to create the body of the shirt. Now, it is burrito time!
Sew the front pieces to the back yoke at the shoulders. Make sure not to catch the yoke!
Place the shirt flat on a surface. Make sure that the yoke facing is under the back piece.
Flip the garment so that you are looking at front of the shirt. Start rolling up the shirt tight all the way until you can see the yoke facing on the table.
Bring the yoke facing over the rolled shirt (the burrito!) and line up the shoulders of the yoke with the shoulders of the facing. Stitch the shoulders together.
Bring the burrito out through one of the sides, and you have a beautiful yoke with a yoke facing!
The collar has two pieces, a collar stand and a collar. I had never sewn a proper collar stand before. I sewed a couple of Simplicity 1941 shirts, and they have a collar, but not a collar stand. I am happy to say it was not a horrible experience. Heck, it wasn’t even a bad one.
I sewed two versions of the collar. For the first version, the seams were aggressively clipped. When I flipped the corners out, they felt a bit too rounded. I decided to sew another collar, this time being more conservative with the scissors, but I only got one of the corners to look quite pointy. In a battle between two rounded corners versus one pointy one, symmetry won. I kept the collar with equal but rounded corners.
The collar stand took a bit more time and effort. I followed the instructions from the sewalong and created a template for the collar stand tips.
You are attaching the straighter edge of the collar stand to the shirt!
The interfaced collar stand is sewn to the neckline, right sides together. The uninterfaced collar stand is sewn to the inside of the neckline, matching the edge of the sewn interfaced collar stand.
There will be a ⅝ bit of collar stand hanging off each side of the shirt–this is not a mistake.
I must have done something wrong because when I flipped the collar stand out, the edges looked very pointy (and not rounded like the sewalong sample). I simply redrew the template, this time with a rounder outer corner, and this took care of the problem.
Putting the Two Together
This is another super fun moment in the sewing of the Granville, and I will call this the sandwich method (not really, but I want to go with the food theme). Your collar piece will go inside the collar stand!
Make your life easier by pressing the seam allowance on the completed collar and on the uninterfaced size of the collar stand. This will make the sandwiching of the collar into the collar stand easier.
Take your finished collar and match its center to the center of the collar stand. Mark where the edges of the collar hit on the collar stand. Sew from the collar stand base to these marks. Grade the seams and clip the curves.
Your collar should fit perfectly inside the collar stand. If it doesn’t, check your marks and
My collar stand tabs are not exactly the same. The hassle that it would be to unpick and redo the whole thing is just too much for me to bear. I don’t expect anyone to notice, let alone point it out. I think I can live with that.
What Comes Next
I’m gonna be super honest with you: I don’t want to sew the sleeve placket. This step was giving me anxiety even before I started sewing. I will be practicing before I move on to the real thing, and I have extra pretty fabric if something terrible happens. I am also not super jazzed about sewing the buttonholes, especially that one all the way up the collar (little bugger!). We’ll see if I will have my spooky Granville ready this time next week. Wish me luck!