On Friday night J took Granville and me out for a date at the London Transport Museum.
There was some old-school crafting, involving cardboard, craft knives and pritt stick (plus Pimm’s – possibly not the safest set-up…). There was ‘adult face-painting’ (as in, for grown-ups, as opposed to getting an x-rated forehead), giant jenga, and a brilliant exhibition of contemporary illustrators inspired by London. We had SO much fun! I’d highly recommend the LT Museum’s Lates to anyone in London who’s up for this kind of thing – it was relatively quiet compared to other lates I’ve attended, with completely lovely volunteers, which made for a super enjoyable evening. Looking back, I probably wasn’t meant to sit on the fender of a museum exhibit, but I was three drinks in by this point and so excited to see my lucky number that I just had to point it out. I’m a total number nerd.
Anyway, about Granville. This shirt is a-mazing. I’d never made a proper shirt before (the closest I’d come was a Colette Violet) and thought it might be a bit dull, sewing something semi-masculine in a plain white cotton. How wrong I was! Turns out shirt-making is totes up my street.
Ok, so my enthusiasm might belie the fact that I actually made a first version which was a bit of a disaster. I thought the shoulders were too wide, so shaved them in, but by too much. I also didn’t really think through the fact that Sewaholic patterns are designed with a pear shape in mind, and I’m a classic hourglass. I’d got quite a long way with the first shirt before I realised there was no way it was going to fit across my chest. FBA alert!
I was so fired up by my first go at Granville that the very day after realising I’d messed up the fit, I power-walked over to Fabrics Galore in my lunchbreak and picked up some plain white poplin. Then that evening I used Mary from the Curvy Sewing Collective’s brilliant single-dart FBA tutorial but skived on the whole pattern tracing business and just plunged straight in with my pdf printout. Doing my first ever FBA felt a little daunting, especially as I wasn’t sure how requiring only an additional 2″ could entail so much shifting, pivoting etc. But once over this hurdle, and having already had a dry run with attempt no.1, I then whizzed through the first stages of attempt no.2 and suddenly had myself a fine fitting shirt in almost no time at all!
Points to note – I took a good 2″+ out of the sleeve length, as the sleeves on my muslin (and don’t even ask why I still fluffed attempt no.1 when I’d made a muslin) were way, way too long. This is a comment I’ve noticed elsewhere about Granville, so was glad to be on the alert.
I loved the challenge of the sleeve tower placket, which took me a little puzzling to work out, and wasn’t the neatest thing I’ve ever sewn, but was nevertheless hugely satisfying. Likewise the collar isn’t exactly professional-standard, but it’s good enough for a first go (and not wonky, as this bad photo suggests).
I kept forgetting to reset my stitch length when I switched between seam stitching and top stitching, so occasionally my top stitching is completely the wrong length. Meh, there’s more to life. I also omitted some of the top stitching (such as on the back seams) because it just didn’t feel right with the ‘classic white shirt’ look I was hoping for, and I have no regrets on that front.
One thing I do need to sort out is the arm seams, because I just did ordinary seams with pinking, which is fine when the sleeves are down, but quite a problem when I want to roll them up (not that I let that stop me, as you can see). Thinking I might try flat-felled seams next time around – a new skill to look forward to!
I simply cannot wait to make more Granville shirts. I plan to make a range of plain colours, with at least one more white option. The white seems more than just classic; it also has a kind of sexy just-out-of-bed-and-in-my-boyfriend’s-shirt vibe. Sexy, easy, even work-friendly – what more could a girl want?