Handmade Wardrobe
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A Labor Of Love – The Polka Dot Chambrary Granville Shirt

Why am I calling this a labor of love? I didn’t time myself but I can say with 90% certainty that this shirt took me 40+ hours to make. I was determined to get this right so I took a class at Gather Here which was supposed to be two 3 hour sessions and ended up being about 7.5 hours, Virginia is seriously such a Saint. She is so patient and knowledgeable.

I’ve worn my Archer quite a bit but I knew that I hadn’t put it together exactly right and wanted to get a well constructed, well fitting, button-down shirt into my rotation. I did a lot of work at home as well as in class, pressing and top stitching and regular stitching and redoing all of those things because my top stitching wasn’t perfectly straight. I was determined to make this shirt exceptionally well. A lot of the steps to make a well made shirt involve folding, pressing and/or edge-stitching to hide raw edges which is something I have trouble with because I hate to be close to the edge. Thanks to Virginia I’m getting better but I’m still working on it.

photo (13)

I cut out the straight size 16, did a 1 inch FBA and planned to increase the seam allowance at the hips. I’m not what you would consider pear shaped, due to the large bust, but my hip measurement was only 1 inch off from the 16 and I didn’t want to possibly grade down too much and loose the shape of the bottom. I traced the pattern using Swedish tracing paper and sewed up the pieces to decide if I needed to do a FBA and thats where I got my 1 inch from. I forgot to take into consideration the fact that a few inches would be cut off of one side for the button band and that the other side gets folded. So by the time I finished my shirt it was too tight in the bust, which brings me to somewhat of a tangent…

As women we are taught not to discuss out weight, its unladylike and almost a taboo topic, even in 2015! But to my 13 loyal Bloglovin’ followers, 2 WordPress subscribers and anyone else out there reading this blog, I’m going to be blunt with you. Since November I have gained 30 pounds. 30!!! I know weight isn’t everything and usually I only care that my clothes fit but this amount of weight gain initially caused me such a shock. It wasn’t until I was hooking my jeans closed with a hair elastic that I knew there was a problem. I promptly joined a new gym and got back to more regular running. The reason I bring this up is to hopefully help you feel like you don’t have to choose between sewing and exercise.

For a while I was sewing in every spare minute and the thought of going to the gym, running, or meal planning was not even on my radar, but now I realize its very important to find a balance that works for you. I do not have children. but I work full time, go to school [what my college considers] full time and like to see my friends and family at least once a week; so I can understand the difficultly of finding time to exercise when the allure of your sewing machine is so strong. When I started this blog I wanted to post every 5 days. It felt like a good amount and it was on pare with the amount of sewing I was doing, but now that I’m reevaluating my free time it’s just not manageable right now. The first step to fixing a problem is to admit it so here I am! One of my favorite bloggers has only posted 6 times this year so far and that fact makes me feel better about taking a step back. And seriously, whats the point of making fabulous clothes if they aren’t going to fit?

My Granville took me about 6 weeks to make and guess what, that’s fine! I attended my sewing classes and worked on it in spare moments, but I also went to step class twice a week and started cooking more. I think my shirt came out so well because of this! I got frustrated adding on my second cuff and because I wasn’t in such a rush I just put it down and came back to it. When my shirt was finished it was too tight which was really upsetting, but now, 6 weeks after completion it does fit and that’s something I am proud of! End of tangent…Screenshot_041315_123257_PM

Now where were we, ah yes, back to fit. My Granville is a perfect fit. The sleeves are a great length, the buttons button and I especially love the princess seams at the back. I’ve tried to describe to other people why I love them so much and I don’t think my explanation is coming out quite right. I feel like they are giving me a really great hug. The way they sit is just perfect. The yoke starts right above where my bra strap is and for some reason that makes me feel secure. Am I putting way too much emphasis on the back fit of this shirt? Stop me if I’m blabbering.

photo (11)When I went to Disney for my best friend’s wedding I actually wore this shirt twice. Once while we were getting ready for the wedding and a second time when my arms were sun burned and I wanted to avoid getting anymore sun. I like to take nice pictures for this blog as often as I can but I’m sharing these just to show you how great the fit is now and how versitle this shirt can be. I’ve also worn it to work and school and feel like its the perfect shirt for whatever life has in store. The phrase, business in the front, party in the back comes to mind because I really do love the back of this so much!

Now that I’ve toned up a little the fit is really great. If I’m wearing a tank top underneath I’ve been leaving the top two buttons open just because they do pull slightly due to the ill fated FBA. Not enough that I’m embarrassed to wear it fully buttoned but still. I’m working on a sleeveless version right now and I didn’t make any additional alterations but I am going to use a teeny tiny seam allowance on the side seams. Since the fabric for #2 is quilting cotton I’m slightly worried that since it is stiffer than the chambray that a tiny seam allowance won’t be enough and if so I’m going to add a kind of godet at the side seams. I’ll report back but I think it’s going to be just as great as this one!


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  5. Ok, I’m reading this super late! But that is a gorgeous Granville. I have the same fabric in my stash, waiting for me to crack the fit. I’m just finishing my first version, and I’m not going to lie, something very, very odd has happened with the collar. Not that that’s going to stop me wearing it though 😉
    Also, your comments about fitness + exercise really chime with me! My perfect life balance includes a lot of friends, a lot of exercise, and a lot of sewing 😀 – If I miss out any of them, I start feeling grumpy! x

    • Thank you so much for your comment Hannah! I’ve somewhat kept up with my fitness regimen since I posted this, but I have still been choosing late night sewing sessions over early morning workouts more than I care to elaborate on! I do love this top and have made 1 more since and have another cut out. I didn’t follow the pattern directions for the collar and just followed what the Archer pattern has you do and my two have come out pretty good. I can’t wait to see yours!

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